They’re Not Cosplaying Around

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Underaged

(I’m working an armorer’s booth at a sci-fi convention. Company policy is we can’t even sell the polypropylene — rubber substitute — training blades to anyone under 18. Two guys walk up an hour after the show opens, clearly buddies; one is about 15, the other has a young face but a full beard. They ask about training knives for about 10 minutes, and then pick out the ones they want.)

Me: *to the bearded one* “Sorry, I have to ask. How old are you?”

Bearded Guy: “17. Why?”

Me: “I bet you’re going to regret being so honest, but I can’t sell these to anyone under 18. If one of your parents is here and comes to buy them for you, no problem, but you can’t buy them without an adult guardian present.”

(They wheedle and whine for a while and finally give up. Five hours and hundreds of customers later, two guys come up to the booth. One looks to be baby-faced and is wearing big sunglasses. The other looks young, but has a full beard. Something in my brain clicks that, sans sunglasses, I’ve seen this combo before… They pick out the knives they want without a word, and start to hand me money.)

Me: *to the bearded one* “Sorry, I have to ask, how old are you?”

Bearded Guy: “18.”

Me: “Funny. I could swear you were 17 this morning…”

Bearded Guy: “No, I’ve never been here before!”

Me: *to his friend* “And at a convention where every second booth is selling cosplay masks, you try to disguise yourself with sunglasses?”

(They grumble and swear at me for a minute, trying to convince me I’m imagining things.)

Me: *to the bearded one* “Let’s make this simple. Do you have a driver’s license or health card with a birth date?”

(They gave up and walked off.)

This Is Why You Question Their Knowledge Of Questions

| UT, USA | Extra Stupid, Geeks Rule

(I’m at a very busy convention listening to a guest panel.)

Panelist: “Okay, we’re going to open the floor for questions now, but let me warn you: we’re short on time, so I only want short, one-sentence QUESTIONS, okay? No background, no long life stories. Just ask your question and go. Everyone understand?”

Audience: *nods and murmurs their agreement*

Panelist: “You all get it? Questions ONLY. You learned the difference between questions and statements in kindergarten so I’m trusting you all to be smart about this. Again, everyone understands, QUESTIONS ONLY?”

Audience: *laughs and shouts YES*

Panelist: “Okay, first question.”

Audience Member: “Hi! I’m from Colorado and I’ve been a huge fan of your work since I was a little kid…”

Panelist: *puts head in hands* “NEXT!”

Going Locally Loco

| Chicago, IL, USA | Extra Stupid

(I own a small business where I make and sell plush toys, all with patterns I create myself. I’m dealing with a new customer at a local anime convention where I’m selling them in the artist alley.)

Customer: “So, are these made locally?”

Me: “Yes, sir, I actually make them.”

Customer: “No, are they made locally?”

Me: “Yes… I make them.”

Customer: “I don’t think you’re understanding me. Are. They. Made. LOCALLY?!”

Me: *stands up, pointing to myself* “I—” *picks up plush toy* “—make. THEM.”

Customer: *sighs dramatically in irritation* “Yes, you SELL them. I want to know who makes them! D***, listen for once, will ya?”

Me: *waits a moment and extends hand* “Hello, my name is [My Name] and I’m the owner, founder, proprietor, and artistic mind behind [My Business Name]. Every plush you see here on this table was designed BY ME and sewn, BY ME. No one else; nowhere else. Me and me alone. Me, as in local business owner. What can I do for you?”

Customer: “Why didn’t you say so to start with?”

Me: “…”

(To make things worse, he didn’t buy anything.)

Taking Cosplay To A Whole New Scale(s)

| Chicago, IL, USA | Bad Behavior, Geeks Rule, Pets & Animals, Theme Of The Month

(I’m a bystander at a convention where three of my friends are dressed as characters from a very popular ninja anime. One of them is dressed as a character who works with snakes a lot of the time and half the time can be seen with one draped over his shoulders. My friend shows up with an ACTUAL boa constrictor, about four feet long, wrapped around his neck. It is very even-tempered, so it looks like a fake snake hanging there. We’re at the concession area of the convention center and it’s still early, so no one has noticed the snake around his neck.)

Cashier: “Hi, welcome to [Restaurant]. Can I help you?”

Me: “Yeah, we’d like [menu item].”

Friend: *in character* “Do you perhaps have any mice for my friend, here?”

Cashier: *seems to recognize the character and laughs* “Sorry, [Anime Character Name], I’m afraid I’m all out. Love that thing by the way; I thought it was real for a minute there.”

(We almost got away with it, but my friend had a bit of a creepy streak and actually uncoiled the snake from around his neck, revealing it to be very much a real snake. The cashier screamed, staggered backward, and then bolted out from behind the counter, taking off down the aisle. The four of us made tracks out of the convention center before we were personally escorted out. I gave my friend a whack before we all started laughing hysterically.)

The Gay Card Is Double Sided

| San Diego, CA, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Top

(I’m a volunteer at a small convention. Instead of badges, attendees are given blue wristbands. My job is to check for wristbands as people enter the convention. I don’t want to stop the guests, so I just look at their wrists as they pass and only stop them if I can’t see the wristband. Two young women come in holding hands. As usual, I look to see if they have wristbands as they pass.)

Woman #1: “Excuse me? Didn’t your mother tell you that it’s rude to stare?”

Me: “What?”

Woman #2: “So we’re holding hands, big deal! We’re not going to hide our love just to accommodate bigots like you.”

Me: “I was just checking to see if you have wristbands. Which you do, and now you’re blocking the door, so can you please move?”

(They both turn pink and hurry away.)

The Race Card Is Double Sided

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