By on August 29, 2010


The job of most auto show booth babes is all about talking. We’re there to talk for hours to hundreds, sometimes thousands of people about the brand we rep. As much as we may  talk, there are some things we won’t ever tell you. Here are just a few.

An official “yes” that a redesign will be released within the next year.

So, it turns out that dealer staff at the shows get kinda pissed when you mention a vehicle will be completely redesigned the following model year. Why? Because it costs them immediate business. Someone who is in the market for this new car may very well wait until the latest, greatest model comes out six months from now if they know it is coming. If they don’t know, they’ll walk into the dealer today. It’s like saying “This Viagra is OK, but next year’s Viagra actually will give you that four-hour erection.” Yes, you could investigate redesigns on the interwebs, but until it comes straight from the manufacturer it is pure speculation. Time is money, and to corporate the sooner you buy the better.

Plus, delivery dates on redesigns and new additions to a lineup can change frequently and by as much as a year or two. Even if we told you something would be out in six months, it could easily get pushed back. Then you’ll complain to your internet forum buddies that the girl at the car show didn’t know what she was talking about, despite the fact that it was true at the time we told you.

Why yes, sir – now that you bring it up, this car actually IS a death trap.

The brand I rep has a great safety record, just so you know. But obviously not all do. We are hired to be the 100 percent sun shiney positive face of the company and address all of your needs and concerns according to the company line. This does not include being all “Dude, did you see that YouTube video where CarX425 completely disintegrated upon hitting a speed bump, killing a group of orphans and LOLCats in an exceptionally gruesome manner?” You’d have to be a complete failure of a product specialist to talk about your own brand like this, but it’s key not to talk about any other that way either. The psychology of brand marketing is a very delicate thing. You’ll remember that you talked about crashes – and that word “crash” is what will stick out in your mind, regardless of the fact that it was about a competitor. Not the impression we want to give.

You’re f-ing stupid for buying this car for your kid.

Seriously. I know you have the cash. Good for you. I know you taught your kid to drive all by yourself. That’s actually part of the problem. Just because you spent a weekend at Skip Barber doesn’t mean your 16-year-old has any clue what to do with this obscenely powerful car you bought him in an extremely ill-advised attempt to prove to your hedge fund office mates that you’re a better provider than them. You know what your kid should be driving? A golf cart. Driver education in the US is piss-poor, and with rare exceptions they should not be in the weapons of vehicles they are driving.

I don’t actually drive the car I said I drive.

If you ask a booth babe what kind of car she drives (and I get that question at least twice a day), if she’s smart she will always answer with a model made by the manufacturer she reps. If we say anything else we are drawn into an awkward conversation about why not. The reasons might be perfectly reasonable and have nothing to do with the value of the car we’re standing in front of: It was all we could afford, it was purchased before we repped this brand, we got a better deal, we inherited it from a rich “uncle”, etc. When I tell people at the show what car I drive they are always suitably impressed. Too bad it’s a lie.

I don’t give two craps about your political agenda. In fact, I don’t even give one crap.

Look dude, I get it that you are passionate about buying only American despite the fact that most “American” cars are assembled elsewhere, or that as a card carrying member of the Aryan Nation you only buy cheese made in Germany, or that you protest everything Japanese especially sushi because you think geishas are sexist. I get it. I just don’t care. I mean, I think you’re an idiot. But I don’t care. My job isn’t to have a 45-minute conversation about the New World Order. My job is to tell you about horsepower, seat belts and cool stereo systems. I do have to smile and nod at your ramblings, but seriously – save the conspiracy theories for your secret underground bunker.

Obviously I can’t tell you not to ask me this stuff – it’s still a free country as far as I know and you can ask me whatever you want. Just don’t expect me to answer.

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com


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51 Comments on “The Booth Babe Chronicles: Things we won’t tell you...”


  • avatar
    carguy

    I’m not really sure how insightful that is, but to be fair here is what we won’t tell you:

    1. We are here for the cars.

    2. We are somewhat frustrated by your lack of automotive knowledge and inability to answer any question that can’t be read off the brochure.

