17 FEBRUARY 2016
CCI published one of their badge sale FAQs, which I recommend reading. However, it's slightly different this year because we're having our badges mailed to us. And that brings up a note of caution.
To make this very clear: whoever buys the badges, gets them mailed to their house. Let's say it works like this. Using Peter Parker's Member ID, Bruce Wayne gets into the system and buys badges for Selina Kyle, Pamela Ivey and Barbara Gordon. The women then pay him through Paypal.
Where does CCI send the badges? Wayne Manor. Which means Bruce needs to mail them out.
To drive home the trust inherent in this transaction, CCI issues this chilling advice: "If the buyer does not give you your badge, Comic-Con is unable to intervene on your behalf or send you a new badge. Make sure that you personally know and trust the people you are working with in a buying group."
Uh.... what? Usually RFID badges can be turned off and reissued pretty easily. In fact, why yes, CCI themselves made this claim last year: "And if the postman accidentally delivers your badge to another dimension, RFID technology allows us to turn off the missing badge and issue you a new one onsite."
So now that everyone's involved in these intensely complex buying groups with online strangers, we're told something else? I mean, things do get lost in the mail; if CCI is going to go the mailed-out badge route, and they're trying to save money by only shipping them to the buyer address, rather than the associated member ID address, they seem to be assigning all of the risk to us. And that seems a bit unfair, since most buying groups rise up out of social networks and forums, as opposed to the local office nerd circle.
At any rate, you'll need to step back and assess your chances in a new light now. Do you want to try to restrict your buying group to people you know IRL or do you want to better your odds with a bigger group - knowing that if a stranger buys your badge, they can withhold it, sell it, or just lose it through sheer incompetence, and you have lost your chance to go to San Diego Comic-Con? Hopefully it won't happen, since the badges CAN be turned off, thereby minimizing the motivation to sell them. But you'll still be staying home if it does.
I think most of us feel like we "know" each other through Facebook, Twitter and so on, but buying groups can include a lot of random people thrown in the mix. I'm guessing most of us will still go forward with our present arrangements. But there's no denying that Open Reg just got even more precarious, which is the last thing any of us wanted.