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Author Topic: First time attending - what to expect?  (Read 5206 times)

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Offline Sunshine

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First time attending - what to expect?
« on: January 27, 2013, 03:51:55 AM »
Honestly, I really want to go to this fair in Indy this year... and I've never been to a single one before. I'm totally nervous. I already missed out on all the ticket packages, which means I probably won't get a fair exclusive pony, so I'm nervous about that... just all around kinda anxious... Can anyone give me an idea of what to expect? Are people like elbowing people out of the way to buy things? Is it a competition atmosphere or a community atmosphere? Do I need to dress up or cosplay?

I just have no idea what to expect...

Any insight/help would really be appreciated :)
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Offline Bow Tie

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2013, 04:38:33 AM »
I have never been, but I do know that dressing up in costumes is not a requirement. I've been going to conventions for 10 years, this year being my 11th and never once was I required to wear one, but of course I wear one because I love doing it!
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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2013, 04:43:11 AM »
Well I haven't been since Bronies hit the scene, but in 2010 it was lovely, relaxed, no big rushes on everything, everyone was really lovely.  Not sure how the increase of pony fans have changed it though.

Offline Foxtale

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2013, 05:13:51 AM »
If the fair is anything like last year, the brony phenomenon didn't have a major effect. The only thing major was a slew of bronies that came to buy the exclusive...and then left. There were some new collectors/fim collectors that stayed but they all fit right in.

In my opinion the fair is always fun and relaxed (I've only been to 3 but I have been watching them since the start). There are plenty of things to do without being overwhelmed and plenty of room (without it being too empty). So to answer your question there is a comminity (not competition) atmosphere, you don't need to dress up (although there is a costume competition if you like) and I'm pretty sure, the exclusive will be available to everyone for purchase at the fair even if you didn't aquire a ticket package with one. Last year was just an unusual frenzy, in most years in recent history aside from last year the pony and some merch was available after the fair.

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Offline Sunshine

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2013, 06:06:15 AM »
Thanks for all of the replies!

I guess my other concern is that I'm not planning on staying at the hotel because we have family in town (or at least... did, they might be moving, so, plans might change...) but for now... I want to make sure I feel like I'm part of the convention and not an outsider... would it be important to wear a nametag with my MLPTP/Arena names on it? Or... like... I just dunno lol...

I guess I don't even know what it'll be like - lots of booths with different vendors right? And then, some activities and talks by people involved (was looking at last years events)... but, the point of the convention is for MLP lovers to get together and swap ponies, sell their items and have fun contests and things like that... right?

If I'm not a vendor, I don't need to worry about bringing any ponies with me, lol right? I know these questions sound ridiculous... Sorry!
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Offline Sarahlacewing

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2013, 07:14:38 AM »
Well you might want to bring ponies if you intend to trade but yes for the most part it's buy/sell, games, talks, sometimes demonstrations or tutorials, etc. when I went people wandered around chatting and hanging out. I will say there will be other 80s toys too. Wingsinmoonlight will be there again, one table ponies one other vintage 80s toys. Some people's costume for the contest but many don't. I would say bring a backpack if you can to hold your snacks and the stuff you buy if you aren't renting a room so you don't have to run out to your car every time you buy something. Most people will deal cash, a few may take PayPal if they have the ability to run it. I put my name and then arena name under it on my name tag.
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Offline Roogna

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2013, 03:37:52 PM »
This will be my 5th fair and it's my first time staying in the main hotel.
If you're not in the main hotel, you really won't miss out on much. Plus, you can come hang out as people normally organize something poolside or in rooms. And this year there's the dinner Fri, and there's always something Sat night :)

I also suggest bringing a bottle of water and a lunchable for lunch (as I barely find time to stop and eat that LOL). Since I'm running a booth and giving presentations I usually don't participate in the games, but they always look and sound fun :) Even if you don't participate you can watch.

The costume parade: costumes are not required, and if you do dress up you don't have to be inthe costume parade/contest. Usually everything else stops and people leave their booths to gather at one end of the room to watch the costume parade and then vote :)
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Offline DazzleKitty

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2013, 04:02:06 PM »
It's my first time attending too. I am both super nervous and super excited.
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Offline Elfpony

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2013, 05:49:49 PM »
Roogna, Foxtale, and Saralacewing all have great advice.  I would add that you make a want list and bring it with you.  You walk in thinking that you know what all you want to buy but when you're in a room FULL of ponies, you can get confused/forget what you're looking for (this is my 8th Fair and I still shop with a want list.)

