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The spectators you meet at events...


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willysmb44

I'd forgotten the "camp follower" type. You get these ladies in the US (usually ones you wouldn't want to get near without being in MOPP4 anyway), but like hbtcoveralls said, they are much more common in Europe for some reason.

Dont forget the BDU Badboys: The ones that dress up in BDU's and expect everyone to talk to them while they walk around the show purely looking for attention!
We din;t get a lot of these where I am because we have Ft Lewis and McChord AFB (now a joint service base), and a strong navy presence in the area. We don't get a lot of these BDU-wearing-but-never-served types here (mostly because a uniform doesn't turn heads at all in these parts), but I have seen them elsewhere...
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The spectators who tell you that your stuff is fake (not repro, just fake like plastic fruit fake). This happened at a Rev. War Event, we were cooking a pig over a fire pit, and a woman told my mother that our plastic pig is melting.

 

 

She was probably a Greatful Dead groupie re-enactor....to much LSD.Your pigs melting!!!!Your pigs melting!!!!!

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We din;t get a lot of these where I am because we have Ft Lewis and McChord AFB (now a joint service base), and a strong navy presence in the area. We don't get a lot of these BDU-wearing-but-never-served types here (mostly because a uniform doesn't turn heads at all in these parts), but I have seen them elsewhere...

 

I see them all the time. On any given Memorial or Veterans Day at The Wall you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting half a dozed fakers, posers, and pretenders strutting around in BDUs, boots, bush hats, berets, or dress blouses, all bedecked with store-bought medals, ribbons, chevrons, and patches.

 

They all stand around talking tough to each other and to anyone within earshot who will listen to them. Their BS tales of battle and heroics get bolder, badder, and more heroic as they get on their roll and they revel in the adoration they get from those unknowing enough or gullible enough to realize that it would have taken 10 real Audie Murphys 5 or 6 major wars to accomplish all those feats of daring-do.

 

As part of my job, I often attend the funerals of men who had been unaccounted for from various wars but who have been recovered and identified. In an ever greater travesty, I seen some of these same types hanging around at those events, trying to show off. The worst to date was a couple years ago when we laid to rest a group of Carlson's Raiders from Makin Island. There must have been 50 - 75 old, fat guys turned out in more ribbons than Audy Murphy himself and young guys wearing medals for campaigns they were too young to have participated in, pathetically trying to turn this solemn event into a "look at me" circus.

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I see them all the time. On any given Memorial or Veterans Day at The Wall you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting half a dozed fakers, posers, and pretenders strutting around in BDUs, boots, bush hats, berets, or dress blouses, all bedecked with store-bought medals, ribbons, chevrons, and patches.

 

They all stand around talking tough to each other and to anyone within earshot who will listen to them. Their BS tales of battle and heroics get bolder, badder, and more heroic as they get on their roll and they revel in the adoration they get from those unknowing enough or gullible enough to realize that it would have taken 10 real Audie Murphys 5 or 6 major wars to accomplish all those feats of daring-do.

 

As part of my job, I often attend the funerals of men who had been unaccounted for from various wars but who have been recovered and identified. In an ever greater travesty, I seen some of these same types hanging around at those events, trying to show off. The worst to date was a couple years ago when we laid to rest a group of Carlson's Raiders from Makin Island. There must have been 50 - 75 old, fat guys turned out in more ribbons than Audy Murphy himself and young guys wearing medals for campaigns they were too young to have participated in, pathetically trying to turn this solemn event into a "look at me" circus.

 

You can always tell them apart from the real veterans. The real combat veterans rarely talk about it, and when they do talk about their time "over there", it usually is about the mud, heat, rain, insects, etc. Combat stories NEVER need to be repeated among those that were there.

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HoovieDude
You can always tell them apart from the real veterans. The real combat veterans rarely talk about it, and when they do talk about their time "over there", it usually is about the mud, heat, rain, insects, etc. Combat stories NEVER need to be repeated among those that were there.

