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    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    Nightmares & happy endings

    I promised that I would tell you the tale of the last convention (2007), and though it is a bit choppy, here it is in it's entirety.

    The bad

    When we called to schedule our room at the convention, we were told that it was under construction and we would have to be upstairs. I didn't take no for an answer and used my mother's physical disability (she was to babysit during con) to secure our customary bottom floor room anyway.

    Little did I know what would ensue that fateful year...

    My mother's car wouldn't start on Thursday morning, so I had to go get her & Ladybug, then take my mother back home early Friday morning and threaten her car into starting for me so that she could help us get to con.

    We did not have the Vita-FizZ finished being made until Saturday afternoon, over half-way through the convention.

    Mother got fed up with the loudness of the party room across from us Saturday evening and left to go back to her house, returning only when I called her to help us drive things back home.

    Our electronic hotel room keys stopped working Friday night, and they all had to be reissued.

    Hotel security laid hands on my person instead of simply asking to see my con badge.

    We had to borrow $80 from my mother to finish getting all of the supplies ready for the event.

    The Wi-Fi was so bad in the hotel that we could not get better than a 20% signal at any time. The Yahoo messenger could not log in for even the most rudimentary of webcasts, and eventually the hotel gave us a router to use for the event. Yahoo still didn't work for some strange reason. I was not pleased.

    The hotel did not tell us what the time was on late checkout either of the two times we called (first time to order, second time to confirm), so we did not know when precisely the late checkout time was.

    The TV in the hotel room had to be manually reprogrammed by hotel maintenance so that we could get the input channel for the DDR game we brought.

    Saturday evening, an adorable but drunken participant messed with the TV remote and changed the channel on accident (ruining everyone's ability to play DDR because we weren't going to call maintenance to fix the TV a second time).

    We lost power to half of the room on Saturday evening (the biggest party night of the event), and maintenance was unable to get it repaired, so they brought us an extension cord instead. We likely lost over $200 because of the lack of lighting for that 2 hours.

    Another room party was selling food. Chili for $1 a bowl in one of the upstairs rooms.

    The ugly - A story so great it deserves it's own post -

    Housekeeping entered our room at 1:30pm on Sunday, despite my express instructions not to check or attempt to clean the room until after I had checked out, and worked around their inability to follow directions by checking me out of my room themselves.

    Payment for the room must be made when checkout is completed, so they charged my bank (debit) card. I found out about all of this when I went to check out of the room myself and pay with cash, and was told that I couldn't do that, and the charges to my account ($179 charged to an account bearing less than $5 at the time) could not be reversed.

    The managerial person at the front desk spoke down to me, and despite the cash I obviously had (I had my cash box with me from our dealer's table) to pay the bill with, told me that he would not reverse the charges to my bank account (not that he could not, or that the hotel computer would not let him). I was also told that since I was attempting to check out nearly 2 hours after the late checkout time (see above), I should be glad that I was not being charged the rate for another half-day! Of course I got irate and started speaking at a higher volume through my teeth, finally ending with several very stern repetitions of "you will rectify the situation" with full eye contact. He threatened to call the police and "have me removed" twice, at which point I stated that I was going to go speak with the convention chairperson about the problem, turned on my heels and stormed off. I managed to make it around the corner and out of earshot before I started bawling. I so despise conflict. How dare he speak to me in that manner, especially after all that had happened to go wrong with the hotel room itself!

    The good

    The car got repaired to functional before con.

    The Dot Calm Cafe (our non-alcoholic room party) was really popular.

    We came close to breaking even.

    The cooler plan of use worked so well that we only had to use two bags of ice for the entirety of the event.

    After speaking with some of the higher-ups at the convention, the hotel issue was rectified as I demanded, and I received a certificate for a free stay (both days) at the hotel for the dates of the next convention.

    Later, after we were home, and everything was all over, I had a nightmare so bad that I woke up screaming. Yes, it was about the convention. I only calmed myself with the knowledge that it was all over for that year.

    A hitch, and a good thing

    There was no convention in 2008 because the hotel had been sold to a new owner, so my certificate was going to be useless. Fortunately, I thought quickly, and went back to the hotel and got the amount of the room credit (certificate value) put onto my debit card as a refund.

    On the brightest note of all, there will be a VisionCon this year, and it's on January 23rd-25th. A LOT earlier than usual, but I'll just have to scramble!

    Lucky for me, I'm a little used to last-minute prep by now, and I have friends willing to help out for a share of the leftovers and those oh-so-precious mistakes. *chuckle*

    Now to find the cash I need to outlay on the product ingredients and packaging, and hope it aqll gets here in time...

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