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"Cold Wars Friday Night Flea Market Experiment " Topic

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Action Log

18 Mar 2018 2:40 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Cold Wars Friday Night Flee Market Experiment " to "Cold Wars Friday Night Flea Market Experiment "
  • Changed starttime from
    18 Mar 2018 7:44 a.m. PST
    18 Mar 2018 7:44 a.m. PST

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3,519 hits since 17 Mar 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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masm611018 Mar 2018 6:44 a.m. PST

Well the Friday night flee market was OK.

This is not a judgment on the new area, the upstairs stage area off the main entrance, that was fine and if the flee market is there again I'm sure it will improve.

It was only OK for me due to the way it effected my Friday experience.

I like to go to the dealers late Friday with my flee market cash. This time my Friday shopping was light or nothing. I also like to game Friday night.

I did OK in my selling on Friday night so afternoon/ night did not effect the amount I would have made.

For me I would have liked a Friday afternoon AND Friday night flee market option and if not both just the afternoon.


Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 8:54 a.m. PST

I actually like the new area.
The rows channel the crowds much more effectively than the weird path from days of yore.
Having said that, the lighting was horrible down in my little corner. I was selling painted figures, and the lighting was no help at all.
I told people that "they" wanted to charge me an extra $10 USD for lighting. I think some people believed me.

As usual, I sold a lot of what I just threw in to fill the table, and very few if what I was counting on.

I had Saturday morning.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 11:39 a.m. PST

Not a fan of the area/ Although Winston has a point re channeling the crowds, the lighting stinks! But the construction going on at the Host probably made it the only reasonable place, so can't whine too much.

Xintao18 Mar 2018 12:14 p.m. PST

The layout of the showroom is great, but it NEEDS more light. I was using my phone flashlight to see figures. I saw sellers using mining light.

More light and it's perfect.

jpipes Inactive Member18 Mar 2018 2:49 p.m. PST

The space was far from perfect. It was barely serviceable. The lighting was awful and hauling stuff up two flights of stairs was brutal. I'm actually surprised someone didn't have a heart attack.

Removing the Friday afternoon session resulted in a lot fewer people arriving until late in the evening. It also sucked having the session the same time as the board meeting.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 2:50 p.m. PST

Double G had a great suggestion for the lighting problem. Issue everyone a miner's hat when they come in.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 3:10 p.m. PST

"It also sucked having the session the same time as the board meeting."

That was a twofer, jpipes. It meant none of the flea marketeers could be at the board meeting to complain about timing and location.

Channeling was good. Lighting could be fixed. Timing was dreadful.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 4:01 p.m. PST

Double G had a great suggestion for the lighting problem. Issue everyone a miner's hat when they come in.

Think of the dough you could make renting them out for each session…………I thought it was great to finally have a crack at all the bargains I've heard about all these years, dropped about 1K in the flea market, I was flush with cash thanks to a solid 6 hours of selling in the dealer hall on Friday.

If they shitcan the idea then oh well, nothing I can do about it other than not spend my money in there.

Thanks for the items everyone; I paid the sellers were asking, no haggling from me as the prices were extremely fair to begin with, my cousin grabbed some nicely priced books too…………..

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 4:20 p.m. PST

Agreed that the lighting was hard on both sellers and buyers.
Also, was there anyway for someone with mobility issues (Mrs. Carp and others attending) to get to Wally's at its new location. If there were, no path was indicated.

Neal Smith Inactive Member18 Mar 2018 4:28 p.m. PST

Yeah, hauling stuff up those stairs must have been brutal. I was planning to flea market a lot stuff from a fellow gamer's estate, at HCon. Need a better way to bring stuff from backstage or a service elevator or something.

stecal Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 4:31 p.m. PST

Not having ground level access thru an outside door made hauling in & out your items very difficult. I had to leave 1/2 my stuff in the car. No way I was making a 2nd trip up those steps. Apparently there was an elevator… somewhere

Long Valley Gamer Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 5:33 p.m. PST

Agree totally with J Pipes. On Friday there were people trying to sell figures in almost darkness. It was a bit absurd to put sellers in that situation. Some areas were well lit…others were dark. Saturday was a bit better but in many areas it was still dark.

cepammi Inactive Member18 Mar 2018 5:35 p.m. PST

There were a few problems to work around, but the HMGS staff was very helpful. Even with these problems, for me it turned out to be my best flea market in 15 years. Like to see the time changed to 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, it was hard getting home at 12:45 and having to return for the morning flea market session.

