Thursday, February 2, 2012

Adventures of Boss Lady : Convention Report

You may have heard from around the web that there was a gaming convention in my neck of the woods this past weekend.

For a game store owner, going to a con is a whole different experience than that of the average attendee. Whether it's in your home town or far away, there's a lot of work that goes into 'doing the con'.

Attending a convention as a vendor requires stock, staff, transportation, food and lodging. At this particular con, we have an advantage over other vendors because we live less than 10 minutes from the convention location, so lodging is covered gratis.

Stock, transportation and food were stuff TheDude and/or HiSign (our employee) took care of in one fashion or another. My job was to take care of the "staff".

Our store has a very distinct advantage - we have an incredibly loyal base of customers. It's honestly almost criminal to call these folks customers, due to how passionate and dedicated they are to our business and our community.

My title is HR Director- that means I manage people. Every year at convention time, I put out the call for volunteers to help TheDude and I pack all our stock into boxes.
I usually "plan" for 5 or so people to show up based on in person, email or FaceBook replies, and I almost always get closer to 10-12. I roll with it, and get people working very quickly.

At the beginning of the process.

In the middle of the insanity that is the packing process...

In the van, ready to go to the convention hall.
Packing it only part of the process for our store. We also have to set everything up at the convention site. The convention provides us with tables, and that's all. We're "smarter than the average bear", and we bring shelves with us. Then, we fill them with stuff to sell. 

We bring it on on carts, first.

A volunteer fills the shelves while I direct traffic.

Almost done!

Once we're set up, it's time to sell. And talk to people. TheDude and I have been around for a long time, and we know many of the attendees of this con personally, so this is kind of like a "family reunion" for us.  We usually walk the room a few times, give a few hugs, chat with some friends and so on. 

I usually see great games and have a fabulous time with a big crowd of people I know and like. This year, I saw one of the best sights I've seen in a LONG time. 

She's walking! This was the highlight of the con for me.

Well, that's the people. But what about the GAMES, you ask??

There were the usual "conquer the X" board games. Lots of those. 

There were also a fair number of resource management games. Agricola, the one featured above, is very popular. 

And there were more than a fair share of reasons to play with little toy soldiers. 

A little bit of roleplaying, too. 

And last but not least, a wonderful time with friends- a chance to BS, chit-chat, talk a little hobby, and be around people that 'get' playing with little toy soldiers.

After the con is over, vendors get to do the whole process all over again- in reverse. The pack up and move out happens again, due almost entirely because of volunteers (and HiSign, our effing awesome employee)- and I am in charge of them for the breakdown, too.

It went just as well as setup- so much so that TheDude and I took everyone out for dinner and went to bed at a somewhat decent hour.

I never in a million years imagined I would be a good manager. But I am really, really getting to be excellent at delegating jobs,  giving direction, praising, and motivating people-in a game store related setting.

I am glad it's over, but always look forward to the next year.