IndyFurCon is a small furry (anthropomorphic animal) convention held in Indianapolis. This year it was held over the weekend of August 9-11, 2013 at the Sheraton Keystone Crossing on the north side. Because it's a local con, we commute from home every day, which makes our cat very happy. She gets fresh food and water every night, and some petting and playing.
Setup started Thursday evening, and since the weather was looking rather iffy, we got up there a little early in hopes of getting everything in before the next rain cell came through. However, the friends who were going to help us load in weren't able to make it, so we ended up having to carry everything by ourselves, which isn't good for my husband's back. At least getting one of the hotel's flatbed carts did speed up the process of loadin, so we had a reasonable amount of setup time afterward, and got a good bit of our setup in place. Our biggest problem was the lack of backspace, which made it difficult to rearrange our tables and get a lot of our merchandise out.
By the time they closed the dealers' room for the night, we were pretty close to set up. We took a cartload of empty boxes back to the van and headed home for the night.
On Friday morning we headed back to the hotel so we could finish setting up. A lot of it was getting piles of backstock under our tables so it wouldn't be in the way of customers or other dealers. We had to take six boxes of low-priority backstock out to the van because we had so little backspace to store stuff.
Once we had everything set up, we had some time to relax and talk with other dealers. However, we were rather astonished to discover that dealer setup would be halted during opening ceremonies and the room cleared and locked. This may well have come as an even bigger surprise to dealers who were counting on that time to set up.
Once the dealers' room opened to the public, customers began to filter in. However, sales were painfully slow and we were having a serious discussion about whether we wanted to come back, especially given the administrative problems.
I spent most of the afternoon working on notes for a story. By the time we closed, we weren't anywhere near making the cost of our tables, and we were wondering if we'd have been better off just staying home and working on getting other merchandise ready to sell.
We headed home to pick up a shipment of product that was had been delivered while we were gone. We spent some time getting price tags on some items, then turned in for the night.
On Saturday we had to get up way too early because the dealers' room opened at 9AM rather than the customary 10. It was a waste of time, because we didn't have any sales during that extra hour, but we had to be at our tables, especially after another merchant had a tail stolen from their table.
Sales continued to be slow all day long. We had a couple of big items sell, but the profit margin on one of them is narrow enough that we really don't make that much on it. Then we had a goofy moment when a guy bought a shirt and then forgot to take it with him, and we didn't find it until after he'd left, which left us hoping he'd remember and come back to retrieve it.
Finally the dealers' room closed for the night and we could head home. We had to stop at the storage unit on the way and pick up some merchandise that people wanted to buy. But we got home at a reasonable hour and I had time to pull sold items from our Amazon.com listings.
Even so, Sunday morning came way too early, thanks to the pointless decision to open the dealers' room at 9AM. Like anybody ever gets up that early to shop. And because we were dragging ourselves out of bed so early and then hurrying out the door, I ended up out without some critical things and had to go back home for them.
At least both the people who'd asked for books to be pulled subsequently followed through and bought them. However, sales continued to be far too slow for a good show, and we were growing steadily more dubious about whether we'd come back.
That decision was confirmed when it came time to load out. The two people who'd promised to help didn't show up, and the con couldn't get us any volunteers to help. So we had to pack and load everything by ourselves, which meant it took longer than we'd allowed for the process. And when we were about halfway through, the person watching the door left. Apparently the dealers' room coordinator decided that, since most of the dealers had already taken off, there was no need to provide security for the remainder. My husband personally went and found someone to sit the door until all dealers had everything out. There can be no excuse for such an abandonment of the responsibility for security.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated September 29, 2013.