Thursday, March 21, 2013

AA Shopping Etiquette

So while looking up some reviews of other shows, I stumbled across some ranty but true forums at customerssuck.com, specifically artist alley suckage. The stuff is hilarious, I mean not hilarious for the artist, nor if it happened to you, but hilarious because it reinforces the face that there are a lot of not-so-squared-away people out there. While I don't normally complain because I'm really too apathetic about this topic, I thought I'd share a small etiquette list for those shopping in the artist alley.

  1. If you're looking at a comic, feel free to flip through. Check out the artwork, read a few lines. But don't sit there and read the whole damn thing if you aren't going to buy it. Better yet, buy the whole series.
  2. If you're looking or buying at one table, don't put your stuff down at another table. Also, don't put your ginormo bag on anything unless you ask first.
  3. Same applies for food and drink. Don't make a mess unless you'll pay for anything you destroy (including the tablecloth). And don't leave wrappers or cups at a table. That's gross and annoying. Just ask if there's a trash can available or nearby.
  4. Don't beg for freebies. Artists aren't corporations with an advertising department that churns out free keychains or postcards. Do ask before you take.
  5. Don't crowd a table if you aren't looking or chatting with the artist. Especially applies if you are with a large group.
  6. Watch your props and costumes! Extended pieces should be wielded with care.
  7. Don't shoplift. I can't believe I have to put this. I've seen artists let shoplifters get away because they are too busy or they don't know what to do. That is not the case with some of us. You will be hurt.
  8. No, you can't take something to show your friend over there. Bring your friend over here.
  9. If you are unhappy with a product, ask the artist if they will replace or refund. You'll find that the answer is almost always yes, unless something is damaged by your own fault. There's no need to verbally abuse the artist and slander them to the rest of the convention.
  10. Photography is by permission only. Includes phones. Some artist don't mind, others would prefer their items not be photographed.
  11. Don't complain about an artist's style. If you don't like it, move on.
  12. If you're asking an artist for critique or advice on your own work, don't be a jerk if they refuse. Not all artists want to judge someone else's work.
  13. You break it, you buy it.
  14. Not all artists take cards or checks. There's no complaining about this.
  15. And most importantly: don't be a douche or an obnoxious attendee. No glomps, no flirting, no mayhem, no creeping. And did I mention no flirting--unless the artist is 100% receptive. But don't give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
Here are my tangential personal experiences:

I have buttons and small prints of my chibi Harley Quinn that I absolutely adore. I love the Harley in the old Batman cartoons where she's a crazy but cute girl in love, not the vicious super muscular version in the comics and games. My opinion. This girl comes to my table, picks up a Harley print off my display, and drops it on the table before telling me that she hates when people make Harley out to be cute. Not just one declaration, but an entire speech about how Harley is a badass and should be presented as such and artists who make her a cutie are idiots. I will say now that I don't give a wink and at the time I kept hoping she would choke on her Ramune. That information is rude and unnecessary. Artists love constructive criticism, but good god keep your unsolicited negative opinions at bay.

How can you not love this cutie?

Don't flirt with me. It won't go well for you. I'm happily married and not looking. Unless you're a cute ferret, kitten, or puppy, I can always take in more pets. Once at a con in KY, a boy maybe 17 decides he wants to hit on me. I'm 23 and already married at the time. After a few verbal shut downs, he decides taking off his shirt in the hotel lobby is the best way to impress me. Aside from being unimpressive, I developed the urge to punch him in the mouth. I eventually had to threaten him with police action (and perhaps some violence, but I won't officially admit that) to get him to go away. Two days of this creepy nonsense. Don't be that person. Have some boundaries as a fanboy or fangirl.

Last one: theft. I find it hard to believe that anyone would want to steal in the artist alley. The stuff is cool but not really worth stealing. I've only had toddlers walk away with items, only to be returned or paid for by parents. But I have seen people swipe all sorts of stuff from other tables. Most artists are too busy to notice but I'm a law enforcement student first, artist second. I've seen people try to lift poster prints from inside a portfolio or shove a plushie into their swag bags. I will call you suckers out every time even if no one else wants to say anything. Beg a friend for a five dollar bill and stop acting like a jerk.

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