TSD10118 Mar 2018 6:00 p.m. PST

First time in a long time I bought nothing from the Flea Market. The lighting was so poor in some areas I couldn't even see what people had. Those people who were shoved in the darkest areas shouldn't have been charged full table price.

sgibson Inactive Member18 Mar 2018 6:11 p.m. PST

I did well in the Sat AM flea market, found some good deals in the other sessions.

The layout of the flea market was actually better (more room for tables, moving of crwods), but the inaccessibility (stairs and difficult to access elevator) and the awful lighting made it a bad location.

Regarding the timing, I saw about the same number of tables operating Fri evening that we see on Fri afternoons (about 50 tables).

The flea market is the number one reason my group attends the HMGS cons (both to buy and sell), and we always sell in the Friday afternoon FM session. As a result of the move of the Friday FM session from afternoon to evening, we arrived midday Friday instead of Thursday night. For three of the five of our group, the shortened convention was not worth the trip up to Lancaster, so they opted to not attend. Our ability to play pickup games Fri night was also negatively impacted by the Fir evening FM session.

I would be happy in to participate in future Fri evening FM sessions (as a quick buyer), but still see no reason to cancel the Fri afternoon sessions.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 6:23 p.m. PST

One thing they should consider changing though…they allowed Friday night sellers to maintain their tables for Saturday morning. This meant anyone selling Saturday morning and not Friday, were left with reduced table selections…regardless of how early they showed up Saturday morning.

Definite disadvantage for different day/session vice the old location where tables could not be secured overnight.

Of course the rules of the WB agreement as written have never really been followed to the "t".

So, if future WB are to be held here, I'd suggest revisiting the rules and adjusting to the new conditions as well as the access and lighting issues.

skinkmasterreturns19 Mar 2018 2:57 a.m. PST

Its not the first time the Flea has been held up there,(1994 or so) and the very same complaints were stated then. I guess a new generation of board members have to relearn the lessons previously taught.

Lord Ashram19 Mar 2018 3:12 a.m. PST

I have to say, while everything else at the convention seem to go so very smoothly, my experience at the flea market was not good. As people mentioned, the lighting was really horrific, and I thought the lanes for walking were terrible. If people stopped at a table to look at something, and you wanted to wait to look after them, you couldn't… Because the walkways were only wide enough for two people. If you stopped to wait the entire line of people behind you stopped, and because of the way the aisles channeled people, you basically stopped the entire flea market. I thought it was really bad. I am sure it will improve.

corzin19 Mar 2018 3:19 a.m. PST

the lighting did stink and the stairs makes it a no-go for the future. i actually had a headlamp in my car that i was going to bring to the Saturday session…but i forgot it…

but listening to bits and pieces from others it seems like the host renovations played havoc with the planning. for a wargamer, my sense of distances and room sizes is pathetic so i have no clue what spaces are big enough, so my question is, where will the flea market be the next couple of conventions?

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member19 Mar 2018 4:26 a.m. PST

Just an FYI.. the whole area is getting remodeled.. and there will be a direct elevator form where Reg was this year to the theater is, making it a lot easier to do.

I am sure all of you that attended… could easily state: for now.. it needs better lighting and access.

As for the time, etc… whether you call it an experiment or not, it was a success. numbers of tables sold were up and attendance numbers I gathered from staff put the attendance at about the same though.

I spoke with sellers who did great and some who did poorly… (when specifically asked about sales at night vs the reg session from 2-5).

I also spoke with a LOT of gamers…. they seemed very pleased to be able to play through the afternoon and not have to run off to the flea…

A Lot of GM's stated they were happy as they did not have that.. "Hey, sorry.. I have to get to the flea".. and then they leave the game…

BUT… to be fair, there are GM's who run events at night just so they won't loose players to the flea market and they were the ones who did lose them because they put their games in before the change was really put out there…

All in all, I feel it was win, won for everyone… meaning GM's, players, shoppers and dealers.. it wasn't perfect, but everyone got what they wanted…. except the few who stated they sold less at the night time.

That's all I have on the event for now. I am still reviewing my very detailed, pic heavy AAR for my blog! If I come across anything else relevant to this topic I will come back and edit!