 

So true. Since I retired, I have had the great fortune to work again with guys who I served with in Iraq. We were on a very small team of combat advisors to the ISF, and now work as civilian contract intsructors to help others prepare for that mission themselves. Using some of our personal experiences to get certain points or issues across is common, but none of them deal with the "bad things". Even amongst ourselves in private, do we very rarely talk of certain things. Only the things that brought chuckles or can now be chuckled at.

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I used to do a lot of nineteenth-century reenacting--Texas Revolution, Civil War, etc.--and some of the same people must have shown up at those events and with some of the same questions and observations. One of the most common questions was: "Aren't you hot?" Now when you are standing there dressed in wool from head to foot on a nice toasty south Texas day in August that seems like a silly question indeed. Of course I'm hot!

 

Another common question is along the lines of: "What are you supposed to be?" A heard a friend of mine once tell a spectator, after having fielded the same question one time too many: "Well, I was "supposed to be" a bicycle, but I turned out like this instead." That visitor may still be scratching his head. At that same event, a post-Civil War event in which we were all wearing blue wool uniforms, we kept getting questions about whether we were Yankees or Confederates. We patiently tried to tell these folks, assuming that they meant well and were only trying to learn, that we were protraying a time after the war and that there were no longer any Confederates, and that we were portraying U.S. soldiers of the period. We did not have much luck in this educational endeavor, and my friend again reached the overload point. When a young man asked him if he was a Yankee, he replied: "I was a Yankee, but I have just been traded to the Red Sox and haven't had time to get my new uniform." Another head scratcher.

 

And then there are the people who want to know if various things are "real." "Is that a real musket?" O.K., that might be a fair question in that the spectator may be only trying to determine if the musket is real (150 years old) or a modern made but highly accurate replica. But I have heard people ask if our cook fire was real. And at an event many years ago, one of our men was there with his wife and infant daughter, and all were accurately dressed. His wife had even made a period-correct outfit for the baby. His wife heard one spectator comment to a companion. "Oh, look, that looks like a real baby?"

 

And just as with the WWII reenactments, you also have a fair proportion of "experts" on everything from weapons and tactics to overall strategy.

 

Ain't it great!

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I used to do a lot of nineteenth-century reenacting--Texas Revolution, Civil War, etc.--and some of the same people must have shown up at those events and with some of the same questions and observations. One of the most common questions was: "Aren't you hot?" Now when you are standing there dressed in wool from head to foot on a nice toasty south Texas day in August that seems like a silly question indeed. Of course I'm hot!

 

Another common question is along the lines of: "What are you supposed to be?" A heard a friend of mine once tell a spectator, after having fielded the same question one time too many: "Well, I was "supposed to be" a bicycle, but I turned out like this instead." That visitor may still be scratching his head. At that same event, a post-Civil War event in which we were all wearing blue wool uniforms, we kept getting questions about whether we were Yankees or Confederates. We patiently tried to tell these folks, assuming that they meant well and were only trying to learn, that we were protraying a time after the war and that there were no longer any Confederates, and that we were portraying U.S. soldiers of the period. We did not have much luck in this educational endeavor, and my friend again reached the overload point. When a young man asked him if he was a Yankee, he replied: "I was a Yankee, but I have just been traded to the Red Sox and haven't had time to get my new uniform." Another head scratcher.

 

And then there are the people who want to know if various things are "real." "Is that a real musket?" O.K., that might be a fair question in that the spectator may be only trying to determine if the musket is real (150 years old) or a modern made but highly accurate replica. But I have heard people ask if our cook fire was real. And at an event many years ago, one of our men was there with his wife and infant daughter, and all were accurately dressed. His wife had even made a period-correct outfit for the baby. His wife heard one spectator comment to a companion. "Oh, look, that looks like a real baby?"

 

And just as with the WWII reenactments, you also have a fair proportion of "experts" on everything from weapons and tactics to overall strategy.

 

Ain't it great!

