A day at the GenCon Booth

I stood in the booth for most of the 8 hours that the booth was open. This means I was saying the same things over and over again as I was pitching products to people who stopped to look. At first I stumbled over making the pitches, but it quickly developed into a patter that I could run through almost without thinking. This is good because as the fatigue grows, my higher brain functions begin to shut down.

Sometimes as I told people about the things we are selling, they would laugh and engage in conversation. They fed energy back to me and I would close the conversation feeling better than when I began it. Sometimes this sort of conversation resulted in a sale and that is good, but even when it did not, I felt great about the whole exchange. Other times my pitch would get almost no reaction at all. Then the energy I expend into a pitch is just gone. I am left tireder than I began and wondering if maybe I gave the pitch wrong. I didn’t. It is impossible for our books to appeal to everyone.

As part of the convention we signed up for a promotion through CheeseWeasel. They create quest cards which send players to various booths in the dealer’s room. We have a puncher with which we puncture their cards and they can continue on the way, but first they have to listen to a quick pitch. The additional traffic is good and we’ve made sales we would certainly not have made otherwise. However it also means we’re spending a lot of energy pitching products to some people who really only want a hole punch so they can be on their way. Over all it has been more good than tiring, so we’ll probably do it again next year.

Around mid-day the kids retreated to the hotel room. They’d spent several hours in the video game area and Kiki had become annoyed by a kid who did not play well with others. It seemed a shame to have them spend time away from the convention, but I think that they needed the down time. Tomorrow will be more filled with events in which they can participate. That will be good.

At one point I was walking through the dealers room, taking a break from the booth. The crowds in the aisles are thick and getting through requires a weaving path. Often I fall in behind people who are weaving the same direction I am going and follow them for a bit. After I’d been following a petite red haired woman for awhile she turned her head and I caught a glance at her profile. She was Felicia Day of Doctor Horrible and many other geekish shows. As soon as I realized who she was, my first thought was to notice how small she is, no taller than I am. I always expect everyone to be larger than me. I did not try to stop her or talk with her. I would love to have a conversation with her some time, but stopping her and saying “Wow, You’re Felicia Day!” did not feel like a good way to build a real conversation. So I went on my way and she never knew that I’d been pleased to see her in person.

One of the times I stepped out of the booth, I went browsing through the dealer’s room. It was the first time that I’d fully divested myself of convention responsibilities and wandered. I had no child to shepherd and no particular agenda. It was an application of retail therapy to help me unwind from stress earlier in the day. This booth has required new partnerships, a new payment system, new booth methodologies, and convention strategies which allow space for parenting as well. There has not been a single real problem, but several times I was afraid that there was one, and got wound-up over it. So I looked at things which interested me, admired beautiful dresses, pondered Christmas gifts, and witnessed artistry. The amount of creative energy on display at this show is truly wondrous. There are so many people here trying to make their dreams pay the bills. We fit right in.

The day wound up when some dear friends arrived to visit with us. They drove down from Michigan. We had a truly amazing dinner at a very nice restaurant. Each of us ordered something different and we passed the plates around so that everyone got to taste everything. Later in the evening we walked through the scenic downtown area with little shops and restaurants. It was a lovely warm evening and the company was excellent.

Taken as a whole it was a very good day.