    3. Winning the genetic lottery and having a pleasing physique was a big part in landing you this job. Like all other inherited form of privilege and advantage, we have a hard time respecting that.

    4. We do feel a little bit bad for you as you generally seem bored and look like you’d really rather be somewhere else. You also really have a way of attracting the creepiest guys at the show and then have to be nice to them.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      Good work. Comments should have been closed after that post.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      She’s no more self-centred than Jack Baruth. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me to know it’s Baruth in literary drag. Would that make it more palatable?

      Yes, we know: a lot of you don’t like these articles, probably because you have issues with women. We get it. We got it six or seven articles ago. I’m sure Mr. Niedermeyer will stop running her articles if he or the owners start seeing page hits drop every time she posts but until then can we just move on? Please?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      “She’s no more self-centred than Jack Baruth. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me to know it’s Baruth in literary drag. Would that make it more palatable?”

      That would give me a good laugh and I think Jack could pull it off. All he’d have to do is channel the personalities of every female auto journalist and booth babe that he’s ever tried to bed. It would be pure genius.

    • 0 avatar
      john.fritz

      She’s no more self-centered than Jack Baruth.

      At least Jack doesn’t scold me about something every time he writes.

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      .

    • 0 avatar
      Acc azda atch

      CARGUY:

      Man
      DAMN.

      If I could mail you a case of your best drink / beer… JUST for that comment.. I would. BRAVO!

      Got my thoughts down to a T.

  • avatar
    william442

    Re: Cars for “kids”
    I started drag racing at 16. In order to be even moderately successful,one must have an obscenely powerful car. A 18 I was very near the then current B-Gas record.
    I have never been to Skip Barber.
    I have two Ivy League degrees.
    My daughter has been to Skip Barber. She has driven powerful cars from day one; for the last 11 years an AMG.
    Go figure.

  • avatar
    william442

    “You’re, or you are.” Your is possessive.

  • avatar
    findude

    I like cars, I really do. I don’t like new car shows. I went to a couple back in the 1990s; I can only hope they’ve changed.

    It’s a show, so it’s about spectacle not information. While I like cars, spectacle doesn’t do much for me. Information I like.

    I do enjoy concours shows–the folks showing the cars really know them and are very interesting.

    Apart from seeing a maybe/possibly future car in the flesh (and not being able to drive it!?) I’d much rather look at cars on the internet.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    “Interwebs”? Ah, the booth babe can only live in England.

  • avatar
    pentek

    Not to be too preachy here but I mentor new engineers coming into the profession in our company. I have a discussion with each person explaining that they need to have a job they enjoy.

    In my opinion, a person must have autonomy, mastery, and purpose to enjoy their work. Money is necessary but not sufficient.

    There must be some work that would pique your interest. Continual cynicism begins to affect all aspects of a person’s life.

    I appreciate that some percentage of males can be boorish turds to females (including young female engineers) but not all.

    Cheers

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    At one time the carmaker’s advertising or promotion department simply hired models from a local agency. The agency often stiffed the girls for the fee, talking young aspiring models into working the gig free “for publicity”. The job requirement called for the girl to fit the supplied costume, be reasonably reliable and little else. They were set decoration. They knew the make of the car and not much more, nor were they expected to. Recent booth babe photos from various auto shows make me think not much has changed.

    I have noticed a growing tendency toward matching the model to the car’s demographic. A Mercedes S-Class will appeal to a male, moneyed, older demographic, so it is represented by an elegant, well turned out, mature model. A “preppy” type will represent a Mazda Miata. A well put together MILF handles SUVs and sedans. It’s psychological Viagra! Haven’t noticed many booth guys, though women buy a lot of cars.

    Nine times out of ten the people who hit on the models are insiders; model agency, automaker and advertising execs. The girls aren’t stupid. They know where the money, opportunities and good times are. Ordinary, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, schlubs who ask them out know their chances of getting a date are rather less winning the lottery.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      That reminds me of a trade show I was working at a few years ago. The vendor next to me was a small company selling aviation related products. The booth was packed with booth babes, a couple of salesmen, and lots of prospects.