It really was great to see everyone. AND… I want to post this here.. If you believe, please say a little prayer for the folks who had issues…. We had our usual cases of no shows and cancellations, but this year it really came home with a lot of folks I have come to know over the years…. we had so far, 11 events that were verified at real medical situations resulting in event calculation. Lets pray they and their loved ones get better. Illness is very hard, especially when it hits sudden and unexpected.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2018 5:40 a.m. PST

Poniatowski, I wrote and meant that everyone should get a pass on this year. That does NOT mean I regard the cancellation of the usual Friday daytime flea market at a "win for everyone." It certainly wasn't for me, even though I shopped the midnight madness and had a table Saturday. The absence of a Friday daytime flea market meant I couldn't calculate spending money before Saturday afternoon. I was rushed then, and some of the dealers bragging about their Friday sales suffered accordingly. The timing meant I bailed on an evening game--usually my preferred time because it doesn't interfere with flea markets.

As for the dealers gloating over their victory, I am not much in sympathy. Dealers posting on TMP about what a great convention they had have failed two conventions running to sell me enough figures for a game, or failed to provide product I paid for. (It will be mailed to me. Some day. As though I've never heard that one before.)

I always come to the conventions with a list of things to look for at the flea market, but this is the last convention I'll come to with a list of things to buy from the dealers.

Tumbleweed Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2018 5:47 a.m. PST

"As for the dealers gloating over their victory"

Wow, where did that one come from? I didn't hear anyone gloating.

Lord Ashram19 Mar 2018 6:13 a.m. PST

Thanks Dan! I had a great time at the con this year!:) You guys work like SOBs!

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member19 Mar 2018 6:26 a.m. PST

Robert, please do not worry, I did NOT take anything you said as negative or bad ranting. I really didn't see it as a "dealer" victory as they all know I will be doing the regular session on Friday and trying the true midnight madness again at Fall In!…. I hope this doesn't anger the vendors as I am honestly just trying to gather data to see how I will handle this moving forward….

I at least have Fall In! this year, who knows for 2019… BoD changes, the current BoD might have had enough of me and bring in someone else… so many variables.. I am just thankful for the time they let me help/serve. If I get kicked to the curb, I would hope my efforts to improve would continue is all.

If I can segue a little…. They announced the numbers for Fall In! officially now… so not to derail too much from this topic, but THANK YOU all for making Fall In! in a great show! I didn't reach the 2k attendee mark, but I think the personal feedback was most desirable.. folks in general had a great time.. that is all I ask. Financially, the show was a huge success, but you guys know I do NOT measure success that way, it is only one of the factors… the first is… attendee satisfaction.

Yes, it is always great to be in the black, but that is like being a GM who has awesome scenery and game set up, but it is the suck as far as playing it…. money isn't the top factor for me.. I just have to do my part financially is all.

jpipes Inactive Member19 Mar 2018 9:40 a.m. PST

Not sure how lots of members stating that didn't come up a day early as per usual, didn't book an extra night, didn't visit the dealer hall on Friday, etc, all because the afternoon session was moved to late night, can be seen as a win. When the flea market was at 2pm, folks came the night before or really early Friday morning. With the change in time a lot of people didn't show up until after dinner and they certainly didn't show up on Thursday.

Not sure how members who paid for a table and couldn't walk up the stairs with their stuff so decided to give up entirely and gave away their table, can be seen as a win.

Not sure how half the sellers sitting in the dark can be seen as a win.

It's a flea market and many of us diehards would sell in the parking lot at 2am in a snow storm if we had to. Those treasure seekers among us will always find good stuff to buy, and people will always make money. All good and well. But overall the location and experience was anything but a win. It was a barely serviceable stop gap measure, we are told, due to construction work taking up the normal space. And we've still never been told why the afternoon session was dropped. If you want to add a late night session, fine. But why remove the much loved afternoon session as well. So we have to choose between doing the late night session or attending the board meeting? Really?

This year was fine but it wasn't a win. It was a huge pain in the butt and a lot of people would rather not show up for the convention at all or find an alternative solution for selling if things continue down this path. The location was pitifully lacking and the timing was awful.

I have nothing but praise for most of the volunteers in the flea market. The volunteer who runs the flea market area is an outstanding asset to the community. He works with everyone, always finds solutions to everything, is friendly even when he has to lay down the law, is always reasonable, and always helpful. He's a real asset to HMGS.

wargamingUSA19 Mar 2018 10:28 a.m. PST

Curiosity has the best of me, so I'll ask this.

