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Monday, October 28, 2013

FIGHTS: NERD RAGE - Alamo City ComiCon a bush league cash grab

Bowie Ibarra

Take a look at the pic below.  This is the pic of close to a thousand some-odd folks who were turned away at the Alamo City ComiCon 2013.  I was in this line and waited three hours to be told they weren't letting anyone else in.  That also included folks who had bought their tickets because by 4pm that afternoon, they had violated the fire code.

Here's reasons why this con needs to be listed as one of the worst cons for customer service and organization and that came across as a big cash grab with no consideration for the folks that were hoping to attend.  Alfredo 'Apple' DeLaFuente (ACCC Pres), Roger Bustamante (ACCC Vice-Pres.), take note.

So, check this out.  Long line?  I get it.  It's a con.  It's been billed as 'The Biggest Pop Culture event' in San Antonio.  I could understand the line.
But if these scammers running this organization were professional, they could have 1) Been aware of the numbers of the presale tix, VIP, and such to know how many people they could let in.  Again, by the time I got near the ticket booth, the Fire Marshall had shut the show down because they let too many people into the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center (!).

2)  They could have communicated with the folks waiting hours in line better.  I watched as one lady came out near the ticket booth saying 'We're stopping ticket sales for one hour and not letting anyone else in'.  They did that because they were in violation of the fire code and had to let people leave.  But that was it.  The lady or no other volunteer went down that line that you see above of about 1k+ folks to tell them that fact, so those folks still stood there like idiots.
3)  So that's about the time some asshole came out to the front of the line, a representative from the convention, who started telling people we're not letting anybody in and we all could have avoided this had we bought our tickets online.

So this fat piece of shit basically told me, the dudes who had drove in from Midland, and everyone else in line, that it was OUR FAULT for waiting in line and not getting tickets even though I showed up two hours after the door had opened?  He basically came out and spit in our faces with no regard for the folks who had driven in, their families, or other children who also waited in line for this event, who were told they could buy tickets at the door.

Asshole's reply?  Buy your tickets for tomorrow now.

Again, this reply shows that the folks running this debacle had no consideration for the folks like myself who could only attend one day.  And what about the folks who drove in?  Tough shit.  Should have bought online.

What kind of fucking so-called professional organization treats folks like myself who were dumb enough to be ready to shell out $35 bucks for a chance to go into an event to spend even more money?  An organization that could give a shit about the people outside because they already made their money stuffing the small space they had rented (I thought they rented out the whole venue), which then denied people who HAD bought their tickets online from even going in.  That line was just as long.

So the 'should have bought your tickets online' argument doesn't hold water.  They were turned back, too, because organizers weren't concerned about counting the folks that came in but lining their own pockets.  There were enough volunteers with their thumbs up their asses that could have been there to do that.  But its hard to be led and told what needs to be done when their leadership is clueless.  That falls on the two volunteer coordinators, Stephanie Ramos and Robert Moreno, so I can't fault the volunteers for that.

But I'm not the only one.  Here's some gripes from the public Alamo City Comic Con Facebook page:

"For such a big turnout I was disppointed with the lack of volunteers outside directing the lines, no fliers being given out with list of events, more signs, bigger room for celebrity ally, it was all shoved into a small place, not enough concession stands, not enough Atms, Sapd should not have to be given info out....the list can go on. I've been to bigger cons that had their act together. This con has potential but needs better planning. Oh at price change from what is listed on your website not cool. Glad I didn't shell out big bucks for this event."

"This was the line of about 1000 people waiting to purchase tickets. The ticket stands were closed at the time but unless you were at the front of the line, you had no clue they were sold out. After this line was another like of about 500 people who had already purchased tickets including pre-orders online. These people (not photographed) were waiting to even get in the building. That line had been waiting at least an hour for more space to clear out. "Very disappointing that even if you had purchased a ticket ahead of time you couldn't go in. Being sold out is one thing, but waiting until you've reached capacity and then saying you won't let honor pre-purchased tickets is another matter."

"Being under-prepared and overwhelmed by the turn-out is one thing. Turning away people who have already purchased tickets is quite another. When you pre-purchase a ticket online there is an agreement with the event holder, and that agreement was broken for many people. If you try to purchase tickets to a sporting event online, they will stop selling them when they've reached capacity. That did not occur here. I believe that next year will be better after this fiasco, but that doesn't do anything for the people who have wasted time and money trying to participate and support this event.""I had a ticket, my 7yr old did not,I too stood in line at 1pm only to be told they were no longer selling tickets. After I had invested 3hrs of my day and a chance pick up a 5hr $100 gig. I couldn't attend because the look in my sons eyes when I told him we wouldn't be able to go in. So I took him to a local pizza place in full Ironman costume. Sad day for this father. Thanks for thinkin this shindig through."

"my opinion: great booths, good celebrities, good panels. BIG lack of organization. If you got cheapish tickets and didn't expect much, you were fine. But if you were VIP and promised things for months that just flat out didn't happen, you become the not so happy camper."

Look, don't get me wrong.  I want this event to succeed.  San Antonio deserves something fun like this to elevate itself from that 'Keep San Antonio Lame' moniker folks have given it.  This con is a fun event that this city needs to contrast against its blue-collar image of folks that only enjoy The Spurs and want to go out and drink every Friday night.

I also don't fault the folks that made it in and had a good time.  It was cool to see so many people having fun inside the venue and hearing about them meeting people and seeing all the fun costumes.

And I don't fault Apple and company for the endeavor.  It's a cash cow, we know, and their probably wiping their asses with all the money they made this weekend off of saps like me.  You sank lots of money into a multi-month slick promo campaign as if you were the next big thing, but ran it more like you were at the pulga off of Highway 90.  C'mon, man.  The whole promo campaign made it look like ya'll had your shit together, but it turned out to be a disorganized disappointment.

And I understand that in the end, my gripe is very much a '1st World Problem'.  It's all like, 'I got turned away at Alamo City ComiCon after waiting in line for three hours on my day off.  Now I have to drive back to my apartment in my new VW Bug with all this money in my pocket.'  Really, when you put it in perspective.

But next year, observe basics like fire code, head counts on pre-sale, head counts day of, and don't be afraid to let the people in line know what's going on instead of making them wait like dumb asses.  Show some respect to the people who are about to line your pockets.

But this con really needs to start planning for next year and clean up their act, and it starts with ACCC PR guy Fred Hernandez issuing some sort of statement acknowledging their mistakes and oversights and pledging to make it up to the thousand some-odd folks who were looking forward to the event, drove in from all around, and were ultimately treated like shit by their staff.

That is, if these folks haven't already hit the rails and we'll never hear from them again.

BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press.  He has written three superhero-inspired books, 'Codename: La Lechusa', 'Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull', and 'Room 26 and the Army of Xulhutdul', which takes place in San Antonio, Texas.  His most recent title, 'Alamo Rising', is the story of an ancient curse unleashed on downtown San Antonio, Texas.  It is available in Kindle or paperback from today.

Bowie Ibarra earned a BFA in Acting and a Masters in Theatre History from Texas State University.  Network with Bowie at his official website,

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