Also, if you need to/plan to buy lunches/dinners instead of carrying something with you, make sure you budget for it and keep that money separate from your pony money.  It's really easy to overspend in that room FULL of ponies. :P

A lot of people in the community are shy (myself included) but we're all pretty friendly, so don't feel nervous about striking up a conversation with anyone.  We're all there for the same reason, so you'll for sure have something to talk about.

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2013, 06:18:00 PM »
Roogna, Foxtale, and Saralacewing all have great advice.  I would add that you make a want list and bring it with you.  You walk in thinking that you know what all you want to buy but when you're in a room FULL of ponies, you can get confused/forget what you're looking for (this is my 8th Fair and I still shop with a want list.)

Also, if you need to/plan to buy lunches/dinners instead of carrying something with you, make sure you budget for it and keep that money separate from your pony money.  It's really easy to overspend in that room FULL of ponies. :P

A lot of people in the community are shy (myself included) but we're all pretty friendly, so don't feel nervous about striking up a conversation with anyone.  We're all there for the same reason, so you'll for sure have something to talk about.

Elf

I totes agree with this. I don't collect certain ponies from certain generations, except for G4 so it's more difficult for me, but I'm definitely going to make a list of certain ones I want to collect over other ponies. Like, I plan on trying to complete or mostly complete TE's and Rainbow ponies for G1 and I'm looking for mostly MOC's for G2 since those can be fairly cheap if they're just the US ones and I'm not really looking for any G4's other than the international ones.

Though I do plan on my boyfriend being the one who buys lunches/dinners while I buy the ponies. :lol:
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 06:19:43 PM by Bow Tie »
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Offline Sunshine

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2013, 08:10:04 PM »
Thank you all, this has made me start to feel more comfortable. I'm getting more excited again even though I was so sad I missed out on the ticket packages... I don't feel like I'll be an outsider. At least I hope I'm social enough to make some friends, heh!

I myself am only looking for a handful of specific items... is there anything like... where someone won't sell rare ponies until the last day or something, so they're not out in the beginning, leading to maybe, not spending money until the last day or anything like that? I expect some people to have amazing nirvanas for sale, which I will have to resist, otherwise, yes I can definitely see spending all my money, IMMEDIATELY, in a room full of ponies!! I never know if I should be trying to buy ponies I want before the convention or just wait to see if they're there in person...
Do sales and trades trickle off before the convention because people are trying to either save money or save stock? I figured that about 1/2 the country is too far to make a trip to Indy (well, distance based, since there are Cons all over I figure... 1000+ mile trip is kinda expensive for many people!) I don't know if I should spend my money when I see a rare pony now, or save the money, let the rare pony pass me by, and hope it's at the convention? Any tips on this? Has anyone waited for a pony in the past at the con and then found it for a better price? Or... had the opposite luck and still waiting to find that pony again? Just wondering.

I'm definitely making a check list from this post alone, on things to bring, etc... I know I'll get overwhelmed by the ponies, lol and be like "IWANTTHEMALL!" but... yes. Will have to restrain myself...



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Offline Sarahlacewing

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2013, 08:14:04 PM »
The most awkward thing for me is haggling/trading.  But don't be afraid to try.  Most sellers are completely open to price negotiation as long as you are respectful.  After all there are so many people some folks will have the same items and they want o make the sale if they can and not lose too much.  And also the last day some sellers look at the stuff they have left and think 'man do I not want to take all this home' and they might be willing to make you a deal.  The year I went several people had sales like (Bogo for 1 hour, as many ponies as you can fit in your fist for $$, raffles for more rare items). 

In addition to want lists you might make a general guide for how much you'd be willing to spend for each pony before you get there if you don't have a price guide book to reference.  In my experience the fair is a good place to find ponies at a good price but if you are making offers you don't want to accidentally low ball yourself out of a purchase.

Edit: I find people do tend to bring more unusual finds on the grounds that most collectors have the most common ponies they need in their collection already and so bringing a lot of stock of commons won't end up selling for as high/may not sell at all.

But everyone has this thinking of (get all the ponies!) so if you see something really htf I'd buy it.  Folks are more likely to buy things they can see and touch.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 08:17:35 PM by Sarahlacewing »
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Offline Sunshine

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2013, 09:08:48 PM »
The most awkward thing for me is haggling/trading.  But don't be afraid to try.  Most sellers are completely open to price negotiation as long as you are respectful.  After all there are so many people some folks will have the same items and they want o make the sale if they can and not lose too much.  And also the last day some sellers look at the stuff they have left and think 'man do I not want to take all this home' and they might be willing to make you a deal.  The year I went several people had sales like (Bogo for 1 hour, as many ponies as you can fit in your fist for $$, raffles for more rare items). 

