You may have heard me state at some point that I enjoy what I do. And most of the time that is true. I like what I do, I like to travel, I like Conventions and I like the people I meet at them.
Most of the time.
But the fact is, many of these events are run by volunteers or some other semi-organized entity. What I and my fellow merchants like to call Dumb Monkeys.
Dumb Monkeys are a threat to who I am and what I do. Why? Because they are DUMB. This is not to say that they are evil, they often have the best of intentions, but that doesn't help me when they fuck up a convention, and by extension, fuck over ME.
Let me explain. There are hundreds of cons, gatherings, tournaments and ren-faires held a year. We can't afford to attend them all. We can't risk spending a chunk of change to drive to Oregon only to find out that only 200 people are showing up and there are no guests and the hotel is a cesspool. So we screen every event we hear about. First, we visit the website. If the website sucks, we don't do the event. If it's an okay website that never gets updated? We don't do the event. Then we email them a question. Don't get a reply? We don't go. We talk to our fellow merchants and swap info. We search flickr for pictures of the event. Are there crowds in the picture? How does the site look? Is the vendor fee super low? That's a warning sign of a bad event. The process of finding good events is slow, tedious and very very time consuming.
I know it isn't easy setting up and running an event, but its a shitload easier than it used to be. But despite email and collaborative tools and years of experience and numerous resources some people still cock it up. There are a number of ways to kill and event. Poor planning, no advertising, spending too much or too little on guests, too narrow a focus, lack of staff, no financial backing etc etc.
And then there's the worst kind of fuck up. The management break up.
We did PyrateCon a while back and it was an okay event. It could be better but the guys running it had a lot of heart and put a lot of work into the event. Plus its PIRATES in NEW ORLEANS. I mean, they didn't have to twist my arm, I was keen to go again. Things seemed even better when we negotiated an exclusive deal to be the only vendor selling corsets at the event. I sent in my money and marked my calendar.
Then the shit hit the fan. Someone took over the PyrateCon Website. Accusations are made that the previous staff ran the event poorly. New Managament were now running things. Except they don't seem to know who I am. I hit google. Now there's another website claiming to be the REAL PyrateCOn, the others are thieves and frauds! Litigation is under way!
And just like that, this event is fucked. There is no way to fix it. Say one side does sue the other (not much chance because these people aren't running a for profit company or if they are they usually operate on very thin profit margins) most of their money will be eaten up by lawyers. Say they don't sue but fight it out online and in blogs and on myspace pages. Guess what, it hurts both events. Neither one flourishes. And again, I'm fucked.
I'm being told I have to contact the old management to resolve my "payment issues". Yes, I did make out the check to a specific person (i.e. Joe Blpw/PyrateCon) which in hindsight was a mistake. But these new guys are claiming they're pyratecon so I'm going to put their feet to the flame. I doubt the old management team has the money to refund to me (they're suing, remember?) The best I can hope for is a credit towards the new event and I'm not holding out too much hope of that.