Lots of people may think for the most part, chocolate is chocolate. Of course there's milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate but beyond that, most people think there is little difference in chocolate.
I considered myself in that camp…until my recent trip to Belgium! I figured I’d bring back chocolate for friends and family but had no idea this decision would cause so much angst! In Belgium, chocolate is a way of life and there are so many chocolatiers that the product selection is staggering, not to mention the packaging and presentation. In Belgium, chocolate is elevated to an art form!
Honestly, I was paralyzed at first from the options available. Here I thought I’d just go into a store and get all my shopping done in one place. WRONG! I soon realized that I needed a game plan if I was going to be successful in purchasing the right gifts. Regardless of where I shopped, the grocery store or one of the many, many specialty chocolate shops – which all offer tasting samples, YUM -- I needed to know what I was looking for! I had to be strategic and purposeful in my shopping to make sure my money was spent wisely and I ended up with exactly what I wanted!
The same logic holds true when you’re shopping for tent air conditioners or a comfort conditioning solution for a tented venue. With an event, you only have one shot. With a wedding or corporate event, there's no "do over" so you can get it right. It has to be right the first time around!
Make a List
When I arrived in Belgium, I thought it would be so easy to get my chocolate shopping done. Until I went shopping! With so many chocolate choices, I soon discovered the only way I would make progress was to make my gift list – I had to know who I was shopping for. So I made a list on my iPhone that I would have with me at all times. Although I didn’t know what kind of chocolate I wanted to buy yet, I knew who I needed to buy for.
Do the same for the tent you want to air condition. Make a list of specifics to include:
the event date
time of event
size of the tent
the location or venue name
the amount of electrical or generator power available for the air conditioners.
Keep this information handy so you’ll have it when you make the calls to the rental companies. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to get the right tent air conditioning solution.
Shop in the Right Place
Chocolate is everywhere in Belgium. I'm not kidding! You can buy chocolate in the grocery store, a convenience store, at the gas station, train station, the airport and any number of high-end specialty stores. As you can imagine, the selection is vast and the price varies accordingly.
So I shopped in different stores, depending on what I needed to buy. I bought some commercial pre-packaged chocolates in the grocery store because, hey, it was more economical and I just wanted to have some cool treats for my kids' lunches. Took my time in the boutique chocolate stores selecting individual, handmade pieces of chocolate to be placed carefully in beautiful boxes and then gift wrapped all ready for gift giving. And even ended up picking up some last-minute-in-case-I-need-an-extra-gift chocolate in the airport!
When you want to rent tent air conditioners, you will have many places to choose from. You can rent air conditioners from general rental stores, party rental stores, rental businesses that specialize only in portable air conditioners, through special event planners and, believe it or not, even from some furniture rental stores -- not what I would recommend for tent air conditioning but, it's an option.
Compare Your Options
Once I figured out where I needed to shop, I did what every smart consumer does -- compared my options! It was fairly easy to compare just on price alone with the mass produced chocolate from the grocery stores. I found the brand I liked (had to taste quite a few, of course) and then figured out where it was least expensive. It was more difficult to compare the offerings from the specialty stores because they were so unique. But, I tasted, compared and purchased!
When you finally get the air conditioning rental quotes side by side, be sure to look at more than the price. You'll want to be sure to look at the solution proposed:
Is it one large air conditioner providing air to the space through duct work or separate units that can be individually climate controlled?
Will the air conditioning rental company set the equipment up or is that left to the venue or tent rental company?
Do you need an on-site technician throughout the event or will standard drop off and pick up work for you?
Make sure you compare quotes based on the tent air conditioning units proposed and the services offered.
Bottom line -- whether you're shopping for chocolates or tent air conditioners, make a list of what you need, find out where to get it and compare your options! The best consumer is an informed consumer. Ask questions so you know what you're getting and they'll be no surprises on the day of the event. After all, life is too short to eat bad chocolate and there's no second chances or we'll-deliver-another-unit-tomorrow for your special event or corporate function!