Trent Wolbe will be publishing daily photo essays from CES. This is the latest in the series.

For two years in high school I was a cashier at Whole Foods. We were at a busy intersection right in the middle of three fancy prep schools, so we maintained a pretty steady flow of soccer moms doing wheatgrass shots or going really hard at the salad bar with each other all day long. My supervisor, the Front End Team Leader Eric, was one of those smart middle-aged Whole Foods dudes who seemed like he could be doing much more but had gotten fucked over in life somehow and was now a powerful combination of grateful that he had any job at all and murderously spiteful that he had to wear an apron to work every day. He taught me a lot of lessons, from the practical (where to find the just-expired burritos before they went to the landfill) to the subtly profound. During the lulls in traffic when his team was prone to long bathroom breaks and back-alley bonghits, he’d saunter, clipboard in hand, down the row of cashiers. He’d stop right at the end of your station, lean in, and look you in the eyes. “If you’re not busy,” he’d say in a low rumble, a half-evil grin twisting up into his face, “look busy.” Then he’d slowly moonwalk towards the door, keeping his eyes locked, clicking his pen like a mental patient, until he got outside, where he’d do a spin and casually collect all the misplaced shopping carts in the parking lot. Fuckin’ Eric, man. I wonder if he’s on facebook.

There is no better place for a corporation to look busy than at CES. Executives have to face their current and future investors directly, looking them in the eyes and showing them how the company is creating a future that everyone will want to buy. One of the splashiest ways they can do this is by throwing a gigantic party.