      One morning during the show, the babes were mysteriously absent and the sales guys were by themselves looking a bit lost. I knew one of them and went over to see what had happened. He told me “the girls had to work late at the club last night and were too hung over to make it in.” Apparently they had been hiring their booth babes from a local gentleman’s club.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Apparently they had been hiring their booth babes from a local gentleman’s club.

      Not much different than hiring from a modeling agency. The club girls will be much cheaper on the hourly wage (though will cost a bit more for drugs).

      The agency girls are more idealistic/naive and will do anything you want (on camera!) if you simply tell them you are important and can make them the next Tyra. Especially after a rail or two.

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    The job of most auto show booth babes is all about talking.

    Right. And the reason for swimsuit contests at beauty pageants is all about physical fitness.

  • avatar
    blau

    I’m kind of enjoying how, slowly, column by column, the Booth Babe is turning the entire TTAC readership against her.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      I have noticed that also.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s always amusing to hear (or read) someone attempt to present themselves as more intelligent/worldly/clever than they actually are.

      It’s particularly hilarious when attractive-but-vapid women (and men, for that matter) do this, as you know it’s just a desperate cry for others to “please pay attention to me for some reason other than my looks!”

      Another swing and a miss in that regard, Booth Babe.

    • 0 avatar

      To borrow a term from Pro Wrassling she has become a resident Heel along with Baruth. You may boo her, but you’re still tuning in.

      I normally enjoy her perspective from the “Sizzle” side of the house.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Count me in as a TTAC reader that enjoys BBs stuffl. I love talking cars with girls. If they are good looking,thats just a bonus. Yeah.thats right “talking” not gawking, drooling,or touching.

      I’m a 56 year old happily married male. I keep myself in fairly good shape and I’m a strong believer in personal hygiene, and grooming.

      Having said that, I find nothing more pathetic, than a half drunk old,sweaty, fat guy hitting on a woman half his age. Then when she tells him “to hit the road” he gets mean. I don’t care if she is a waitress, or a Booth babe,or an engineer. It makes me want to barf. More than once I have found myself apoligizing to a young lady,for the behavior of one of my friends. They quickly get crossed off, “the people I hang around with” list.

      So what if Booth Babe DID won the genitic lottery? She is only playing the hand she was dealt.

      Suck it up guys. If you don’t like her post, don’t read it.

    • 0 avatar
      dewfish

      I agree with Mikey. The Authors name is at the top of the article. If you don’t like their writing, don’t read it. And definitely don’t go to the comments section and whine about it. No one cares.

  • avatar

    1. I don’t really need any of the above information from you. Odds are, I know more about the cars and brand you are repping than you do. In fact, I’m not really talking to you because I think you can tell me more about the cars. I’ve checked your wedding ring finger and it’s naked. I’m arrogant enough to believe I can stand out from the countless other men who are doing the same thing.

    2. While you’re speaking to me, I’m slowly trying to figure out your personality and break you out of Booth Babe mode so I can speak to the real you. If you show me ONE insecurity, one hobby, one shred of your humanity, you can bet I’ll be all over it. I’m also seeing if you are even WORTH talking to, or if you’re a vapid ornament. If I can break through to you, and you are an interesting person, my chances of getting your email, facebook add, or phone number are 900 times better.

    3. If you make one factual error discussing the car we’re using to play this strange game, I will completely lose interest. (“this Hyundai accent is so powerful you can probably do donuts with it”)

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      FYI: stick shift Accents can easily break the front tires loose on dry pavement. Happy hooning!

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Come on Samir, you are really Dwight Schrute, aren’t you? The attitude, the (self described) arrogance, the barely closeted hatred of women, the overwhelming creepiness that jumps off the screen…

      How many women are chained up in your basement at the beet farm?

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Samir,

      You are correct. BBs are a dime a dozen, and frankly, I think you are working way harder than you have to.

      Taking back to hotel BBs is easier than taking home strippers – at least strippers are more likely to be Mensa-smart (damaged by daddy/uncle/priest) but still, genius level IQ.

      BBs are girls who couldn’t make it on the runway or in print – but are doable and able to parrot the corporate pablum.