In addition to want lists you might make a general guide for how much you'd be willing to spend for each pony before you get there if you don't have a price guide book to reference.  In my experience the fair is a good place to find ponies at a good price but if you are making offers you don't want to accidentally low ball yourself out of a purchase.

Edit: I find people do tend to bring more unusual finds on the grounds that most collectors have the most common ponies they need in their collection already and so bringing a lot of stock of commons won't end up selling for as high/may not sell at all.

But everyone has this thinking of (get all the ponies!) so if you see something really htf I'd buy it.  Folks are more likely to buy things they can see and touch.

Good point... ! Thanks for that insight! Now... I don't want to sound like some... snobby collector here - but I've been collecting G1s for over a decade, and at least been in the game again pretty hard over the past 3 years, so, I feel like I have a pretty good knowledge of ponies and reasonable prices surrounding them... do the sellers at these conventions realize that some people ARE seasoned collectors and some are not? Like... I wouldn't go around making crazy offers on rare G3 ponies, because I'm definitely not up to date on those prices, even G4 ponies, but G1s I'm pretty much 100% confident in "my" prices (as being reasonable, or within a range of what I think they should sell for...) and I'm not one who thinks like Rapunzel should be $50 and Sweet Scoops charm should be $20, etc... (Though I'd take them at those prices, LOL!) ...how can you express to other collectors that you're a knowledgeable seasoned collector? Unfortunately, I haven't been a member of the Arena all that long (sad too, cause I love it here!) - so it's not like I'm a well known name around here or anything...

I will make a list so I have something to look at, even if it's something simple - that will help me also save for the Con. If I could save enough to buy every G1 pony I still needed (okay yeah, right, probably won't have NEARLY that much money saved, but still, I can try!), then I should have enough money to pick up a COUPLE of them for prices at the Con, plus some other cool gear. I definitely need to make a saving goal for it. Does anyone have a recommendation on how much money OUTSIDE of the spending on ponies themselves, that I should look to be bringing? (So, that would be food and other things not related to the Convention)... Indy isn't a super expensive city, though there are expensive places... I know the whole trip is going to be a HUGE drain on my bank account, LOL!

I do need to beef up on my skills on negotiating. I've done a little bit at the flea markets this past week, but I was NERVOUS as heck. My heart was thumping like crazy when I mentioned to this guy that I thought his prices were bit too high for me (he showed me his ponies, I didn't just, say this out of the blue to him!), but I thought they were very lovely. Then when I came back around to his table a 2nd time, he said to me "I don't know much about them so maybe we could work out a deal on something", which is when I asked if he could take $5 off his price on one pony, and he did (which, to me, brought her down to a reasonable RETAIL price, not a cheap price). That was a rush, and a nervous breakdown, all at the same time, LOL - and now I'll be dealing with other seasoned collectors, who know just as much as I do (most likely) - so we're all on the same playing field. I guess I need to figure out some good negotiating skills to sound smart, lol
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Offline Sarahlacewing

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 12:06:28 AM »
The most awkward thing for me is haggling/trading.  But don't be afraid to try.  Most sellers are completely open to price negotiation as long as you are respectful.  After all there are so many people some folks will have the same items and they want o make the sale if they can and not lose too much.  And also the last day some sellers look at the stuff they have left and think 'man do I not want to take all this home' and they might be willing to make you a deal.  The year I went several people had sales like (Bogo for 1 hour, as many ponies as you can fit in your fist for $$, raffles for more rare items). 

In addition to want lists you might make a general guide for how much you'd be willing to spend for each pony before you get there if you don't have a price guide book to reference.  In my experience the fair is a good place to find ponies at a good price but if you are making offers you don't want to accidentally low ball yourself out of a purchase.

Edit: I find people do tend to bring more unusual finds on the grounds that most collectors have the most common ponies they need in their collection already and so bringing a lot of stock of commons won't end up selling for as high/may not sell at all.

But everyone has this thinking of (get all the ponies!) so if you see something really htf I'd buy it.  Folks are more likely to buy things they can see and touch.