Since the Flea Market tables are in-place for the entire convention once they are set up, why not maximize their presence-use. Why not eliminate any Thursday or Sunday FM selling, limit the number of tables an individual can have to two per session, charge $5 USD less per table, but have three sessions on Friday and Saturday. Say 1000 to 1230, 1400 to 1630, and a late nighter of 1900 to 2130. Allows the hard core FM sellers and buyers to have plenty of face time but actually gives the periodic seller or shopper more flexibility to attend the rest of the convention. The Board meeting could be Sunday morning without any real competing activity.

Even more drastic, why not locate the FM near the dealers area so there is an easier flow of money in all directions?

kalgaloth19 Mar 2018 2:29 p.m. PST

I sold Saturday morning and made good sales. The lighting was laughable unless you happened to be one of the guys that got under one of the large lights. I was not one of those guys. So I swiped a lamp from the lobby and hauled it up to my table. Worked like a charm. I really liked that we had a railing behind us and there was plenty of room behind the tables. We weren't cramped at all. I liked that the aisles kept the crowd moving and it never appeared to get bottle-necked anywhere. I am all for the Flea Market to remain in the theater but for the love of all that is holy get the lighting addressed.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Mar 2018 3:06 p.m. PST

"As for the dealers gloating over their victory, I am not much in sympathy……."………….

Sorry, where did you read or see that? Gee, and we had such a nice chat in the flee market about the Franco Prussian war too.

"I always come to the conventions with a list of things to look for at the flea market, but this is the last convention I'll come to with a list of things to buy from the dealers."

Wow Robert, sorry to hear that, I don't get the hate, but it's your choice to do as you feel is best for you.

Really sad to see all the angst towards dealers; all we're trying to do is earn a living afterall, sorry doing so offends so many people.

Do the math on what the dealers contribute to the overall expense of running a convention; try about 30 large.

Naturally the attendees contribute the most, they pay a fee for a weekend of gaming, shopping and socializing.

Maybe as Jim/Historygamer suggested at one time, try running one of the big three without a dealer hall, make it game and flee market specific and see what happens.

Again, sorry if as a dealer I've annoyed you or anyone else in some way as I try to make a living…………….

jpipes Inactive Member19 Mar 2018 3:36 p.m. PST

Double G, the gloating Robert was likely referring to was your earlier post in which you stated how supposedly great business was all day on Friday supposedly, and how you went and dropped 1k in the flea market on Friday night.

Rick, as for your comment about people being able to maintain their stuff on a table overnight, this was done for two reasons. The first was because the Friday session ended at close to midnight and the person running it did not want to sit there for 1-2 hours while people packed up and hauled their stuff back downstairs. The additional reason was because a lot of people said they refused to haul their stuff downstairs at midnight only to bring it back 7 hours later when they had to do it up those stairs. That was a medical disaster waiting to happen. So they decision was made to allow folks who wanted to cover up their stuff and keep it in place. As for that impacting people picking tables the next session, most of the time folks that pick a table on Friday get to keep it through the weekend. It's been that way for a long time regardless.

TSD10119 Mar 2018 4:00 p.m. PST

Do the math on what the dealers contribute to the overall expense of running a convention; try about 30 large.

While browsing wares in the Dealer Hall I heard it mentioned that by the numbers, Dealers support 42% of the cost of the convention.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Mar 2018 4:03 p.m. PST

"Double G, the gloating Robert was likely referring to was your earlier post in which you stated how supposedly great business was all day on Friday supposedly, and how you went and dropped 1k in the flea market on Friday night."

Business wasn't supposedly great on Friday; it was.

So I was wrong to spend money in the flee market?

Tough to please crowd you flee market fellas are.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Mar 2018 4:08 p.m. PST

"While browsing wares in the Dealer Hall I heard it mentioned that by the numbers, Dealers support 42% of the cost of the convention."

I'm not privy to the actual numbers of what it costs to run a convention, but I doubt if it's that much.

The attendees by far foot the bill for the conventions with the weekend badges and the Saturday day tripper badges, I'd venture to guess they pay 70% of the bill, the dealers 25% the flee market 5% at best.

Goes without saying you could get away with running a convention without a dealer hall, the only issue would be how many attendees would not come without it.