 

First lesson in life: NEVER, EVER underestimate the stupidity of some people...

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She was probably a Greatful Dead groupie re-enactor....to much LSD.Your pigs melting!!!!Your pigs melting!!!!!

 

FOTFL! Yes.. anyone who claims to remember Woodstock really wasn't there! One pill makes you smaller, while the the other makes you tall, and the pills that Mother gives you don't do anything at all.....Wheeee!

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Anybody ever had a spectator tell you that you, in uniform (WWII!!), are breaking the law? Impersonating a service member? I had a guy who was an active duty Navy officer (he said) insist he was going to report us.... Oh, and he applied this to the BRIT and German reenactors as well

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Because of many of the incidents mentioned above, our group #1, made the rule absolutely no live firearms at displays. Bad enough losing one without the additional worry of it being used in a crime. This rule is pretty easy for us as we are aviation centered. No need for display rifles anyhow. Just the occasional pistol amongst the flight gear.

 

#2. Crowd lines on all displays. Not that it matters. You wouldn't believe how many idiots try to step over the line to get to your display! As an added deterrent, however, many living history groups in our area are now using very realistic looking plastic barbed wire for their crowd lines. Makes for an effective added deterrent factor.

 

And you forgot a spectator type: "I can do what I want with your display/vehicle/etc. After all, you ARE paid to be here!" (Don't we wish!)

 

Tom

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willysmb44
And you forgot a spectator type: "I can do what I want with your display/vehicle/etc. After all, you ARE paid to be here!" (Don't we wish!)

Ooh, good one! Along those lines, how about the "I can handle anything I want, my tax dollars paid for this!" When you remind them that maybe their grandparent's tax dollars paid for it, but that Jeep or rifle has been private property for over 5 decades, they still never get it. I've had a police officer forciblt remove a family out of my Jeep once, they refused to get out, stating their tax dollars paid for it and therefore they were going to eat lunch in it at the show. The cop looked at them and said, "What are you people, morons? Tje Army doesn't own these things before, I'm not into this stuff and even I know that!" A pair of MPs on an Army base once were summoned to a situation very much the same and they shook their heads and said to me, "You're kidding, right? They didn't get it when you said it was yourt personal property?" They shook their heads and had to move these folks as well. Afterward, one told me he thought I was playing a prank on them until they talked with the people and realized, yes, the public really can be that dense sometimes. One told me, "Sir, I can't believe you put up with this if it happens with any frequency..."

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shocktrooper15
I know one of those! Hits every gun and militaria show, and is ALWAYS in some form of BDU trousers / boots / boonie combination, and has never served a day in his life. We call him GI Joe. :lol:

 

 

Ive seen 2 that look like brothers, overweight and all dressed up in BDU's, the whole nine yards. They also hit every show in the area :laughing1:

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fortworthgal

Yep, I think I've met every one of those at least once! Along the lines of the veteran with the poor memory are the ones who insist up and down that "women never served in WWII" or "women never wore/had that" when it is an standard issue item.

 

Really quite hot girls who are literally giving you their phone numbers and making it clear in every way that they are ready to do their part for the war effort. I always try and hand them off to the single guys, but I've not encountered that in the USA.

 

Hot girls? At a reenactment? Yes that must be strictly European because that's a new one on me. :D The few "reenactor groupies" I've ever seen at events look like they'd be kicked off a garbage truck for stinking the place up.

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Have you ever had the spectators (especially the kids) ask for your autograph? When I worked at a living history site, every summer, we would get at least a couple of people asking us to sign their program, notebooks, whatever.

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Have you ever had the spectators (especially the kids) ask for your autograph? When I worked at a living history site, every summer, we would get at least a couple of people asking us to sign their program, notebooks, whatever.

 

I remember a mother stopping me and asking if she could take her son's picture with me once. It was late April of 1991 and I had just landed on a flight from Tampa to Dulles.

