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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Pounding Las Vegas Pavements

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Neon Sign originally uploaded by Neato Coolville.

Back from Vegas, with a stop in Dallas, and my feet are so grateful for some R&R. As are my knees... my back... my whole body!

I noticed something funny: what I pay attention to changes depending on which part of my body speaks and with which tone of voice.

Trade shows, especially in Las Vegas, make walking 60 or 80 NYC blocks seem like a leisurely stroll through Central Park. My first day, I delighted in the balmy air [vs. 8 degrees in NJ], the preposterous global/historical architectural reincarnations [where else but in Las Vegas can you gaze upon the Great Pyramid, the Eiffel Tower, the Canals of Venice and the Empire State Building all in one day?], and the upcoming nighttime neon display.

A long 24, 48, 72 hours later, walking back and forth through endless fields of chiming, flashing, clanging slot machines seemingly pulsating to rhythmic, primal music, my body became more inward focused..... I trudged on magnificent marble floors to get to and from our booth in the convention hall. My senses became increasingly focused on finding 'safe' zones - with subdued sounds and carpeting underfoot. I played games with myself: could I make it from one escalator to our booth through the casino floor without leaving carpet?

Our booth represented an oasis, carpeted as it was with scrumptiously dense carpet [CustomWeave's Rosewood and Horizon's Stylin' by Mohawk] made with Wear-Dated carpet fiber [naturally!] and deliciously buoyant pad. It transfused energy to my weary bones. Stepping off meant trusting energy sapping concrete. Ugh!

Las Vegas with its sumptuous display of hard surfaces [marble, granite, cobblestone reproductions at the Paris] and expansive casino floors [I wish I had worn a pedometer] led me to question [yes, selfishly, but there must be others like me out there!]: why isn't there more and denser CARPET being used in public spaces?

As gorgeous, elaborate and princely as these marble designs are, I'm always amazed at how hard they are on the user. Waiting in long lines to register or checkout from the hotel is agonizing [Vegas gives new meaning to long lines!]. Combine that with how sound reflects off of hard surfaces, and my ears were in agony, too. At least my full body was engaged!

I'm in no way suggesting that the entire world should be carpeted [although I'm willing to debate the matter], but isn't there room for more deliciously cushiony and forgiving carpet?

Look at this photo from Charmin's Pottypalooza
[for a thorough backgrounder on Pottypalooza, read Charmin Bathrooms in Times Square] back around the holidays. Notice the carpet. I stood on that carpet for a good 15 minutes. Let me tell you, it was densely padded. Charmin expected people to have to wait to use their loos, and created the most forgiving waiting environment ever using cushiony carpet, offering seating [for after-the-loo waiting] and plenty of entertainment [i.e., learn how to "Do the Dance!"].

Contrast that photo with these two from the Atlanta airport, concourse D. It used to be completely carpeted. Now, it's gorgeously glamorized, updated and redesigned with marble and granite floors. It is PAINFUL to trek these concourses [which go on forever].

On top of that consider how visually distracting these highly reflective surfaces are! Look at how the ceiling lights reflect off of the floors. Look at the columns: they continue on into the floor. People are reflected, too.

This is particularly distracting to fast and efficient airport walking. How to negotiate pedestrian traffic, walk on the right and pass on the left? With difficulty! The reflections misinform and detract from efficient and smooth manoeuvers. I lose focus with so many inconsistent messages [what looks like a person is simply a shadow].

[To illustrate my point, look at the difference between how differently the window reflects on the granite vs. the sitting area carpet.]

Ahhh. I feel much better having shared these thoughts [I'm also off my feet for the first time in 7 days]!

However, as you pound the pavement or walk around your home, office, or store, listen to the messages the flooring sends your body. Are they relaxing ones? Are they energizing ones? Or are they sources of aggravation and frustration? If so, can you moderate those to the benefit of your customers? Subject for thought, eh?

Nonetheless, it was a good trip to Las Vegas and Dallas. Why Amazing Shopping Experiences Matter was well received, with great participant feedback and comments. I'm honored that Kim Gavin -editor- and Ken Ryan -executive editor- from Floor Covering Weekly attended, too.

On top of that, Liz Calandrino from Fabulous Floors has offered to contribute perspectives to Flooring The Consumer. Very exciting!

And, in Dallas, I met John Simonson from Floor Facts! He, too, was doing a seminar. Check out these two posts -Knowing What Ingredients are in a Carpet and Flooring The Consumer- to his blog. Thanks, John!

It's great to be home!

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