The GM's are far more important to the overall success of a convention than the dealer hall is.

DF200919 Mar 2018 4:26 p.m. PST

It was a learning curve for all of us. Even as Wally's FM Coord I didn't know we were moved upstairs til I was on my way to the Con. It was a last minute move by the Hotel because of the work onsite. I did address the lighting issue with hotel staff and they did replace some bulbs by Sat and seem to try to make an effort to at least work with us. Trust me I understand the frustration guys- my eyes were hurting trying to look at little metal men all weekend. So the cons I heard were lighting and Freight elevator/stairs. The pros, wider aisles, not back to back with some sweaty dude, and better flow of traffic. As we move forward my guys and I will try to do what we can to make the Wally's experience easier and more enjoyable. If anyone has any ideas or concerns you may feel free to contact me at
Thank you all for bearing with us as we work with what we have.

TSD10119 Mar 2018 4:31 p.m. PST

I think the real question is, will renovations be finished in time for Historicon? Its a busier convention, there will be more attendees trying to cram into the flea market.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Mar 2018 4:38 p.m. PST

"I think the real question is, will renovations be finished in time for Historicon? Its a busier convention, there will be more attendees trying to cram into the flea market."

Great point, I was surprised the dealer hall was still not finished yet, didn't look like much was done between FI and CW, I hope and pray the AC will be fully functional by July for example.

The lighting was awful in spots in the flee market, but fine in others, just depends on where you were. Hopefully they address that by July as well, time will tell.

TSD10119 Mar 2018 4:48 p.m. PST

AC will be fully functional by July for example.

I would not want to be a dealer in that building if it has no functioning climate control. Given the design I imagine it would be roasting in there in July.

Also, they need to work on the other entrance for easier access.

Rangers Lead the Way19 Mar 2018 8:01 p.m. PST

Jpipes surprised for your harsh words, This year was fine but it wasn't a win. It was a huge pain in the butt and a lot of people would rather not show up for the convention at all or find an alternative solution for selling if things continue down this path. The location was pitifully lacking and the timing was awful. For years you have made your share in the market. If the flea market stays in the showroom I would assume they will look into the lighting problems. I made a good sum of money selling items I have not used in years. Not being a vendor and only paying a small amount for a table for the flea market is a big perk for members.

jpipes Inactive Member19 Mar 2018 8:59 p.m. PST

I don't think it's being harsh to provide critical but legitimate feedback on the timing and the venue. In fact you and I appear to be saying the same thing. I did ok, the event wasn't a win. You'll also note I praised the volunteers specifically for going above and beyond to make things work. I also said as a diehard I would sell anywhere and can make any situation work, but that doesn't mean the situation was ideal or even tolerable. If we hadn't been allowed to leave our stuff it would have been a disaster. Through the efforts of the volunteers it was resolved. My comments are provided as a means to hopefully improve the situation for everyone in the future.

As a side note regarding what people pay for a flea market table. People in the flea market actually pay more and get less than a comparable space for the dealers.

Rangers Lead the Way20 Mar 2018 12:52 a.m. PST

As a flea market we should get less than the dealers.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member20 Mar 2018 3:53 a.m. PST

Guys, there are always many sides, angles to view everything in life and each viewpoint is adjusted a little by your stance on the situation… good for one might not be good for all.

So, just to be clear, this move was NOT done for any reason other than to actually HELP THE GM's…. the decision was really more to help the crisis we see….

GM's getting the short end of the stick when it comes to the flea market. The dealer hall doesn't get affected by games as they are open all day and folks can schedule their games and still have a pleasant hike to the dealer hall….

The issue that was trying to be resolved as I saw it was this….

A lot of players get into games that overlap the flea market…. So GM's get hit with players leaving their games early to go to the flea or they have vacant seats if they start the game when the flea opens… by moving the flea toward the later time, this gave gamers a chance to play through their games, enjoy them and then still get to go.. and this includes the GM's too… This is the TRUE win….

And, statistics, yes, actual cold hard facts showed that table sales have dropped on Friday… this was a plausible way to see if they would pick back up again.

As for the flea market all day long… I don't agree with that as what it WILL BECOME.. is a lot of dealers… right now, if you are in ONE SESSSION…. you should be able to sell your stuff.. IF you are there to sell it and not make a profit…. I am speaking of a regular Joe like me…. I was in 2 sessions and shared a table… after session one I was pretty much sold out. I price my stuff to MOVE, not "recoup" or "profit"….