 

I had just come home from the Gulf War the day before and had to stop at USCENTCOM and SOCCENT (Rear) to drop off some issue items. After staying the night in the BOQ I went to Tampa International to catch my flight to DC. I had a change of undergarments in the Kuwaiti-issue ruck that I was carrying my gear in but no outer garments other than the DCUs that I left Kuwait in and a night desert parka in the ruck with my toilet kit.

 

When I arrived at Dulles, in addition to my family and friends, there was a local ABC Network reporter and camera crew. They were not only interested in the Gulf War but the contrast between my coming home from Vietnam in 1968 and this one. Once they were done with the interview and I was turning to leave, the mother approached me and asked for the picture and, of course, I obliged. He also asked for my autograph but I had nothing to write on. I dug my extra desert camo patrol cap out of my ruck, autographed it, and gave it to the kid. I didn't mind doing it at all. In fact, I thanked him and his family for all the great homefront support we all got while over there.

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I've never done any military re-enacting but I have done frontier living history and re-enacting at the forts in California and up here at Fort Vancouver. I can relate to all of the descriptions including people who could tell me the day to day exploits of Jim Bridger, Kit Carson and Jeremiah Johnson (actually it was John Johnston). The part about this whole scene that a lot of these people pretended to be a historical person instead of developing their own character. They seem to overlook the fact that there were many other people that settled and explored the west.

At the public displays there were the same people that would paw over your kit, sit in your tent without an invite, pick up a tomahawk and pretend to scalp someone. They would ask me who I was and I would actually use my own name and they would say "Never heard of him" and I would say "I'm not surprised, you'll just have to do some more research".

 

Once at Fort Vancouver my "persona" as we called it, I was a tag along biologist/botanist with the Hudson's Bay Company, so in my tent I had my field equipment on display and was writing in a journal with a feather quill. A rather rude lady came up to me and grabbed the quill out of my hand saying "Let me see that" (thanks for asking after the fact). She was checking out my quill to see if I had a ball point inside. She said " I'm a teacher and I've tried for years to make quills but they never work". I politely explained the proper procedure for making a quill point was to harden the quill over a candle flame. You could see the light bulb go on above her head and she said "I never read that anywhere" At which point I said this was a technique taught to me by my grandma who lived up in the hills of the Ozarks and couldn't afford store bought dip pens. (Made that up, but she couldn't know that). She did thank me and left.

 

The SCA, yes I did that scene for awhile too as a Roman Legionnaire as they say that's another story, call the general public "mudanes" as a very insider derogatory term much like using the "N" word.

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Sgt_Rock_EasyCo
I remember a mother stopping me and asking if she could take her son's picture with me once. It was late April of 1991 and I had just landed on a flight from Tampa to Dulles.

 

I had just come home from the Gulf War the day before and had to stop at USCENTCOM and SOCCENT (Rear) to drop off some issue items. After staying the night in the BOQ I went to Tampa International to catch my flight to DC. I had a change of undergarments in the Kuwaiti-issue ruck that I was carrying my gear in but no outer garments other than the DCUs that I left Kuwait in and a night desert parka in the ruck with my toilet kit.

 

When I arrived at Dulles, in addition to my family and friends, there was a local ABC Network reporter and camera crew. They were not only interested in the Gulf War but the contrast between my coming home from Vietnam in 1968 and this one. Once they were done with the interview and I was turning to leave, the mother approached me and asked for the picture and, of course, I obliged. He also asked for my autograph but I had nothing to write on. I dug my extra desert camo patrol cap out of my ruck, autographed it, and gave it to the kid. I didn't mind doing it at all. In fact, I thanked him and his family for all the great homefront support we all got while over there.

 

 

Welcome home from Vietnam and thanks for a job well done.

 

I was on the way in December 83 after Grenada and was sitting in various airport bars and I couldn't buy a drink because people were appreciative. Once in awhile some ahole would say "It's about time we won one!" (talking about Vietnam) I about hauled off and decked them. I told them rather harshly that we won most of our battle and would have finished the job if not for the politicians and hippies. I told them to get out of my face before something bad happened to them. Most people were nice.

