For the past two years, I think I've been to every baby expo from before my son was born to now when he is a toddler.
The setup is usually the same and so are the specials. For first-time parents, it really is great as you can get first-hand experience from experts and also get to try out products before purchasing them. The Barney Show is great for older kids, if they are into that, and the talks are very informative. There are also other play areas for toddlers and older kids like the Huggies Nappy Pants Play Zone and the Lego area.
For the first few, I was always walking around with my wife, so every stall holder wanted to either show us their products or give us a flyer. For the last two shows because our son is older and wants to play in the play area or walk on his own, we sometimes get separated as a family and I find myself walking alone, occasionally.
What I've observed while walking around with no wife and no child, is that the stall holders are not interested in the dads. Whether they think that mums earn more money or they just make all the decisions, or that dads just don't care about the products that they are selling, is quite disappointing. When I started this blog I mentioned that the aim of the blog was to, amongst other things, assist single fathers. So what do they do in this situation; no wife, the child is at creche or school, and he decides to pop by the expo? Nobody is willing to assist him because they already have this preconceived idea that he is not going to purchase it because it doesn't have a women in a bikini next to it or it's not something for him to put in his car.
I love to do experiments to see if my theory is correct. I walked around the whole expo by myself and no one spoke to me except for comedian Chris Forrest who was handing out flyers for his new show. I didn't receive any flyers and most stall holders didn't even acknowledge that I was there when I came to their stall or walked past.
Next, I took my son and we started walking around and sure enough stall holders came out of their stalls to either talk to me (while I was trying to catch up with my son, who was on his own mission), and even wait for it, handed me flyers!
The ultimate test was then to see what would happen if my wife, son and I all walked together. Guess what? Stall holders wanted to do demonstrations, hand out flyers, and some even asked us to take tasters as well as have free samples thrown in.
Like I said before; great show, great products, but if you go make sure you have your spouse or child with you if you want to make the experience worth it.