Questions on the Con

18 JULY 2013

A partial repost of questions I was asked last year, and some I was asked this year.

As to whether you can "barter" in the Exhibit Hall, the answer is: sort of. It's not a flea market. A lot of vendors will look annoyed if you point to an action figure clearly marked $35 and ask if they'll take $25 - if you ask on Thursday. But on late Saturday and Sunday, prices become more flexible because vendors want to unload as much as possible. Tons of stuff will be marked down, especially heavy books. It doesn't hurt to ask then.

There are exceptions to this, of course. If you're buying multiples from one booth, you might try asking for a volume discount (or just pretend to decide between them, and they'll usually propose one.) Comic book back issues can also be more negotiable, and of course, anything you're trying to sell to a vendor will be haggled over. Just be courteous and reasonable.

As to all the "when do I need to get in line" questions - sorry, I just don't know. Early. My best advice is to just monitor the situation visually if you can. We really need a line cam. What you should know about lines - Hall H and Ballroom 20 are huge rooms and even a line that looks endless to you can usually fit in the room. So don't give up too easily. I heard first-timers repeatedly exclaim with horror over today's daybreak lines for Hall H and Ballroom 20 - and we were still under the tents by the street. If you're under the tents, you're in good shape, trust me.

As for where the cheapest place to eat is - the Horton food court, buying stuff at Ralph's, the food trucks at Petco Park and the new Grab and Go options at the Hilton Bayfront. Also, some restaurants are offering specials - like the Omni has a special Con menu with items priced around $10. 

Not a question, but just advice. Once you're in a big-room panel - I know it's tempting to try to creep around, get a better seat, stand up and take pictures, and so on. But it's really annoying to your fellow attendees. I can't count how many people today had to be told no, they couldn't sit on the floor in the aisle, no, they couldn't park themselves standing up and film the panel, blocking the eyeline of everyone behind them. Use common sense and be courteous.

Ditto trying to cut in line. In every line I've been in today - for the Omni elevators, for Ballroom 20, to cross the street - people have tried to slip in ahead of everyone who's been waiting. I realize this isn't state treason, but it is annoying as fuck to attendees who are already feeling a little hassled, crowded and tired of waiting. One nice thing about the Con is that no matter how insane it gets, we all generally stay pretty respectful and friendly with each other. Don't violate that contract.

Charging devices: yes, I know this is always a dodgy endeavor in the convention center. Wifi is spotty, devices fail, and it can be hard to get a good charge. If you're looking for some free outlets, try down by room 27, or any far corner of the center. Also, those hallway lounges in the North Tower at the Marriott are a good place to collapse for a while and charge your phone, tablet and so on. Don't bother waiting around an outlet at the convention center for an hour if you're not getting results.

If you're buying tons of stuff, avail yourself of bag check: it's in the lobby near A and E and costs just $2 - a low price to roam around free and unencumbered.

Rest up for tomorrow, everyone. Unless you're already in line for Hall H, in which case you won't be resting much at all. ;)

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