Point in case.. I am lazy and don't post stuff on eBay…. I sold an original squad of Karskin 40k troops for $25 USD… it cost $40 USD new.. 10 years ago or longer… and you can sell them for well over $100 USD on eBay…. THAT is how a flea market is supposed to work…

For the record, I actually did hear a couple dealers saying how much they made on Friday… But for what it is worth, I can say with 100% certainty that there was no deal at all, it was a true and honest test that could have had variable outcomes…. that was one of them.

I didn't have a horse in this race… I was only staff at the show.. events manager… I am just trying to be honest and forthcoming with info is all.


masm611020 Mar 2018 4:14 a.m. PST

Dan wrote
>So GM's get hit with players leaving their games early…

I believe this occurs no matter when the flee market is, afternoon or night as the flee market is a hit or miss opportunity unlike the dealers area.

As many here have said , have both sessions everyone wins.
No reason to limit a convention attendees options.

Mirosav20 Mar 2018 4:47 a.m. PST

Is the flea market going to be in the same room for Historicon? It would be nice to know before paying for a table.

BTCTerrainman Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2018 5:06 a.m. PST

Hey Jason you said, "As a side note regarding what people pay for a flea market table. People in the flea market actually pay more and get less than a comparable space for the dealers".

Just to set the record straight, a flea market table costs 10% of what a booth is costing the vendors ($25 vs $200 USD for a basic center 10'x10' booth – more for a corner booth and slightly less for a 8'x8 booth). So costs are not even comparable.

Historicon booth costs are even higher so……..

wargamingUSA20 Mar 2018 5:15 a.m. PST

Sometimes distinctions get lost in the mass of comments.

George, you are one of a handful of dealers who consistently brings new product to the conventions, works to present it well, engages in extensive pre-con preparation including coordination with customers, and always talks with folks who come up to your booth. In other words you run your business, well, like a business. You deserve to do well.

Not all dealers are the same… and that's why I think there are so many comments about dealers with the same old offerings, who are less than friendly, or who seem disinterested in potential customers, and dealers who almost always say sales were poor or who are hostile to the FM.

Since I view both the dealer's hall and FM as important aspects of the convention experience and a convention's financial success it seems to me both should get the organizers' best available support. Unfortunate but true, sometimes it takes public forums to get credible comments and complaints heard and issues recognized and resolved.

With regards to The Host, it is just an all-around lousy venue for a gaming convention and it has not been well-kept over the years making things worse… but sometimes we are all stuck with what's available. I do give credit to the current HMGS-E BoD for efforts that didn't exist in the past and hope they can continue to improve the convention experience.

jpipes Inactive Member20 Mar 2018 5:17 a.m. PST

I appreciate the effort to insure that GMs aren't impacted, but the entire weekend is a possible disruption to the GMs. There are lots of things going on that could distract from a game, including speaker seminars, the opening and closing of the dealer hall, the flea market, the board meeting, special events like Podcast recordings, not to mention other games! I fail to see how if you move the flea market from 2pm-5pm and put it from 9pm-Midnight, how that impacts GMs any less. It would actually seem worse because it means people have to get dinner so basically the entire night session is impacted. Do many people return to games after attending a 9-midnight event? I highly doubt it. That means late night games and open gaming are seriously impacted. I imagine moving it late at night actually is worse for how it impacts GMs.

As for the reasons someone wants to sell stuff in the flea market, that frankly is irrelevant and no ones business but the seller. What someone makes, why they are selling, how they sell, are of no concern to anyone else but the seller.

The flea market is actually more expensive to get a space at, is more of a pain in the butt to deal with, and has fewer and more limited hours than the dealer hall. But for a lot of reasons people of all walks want to get a space there because of what the flea market offers and how it differs from the dealer hall. They are two completely different animals. The flea market offers unique, one of a kind, long out of print, old, collectible, random, and otherwise unavailable stuff to buyers. Treasures if you will, stuff not sold by dealers. This treasure hunt is what is such a huge draw for people that want to sell there, whom want to BE there.

