I can never look at a conference bag without thinking of Mike Denny.
For ten years, Mike was Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Economics Association. Of all the decisions he made during that time, none were so important as those that led to the elimination of conference bags.
When Mike took over the running of the Association, the CEA held its annual meetings in conjunction with the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences. The meetings with Congress were generally unsatisfactory. They were held in smaller centres, so fewer people attended. It was hard for the CEA to get the rooms and support it needed. The conference receptions provided inadequate quantities of food and drink. But for Mike the clincher was always "people are paying this big fee to the Congress, and what do they get? A useless conference bag."