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Dc Supershow Reacts To Criticism

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#1 jmccarty3

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 00:05

I apologize if someone else has mentioned this--it's been a bit difficult to navigate FPN with the server slowdown.

 

As everyone knows, complaints about the way the DC SuperShow is run have been mounting for the last few years, culminating in the refusal of several long-time vendors to attend this year's show. I have been one of those critics, so it's only fair for me to applaud when something improves. Well, it appears that Bob Johnson, the show's owner, has taken the criticism to heart, and has made some very welcome changes.

 

In years past, there was continued uncertainty about the show dates that made it difficult for vendors and attendees to make plans. I was pleasantly surprised to see Bob at the Dallas show, saying hello to all and handing out cards announcing the dates of the 2019 show, which will take place August 1-4.

 

There also have been numerous complaints about the DC show's outmoded website, which was rarely kept up to date. A week ago, I received an email from Glen Bowen announcing that he is working with Bob as the Event Planner. Glen has gotten a new website going, https://dcsupershow.com/, that should be much friendlier for vendors and attendees. There is a password protected area for vendors--if you are a vendor and did not get Glen's email, contact him at glen@dcsupershow.com.

 

These things will not solve all the problems of the DC show, but I think Bob deserves credit for responding to the complaints and for asking for help in running the show. Now if the hotel will hire adequate help in the bar and restaurant, we'll be getting somewhere.


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#2 sharonspens

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 15:38

I am glad to hear this, and to see the tangible evidence in the new website. I hope it bodes well for DC 2019. 


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#3 RayCornett

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 18:52

It is nice to see someone reach out to applaud improvements in a day and age when people only reach out in such situations to complain.

As someone who is part of a non-profit who runs a large annual event with vendors from all over the world, there are so many variables and things that can and do go wrong that are above and beyond the control of the owner/operator of the show yet they catch all the blame for it from both the attendees and the vendors. I have seen the complaints about a lot of the things that went wrong at this show and a couple of others and all I kept thinking was,,,,,,,,,,,,they/he couldn't help that really. Vendors and attendees really don't have the entire picture of what goes into making these shows appear to run without a hitch and most don't care. They just want and expect everything to be perfect. But then in personal experience, there will be vendors who will complain even if things go well and they make more money at your show than any other before. This happens to us every year.

Our annual shows are extremely detailed. In addition to just having vendors we use the venue's kitchen which I run during the event, we have a huge kids area with games and prizes, we have an auction and raffle that runs the entire weekend, we have 24/7 security on the property.

Vendors get sick or pass away close to the show deadline and you scramble to contact vendors on our waiting list to try to fill their spot which can mean several fewer vendors than planned, vendors aren't happy with the way their section is set up, vendors decide they want more tables so then you have to scramble to make room and readjust the layout of the show, the owner of the venue can suddenly make the venue unavailable on the dates you scheduled the event to be a couple of months or less before the show for their own events or no reason at all(this happened to us) after all the advertising and printing is done and in place, sometimes the person in charge of the venue doesn't get back to you until damn near your preferred show date to say if it is available or not, sometimes even if it is you don't get the contract until very near the show, something can happen with acquiring the necessary insurance and licenses to run the show, there can be a severe lack of people to delegate tasks to(or you delegate and they don't complete what was delegated to them or do it at all) which means the owner/operator of the show is doing more on their own which can cause a complete upheaval and cause the show to open late. So many things can happen that aren't the fault or in the control of the person/company running the show yet that one person catches all the blame. I have seen show owners become outright suicidal over the blame, shame, and attacks. Especially when it spreads to online.

The website problem is also a big one. Unless the show owner is able to do it themselves they have to find someone willing to help. Web design isn't cheap. I am a graphic designer as well. Unless you find someone willing to do it for free, you are often going to pay hundreds, or possibly thousands, for website work and upkeep. Especially when the designer realizes the site is for a money-making venture.  THEN you have to worry about whether they will hold your site for ransom, changing the password to access the editing side of it, or putting something worded sneakily into the contract that if they work on it they own it AND the domain name in perpetuity which can lead to a lot of problems getting it back into your name.