      Fish. Barrel.

      Regardless though, I’m more convinced every post that this “BB” is BS, his SO, or some combo platter thereof…

      Eddie Murphy anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      “…I get it that you are passionate about buying only American despite the fact that **most** “American” cars are assembled elsewhere…”

      Yep. She’s a real booth babe alright. Only someone with no real knowledge of the industry would say that. This sounds like a statement from a foreign car fan at Autoblog. Therefore I do not believe this is Bertel Schmitt. He would not commit such an error.

  • avatar
    skor

    It’s “Aryan Nations”, not “Aryan Nation”. You lost me right there, I’d never buy a car from a company who hires Booth Babes who don’t know their right wing extremist groups.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Things we don’t tell you, 3rd tier city addition:

    1. There probably won’t be any booth babes
    2. The car you are prying the knobs off of belong to the local dealer, NOT the manufacturer. We enjoy rebuilding these cars and passing them off as new a week later. Thanks
    3. The booth attendants are just guys from the local dealer, not getting paid any extra (or even lunch money), and are there under protest.

    That said, auto shows are a great way to see all the brands together, sit in them, and narrow your choices so you don’t waste your time and a bunch of salesmen’s time.

    • 0 avatar
      davey49

      I wish there were more auto shows like that. Shows with currently available cars put up by local dealers and not huge events full of exotics, concepts and press. When I was a kid the dealers used to display at the county fair but no longer do.
      There’s a show in Albany NY in early November, maybe I’ll go to that.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The people I knew who were idiot drivers as children would have been idiots behind the wheel a Corolla, Beetle, golf cart or pink Barbie toy Jeep.

    Education didn’t make them any better (one fellow did take a performance course and wrecked his father’s Merc attempting a move from school). In a few cases, rolling their car while drunk and/or stupid didn’t make it any better.

    Driving courses, anywhere, are good for teaching you things like “Who has the right of way at a four-way” or “How to parallel park”. They don’t teach you judgement any more than an “Interpersonal Relations” course could teach someone with Asperger’s to be, well, a booth babe. Judgement is something that a) you either have or don’t, b) learn the hard way and c) because your prefrontal cortex doesn’t develop fully until after 20, you won’t have much anyway.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The people I knew who were idiot drivers as children would have been idiots behind the wheel a Corolla, Beetle, golf cart or pink Barbie toy Jeep.

    Education didn’t make them any better (one fellow did take a performance course and wrecked his father’s Merc attempting a move from school). In a few cases, rolling their car while drunk and/or stupid didn’t make it any better.

    Driving courses, anywhere, are good for teaching you things like “Who has the right of way at a four-way” or “How to parallel park”. They don’t teach you judgement any more than an “Interpersonal Relations” course could teach someone with Asperger’s to be, well, a booth babe. Judgement is something that a) you either have or don’t, b) learn the hard way and c) because your prefrontal cortex doesn’t develop fully until after 20, you won’t have much anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeDude

      I disagree. Education, if obtained from an experienced, knowledgeable driver, matters. For example, I had no idea of what the challenges of winter driving were before coming to Canada. And that winter driving course I took really helped. At least it relieved me for the necessity to learn quite a few things “the hard way” – learning the hard way is kind of costly, I mean, insurance-wise.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The problem with young drivers isn’t inexperience, it’s judgement. Young people have solid, biological reasons for doing stupid things, and all the experience in the world won’t help them not do something stupid.

      Learning to drive on ice is a much different skill than learning not to drive (or not to drive like an idiot) when it’s icy. Very, very different.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This Viagra is OK, but next year’s Viagra actually will give you that four-hour erection

    By the way, according to a buddy who works as an ER nurse, you really don’t want this to happen. Have a read about priapism. He’s seen near-amputations from recreational Viagra abusers.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m surprised that you aren’t allowed to mention redesigns.

