Gen Con 2010 Auction Report
We hit a record number of items in the auction this year with 13,173 items. The more numerically capable of you may be wondering how that is a record considering that last year we had 13,255 items in the auction. The answer is simple! Last year's count included the charity items, this year's count does not. We started a new procedure to make the charity auction a bit easier on us. We devoted a cash register to this section. All charity items had to be paid for immediately and at the end of the segment we ran the tape to get the total raised for charity - much simpler than creating an auction tag for each charity item.
Here's some quick statistics :
|Number of Items in the Auction||13,173|
|Number of Items Sold||9,542|
|Value of Items Sold||$124,908.52|
|Number of Items Auctioned (non-Consignment Store)||5,146|
|Number of Items Sold from the Consignment Store||4,396|
|Amount Raised for Charity (Pajama Program)||$11,904.67|
|Amount Raised for Gygax Memorial||$9,128.00|
GenCon 2010 After-action report:
We arrived on Tuesday, and the Gen Con staff told us we couldn't get into the auction room until Wednesday - the staff hadn't set up our room yet and they have until midnight on Tuesday to complete it. Also since Katie is the official contact, they wouldn't even give me the key to the auction room. In other words it was a waste of a vacation day and time to show up early this year.
Troll and Toad has an employee who is coming in late tonight so that we can have our computer equipment early and get setup for the "big rush" at noon!
Tuesday night a bunch of the auction volunteers ate at Adobo Grill - pretty good Southwestern food..and it was "Devour Downtown" week meaning they had a prix fixe menu with a bunch of interesting dishes available.
Wonderful. No air conditioning. And it brutally hot. (close to 100 F outside). The dealers setting up their booths are practically collapsing from heat exhaustion. They don't want to turn the air conditioning on in the dealer's hall because so much would be wasted because the loading dock is basically open to the outside if there aren't any trucks in the bays. The trouble is there are trucks in the bays - every bay is full...all day.
Our equipment still hasn't arrived. It turns out there was a change in plans that I wasn't told about. And the Troll and Toad employee was actually coming up early on Wednesday. And he's here, but instead of bringing the essential equipment in his car as originally planned, he drove a truck and has to wait in line for one of those loading dock bays. He finally gets into one of the bays and we start unloading the truck - the computer stuff, being the most important was loaded first, so it is of course going to be the last thing off the truck...
About 11:30 we FINALLY get the computers, extension cords, etc. into the auction room. But guess what...They neglected to pack any power supplies for the laptops. So we have all these computers but no way to power them on. This is not turning out to be a very organized Auction year. After several frantic phone calls, we find out that Troll and Toad's main truck will be arriving around 1:00 pm and they've got the errant power supplies. After Origins they were packed separately and got separated from the rest of the equipment, but an alert employee noticed them and tossed them on the truck.
We still managed to open up check in with limited computers only about 1/2 hour late. In another bit of good news, someone high up in the food chain has decided to be merciful and the air conditioning has come on. The temperature quickly drops to a more tolerable 90F or so and continues to slowly drop lower as the day progresses. Because the Troll and Toad employee came up on Wednesday instead of Tuesday, he wasn't able to charge the wireless barcode scanners overnight as was originally planned - so we have to use the one wired scanner we have as well as the one wireless one I "borrowed" from work and brought with me. The other scanners will need a few hours to charge up. Since the computers we're using don't have any power supply, they are running on batteries that were last charged up at Origins - each is getting about 1 hour of life before we have to swap with another one.
Sellers just keep coming and coming! Wow! When we finally closed the doors at 6:00pm, we still had a bunch of people to check in. Happily no one has to wait too long - except people waiting to type in their items. I can't stress enough how much easier it is if you preregister everything. Even if you're not sure you're going to Gen Con or not sure which of the items you'll bring. You can always move the item to next year's convention.
After we get out of the room, a few friends and I head over to Hooters for some buffalo chicken wings.
We started off with the traditional auction volunteer meeting at 9:00. During the meeting we stress that in order to get through all the product we have to average about 150 items / hour. It's going to be a busy wild ride this year! After everything gets going, I head out to play a game. Unfortunately I make a mistake and turn left out of the auction room - thinking my game will be over in the main convention area. It took almost 15 minutes to get through the press of 1000's of gamers waiting to get into the dealer room when it first opens at 10:00. There doesn't appear to be a recession here! My game actually turns out to be in the room on door to the RIGHT of the auction room. I'm playing in an Epic BattleLore game. It was great fun, but a disappointing defeat - the other side managed a lucky hit on our Hydra and killed it on their first attempt.
Back to the auction room - There is still quite a line waiting to get into the auction store. Little did I know that we would have a line the entire convention! The only time there wasn't a line was after 10:00pm at night!
Things seem to be under control. So I head to my 2nd and final game of the convention - It is in the miniatures area, set behind the dealer's hall. The game was "Full Thrust", with a full complement of 8 players. Our team won - we pretty much smashed the other side since they came at us piecemeal.
Back at the auction sellers are starting to want early payouts. Since I'm the guy with the money I guess I better start handing it out!
The Gygax Memorial Charity auction was right before the collectibles auction. Gail (Gary's wife) put some of Gary's personal gaming equipment and things into the auction to help raise money for a memorial statue in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The final item was Gary's briefcase - it actually has secret compartments in it!!! The winner of the briefcase opened it up on stage and revealed all the wonderful things inside - including a name tag from one of the first game conventions Gary ever attended.
The collectibles auction finished right around when we anticipated - 12:00 midnight.
I don't remember too much from Saturday - it was a whirlwind of problems, solutions, and handing out cash to sellers (early payouts). I even got to run the bag check heading into the auction store - Saturday is the day we run short of volunteers since many of them have events or other commitments they want to participate in.
TOVA (Toys, Oddities, Video, and Art) was a blast as usual. Josh kept the pace up and yet still kept the event fun. At least there was no fire-drill this year!
After TOVA we switched over to Charity - the regular auction was complete and we all started to organize the unsold items for returning to the sellers tomorrow. The Charity auction was a big success - the dealers were very generous and we managed to raise quite a bit of money for the Pajama program.
Payouts on Sunday was really smooth. There were a few minor issues - the biggest one was the "missing" Warmachine army. The seller was willing to come back later to see if we could find it. After all the other sellers got paid out, I went to look for the missing army - there it was, right where it was supposed to be in the slot for the seller! Most likely the item was found somewhere else and then placed here.
A tradition we have is to take the auction volunteers out to dinner after the convention (those that are still around Sunday evening, anyway). This year was no exception. We had about 22 of the volunteers meet at Buca di Beppo. We were all pretty hungry after 5 days of intense work - the waitresses were surprised at the amount of food we put down...including desserts! And I didn't even have to change this paragraph from last year. We had the same number of volunteers come for the food!