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Putting The Con Into Convention

, , , , | Right | June 15, 2022

I sell carnivorous plants at local shows and events, including science fiction and comic conventions. It’s not a real convention unless I’ve had this conversation at comic and anime conventions, which is why I’ve mostly stopped doing either:

Rando: “Hey, I came by earlier, and the other guy here at this booth told me that I could [get a discount on this incredibly rare and expensive plant] or [take it for free] or [I could pick it up and take it now since I’ve already paid].”

Me: “The Other Guy?”

Rando: “Yeah, the other guy at your booth. I talked to him about a half-hour ago.”

Me: “I’m the only guy here, and I’ve been here all weekend.”

Rando: “Oh. So, can I still have it?”

The terrifying part? It’s watching the same man going from booth to booth, trying the same routine at each booth in the hope that it eventually works.

Intimidation Isn’t Their Only Skill

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 14, 2022

Every year, outside of the convention, without fail, there will always be some fundamentalist protester holding a sign and preaching to anyone who walks past about fire and brimstone, and how the actions of the convention-goers will doom them to Hell.

This year was no exception. I was stuck at the crosswalk waiting for the light to change, forcing me to listen to the protester when a group of bikers pulled up to the light. As the protester started his sermon, the bikers began revving up their engines, drowning him out. Once they stopped, he began to speak again only for them to resume revving up their engines.

It was at this point that I realized they were doing this on purpose. This went on a couple more times until the light changed, and I and a few others crossed the street with a smile and a newfound appreciation for bikers.

What We Would Give To See That Cosplay!

, , , , | Friendly | June 3, 2022

A few years back, I purchased a shoulder dragon plush from a convention vendor and almost immediately lost it. I retraced my steps and still couldn’t find it.

I finally went back to the vendor to explain what happened with little to no hope that they would be able to do anything.

Vendor: “Can you describe it?”

When I did, they whipped it out from behind their counter.

Vendor: “Someone dressed up as a Deadpool Eternal Sailor Moon cross-play turned it in to us in hopes that the owner would come back!”

Of course, I thanked the vendors profusely. I looked everywhere for the Eternal Sailor Moon Deadpool but never found them to give my thanks.

They Want What You Don’t Sell, But Sure, You’re The Stupid One

, , , | Right | May 24, 2022

I have owned a small business for nine years, wherein I hand-make all of the items I sell. I have been in retail and customer service for several years prior, so customer shenanigans are nothing new to me, and I’m typically pretty good at handling problem customers.

I am set up at an expo when a tall man in his late thirties comes into my booth with his dog. He holds up a dog bandana I’ve seen and we discuss a custom order for a reversible bandana. After choosing the patterns he would like, he begins holding up different size bandanas to his dog to find which fits the dog best.

As he’s doing this, a small old lady I wasn’t previously aware of steps out from behind him.

Lady: “What’s the price for that?”

Me: “It depends on the size he decides on, but it would be between [amount #1] and [amount #2].”

Lady: “You charge that much for a collar cover? Are you stupid?”

This throws me off for more than one reason. First, I’m hoping I misheard the second part, but her tone tells me otherwise. Second, I do not sell collar covers and there is nothing in my booth to indicate that I do. I’m also positive that I did not misunderstand what the man, who I assume at this point is her son, wanted, as we’ve discussed his order in length and she wasn’t involved in the discussion. However, both the old lady and the man are standing there staring at me. I put on my best customer service smile and remain professional.

Me: “I’m so sorry. I actually do not sell collar covers. My price would be for the reversible bandana we were discussing, and it includes tracked shipping.”

Lady: “Now I know you must be stupid. He wants a collar cover. A c-o-l-l-a-r c-o-v-e-r.”

She says this to me as if I’m the biggest moron this side of the Mississippi. I, again, look to the man to correct her, but he just stares at me. Years of experience tell me I’m going to get nowhere with this situation, so I decide to defuse things the only way I can before there’s trouble in my booth.

Me: “I will not be spoken to this way. I need to ask you to please leave.”

I try my best to not be ignorant to a customer. I take pride in making all of my customers feel welcome, but at this point, whatever order this man may want to put in will not be worth the $5 or so that I will make on the order, and I’m honestly baffled that a grown man is refusing to correct this woman and allowing her to speak to me this way.

The man puts down the bandanas, but the older lady decides that it doesn’t matter that I don’t sell what she’s looking for or that I asked her to leave. She’s more interested in her own feelings about my intelligence and doesn’t go quietly. Finally, I’ve had enough and raise my hand to stop her tirade.

Me: “Get out. Now.”

She stares me down for a second before they both walk out. I was set up next to a friend, who heard the tirade but hadn’t heard anything prior.

Friend: “What the h*** was her problem, and do you want me to fight her?”

The Scottish Aren’t Known For Being Sheepish

, , , , , , , | Right | April 26, 2022

Two friends and I (along with several thousand other knitters from all over the world) descend on the ancient and beautiful city of Edinburgh, Scotland for the annual Yarn Festival. I’ve booked rooms in a guesthouse, and at breakfast the first morning, we discover that everyone else at the table is there for the same reason. There’s a total of four Americans and two Austrians. We quickly calculate that it will be slightly cheaper and much faster for us to split a taxi fare six ways than to ride the bus to the venue every day.

Although we have all signed up for classes, the real draw is the stunning variety of beautiful wools offered by two exhibition halls worth of vendors. We hold back the first day, but at sunset on the second day, the six of us stagger out of the venerable Corn Exchange heavily laden with purchases.

Our driver watches as we pack bag after bag after bag into his Tardis-like black taxi.

Finally, he asks slyly:

Driver: “Wouldnae it be cheaper tae just tak’ a sheep home wid ye?”

This story is part of our Halfway-Through-2022 roundup!

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