The annual San Diego Comic-Con is coming up, and as always I find myself wishing I had the money and purchasing speed needed to spend a few days getting the scoop—in person—on my favorite TV shows and movies while nerding out with other fans.
Last May I got the closest I will ever be to SDCC by attending one of Hampton Road’s local versions of the event. Tidewater Comicon and Hampton Comicon are annual events; this year I finally made my way to Tidewater Comicon.
I spent a glorious two hours browsing awesome merch you can’t find in stores. I delighted over racks and racks of old, prequel-era Star Wars action figures that I remembered from my childhood. I nervously tiptoed around Daleks as they patrolled the convention center. I kept gawking at an attendee with a stellar 10th Doctor cosplay. I searched high and low for a Baby Groot Pop Figure, only to have vendors tell me they were sold out. The Regal Cinema stand gave me four Wonder Woman posters for free.
I made a few purchases including a Star Wars lanyard, and a “Nelson and Murdock Attorneys at Law” shirt. I then found ornaments of various comic book characters. I picked two to purchase. I swiped my card. Declined. I swiped my card again. Declined. I swiped my card a third time. Declined. The vendor gave me a judgemental look, like I was purposefully trying to trick them with a maxed-out credit card.
So I went home, and listened to the answering machine in anticipation of a call from the credit card company. My credit card was blocked for suspicious purchases. Vendors have a different zipcodes attached to their sale items. Even though I was buying items within minutes of my house, I still needed to update the card for “travel” if I wanted to continue making purchases. I passed on the process, and instead grabbed some cash and drove back to the convention center.
It is unlikely I am the first person to be flagged for making too many purchases at a convention. I can only imagine the nightmare that would be if it happened at SDCC. With my first “Comic-Con” experience behind me, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Never go to a convention without talking with the bank first.
Credit card “fraud” aside, I enjoyed my local con experience. Have you been to Tidewater Comicon, San Diego Comic Con, or any other convention before? If yes, please share your story in the comments! Also, don’t forgot CPL’s own mini-conventions. FantaSci, an event for fantasy and science fiction enthusiasts, is coming up this Saturday (July 22). For those wishing for SDCC tickets, FantaSci is a great local substitute! Shobou Con, an event for anime and manga fans, is September 30.