The ICSC conference began thinning out by the mid-afternoon Monday as conference attendees switched gears from work to fun and headed from the convention center to the host of parties that had been scheduled in the weeks and months leading up to the Superbowl of Retail. Daniel Geiger took a walk on the wild side and discovered why they call it Sin City.
5:10: The Commercial Observer finally gets it through our skull that there’s no more networking to be had at the convention and steps out into the oven-like dry heat of the cab line.
5:30: The CO drives across town in a cab making small talk with our Chinese cabby. “I moved to Las Vegas six years ago to retire,” he said. We ask him if he likes Vegas as we drive down the strip, a spectacle of huge garish hotels with amusements and eye-catching displays like pirate ships, fountains and the New York skyline. “Not really,” he responds.
5:45: The Paris, a hotel with a one half scale version of the Eiffel Tower in front, is host to a party being held Jones Lang LaSalle. Despite very passionately arguing our case, the CO is turned away at the door due to a RSVP snafu on our part. On to the next party.
6:00: More time in the cab. Robyn Reiss, The CO’s ad-sales executive is moaning about all the logistics of changing her maiden name – she was married last November. Our cab driver turns around, “in Ethiopia, my home country, the woman doesn’t change her name.”
6:05: The CO arrives at the Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay for a party hosted by Cushman & Wakefield. Unfashionably early, we settle at the bar to kill time. A gentleman next to us orders an interesting drink, gin with a large round ice cube. “It’s cucumber ice,” he explains. “I needed something refreshing.”
6:35: The CO is scarfing down fish tacos, we haven’t eaten all day. “That’s real Las Vegas fish right there,” Stephen Hekman, an executive with Kingsmen, which is based in Las Vegas, says. “Fish sticks.”
7:00 The C&W party is full and pumping and yet The CO, feeling bold, decides to venture on.
7:18: The CO arrives at the huge cab line at Ceasars Palace.
7:21: The CO is already lost in Caesars unfathomably large mall, which is fashioned like a Roman streetscape complete with a towering ceiling that is painted blue with clouds. It’s a freaky simulacrum of the real thing, except with retailers like Bally, Victoria’s Secret and Fendi.