 

I appreciated what people said on the way home but my reward was having the students and faculty of the Grande Anse campus giving us a standing ovation and thanking us for their rescue. I personally didn't save any one of them and felt guilty because the Rangers that *did* actually rescue them, and were sitting on the ground about 20 yards away didn't get recognized.

 

Reagan recongnized them and there was a big party when they got home. I had another month and a half of pounding the jungle. We got a little welcome back. I was just glad to get home.

 

Rock

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Anybody ever had a spectator tell you that you, in uniform (WWII!!), are breaking the law?
Boy, I’ve seen this plenty of times. I also get the “you can’t own this” type all the time. I tell them all, “Okay, go call a cop and bring him over here. I’ll wait right here until you do.” They always stand there befuddled, realizing I probably know what’s legal and what isn’t if I’m that confident.
Have you ever had the spectators (especially the kids) ask for your autograph?
Yep, have had that before.

A couple of years ago, I did a train robbery event at a local tourist railroad that had a steam locomotive running at the time. I showed up with my cowboy action shooting stuff, and had a pair of stainless steel single actions, real “western movie” looking pistols, and shot blanks from them as a designated “bad guy” the crowd loved it and I must have signed dozens of autographs, even though the real ‘star’ of the show was supposed to the guy portraying the sheriff! Never underestimate the draw of impressive firearms!

After I appeared on the History Channel show, “Mail call” I had a couple of people ask for my autograph of the DVD for that season. It happened maybe 3-4 times but none of them were doing it as a joke. I still get people who’ve heard of it asking to see the challenge coin that “Gunny” Ermey gave me that day.

The funniest time was when I rode in a P-51 in formation with the Collings Foundation’s B-17 and B-24. Scored a 90 minute formation ride (and didn’t pay a dime for it, just right place/right time), landing at Panama City, Florida, after buzzing Tyndall AFB nearby:

Stang.jpg

Right after this photo of me after climbing down, a teenager ran up with a booklet from the Collings people and wanted my autograph. I took it and said, “Well, you know I wasn’t the pilot, right? I only rode the backseat in here.” He smiled and said, “So? You’re AIRCREW! You flew in a Mustang, it’s something I’ll probably never do.” Then I realized how cool that must have been in his perspective. So of course, I signed it. Made the kid’s day because he said he was a big P-51 fan.

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I really like the big fat ones who weigh 400 pounds , wear shorts exposing their rash on their legs ,wearing socks and tevos,smell ,with a surplus backpack full of nachos drinking a big gulp full of mountain dew ,with their mother who has no teeth who is chain smoking slims who is trying to hit on you.

 

owen

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Welcome home from Vietnam and thanks for a job well done.

 

I was on the way in December 83 after Grenada and was sitting in various airport bars and I couldn't buy a drink because people were appreciative. Once in awhile some ahole would say "It's about time we won one!" (talking about Vietnam) I about hauled off and decked them. I told them rather harshly that we won most of our battle and would have finished the job if not for the politicians and hippies. I told them to get out of my face before something bad happened to them. Most people were nice.

 

I appreciated what people said on the way home but my reward was having the students and faculty of the Grande Anse campus giving us a standing ovation and thanking us for their rescue. I personally didn't save any one of them and felt guilty because the Rangers that *did* actually rescue them, and were sitting on the ground about 20 yards away didn't get recognized.

 

Reagan recongnized them and there was a big party when they got home. I had another month and a half of pounding the jungle. We got a little welcome back. I was just glad to get home.

 

Rock

When I came home from Vietnam it was a different story altogether. My mother, father, three aunts, one aunt's husband, and my girlfriend (later my wife) all came to O'Hare to meet me. I'd flown a military charter from Danang to El Toto MCAB where I received cash, follow-on orders, and leave and travel documents. We also changed from jungle utilities to regular uniform with ribbons, etc. (since it was summer of 68 it was khaki shirt/trousers). From there a military bus tool us to LAX where two other Marines and I who were all going to Chicago, got out tickets.