Good point... ! Thanks for that insight! Now... I don't want to sound like some... snobby collector here - but I've been collecting G1s for over a decade, and at least been in the game again pretty hard over the past 3 years, so, I feel like I have a pretty good knowledge of ponies and reasonable prices surrounding them... do the sellers at these conventions realize that some people ARE seasoned collectors and some are not? Like... I wouldn't go around making crazy offers on rare G3 ponies, because I'm definitely not up to date on those prices, even G4 ponies, but G1s I'm pretty much 100% confident in "my" prices (as being reasonable, or within a range of what I think they should sell for...) and I'm not one who thinks like Rapunzel should be $50 and Sweet Scoops charm should be $20, etc... (Though I'd take them at those prices, LOL!) ...how can you express to other collectors that you're a knowledgeable seasoned collector? Unfortunately, I haven't been a member of the Arena all that long (sad too, cause I love it here!) - so it's not like I'm a well known name around here or anything...

I will make a list so I have something to look at, even if it's something simple - that will help me also save for the Con. If I could save enough to buy every G1 pony I still needed (okay yeah, right, probably won't have NEARLY that much money saved, but still, I can try!), then I should have enough money to pick up a COUPLE of them for prices at the Con, plus some other cool gear. I definitely need to make a saving goal for it. Does anyone have a recommendation on how much money OUTSIDE of the spending on ponies themselves, that I should look to be bringing? (So, that would be food and other things not related to the Convention)... Indy isn't a super expensive city, though there are expensive places... I know the whole trip is going to be a HUGE drain on my bank account, LOL!

I do need to beef up on my skills on negotiating. I've done a little bit at the flea markets this past week, but I was NERVOUS as heck. My heart was thumping like crazy when I mentioned to this guy that I thought his prices were bit too high for me (he showed me his ponies, I didn't just, say this out of the blue to him!), but I thought they were very lovely. Then when I came back around to his table a 2nd time, he said to me "I don't know much about them so maybe we could work out a deal on something", which is when I asked if he could take $5 off his price on one pony, and he did (which, to me, brought her down to a reasonable RETAIL price, not a cheap price). That was a rush, and a nervous breakdown, all at the same time, LOL - and now I'll be dealing with other seasoned collectors, who know just as much as I do (most likely) - so we're all on the same playing field. I guess I need to figure out some good negotiating skills to sound smart, lol


No one at the fair is going to try to trick you into paying unfair prices.  Some people might ask more than you want to pay.  One because they don't want to lose money.  And two because some sellers leave their sticker price high so they have room to come down when people haggle.  Some people price at the lowest they are willing to take from the start.  But folks at the fair are very honest.  Experienced or inexperienced won't make any difference.  You'll just be a customer.  You'll pay what they are asking or you'll see if they'll take less or make you a trade.  If you can work something out great! But if not there are plenty of other vendors.  So don't worry about how you look.  It's just like selling/trading here on the Arena.

As far as negotiating skills there are several approaches (in my limited experience):
-Bundling.  Can I get a better deal if I buy more from you.  So if you have ponies for 5 dollars each can I get 4 for 17 dollars or something like that. Good for them because they make a bigger sale, good for you because per pony price is less than you would have spent.
-Counteroffer. I see you have this price on this item, I was wondering if you would take this much for it instead.  I find concrete offers do better thank just asking if someone will take less.   After all they don't know how much you are willing to pay so they don't want to shoot themself in the foot by offering too low.  If you ask someone to take less they will most likely come back with what do you have in mind, or make me an offer.
-Trading.  This one is really flexible.  You probably aren't going to have a lot of stock with you unless you have a table.  I see more trades vender to vender because otherwise general shoppers don't have a lot with them to barter with and you never know exactly what to bring because each person will have different wishlists.
-Preorders.  Look at the people going to the fair.  See if they have things for sale you could negotiate and buy before the fair and then pick up when you arrive. You save on shipping, don't have to worry about paying at the fair, and you get to have something to look forwards to.
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Offline Roogna

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Re: First time attending - what to expect?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2013, 01:41:33 AM »
some people do special "sales" throughout and /or more on the second day to sell their stock.

I generally don't budge much on my prices on day 1, but I do leave some wiggle room for bundles or trading
Day 2 I'm  more likely to haggle, especially when budling or trading.
but my wishlist for trades is rather small and specific. (though any nirvana I don't already have is fair game).

Sarahlacewing is right in that no one will try to trick you, but sticker prices do range and some will be more than you want to pay....but you're also saving the cost of shipping ;)

if there is something that you MUST have - buy it when you find it! there are things I'm willing to pay a bit more than "what it's worth" if I find them b/c I want them that bad. Have a printed out wishlist to help you remember to not buy ANOTHER firefly b/c you already have 3 at home lol.
Shop around/browse, but don't tell me that so-and-so is selling the same thing for less so I should too. If they're selling it for less, then go buy it from them. ---usually this happens b/c mine happens to be in better condition and they want me to match a price that's lower b/c that pony's condition is not as good ;)
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