"If you want to make something happen, it's gotta happen off the floor," the product rep tells me.

We're off the floor when he says it, on our way up two dozen stories to a private suite where his company has built a full booth — complete with floor-to-ceiling product racks — to entertain buyers and hopefully make a few sales. They'll spend the week here, wining and dining, trying to make deals, often late into the night. "I was with buyers until 5AM this morning," the rep says. He doesn't seem tired, or not in the usual way.

As the elevator goes up, more of the story comes out. He was at the tables, lending $100 chips to a heavyweight retail buyer with a taste for poker. It wasn't until five that he got the purchase order he needed and headed off to bed, only to be roused three hours later by a wake-up call for his 8:30 meeting. In other words, he was working. "I did not go to sleep last night,” he says. “I lost and regained consciousness."

He is talking very fast.