So, doing a show is not as simple as securing the venue and putting tables out for the vendors to put their products on and opening the doors and collecting admission. Even with admission you have to have people who can handle large streams of people coming at them without freaking out. Believe me, it's horrible to not find out until it's too late that the person at the admissions table freaks out around crowds, or can't handle kids being kids and basically has a melt down at the cash register.
So, if you are a vendor or potential vendor at these pen shows, please do take things like this into consideration. Is it their fault or is it "sh*t happens"?.
 


Edited by RayCornett, 15 October 2018 - 22:13.


#4 inkstainedruth

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 21:44

Well I'm glad that there will better communication in future.  And that the organizer *finally* understands that something that big cannot be a one-man operation in charge.  This past summer I was part of the staff for a fairly large symposium (although not to the level of the bigger pen shows) and the guy overall in charge enlisted me for one of the activities even before we knew that we had the bid for it; he knew he could NOT do it alone; he had two separate people to organize classes; someone to arrange for off-site activities (including a visit to a local college library); someone to coordinate the day stuff at the hotel; someone to take reservations; even a guy to arrange for travel and parking for an off-site reception Friday night.
I am disappointed about the dates, though -- it means I will probably not be able to go to DCSS for the foreseeable future.  :(  DCSS was my first pen show, and while it was completely overwhelming (DCSS is -- or was -- GINORMOUS!) I did have a good time.  And had a good time the next two years.  But the date change and lack of communication (causing some major vendors to pull out this year) meant that even if I *had* been able to go it would have missed some people I would have been going to for repairs (as is, I'm having to wait till OPS since pretty much everyone for whom I would have be stopping at their table will be there).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

edited for typos


Edited by inkstainedruth, 15 October 2018 - 21:45.

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#5 Brianm_14

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 12:44

I hope everyone knows that threads such as this one can cause people to decide to attend/not attend.

For about 12 years I have been involved in a moderately large academic symposium, with scores of sessions, hundreds of presenters, and features such as book vendors and receptions. It is a real year's work for organizers on all levels, and we've learned to delegate responsibility in order to be effective.

So please,mappreciate the difficulties faced by organizers, and if you can, offer your time and talents to improve the show.

I am sure I am not alone in thinking: if this sounds good, I'll finally attend next summer.
Brian

#6 Brianm_14

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 12:44

Maybe.
Brian

#7 inkstainedruth

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 20:00

With the current dates of DCSS the last couple of years -- and the posted date for next year, I can't go, due to a severe scheduling conflict.  I presume that the dates are partly dictated by the hotel's booking people (in the DC area there are probably LOTS of trade shows and conventions).  

I always had a great time the three times I *did* get to got to the show (at the old location), although the first year I had to juggle travel arrangements a bit, and then spent Saturday subsisting on caffeine and adrenaline....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#8 RayCornett

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 15:41


 It is a real year's work for organizers on all levels, and we've learned to delegate responsibility in order to be effective.

So please,mappreciate the difficulties faced by organizers, and if you can, offer your time and talents to improve the show.

I am sure I am not alone in thinking: if this sounds good, I'll finally attend next summer.

===================

True. Ournext years event planning starts the day after this years event end and we had blank vendor contracts to all vendors at the end of the show. Delegating can be a problem, though. Especially in smaller clubs like ours. Volunteers pull no shows, you find out too late that someone you delegated something important to was never done, etc. but you work through it. And as said in my previous post, things beyond the control of the ones throwing the event will and do happen.


Edited by RayCornett, 22 October 2018 - 15:42.


#9 Toll

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Posted 27 October 2018 - 22:04

I am very pleased to see this original post both for the good news about the future of the DC Pen Show and for the respectful tone of gratitude about the expected change. I have been to the DC Pen Show for most of the past 12 years, and even though I acknowledge there were problems on several fronts, I still found it highly enjoyable. I will remain positive and look forward to more great times at this Show in 2019.





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