Aaron Hale writes for Bleeding Cool after surviving WonderCon with C2E2 coming up sharp. How did he do?
You are are like me: a purveyor of pop culture, a true collector. You’re sharing a hotel room with one bed and fifteen roommates, eating off the 99 cent menu. There are things you want, exclusives you need. All that saved cash is going to the exhibit floor. One of the main highlights for most attendees this year will be the exhibit hall. However, most people don’t fully get as much out of it as they can.
Here are eleven tips on how to get the most for your money. In years past, by following these tips, I’ve stretched a few bucks into hundreds of dollars worth of collectibles and never come home broke. It all comes down to the art of bargaining; all prices are negotiable.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask. You’ve worked hard for your money and should get the most bang for your buck. Most vendors will be open to negotiating on their prices.
2. Negotiate one on one. Do not bargain in front of others. The merchant might give you a deal, but they don’t want others to ask.
3. Cash is king. Merchants are less likely to bargain if you use a credit card because they usually have to pay a fee. Keep a small amount of cash on hand at each vendor, so they’ll think you have a limited budget. They’ll want your sale, even if you’re short on cash.
4. Never buy on the first day. Unless it’s the last one in stock or a popular exclusive, hold off until the last day of the con. Most merchants are willing to negotiate price on the last day so they don’t have to haul and ship the item home.
5. Price match. If you see an item cheaper at another booth, let them know they want your business, and if they don’t come down on the price, you’ll go elsewhere.
6. Don’t show too much interest. Be willing to walk away. By being overly excited about the product, they’ll be less likely to cut you a deal.
7. Don’t be rude. Especially when dealing with artist and celebrity autographs, let them know you appreciate their work but you’re on a budget.
8. Buy multiple items from the same vendor. You’re more likely to get a discount if you show interest in other products.
9. Buy two or more exclusives. Sell one on eBay and keep the other. Often times, the price will be double what you paid for the item. This can help cover con costs you’ve accrued, or even help you save for the next show. I only recommend this if there is a surplus of items on the last day. Attendees should always have first right of refusal on con exclusives.
10. Don’t forget free. Many of the exhibitors give out tons of free promotional comics, pins, posters, and bags that are exclusive to the con.
11. Donate. Groups, such as Hero Initiative, usually offer on the spot sketches and autographs for donations to their charities. More importantly, you get to help out creators whom have given so much already and may have fallen on hard times.
For those fellow con veterans out there, do you have any tips or tricks to stretching your dollar at the show?