Saturday, December 23, 2017

ACC: Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

For weeks now I have been both excited and stressed about the upcoming ACC Baltimore Wholesale Show. So much to do: Define the wholesale line! Take photos, create forms, plan a production schedule. Build a booth! (What space will I use to build it? To store it afterwards?) Will it fit in the Grey Lady? No? Okay, check out trailers. Where will I stay? 

I'd already paid the $400 upfront they ask you for, to hold your space. When the contract arrived, I put off reading it in detail, the way you do when you are stressed about something. (On the plus side, I tend to do lots of other things in the process of procrastinating. I got a lot done!) The first thing I noticed were the FEES. Some I expected: of course I'd have to pay for pipe* and drape or carpeting, if I was going to need it. (I wouldn't, because it's $256 to rent a 10x10 square of carpet. I didn't even bother to find out how much the pipe & drape was) But mother of dog: WIFI? It's $135 to access WIFI?? Before I had even finished reading the contract, the expenses were looking like this:

  • $1200 booth fee (I knew about that, obvs)
  • $65 "facility fee" Wut? Just make it part of the booth fee, you knew there was going to be a facility involved, the show doesn't take place between dimensions
  • $40 Membership fee. Um, okay, I can see that, I guess.
  • $135 for the freakin' wifi, WTF
  • $301.80 Mandatory labor to unload the truck/trailer. FUCK THAT NOISE 
  • Electricity: $95 for 500 watts...that's FOUR bulbs. $120 for 1000W. That's not more than I expected's an indoor show. Everyone is going to need lights! Just be honest and roll it into the booth fee. 
  • Exhibitors are not permitted to use power tools to erect their booths: must hire labor from the hall to do that, so who even knows how much that would end up costing.  
I know some of these are requirements of the hall, but that doesn't actually matter to me: what matters is a show that I could barely afford to do before got pushed into the prohibitive range by a bunch of hidden costs. If these expense were stated upfront, as the booth fee was, I would never have applied.  Nor are these expenses stated anywhere all in one place - I really had to go looking for them. I admit I side-eye the organization a bit, about this: making it hard to know what the real costs are until after the deposit is paid, surely results in more forfeited deposits. Hey-hey-hey, money for nothing, right, ACC?

And - icing on the cake - I asked for my booth not to be on the perimeter. Guess where they put me? If you guessed on the perimeter, you win! That wouldn't have been enough to cancel,but it was enough for make me feel a little dubious, even before the additional expenses.

Man I am bummed about this. I've lost my $400 deposit - of course - but also what I had hoped was a way to really grow my business. And it seems I never finish learning how much I have to learn. 🙁

I know there is a bright side here - hey, now I can relax and enjoy the remainder of my break, and just make pots - and I will focus on it shortly. I just need a minute to process my disappointment.

Oh hey, Happy Festivus! Perfect: it's the airing of grievances!

*When I first typed this, I typo'd it to "pope and drape." Like, no wonder it's spendy! His time is valuable. 😀

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