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How to Attend a Conference without a Name Badge

2010 December 15
by Richard Timothy

Have you ever been to a function… conference, congressional hearing, family reunion, any gathering really where copious amounts of people meet up and the only way to tell who’s who is by the little “Hello, my name is…” sticker that everyone has been assigned to wear. The convention I was at in DC was one such event.

Now when it comes to name badges there are a number of different styles, and even though I’d love you educate you on all the ways to get out of wearing these different badges, my current experience is really only in one specific genre… the condom name badge. Ok so maybe that’s not the official name for it, but the principle is the same. You have a clear plastic protective shell, which is an envelope-like container that opens at the top and allows you to place your printed name tag inside. Usually there is a clip attached to it so you can clip it to your outfit, or you can clip it to a string and use it as a necklace.

As I learned in DC, there is one way to properly dispose of these contraptions of protective name badge bling, and it’s called “daily hygiene.” It happened on the last day at the conference. I was in my room, dressed and ready to go, wearing my name tag around my neck, and the only thing keeping me from leaving my room was my morning purification ritual of brushing my teeth. It was during the “gargle, spit, get another mouthful of water’ repeat cycle that it happened. I had finished my first mouth rinsing and was swishing around the water in my mouth for one last spit into the sink before heading out the door.

It was the bending down to spit motion that was the badge’s undoing. As I bent down to expel the toothpaste enriched water into the sink, my name badge followed the natural gravity of this movement. The problem is that it was on a string, so when I stopped the badge kept swinging on its line and right into the line of fire… well, spit. Sure I could have just wiped it off, but because the opening was at the top of badge, I ended up catching a lot more of the toothpaste water that I expected. When I looked down my lovely printed name was smeared, warped, and wading in half an inch of liquid. There was no bringing that tag back. So I bid my name farewell and went commando the rest of the event… without a name badge I mean. The only difference from the day before was that if people wanted to know my name I had to remind them what it was. I was quite impressed that more people than not actually remembered who I was, and I don’t just mean the name, “Angela’s husband.”

There is another bathroom related oops that there is no recovering from. It’s when you are using the clip-on functionality and you accidentally knock off your name badge by putting on your coat, or straightening your tie, or for women, simply putting your purse strap over your shoulder. The next thing you know, you’ve flushed away your name, or at least you will, because I know I’m not fishing that thing out.

As for the other name badge types out there, I know the sticky ones can be disposed of pretty easily, all it takes is a little OCD moment where you keep putting it on and pulling it off over and over again in an attempt to get it perfectly lined up. Soon a sudden step to your left, shaking someone’s hand, or even a sneeze from across a room will cause enough friction for the name badge to peel away all by itself and gently fall to the ground where it will inevitably find a new home on the bottom of someone’s shoe.

Those are the only ones I’ve had experience with so far, but I’ll keep my eyes open and if I run into any new and fancy name badges I’ll be sure to let you know the best ways to accidentally dispose of them in a well researched and documented manner. For now though, if you are conferencing somewhere and are a little motivational about losing the name badge, the tooth paste bit works pretty well, and if anyone asks, you can always tell them you took your name out to have it spit shined before it’s time to go home.

Have any of you encountered clever little “oops, there goes my name badge” experiences of your own? I’m always willing to learn from others.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: conference, man brushing teeth, and wet name badge.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. December 16, 2010

    At a charity event, in the midst of winter, with long frozen stalactites clinging to the cliffs of an old building that once housed the holy and the damned, people sat and waited for some old fart to speak. Inside was warm and cozy, a buffet table stocked full of Christmas oriented appetizers and deserts lined the longest of the old church walls. Among the sea of name tags reminding complete strangers of who they were quietly judging, whispering their flaws in either personality or style of dress, I stood alone.

    Looking around the place seeing the number of people who were more interested in where this donation would place them on the tax bracket, rather than care about the theme of the event or why they were even there to begin with, I quickly decided charity was just a cute name given to girls who start out plump little school girls that grow into model-like bodies by the time their freshman year of college begins.

    The engagement room was thick and musky with old people smell and high priced cigar smoke, choking on the toxins parading around like predisposed caviar in the bowels of society, my own name tag was beginning to peel from my cheap Salvation Army sweater with the Moth hole eaten into the sleeve. It no longer said, “Hello…My name is Scott.” with the heat and the ego swelling temperatures well above ridiculous, the name tag now said, “Hell is Scot” which seemed more fitting.

    Anyway, I stepped outside and a poor street beggar, dressed in ragged frost covered clothing, shivered up to me and asked me for a dollar. “You need more than a dollar, friend.” I said, gripping the end of the name tag removing it from my chest.
    “This, however, should get you at least a nice buffet and possibly a contact high from the cigar plumes in the gentlemen’s room.”

    A warm smile broke through the thin layer of ice around the corners of his mouth, slapping the tag on his chest and smoothing it out enough to grip a few straggling fibers with the remaining glue. I am not sure if it worked, but it surely caused a bit of a stink (poor pun, but intentional) and I went to grab a burger at Wendy’s. Something tells me, I was the most charitable one that night.

    • Richard Timothy permalink*
      December 16, 2010

      Ha! That, my friend, is a grand story. Kudos to you. I just might have to share that one at my next wine party, giving you full props (look at me sounding all hip and stuff) for the story. Thanks again.

  2. December 16, 2010

    deserts…HAHA. Viva la dyslexia!

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