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Open Eye, Insert Foot

, , , , , | Working | December 29, 2021

I’m helping out for the day at a convention. I know the organiser but we have only ever met once, very briefly. All of our other previous interactions have been online.

I’m busy organising the events in my area of the convention when the organiser pops by to see how everything is going. This is when my brain and common sense utterly abandon me. We are chatting for a moment about how the event is going when I realise her eye is severely swollen. Unthinking, I blurt out a question.

Me: “Oh, goodness, are you okay?! What happened?”

Organiser: “I’m sorry?”

Me: “Your eye! Are you okay? Are you hurt?”

Organiser: “Uh, no, I was born like this.”

There is an awkward pause.

Me: “Well, doesn’t my foot taste nice today! I was really worried you were hurt. I’m not usually this socially inept or unobservant, I promise.”

Ultimately, she was very nice about the whole thing, especially since my questions came from a place of honest concern, but I think it is probably still the most cringe-inducing thing I’ve ever done.

Wish We Could Draw This Conversation To A Conclusion

, , , | Right | December 26, 2021

I’m an artist at a convention. To pass time and to attract customers, I do some live drawing while my partner handles customer contact if someone is interested or has questions.

Customer #1: “Wait… you drew this?”

Me: “Sure did!”

Customer #1: “But… you are fat.”

I am speechless.

Customer #1: “These are all normal people.”

Me: “Eh… yes. They are my characters.”

Customer #1: “But you are fat! Why do you draw skinny people? You should only draw what you know. This is false advertisement.”

At that moment, another customer walks by.

Customer #2: “Oh, wow! This is so pretty!”

Me: “Thank you!”

Customer #1: “Oh, don’t bother. She’s misrepresenting herself.” *Turns to me* “You’ll meet yourself one day and you’ll see I’m right. You should only draw what you know! You are stealing work from other people!”

Thankfully, the customer (or actually, non-customer) walks on.

Customer #2: “Does that mean I can’t draw gay furry art?”

Her comment made me burst out laughing. I needed a moment to compose myself, but [Customer #2] (and fellow artist) and I had a lovely conversation afterward.

She Pushed Her Own Buttons

, , , , , | Right | October 18, 2021

I run a store selling things like buttons, stickers, and shirts. I frequently set up at conventions, and typically, I bring a friend to help me run my booth. At this particular event, I’ve left my friend in charge while I run to get us food. When I come back, a woman is arguing with my friend.

Customer: “No, you have to give me my money!”

Friend: “Ma’am, I’m not the booth owner—”

Me: “Woah, what’s going on?”

Customer: “Butt out, b****!”

Friend: “Ma’am, that’s the owner and artist.”

The woman turns to me.

Customer: “I want a refund. I got one of your s***ty shirts and it fell apart before I could get home!”

I’m already suspicious, since I use pretty high-quality shirts, and I haven’t seen this woman before.

Me: “Did you get a receipt?”

Customer: “No, I paid cash!”

Me: “That’s okay, I record all my cash sales, too. Do you know which shirt you got and about when?”

Customer: “It was this one, and I bought it when the vendor hall opened today!”

She points to a design I have on display. I immediately cross my arms and look right at her.

Me: “Ma’am, it’s probably best you leave.”

Customer: “What?! I want my refund!”

Me: “You’re not getting s*** from me. Take your scam and leave.”

Customer: “I want my f****** refund!”

Me: “I’m not refunding you for something you never bought!”

Customer: “How do you know I didn’t buy it?!”

Me: “Because that design is brand-new and hasn’t had any sales yet.”

The woman starts SCREECHING and reaches for me. I dodge her and go and hide behind my table. She then starts to rip apart my display board of buttons.


Other Person: “No need.”

I looked, and one of my booth neighbors had already brought security over. He had seen her arguing with my friend and got a weird feeling, so he went ahead and grabbed security. They were only going to kick her out, but she started screaming at them and trying to assault them. She ended up arrested.

Luckily, only a couple of buttons were damaged, and not bad enough to take off my display. I offered my booth neighbor a free shirt as a thank you… and he chose the design the woman claimed to have bought.

We’re Not Playing Games With Our Games

, , , | Right | CREDIT: SandyPetersen | September 19, 2021

I own a small board game company. I’m not a “real” retail guy — props to those who are — but before the health crisis, I attended two or three game conventions a year and of course, we’d have a booth and I’d help sell our product there, along with other team members. No doubt we’ll return to the conventions once the black clouds lift completely.

Normally, our goal at a convention is to sell 100% of the product that we brought. We HATE shipping stuff back to our warehouse — SO much so that, on occasion, we’ll sell excess stock at a slight discount on the last day (Sunday). But usually, we sell out. Another important thing to remember is that our games are highly desired, and they are often out of stock online, so people are excited to see these rare games in person at the convention where they can pick one up at last. Often people will buy an extra copy to take to a friend who couldn’t make the trip.

I am at a game convention and a guy shows up with one of my highly desired but really expensive games. But lo and behold, there’s a ding in the corner of the box. The guy wants a discount.

Me: “You already bought this game. The time to ask for a discount was then.”

The guy lays down the law.

Guy: “Either give me a discount or a refund.”

Me: “No problemo, pal.”

And I give him a full refund. IN CASH. The guy is amazed but takes the money and walks away. I have no evidence he even bought that game at the convention, but I don’t care, because I know we are going to sell out.

Then, I find out what his sinister plan was. He comes back on Sunday to see if he can pick up a copy of the game at a discount because it’s the last day. Lo and behold, we have only three copies of the game remaining, and in fact, we are considering price-gouging because people are literally fighting over who gets the last copies. We don’t, though. The guy from before asks for his discount because it’s the last day, and instead, I sell all three remaining copies while he watches.

Me: “Gotta wait in line, buddy.”

He even looked at the boxes to see if one of them had the dinged corner but no, I sold that one like an hour after he turned it in.

Cheapskates Like This Takes The Rice-Cake

, , , | Right | August 23, 2021

A friend of mine calls me in a panic. She has been let down by an agency that was supposed to supply someone to help at her stall, handing out samples, taking names, answering questions, etc. I’ve done this sort of thing before and am not keen to do it again, but she needs the help.

Five hours of traveling and setting up the stand later, I get dressed up and start dutifully handing out samples.

These events are to help companies get their names out there, find interested customers, and grow their brand. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people just looking for a free meal who will take whatever they can, often taking time away from people that could help my friend’s company grow.

Me: “Can I interest you in a sample?”

Attendee: “What is it?”

Me: “It’s a new type of rice cake, very light with subtle flavours of—”

I don’t get a chance to finish my speech as the guy nearly knocks my platter from my hands, trying to grab a handful.

Attendee: “Ugh, I don’t like this.”

He tries to put a load of food back on the platter.

Me: “There is a bin behind you.”

Attendee: “Can’t you just take it?”

Me: “There is a bin behind you.”

It is seriously closer to him than me.

Attendee: “What else you got?”

Me: “This company specialises in rice cakes; I would imagine you won’t like the rest.”

Attendee: “Oh, okay. Got any freebies?”

Me: “No, sorry.”

Well, not for you, anyway!

He walked to the next stand, grabbed a handful, and then moved onto the next. He worked his way down the row, and much of what he took seemed to go back on the plates or in the bin. Unfortunately, I had many more like him, and that’s one of the reasons small companies struggle.