If SDCC has a Good, a Bad and an Ugly, then I’m fairly certain the lines would be the Bad, and the greed would be the Ugly. Unfortunately, all that greed raises its head on Sunday, the day when most con attendees know the exhibitors are handing out all that extra stuff they brought with them FOR FREE.
You’re a 57 year old man who has never seen My Little Pony but there’s an adorable poster being handed out? Grab. Hasbro minitoys and you don’t even know a kid who’d want them? Grab. Pathetic tiny excuse of a poster for a toy and its covered in sponsor logos? GRABBBB
Let’s be fair – its so chaotic at the convention that most of the time you don’t even know what you’re lining up for. Sometimes its worth it, and sometimes its really not. The safest thing to do is get in line, get the freebie, then if you really don’t want it let another attendee have it … which is exactly what I did with a Hasbro item. I did line up for the free Pacific Rim t-shirts and posters, because DUH.
Other than that, it felt like everyone had returned that afternoon to get everything they could before it was all gone. The atmosphere was very different, and we decided we’d had enough. A few goodbyes to friends at booths and we were on our way out the door.
I had one last bout of freebie fever when I noticed someone being given a spare WB bag. I walked over to see if they were indeed handing them out. Unfortunately, a bunch of people behind me got the same idea. While I waited patiently at the counter they started to grab at bags, earning the wrath of the middle aged volunteer who yelled at them then promptly turned his steely gaze on me.
I very politely explained I was leaving for a flight in an hour, and was wondering if they were giving away bags at this time.
He blandly informed me that they were not being given away, only replaced if yours had broken. And then he defrosted slightly and said, “But you can have one because you’re nice, and you didn’t grab.”
I overflowed with thanks, then we made our way back to the hotel. The bag was festooned with images from Justice League and other animated series. Series I had not seen. It looked cool, and I could think of a friend or two who might like it back home, and somehow that was justification enough.
And then something happened that was nothing short of poetic.
There in the lobby was a teenager who was struggling with his own WB bag, but one that had broken at the shoulder strap. He had a huge box stuffed in it but it was now quite useless. The porter talking to him mentioned they seemed really flimsy this year, and his wasn’t the first to break.
I reached into my bag, pulled out the freebie I had just received, and handed it to him.
Yeah, I’m sickening. I should be a Hallmark card. But don’t think too highly of me… if that had been a Pacific Rim bag, who knows if I’d have parted with it?