Our Canadian neighbors have the reputation as being a friendly, generous folk but they are not immune from poorly run comic cons. Or at least that what webcomics creator Michael McAdam claims in a post about C4 Winnipeg. C4 stands for Central Canada Comic Con, and this year’s show, held last weekend, had some problems, according to McAdam.
Blanket statement that remained true for the entire weekend: No volunteer anywhere could answer any questions. They were confused, lost, disjointed, or had incorrect information. In fact, a Facebook friend of mine tried to attend on Saturday- and was given so many incorrect directions to registration that he gave up and left without entering the con! Think about that: a paying attendee, who wants to come in and spend his money, can’t even get directed to the proper entrance due to absolute incompetence and ignorance. How many people do you think gave up? How much in terms of potential earnings was lost due to stupidity? (Fortunately, my buddy chose to return on Sunday to buy from me, but only because he wanted to meet me and was motivated to do so!)
Among the other problems McAdam reported:
– Registration was accomplished by means of index cards and took forever
– Because he registered late, McAdam was given a table in the Indie Gaming section and it was literally that – a table with no chairs.
– Lots of problems with schedules, maps and finding anything.
– The show close was listed as 5 pm on the website, but at 5 it was announced the show was actually closing at 6. But then they told people to leave anyway.
– And in a detail that makes these kind of bad con stories so vivid, a puddle of urine in a mens room was never cleaned the whole weekend.
Some other details – bad cabs, a near mugging – aren’t really the con’s fault.
There are many corroborating comments on McAdam’s posts, incluing one points out that the index card record method may be outdated:
Registration is alway frustrating because people have no patiences and have to got through 1000’s of forms. a computer is an excellent idea mabye someone can set that up for the crew at registration. I would come back if the 3 tables weren’t sold at such a high price. I do know if you register one day early you get electric for $125 instead of $175.
Last year when we were paying for this year we were all told if we pay in cash we would get a discount. However we were not given proper receipts for this just a little scribbled piece of paper and we were promised formal recipts would go out, they did eventually..11 months later. We also never recieved a formal contract or anything like that. This year when I asked a staff member about closing times on sunday he said “well check your contact” very snidley. When i told him we never recieved a contract he replied “well thats not my fault” which was all very rude. If we didn’t have contracts how were we supposed to know that you guys made a typo on the main page of the website. This was very frustrating as people had planes to catch and long drives ahead of them and to be told we couldn’t leave at the time your website said we were done? This is rediculous. To have a guy come over the speaker to say “we are open till 6 dont pack up” and then not even 5 minutes later he came back on and told patrons to make their final purchases and leave.. so we had to sit there for an hour and do nothing.
To be fair, on the FB page there are many positive comments as well. And to their credit, the con people have been replying to many of the comments and complaints:
Still, you’d think the closing time for the show would be a major detail of a show.
C4 has been running for over a decade (it was to become part of the Wizard World family at one point may years ago) and to be fair, its problems seem to be mostly disorganization not ripping people off. The Winnipeg area draws from North Dakota as well, and a report on last year’s show says it drew 48,000 people. I’m not aware of any other large shows in the area (but I could be wrong) and it’s definitely a market that deserves a good show. The comics guest list is modest, and the nerdlebrities are corralled in an area called “Guest Alley” a term I’ve never heard used before but maybe it should be used more often.
I’ve reached out to showrunners for a response to the bad reviews and will update when I get one.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.