Saturday morning’s volunteer gig was working the so-called “freebies” table, which is really the flyer table since 99% of the freebies given are flyers. Though there is the occasional pin, poster, or rubber bracelet. Believe it or not, the freebies table was fun. I got to sit the whole time and my official duties consisted of straightening up piles of flyers and postcards, making sure nobody set down their coffee on the areas kept clear for some reason, and telling people they couldn’t just sit theirs down on the table without prior approval. The con had to make sure nobody was advertising porn or anything illegal, so paid staff had to check out any websites and stuff listed first. Con goers also treated the freebies table as a de facto information booth. Where are the restrooms? How do I get to the exhibit hall? Where do I get my tickets to enter Mattel’s drawing for the chance to buy merchandise? The ever-popular is this (the flyers and stuff) all free? One couple, the girl dressed as Wonder Woman and the guy dressed as Batman, asked me where the complaint booth was. I’d never heard of the complaint booth and after consulting my guide, didn’t see one listed. The girl told me she and her companion had waited in what they were told was the armband line for Hall H and were given bum information by security and volunteer staff. They were in the wrong line all along and got hosed but the staff refused to make anything right. They were extremely disappointed and said they didn’t want to come back; the horror stories the zillions of people who wished they were at SDCC never get to hear! I told them there was nothing anyone could do. The paid staff had final discretion over that and there is legalese saying that getting a badge is not guaranteed admission into anything at the convention, even if it is the staff’s fault.
Working the freebies table was also a source of invaluable information. I found out about two small comic cons in the county that I’d never heard of. Maybe they’re new. One is later this month and one is in October. A lady in a t-shirt with Jango Fett, Captain Rex, a ROTS trooper, and a stormtrooper on it came by the table. “Where did you get that shirt?” I asked, desperate for the opportunity to wear anything with Jango AND Captain Rex on it. She wasn’t exactly sure where the booth was, she just had a general idea, but it was like $19. For Comic Con, that’s cheap. I’d already dropped $25 apiece for a visit Alderaan t-shirt and a Vikings (t.v. show) shirt from Stylin’ on Friday. I made a note to go look for it.
Best of all, they actually offer relief volunteers at the freebies table so you could visit the restroom and get a bottle of water or something. This was the only time I was ever offered that.
Once my shift was done, I made a beeline for the Hallmark booth to try again for the Itty Bitty set my friend wanted. Again the line was short and supplies were dwindling. The funny thing is the Hallmark staff remembered me from Thursday so they were glad I managed to snag the Itty Bitty set this time. Whew! On the day I’d least likely get it, too. From there I went back to the Marriott for my brown bag special and to await an assignment for Sunday. Once I was done with that, I went to check out the outdoor displays. Nerd HQ moved to another location and went entirely for gamers; in fact I’d noticed that a lot of gaming-type attractions had been exiled to off-campus locations. Nerdist had a new free event at Petco Park called Conival. There I got some free nail stickers from Espionage Cosmetics and got a glimpse of the cast of a new show. I went to another area out on the hot, hot asphalt where various studios set up attractions and there are a few food trucks. I got more Scream Queens free ice cream (now I really do have to watch). The place was packed with people who weren’t attending the convention and given that a lot of them were Mexican, word had apparently spread to TJ this was a fun free place to bring the family for the day.
I’d bumped into the satanic street team, promoting a show for A&E based on those Omen movies from the ’70s. I thought it was kind of in bad taste and certainly gave the usual “you’re all going to hell” guys outside with their signs and bullhorns more ammo. Their chant stuck in my head too. Worst of all I couldn’t shake them. I kept hoping the street preachers wouldn’t think I was a part of the Damian fan club. “It’s not me!” Finally I lost the faux devil worshipers.
I found a pop up Snoopy & Belle shop on 5th Avenue. The Peanuts booth at Comic Con is one of the consistently busy booths, especially when Snoopy shows up. Everybody loves Snoopy. The store was aimed more at adult collectors, with Snoopy and his sister Belle dressed up in designer outfits (Belle in Isabel Marant, $275) and with a series of considerably cheaper but very cute t-shirts. I bought one and got a free lip balm with purchase.
I checked out the set-ups next to and behind the convention center, also full of non-con attendees. The stuff put on by FX had gigantic lines for swag and other things like free “squishees” from a Simpsons-themed booth. Ditto for the “mini carnival” sponsored by Adult Swim. So I sauntered over to the marina where I sampled coconut water on a yacht and I did a little celebrity watching by the TV Guide party boat. A bunch of people were screaming for a girl named Amy…I’m old so I didn’t recognize her. But she clearly had a lot of fans since she was signing autographs and taking pictures with them on her way off the boat. Then came some cast members from “The Vampire Diaries,” a fact I knew only because of the 12 year old girl standing next to me. Then I finally saw somebody I did know, Jim Caviezel of “Person Of Interest.” He signed autographs, took pictures, and shook hands with fans. Then he was off to put the smackdown on the Omen street team.
Inside the convention center, I wore out my poor feet searching for the booth that had the clonetrooper/stormie t-shirt I’d seen earlier that day. Finally, when I was just about to give up, I came across a comic book store’s booth that had it.
I left the convention center a little early that day to swing by Horton Plaza in search of some brown or beige leggings that would go with my WeLoveFine X Goldie Jedi dress, since I planned on wearing it on Sunday.