Convention Stories: Line Mishaps and Memorable Moments

So I haven’t done convention stories in a while and thought now would be a good time to fix that, but I wanted to do something different and tell a variety of stories all relating to a specific topic. These stories are interesting but not enough on their own to warrant their own post so I thought this would be a nice way to highlight some of those experiences. In conventions, lines are everywhere and they tend to be rather boring and uneventful; however, if you go to enough conventions eventually you’ll see stuff happen either while you’re in line or near one that you just won’t forget easily.

Stampede

This was while I was at Anime Weekend Atlanta in 2017 and I was going to line up to meet Laura Bailey and Travis Willingham. Now I’ve been pretty excited as I’ve wanted to meet both of them for a while and the staff finally gave the ok to line up for their autograph session. At first, things started rather calmly as everyone walked at a fair pace to line up, but then it got noisy. I looked back and a lot of the people that were walking started to run to get to a decent spot in line and so in order to not get trampled I started rushing because I really didn’t want to be anywhere near the mob coming at me. Luckily I was almost in line and managed to get a solid spot but after lining up I looked to see that the line was so long it managed to make its way to the other side of the convention center, snake its way back up to the autograph tables and then nearly made it’s way back to the other side of the center again. While I can see everyone wanting an autograph and rushing to get a good spot that was not a comfortable line to be in by any means.

Flight Change

This happened at Megacon 2021. I was in the middle of the line to meet Chris Sabat when I get a notification that said that my flight home had been canceled and will not be rescheduled. Now, this was the first time I had to deal with a flight cancellation so I was just hoping the resolution would be quick and easy. Luckily Sabat’s line moves very slowly and I was easily able to go through the airline app and book a new flight long before I ever made it to the front of the line. Sadly the flight was seven hours earlier which shortened our plans but we also got $300 in compensation for it which was more than that the flights actually cost. So overall a happy ending.

Security Needs a New Job

This was at Anime Expo 2019 and during this day I was at the autographing area for quite a while. My friend was getting an autograph for herself and one of my items while I waited for her at the exit. I struck up a conversation with who I thought was a very nice security guard that was supposed to be watching the exit very closely, spoiler they weren’t. When it came time for me to line up for a session that I had a ticket for I went through the entrance, got my item from my friend, and lined up. Pretty simple, but the security guard continued to not pay attention to the exit and for some reason made up this idea that I went in the line through the line’s exit and made a big fit over it. So big that the line of people ahead of me saw the need to defend me and explained that they all knew I went through the right entrance, but the security guard was not having it which summoned another member of staff. Now the solution this person suggested was that I just leave and line up again up to avoid any issues and the security guard that was harassing me would leave me alone. Now I was last in line, nobody was lining up, and I had three tickets for autograph sessions during that time so my place in line there was irrelevant so honestly, I saw no issue with this and complied to avoid any further drama, but I avoided that security guard the rest of the convention. Personally, I’m of the mindset that if the security guard was actually doing their job that issue wouldn’t have happened, but hopefully, for future events. the venue hires more capable guards.

Going Going Gone

This also happened at Anime Expo 2019 but I was near the line this time. I was shopping at the AX store and heard a commotion. I turn around and there’s what appeared to be a shirtless guy running up the steps to get in the building with multiple members of security behind them. The guy flawlessly ran up the stairs but security didn’t and it didn’t take long for this person to lose them. My group suspected this person snuck in without a pass or without going through the security checkpoint but we didn’t find out any more about that.

Buttnuts?

This happened at Matsuricon 2018, I was in line and this group of about six people decided to walk up and cut most of the line. This of course enraged the entire line and most of the people in it verbally made their frustrations known. This alerted the staff, this person is in my opinion the ideal example of how should function at conventions. The staff noted that they honestly did not see what happened and was hoping to resolve this peacefully but when most of the line is indicating that someone cut it’s hard to argue with the sheer amount of evidence presented. Ultimately the line could not agree on all six members of the group but two people in the group stood out enough that everyone did point them out and the staff had enough evidence to decide to kick them out of the line. One of these individuals wasn’t too happy with that and reentered the line and just pointed at everyone calling us Buttnuts and left. To this day I’m still not sure what that is.

Talk on your own time

This happened at Youmacon 2018 and we were in line for a guest. The line was moving rather smoothly until it just stopped. Nobody in my area thought anything of it till we noticed that the line had not moved for about three or four minutes, which is odd for that line. News of what was going on eventually traveled from the front of the line to the back and the issue was someone at the front of the line was taking up an unfair amount of time to have a conversation. About eight minutes have now passed, of an hour line autograph session, and there are now people making very aggressive comments about the person in the front of the line. The comments were so aggressive that I decided the situation was very close to getting out of hand and I went and got a member of staff to help resolve the issue. Staff came and the person in front of the line left. Due to this person’s delay and the fact that the autograph session already started late, it was extended to ensure as many people as possible got an autograph.

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