It would actually be easier for a simple one table seller to get a space in the dealer hall, but the dealer hall is like the mall where as the flea market is like a giant estate sale. Does anyone expect to find the same stuff at a mall as they would at an estate sale?? Of course not and they attract different people for different reasons with differing levels of passion and excitement. That is the reason a line a few hundred people deep que up to attend the flea market. That is the reason some people attend these conventions in the first place and would stop coming if the flea market didn't exist. The passion around the flea market is because it's a completely different place to buy and sell compared to the dealer hall.

jpipes Inactive Member20 Mar 2018 5:29 a.m. PST

Doug, $200 USD at cold wars gets you a 10x10 booth for 3 days of selling (24 hours of actual open time), with one set up, one tear down, active security, the ability to use shelves, credit cards, marketing, to hand out business cards, use PayPal, etc. You also get 2 weekend passes, a $50 USD value.

And that's not the cheapest space available in the dealer hall.

For $135 USD a person can get an 8x8 booth with all the same allowances as above, 24 hours of open time, single setup, use of whatever means of sale desired, etc. Plus 2 passes.

And if you want just a single table and no booth, that's $100 USD plus 2 free passes.

That data comes directly from the exhibitor packet from HMGS.

A flea market table runs $25 USD a session for a single 6x2 table. Not a booth, but a table. And I spoke directly to a board member that desires to see the cost per flea market session go up even more. Add to this your membership requirement at $25 USD a year plus a weekend pass, another $25. USD At conventions with 4-5 sessions, a person is paying $150 USD-$175 for a space across all sessions which is much more than the cost of a space in the dealer hall with less selling time and fewer amenities.

Do the math, a table space in the dealer hall is considerably more economical for a person to get if they were getting one based entirely on cost and amenities. But as I outlined in my last post, people desire to be in the flea market because it's a totally different experience than a dealer hall. Estate sale versus the mall. That's the only reason so many people put up with higher cost, fewer amenities, and added difficulties.

Trust me the dealer hall is awesome. The largest game store in the country on that given weekend. I give the dealers money each convention and it's an important and wonderful draw for the shows, but it's a different place with a different set of experiences and drivers than a flea market.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member20 Mar 2018 5:39 a.m. PST

Lets rephrase that one second….and NOT twist words…
@BTC Terrain

Up until just THIS YEAR for Cold Wars and Fall In!….
Lets review.. going to the "true booth" is going to and does cost more…. BUT… as of FALL In! 2017… 4 short months ago….

To be in the dealer hall… to get one table….
what was the charge? $100. USD. $110 USD? That got you one table.. ALL weekend… and 2 badges….

To be in the flea market….
To get 1 table…. for all sessions…. (does NOT even come close to the hours the dealers get)….

Must be a member: $25 USD, only one badge: Pre-reg price: $20 USD… 3 sessions… @$25 ea….

So, for 9 hours of flea market… you had to pay…. $120 USD… IF you pre-reg… otherwise, what? $125 USD or more… for 9 hours….

A vendor pays $110 USD for a table.. gets 2 badges and has how many hours open for business?

Sorry… that is a LOST argument. The flea has been more expensive to do for all sessions for a VERY LONG time.

It is only in this new year that prices for the dealer has gone up…. Lets not address Hcon as I will say things I will regret on pricing, etc…. AND, you are getting a lot more space….

Apples to apples…. for the last 10 or more years…. the dealers were getting a better deal. The math is simple…. NOW…. start adding in more tables, etc…. the scale slides over…. but remember, this is apples to apples NOT apple to crate of apples….

Shall I continue?

And I have said it 1000 times… without the flea market, the dealers would make less money…. the proof has already been spelled out many times over…. Please listen…. unless you are a dealer disguised as a seller in the flea market…. pretty much everyone else is taking their gain and going to the dealer hall to buy more future broken dreams…after they sell off their old broken dreams.

Why can't you guys all get along?

Daribuck Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2018 7:18 a.m. PST

RE: Why can't you guys all get along?

Because arguing on the internet is fun!

My biggest gripe is misspelling of the word FLEA, as in Flea Market. We are supposed to be educated!

That and the lighting! OTHER THAN THE LIGHTING, Fleeing to the Flea was fantastic.

As a dealer, my Friday was much better than before, and it felt better, because there wasn't a huge drain of people at 2 o'clock on Friday. (As there was at 10 and 2 on Saturday) But I am not sure what impact Friday sales had on Saturday.

Personally, I skipped the Friday Wally's Session (Although I wanted to attend…) because it was too damn late! I'm not sure of the average age of a Cold Wars Attendee, but I am betting MOST of us do not normally Start an activity at 9:00 pm, even on a Friday.

