The other day Ron reminded me that we stopped doing SF conventions because the cost is much higher than SCA events, and the rate of sales for a whole weekend of a convention typically about equals that of a one-day SCA event. Oops, yeah. On the third hand, it's kinda fun to be in the Dealers' Room. In an odd way. Provided the neighbors are decent and sales don't suck.
Speaking of which, neighbors can be a big factor in how much fun any event is.
Being a good neighbor doesn't have to mean being super-friendly and chatty and whatnot. A pleasant demeanor and polite, even though you don't feel like having a conversation, is fine.
Things that particularly annoy me in a neighboring merchant:
Amoebas/Space-Hogs - As a merchant with a lot of stuff, I can sympathize with this one, and I hope I don't fail to behave when faced with the challenge of getting everything out and arranged, while still leaving enough runway space between merchants (side-to-side and/or back-to-back). What really gets me on this one are the people, especially at a multi-day event, that spend the entire time pushing the boundaries. Oozing over a little more this way, then a little more that way. Oy, I could tell stories. Tape outlines on the floor help. A lot.
As a corollary, merchants that will set up Their Way, damn what the organizer was trying to achieve with traffic flow.
Chronic Late Arrival and Early Departure - Maybe if you'd be here and set up on time and didn't leave early you'd actually get some sales! There's a pattern to sales (one-day/weekend) - some sales early (AM just after setup/Friday), reasonably slack time, but with lots of browsing, through most of the event (morning, early afternoon/Saturday), then most of the sales about 3/4 of the way through the event (mid-afternoon/Saturday afternoon and evening, when vendors open Sunday morning), then tapering off toward the tail end (late afternoon to evening/late-morning to closing time Sunday). If you miss that first round, and leave before the buying starts later, yes, your sales will suck. And you're distracting my customers!
Cranky - nobody is a bundle of happy when setting up or tearing down, I get that; but don't take it out on other merchants, and it's just plain stupid to inflict your bad day on your potential customers.
Some hints to organizers:
Ron's ran the DucKon dealers' room for several years, and I was his his second for a couple of them, so these are compiled from our experience both running the room and being vendors. (I think I have a bunch more of these somewhere...)
- Think about traffic flow. Dead end alleys or strange intersections are bad ideas.
- Leave large enough aisles for the customers. 8' wide MINIMUM. Especially-minimum if there's going to be many women in hoops (Elizabethan, steampunk).
- Leave enough space behind the tables/inside islands. We were in an island once where the backs of the vendors' chairs were up against the tables on the opposite sides. (bathroom breaks for the people on the ends were A Production) Thank Ghu we had good neighbors!
- Low-tack masking tape is your friend.
- Cruise the room during setup (nip setup issues in the bud!), occasionally during the day(s), and let the vendors know where to look for you other times.
- Let your vendors know setup, opening, closing, and teardown times before they get there.
- We are frail, shallow, human creatures. Feed us and we will love you.