 

It was an afternoon flight; the last of the day and the coach section was almost full. I remember it was American Airlines and either a DC-9 or a 727. When we boarded, two beautiful stewardesses (you still called them stews then) told us to wait in the jetway for a couple minutes while she rearranged some seating and the other passengers looked at us as they passed by....some appreciative and others glaring. After the other pax were seated, they told us to follow them and they led us up to the first class cabin. they put us in the last row of first class; it was one of AA's champaign flights.

 

Once we were airborne, the first class stew started serving the champaign. she started at the back and asked us if we'd like some champaign; of course we replied in the affirmative. She poured three glasses and turned to the row in front of us. Before she finished pouring theirs, our glasses were empty. She asked if we'd like some more and without thinking I said f#@k'in aye. she smiled and poured three more glasses. By the time she was three rows up, the glassed were empty again. She came back again and said,, this will make it easier on all of us, set a bottle down on my tray, and then went to serving the rest of the pax.

 

By the time we landed at O'Hare, we more than a bit buzzed. We waited until everyone else had deplaned, then we walked down the jetway with the three stews. Back then, people meeting pax could come right up to the gate and when my mother and aunts saw me coming out with three stews, they got all red-faced and flustered; my girlfriend was also not all that amused. My dad and uncle were smiling "that smile."

 

As I said, I was in uniform and as we walked to the passageway to the main terminal there were a group of protesters there screaming at any serviceman they could find. They started on me and I glared at them. One of them said something decidedly and I replied with something almost equally uncomplimentary. He then reached behind him and pulled out a bag of dog crap and tried to rub it on me. I dodged it and hit him without even realizing what had happened. As he went down, the other protesters started screaming and shrieking and two Chicago Policemen from the airport detail approached. I figured I was going to be arrested less than 10 minutes after setting foot on Chicago soil but they had seen the entire event and hauled the hair-head away instead. That was my "Welcome Home" from Nam.

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Oops, I left out the most relevant part!! That was my "Welcome Home" from Nam and one of my most interesting ever interactions with spectators.

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Yep, I think I've met every one of those at least once! Along the lines of the veteran with the poor memory are the ones who insist up and down that "women never served in WWII" or "women never wore/had that" when it is an standard issue item.

My grandfather who's a WW2 submarine vet always tells people that his wife was one of only 500 WAVES who served during WW2. She of course corrects him about the number but he always tells her she's wrong. :lol:

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Captainofthe7th

This list is too true!!!

 

I was at an event today where my LT has a gorgeous weapons display. He has at least one of EVERYTHING. A lot of people were more interested in what sort of battery the airsoft M60 took that the 'Nam guys had next door. Now, when is the next time they'll get to see original, functional, mortars, MGs, SMGs, and rare grenade launchers etc all in one place?? Oh well... it's their loss.

 

Rob

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OK,I've got two. I don't think I have seen them yet. I'm really tired (long day) so if they have already been brought up I apologize. O.K., what about the Dad who very loudly points out to his son the sign that says "PLEASE DON'T TOUCH" and then he goes and touches the item himself!?!?

 

I had a Dad at a show chastize his son for slightly toucing one of my leather flight gloves which I had on dispaly only to pick it up himself and jam it on his fat, pudgy, chilidog covered fingers. He commented "if it don't fit you must aquit" and tossed it back...YES TOSSED IT...back onto the table. My friend had to hold me back.

 

The second are the people who stand looking at the display and comment how rare and special these items are while eating their chili-cheese dogs, cinimon rolls, catsup covered burgers etc. while hanging over the display.

At another show I had a person set down their large coke onto a life magazine so they could look at something else. It left a nice ring right on the center. Lesson learned, I now cover everything with sheets of plexi-glass.

 

By the way, love the thread!

 

Steve

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