My wife provides training for professional event decorators, and those who wish to become one through her business, the Event Decorating Academy. Most of the classes are held at a facility in Hollywood, FL. However occasionally she does seminars elsewhere. I generally go along on the road trips to lift heavy things.
Earlier this month she held a week long session in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We had quite a few students from Jamaica and nearby islands such as Haiti as it is hard for them to get visas to come to the US. ‘
Typically the first stop when doing a tour date is at the local Home Depot or Lowes to pick up pipes, conduit and assorted fittings used to make the frame work for fabric and balloon decor. There are no Home Depots in Jamaica, but there is a large chain of True Value Building Centres – so we were set.
We were in for quite a culture shock at the local Jamaican building material supply store.
12 pieces of PVC pipe and two fittings cost us $7,748.91. Fortunately those were Jamaican dollars which equal $71 USD. Our driver mentioned this was the first time in his career he was asked to take an American to a building supply store.
Friendly people, but clearly they do not have an equivalency of OSHA, or traffic cops for that matter as there was a lot of chaos both at the building center and on the roads.
We got back to the upscale resort where the seminar was being held and realized that our staff forgot to pack a hammer. We asked the hotel if we could borrow one. “No problem mon” said the head of maintenance as he handed us his hammer. Upon further inquiry this was the best they had.
Moral of the story is we do not realize how good we have it in the States until we venture outside to do something other than a tourist trip. Boy, I missed Home Depot that week.