IndyPopCon is a celebration of popular culture held at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. This year's IndyPopCon was held over the weekend of June 26-28, 2015, a somewhat unfortunate date because it was right before InConJunction. However, it was the only weekend they could get, so we had to hope for the best.
Because of problems the previous year, they had made major changes this year. For instance, they had shrank the dealers' room by about half and brought in a lot of companies that would be advertising rather than actually selling. As a result, we were hoping that we'd see better sales.
As is typical at the larger shows, we loaded in and set up on Thursday afternoon. We had some friends meeting us who were to help us with this process, since it's not easy to do it by oneself. It also helped that we were able to secure one of the convention center's flatbed carts, because that really sped up the load-in process, which was good when we had storms in the forecast and could see the dark clouds massing to the west of us.
Then we had to build all our structures and get stuff into them. As we were working, I could hear the thunder outside and knew we'd dodged a real bullet on the load-in process.
Because we only had two booths and had good helpers, we had most everything set up that evening. All our helpers had arrived by the time we were ready to leave, so we were able to make sure all of them had badges.
We headed home to have supper. I also did some work on my novel, but we wanted to make sure we had plenty of sleep, so I had to wind it up and turn in for the night.
On Friday we didn't need to hurry to get down there because we were pretty well set up. However, we wanted to get there early so we could take a thorough look around the dealers' room and talk with some of the other dealers.
When we got there, we had no trouble getting into the entrance right by our booths. However, our helpers took things a little slower, and by the time they arrived, security had started telling everyone that entrance was only for staff and exhibitors were supposed to use the main entrance. My husband went to the dealer control table and let them know this was a problem, and they said they'd let security know what the rules were.
A little later, our third helper arrived and she got the same treatment. There was some question of whether racism might be involved, so my husband went all papa wolf and made it clear to the dealer control table that the rules needed to be administered impartially according to people's badges. As it turned out, it was not any form of bigotry, just the left hand not talking to the right on what kinds of badges conferred what entry privileges. The security supervisor came over and made sure everyone was on the same page so we wouldn't have further repetitions of that problem.
When the doors finally opened to the general attendance, we weren't getting near as much traffic as we'd hoped. People were flowing past us, but they weren't stopping and spending. So we were doing a lot of just standing there trying to get people to see us as having merchandise they might be interested in buying.
By the time the dealers' room closed for the evening, I was really wondering if we'd made a mistake in giving the con a second chance. We headed home to have supper and I ran to the storage unit to retrieve some merchandise we'd forgotten. I tried to get some work done on my short story for the Liberty Island Independence Day contest, but in my dispirited state, I couldn't get the words to flow.
On Saturday we got up early and headed downtown. I dropped my husband off at the convention center with the additional merchandise, then headed off to park our vehicle. When I got to the dealers' room, we had our booths open and ready for business, so I had some time to look around.
When the dealers' room opened, I was really hoping for sales to pick up. However, we continued to have a lot of standing around and doing little or nothing. At several points I simply insisted that I had to have an opportunity to sit down because my knees and feet were in agony.
By the time the dealers' room closed for the evening, our sales were still so far under expectations that I simply couldn't see how we could justify going back to it again. Worse, there was some kind of activity at the baseball stadium, which created such a monster traffic backup that it took me twice as long as it should've to get back to the convention center to pick up my husband, since he was not up to walking to the parking lot with me. We headed home to have supper and I went up to the storage unit to pick up the second copies of some Hallmark ornaments that had sold. I also worked on my story, but achieved very little progress.
On Sunday we had to take the van downtown because we needed to load up our unsold merchandise. We had a very close call while dropping off my husband at the convention center. We were hurrying, so I didn't take the time to remove the keys from the ignition while helping him get the luggage cart with our stuff. When I went to get back in, I discovered that his remote had triggered the lock. Fortunately he hadn't gone far, so I was able to yell for him to come back in range to unlock it.
After I got the van to the parking lot, I returned to the convention center in time to do a little walking around the dealers' room. Then I returned to our booth to try to get some final sales, hoping for a strong finish.
We started packing fairly early, if not quite as early as last year. Then I retrieved the van and we began the process of loading out our store fixtures and unsold merchandise. In spite of our poor sales, we must have sold a reasonable amount of merchandise, because we had a lot more room in the van. In fact, we had so much room that I became concerned that we had failed to load some of our merchandise. However, when I unloaded the next day, I wasn't able to find any sign that we had merchandise missing.
Sunday evening I finally got that story finished. However, when I went to start the G3 Mac to do the formatting, I got a flashing question mark. Apparently the hard drive I'd purchased in May had gone bad on me. I was able to approximate the proper formatting with a program on my laptop, but I couldn't be sure it was truly right. Still, I went ahead and sent the story in.
Copyright 2015 by Leigh Kimmel
Permission is granted for reproduction in fanzines and other non-profit fannish publications.
For permission to quote or reprint in other venues, contact Leigh Kimmel
Last updated September 24, 2015.