With convention season right around the corner, it’s appropriate to consider your preparations for these events. Coming from a seasoned con-goer, hopefully these tips will help!
How to make the best use of your bag
First of all, don’t underestimate what you carry. The essentials will literally save you at cons and prevent any mishaps from happening.
You will need a water bottle. At cons, food and drink are expensive and always will be. The trick to getting your water bottle inside of the convention floor is to bring medicine to along with it. I get headaches a lot, so I’ll always be carrying some sort of medication. You may not have chronic headaches, but you can pretend, and security can’t stop you! But to avoid that trouble, I put another shirt in my bag and wrap it around my water bottle. Security is too busy to really check what’s not already on the surface. Plus, that extra shirt will help out if I need a quick change. I always bring a plastic bag in case I need to carry extra stuff that can’t fit in my bag. A large messenger bag that hangs over my shoulders works just fine in terms of size. I’ve seen people with suitcases, but if you bring one, everyone will just trip over you.
Beat Down on the Dealer’s
The magic of cons is that you’ll find things at prices you may not find anywhere else, or ever again. Before I get comments that the Internet will always be cheaper, sometimes the slightly higher prices at a con even out the amount of shipping you’d have to shell out on an import. Now the thing is that none of those prices are absolute at conventions. Those dealers may look scary, but remember, they’re people itching to get their hands on your wallets, and some are just that desperate. What I do instead is haggle. I may not look all that menacing, but I become a demon when haggling.
The dealers are suckers for anything close to their target price. They know the import pricing of the items they’re selling, but so should you. If an item you see is nearly double than normal pricing online, something’s off. These are dealers you typically avoid, but they’re also the suckers you want to haggle with. Make sure they don’t see your wallet open, or open with money. I always keep my money separate from my wallet, just to give the illusion that I have barely anything to offer. Bring smaller bills: $10 and $5 will be your friends, because $15 is still less than $20 and can’t be broken down as easily.
If you notice things that are off about your item, sometimes the dealer will knock you a discount. Once I pointed out that the box was dented and potentially could have damaged my item, so the dealer took $10 off my purchase. Remember, they need money to operate, so use that to your advantage. There are also bootlegs, and don’t be afraid to point it out. The dealers are already nervous enough and don’t need bad publicity, so they’ll sell it cheaper to get you to shut up. Buying more than one item helps too, like offering to buy one item to get another discounted. Sometimes I’ll refuse to buy anything unless they give me that deal, and some dealers are desperate enough to offer it outright to get me to buy. I’m quite famous for knocking prices down to incredible lows, but that’s because I’m knowledgeable about pricing. If I’m familiar with a brand, I know most of their base prices, so I use that to my advantage. The customer is always right, after all. But the most important tip about haggling is to keep it reasonable.