    In cases where someone liked the older model more (for example the SRX, TSX, Jetta, Explorer, Sorento, Accord, S4, and non-smiley Mazda3), I could see this as helping sales of the soon-to-be-gone current vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      TokyoPlumber

      In certain, specific cases mentioning a redesign might motivate an indecisive buyer to purchase a current model before it is no longer available. However, under most circumstances if a buyer is aware of a redesign he or she will:

      (a) try to use this information to negotiate down the price of the current model (ie, “I’m doing you a favour by helping clear out your inventory before the new model hits your lot”), or

      (b) delay the purchase until the new model comes out (in the absence of details / experience most of us tend to think “newer is better”)

      The last time I was shopping for a car I knew that a particular manufacturer was “soon” releasing a redesign of the model of interest to me. I asked a salesperson at the dealership about when he expected to be selling the new model. He brushed off the question saying it was not going to be for a year or two.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I can see it possibly being used as a bargaining chip, but I’m still not convinced that no mention at all should be the hard-set rule for product specialists.
      ___________
      I’m not saying to shout redesign news from the rooftops, but the article seems to be describing one-on-one conversations between product specialist and prospective customer- not scripted stage speeches.

      If someone was at a show and went up to the Ford booth asking about the V8 Explorer’s towing capacity and off-road ability, I would think that mentioning the vehicle’s imminent switch to a CUV could add a sense of urgency to a purchase decision.

      Or, take someone going up to a Buick booth in 2008/2009 and stating that the Lucerne and LaCrosse are not competitive with the ES350 and MKS. Would it be better to talk about the upcoming Epsilon-LaCrosse or just shrug your shoulders and let the customer go buy a Lexus/Lincoln?

  • avatar
    kkt

    I don’t actually drive the car I said I drive.

    It seems like you could figure out a way to evade the question, rather than lie. Such as, “I wish I drove a (car you represent)”. Lying, even about things that aren’t really any of the customer’s business, is one reason the car business has the reputation it does.

  • avatar
    phantomwolf

    I work in a retail technical service environment, i.e. glorified customer service rep. Me and every single one of my co-workers, well except for one true believer, HATE OUR JOBS, CELL PHONES, AND OUR CUSTOMER DISERVICE POLICIES WE HAVE TO BE YELLED AT BY CUSTOMERS FOR ENFORCING!!!! Yet, if I like being employed I tow the company line while I am at work, and never whip out my phone from, “the other carrier.” Its a give or take when you are representing your employer; you often times have to hold your nose up to various things. You try your best. With some slight tweeks, the Booth Babe’s thoughts mirror mine and millions of workers out there, from time to time.

    ….and I know this is going to come up, but thought I am in retail, my job actually requires a brain and I do get compensated far better than your local Worst Buy geek.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Is there any evidence that booth babes actually help sell more cars? Call me naive, but I actually buy a car based upon its value, features, and sales experience, while the booth babe orbiting it at the auto show remains a non-existant memory (particularly if I buy used). If booth babes actually worked in dealerships, then you might have something.

    The booth babe seems like a rather medieval feature in a car carnival. Sure, cars and women are like peanut butter and jelly, but since half of all car buyers are women today, how effective can the booth babe really be?

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      gslippy,

      This is a way for the traveling exec to drop a load without having an escort service show up on his corporate credit card.

      I’m sure that sex sells. Has since the beginning of time. But, when we’re at something as irrelevant as an auto show, well, I did it all for the nookie,for the nookie…

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Events and auto shows in general help, but it’s an open question whether babes or geeks do a better job in ginning up sales visits.

  • avatar
    Power6

    A BB article I actually liked! I wasn’t even sure I should click on it, but that was pretty good. Not nearly as juicy as Jack’s “How to be an auto journalist” series, but perhaps there is not as many exciting secrets on the auto show circuit?

    If there are more juicy secrets, get them on out here BB, you’re anonymous so this is your chance!

  • avatar
    tedward

    The dealer guys who show up at auto shows have any say as to what goes on there? That staggers me. I’ve met almost no car salesmen with comprehensive auto or brand knowledge, while product reps. can be pretty impressive. Salesmen at car shows are almost universally embarrassing, particularly when you get chased down by a real rep. to correct their misinformation (happened to me!).

    I wonder who gave them that authority? Or was it just assumed that they would have it? I sincerely doubt your manufacturer and marketing agency would like that.


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