I've made the suggestion a few times that a compromise might be even better: Start the flea at 6:00 pm on Friday AND Saturday, (and Thursday for Historicon) and leave it open until 9 or 10 or even later, if the sellers want to. Other Dealers will like the fact that they are not "directly" competing with flea markets at all, and, in fact, can now participate in the flea market as well… something I have missed for many years.

And you have the cycle of money made at one being turned around almost immediately at the other, whether it is dealers buying stuff at night after a successful day of sales that day, or flea guys buying stuff the next day with their newly acquired cash from recycling!

That's just my opinion, of course.

Daniel / Six Sided Simulations

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member20 Mar 2018 7:43 a.m. PST

@Daribuck… THANK YOU! Your honesty is much appreciated….

Yes, you were relieved there wasn't a drain on Friday form the show, like normal when Wally's opens up…. and yet you were very honest about this: "But I am not sure what impact Friday sales had on Saturday."

My take… folks looking for things to buy, did, since there was no flea session to attend… BUT, I am sure that they saved money for the treasures later!

And… as I have been told personally… the folks that sold at night just had to wait until Sat to shop in the dealer area with their loot.. I know that is what I had to do.

As far as your bottom line.. I am NOT a gambling man, but I would bet…. your sales for the show balanced out to a typical show… but I do agree, it is nice to get the margin ahead early… but I am sure sales will show they were down a little over sat and sun perhaps…

Thanks again for your suggestion…


You will know by Hcon what the hours for the flea will be at Fall IN!…so as a GM, you can plan your submission times around it if you wish. And as a seller.. well, so can you.

I think Daribuck is spot on about the cycle of money, I have preached it many times… they key then becomes what are the actual BEST times to do these things?

So I will ask now….

Would a single session flea on Friday that started at 5 or 6 be suffice? Instead of 2 sessions? (2 & midnight Madness)

You know I will not think of touching Sat am… but possibly Sat pm also move to 4-5?.. as such, there will be staff to guard or lock down the area so folks could eat if they were selling in both sessions?

To be honest… I was told by a couple regular flea market sellers that the short break between sessions was to make it "easier" on the 2 session sellers like himself…. but if security could be maintained… would a longer break work?

Would that perhaps work?

PM me or email me if you want to discuss.

jpipes Inactive Member20 Mar 2018 8:05 a.m. PST

I have long made the contention that based on what the dealer hall is, and what is sold there, it's not the same type of shopping experience that a flea market is. Not better, not worse, just different. People often know what to expect in the dealer hall and regardless if they shop there at noon or 2pm or 5pm or an hour before they close on Sunday, often times people are looking for things they know a dealer will carry. That type of shopping can be done in a different fashion than at a flea market where almost everything sold is one of a kind and pricing is often cheaper than retail. Often much, much, much cheaper. That variability in pricing adds to the draw. You pretty much always know the dealer hall will sell new product at X retail price, possibly minus Y onsite discount. But that's about the extent of it. People don't usually shop dealer halls for screaming hot once in a life time deals. That possibility in the flea market is what creates excitement, buzz, energy, anticipation, and frenzy. It's the same at any flea market at any convention across a huge range of hobby pursuits. Models, RC cars, records, etc etc etc. The unique and one of a kind, the treasure hunt, draws the most excitement.

To be fair, certainly some people dislike the frenzied environment that a flea market creates and would rather shop in a controlled environment. The analogy between shopping at a mall versus an estate sale continues to apply. To be clear not everyone likes estate sale frenzies. But clearly a huge number of people do, and trying to manage the dealer hall and the flea market like they are the same thing but in slightly different time slots does a great disservice to both.

Conversely, and this isn't a criticism, many dealers in the dealer hall carry the same products at each show that are also available online. How is someone supposed to get into a frenzy of anticipation over something they can find at the next show at the same booth from the same seller? Or more importantly, get from them online anytime they want all year long?

Money spent in the dealer hall depends to a large extent on what a dealer is selling and will get spent regardless of the time someone shops. If you aren't selling something people want, you won't make money selling it regardless of when the flea market operates.

As others have said, including our well reasoned convention director, a healthy convention requires equal parts dealer hall, flea market, special sessions, outstanding volunteers, and great GMs to make a good show. I offer my comments in that spirit, as I assume do most members.

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