Another Rant - RavenCon09

I was supposed to be vending at RavenCon this year.  I had so much fun last year when I went, and 3 of the staffers invited me to come back this year as a vendor.  My friend Chris (the lady in the Elven gown in the photos) was the reason I went last year, and she goes as a vendor - she sells "Gently Used Books".  Chris has a store in Charlottesville, Oakley's Gently Used Books, and she carries an eclectic and comprehensive mix of genre's - from history and philosophy to children's books to "how-to" to Sci-Fi and Fantasy.  And I KNOW I've missed several categories there!  The big thing about Chris' shop is that 99.5% of the books are used, but they are in pristine condition.  No ragged-y a*sed books in Chris' store.

Anyway - last year, Chris told me that she was vending at RavenCon.  Pregnant pause.  Did I know they had a Masquerade?  A costume contest?  Another pregnant pause.  I looked at Chris.  "Are you offering to wear one of my outfits in the costume contest, Chris?"  Yep.  It was that simple.  Talking her husband Jim into the whole thing was a little more work, but he came around.  And we won Best in Show.  I don't know who was the more proud, to tell you the truth!  Long before the Masquerade, I had been asked if I wanted to come back this year to vend.  I told them I didn't know, but maybe.  To be perfectly honest, I'm skittish about large groups of people I don't know.  Then Chris asked if maybe I wanted to share a double table with her this year.  Perfect solution!  Yes.  So the two of us have planned on it all year.  And I have been sewing furiously for the past couple of months.  Here's the rub.

Apparently, the vendor director DIDN'T approve of this, and even though Chris sent in a reservation and PAYMENT for the double space back in January - we didn't find out that she (meaning ME) was not approved for this until mid MARCH, and Chris only got her usual 1 table.  Oh, and "we're sold out of vendor space, sorry - no more tables available."  Chris made phone calls (not returned), and wrote emails (no answer) about this mixup.  Chris felt absolutely horrid, and thought she had done something wrong, and that she had let me down!  She even offered to give me half her vending space!!

Last week, I finally wrote a couple of emails myself.  I wrote to the vending co-ordinator (about NEXT year's RavenCon vending spaces) expressing my disappointment in their staff and coordination.  That's when I found that apparently, vendors have to be vetted in, and I hadn't been approved.  Well, why didn't they just SAY so, instead of jerking Chris (and by extension, me) around?  Then I got a letter from the RavenCon "Chair" stating that the vendor co-ordinator has to assure a balance in the vending room, and I have been a valued vendor in the past, and will be welcome in the future...  I informed him that 1. this would have been my FIRST RavenCon as a vendor, and 2. no one asked WHAT kind of merchandise I would be selling - so the "balance in the vending room" goes right out the window, doesn't it??  Funny, I haven't heard back.  I also told them the entire reason for my pique was the way they treated Chris, and that I have other markets for my merchandise and will use them.

So.  Any of you who might have been expecting to run into me at RavenCon09 (since I mentioned that I would be vending there this year) - don't bother going if that was your reason.  I will NOT be there.  Nor, I think will I bother with them in the future.

 


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