BC11 - What Went Wrong written by Kickback Someone had to be the negative-nancy, right? I attended this year's BotCon in Pasadena, California, and expected there to be a few headaches. No convention ever runs 100% smoothly and any organizer who tells you that their convention did is flat-out lying to you. There are always hiccups, there are always unforeseen circumstances that pop-up, and there's always one or two people who find a way to circumvent every safeguard you put in to place. It's called life, and it happens. That being said, with Fun Publications now having done BotCon for 6 years, there are a few things that I wish they could finally figure out. When the DMV moves faster than they do, you know there's a problem. Pre-Registration Toy Pick-Up I can hear, yes, HEAR Pete Sinclair rolling his eyes right now. I understand that when you have a couple thousand attendees all rushing the tables at once to get their pre-registration toys it's going to cause lines to form. But this year it just seemed to get worse as the fact that Fun Publications uses volunteers to get you through the line. Volunteers lack the one thing that paid employees have - accountability. Maybe the guy in charge of my line wouldn't have excused himself from helping a paid customer and club member to answer his cell phone if he was on the clock versus volunteering. Employers also usually issue out material and common-sense rules about physical contact, fire-code, line formation, etc. Maybe a paid employee wouldn't have been pushing and pulling people (literally) in to or out of lines. The overall organization of the toy pick-up was great six years ago, but after three huge box-office movies and record-breaking attendance numbers, maybe it's time to re-visit exactly how it is organized and what can be done to expediate the process (or modernize it) so those sweet and lovely older ladies don't have to squint at a xerox'd three-ring binder of names. I won't even bother getting to the point of forcing those who waited in line for hours TWICE, once to get their toys and the second time to get the attending exclusives, to wear a wristband overnight and to come back in the morning because "the staff didn't want to be there all night". Here's my suggestion - 1) Volunteers help set up tables and tear down tables. They are not line control, they are not toy pick-up individuals. At most, they guard doors that are not entrances in to the dealer rooms and/or show rooms. 2) If you're insistant on keeping things run the way they have been run for years with toy pick-up, add another volunteer to each line who can assist in grabbing the items for that individual instead of having one guy floating (and usually crushing empty boxes) and letting the table clerk do all the work. 3) Paid employees - whether it's hourly or by toys (lame I know) - will always get you better results. If they know that their performance is judged by something they want (ie: toys), remind them of such a thing so that they work hard. Moving on. The Hall of Fame was pretty bland. It was more of a Hasbro shareholder meeting, and we were all shareholders. We had a lot of "Hasbro rocks! Hasbro rules! We're awesome! Yeah!" type of rally-cries, a lot of self-pat-on-the-backs, the Michael Bay stuff (which was probably the second best thing) ... and the most amazing Erector video ever. They told us never to do that again ... but how can you not? Now everyone wants their favorite "joke" character to get some Hasbro love at the Hall of Fame. Maybe it's something you should consider, Hasbro. You're out of movies to preview for a couple of years... The panels are always hit and miss, and you can check that out in the main TFWe Issue 02 thread. Overall, not as great as years past, but not nearly as bad as some I can remember from long ago. The one thing that sticks out most in my memory from BotCon that I felt was just horrible and even disgusting... A man passed out from the heat because we were forced to stand outside, in a line, in direct sunlight, with no water, no shade, no explanation (except for FIRE CODE ... even though there was no lines forming inside for anything). An ambulance eventually came and took him to the hospital ... he was, for the most part, unresponsive. It looked bad ... Guess how many people from Fun Publications bothered to walk outside and check on the man or his friends and/or family? Guess how many Hasbro associates made it a point to walk outside and check it out, to talk to the ambulance, to get a NAME, to get SOMETHING ANYTHING ... If you guessed zero, you're correct. (NOTE: The word around the show was that someone informed Brian Savage after-the-fact, who was surprised that the incident happened, leading us to believe that he, and others, never knew what happened. We do not know if they eventually reached out to him or not, and whether they did or not we may never know due to POSSIBLE legal reasons behind it, such as liability, etc.) I don't know who that man was. I don't know what happened to him. If he, or anyone who knows him is reading this, please let us know that he's okay. The group of us from TFW2005 that were standing in that line (myself, Deefuzz, some regular members) were really unhappy about how that entire situation was handled. And I really hope that someone from BotCon or Hasbro sent him some sort of care-package or at least covered the cost of SOMETHING related to the accident. I hope. Every BotCon has things that go wrong. Every BotCon has problems that seem bigger than they really are. 99% of this article is exactly that - pointing out things that are simply convenience annoyances. At the same time, improving those annoyances could also improve the overall feel and satisifaction for those attending the show. I'd love to be able to spend Thursday night with my friends instead of standing in line for three hours to get toys I purchased months ago. How was your BotCon experience? Share your good, and bad, stories! - Kickback TFWe Editor-in-Chief TFW2005.COM Administrator Follow me @rankal on Twitter, and always follow @tfw2005 for all the Transformers news!