Rhode Island Comic Con’s “Hiccup” Is a Disaster to Fans

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Posted November 2, 2014 by Kierra Prince in Nerdy Bits

After a summer of fantastic cons and fantastic con news, it should be no surprise that conventions are quickly becoming a huge force of their own. When New York Comic Con announced that 151,000 people attended the con this year, more people than San Diego’s capped out 130,000 attendees, it became clear that comic conventions were no longer reserved for certain types of people. Conventions were for everyone, and people were turning out by the thousands to partake in the kind of fun that only conventions can give you.

Which is why I find it worrisome that a convention like Rhode Island Comic Con turned into such a large mess when it largely could have avoided it all.

I first got wind of the problems when they posted a tweet announcing that they were over capacity for the venue and weren’t allowing any more people inside:

While safety is an obviously important thing, many people were left wondering how this happened in the first place. A large majority of people who were left waiting outside were people who had pre-purchased tickets. And many of these people had left the building to meet up with friends, suit up into cosplay, or even grab some lunch:

And while most people expect to need to wait, many people were not prepared to wait in line for over an hour with little to no communication from any members of the staff:

 

Considering a large majority of these people were ticket-holders and people who already had been inside the con, many people quickly decided that the venue had oversold tickets. Especially since they were still selling tickets at the door. But Rhode Island Comic Con wanted to assure us that that wasn’t the case. Just uh, you know. There were too many people inside so everyone who spent money on tickets weren’t allowed to come in.  

What was even more insulting to many people was that no one involved seemed to think that it was as big of a deal, calling this mishap a “hiccup”:

 

If anyone is wondering what their full updates were, they were posted in full on their official Facebook page. While the hiccup one is still up, many fans noticed that the con had oddly deleted both of their previous statuses. Officials say that it was because they were incorrectly attributing the problem to the fire marshal and that they were deleting expletive laden comments. However, many fans were left even more angry due to the fact that the statuses omitted certain information from the public. Such as the fact that Saturday tickets would be honored on Sunday.

riccstatus

This was the first status addressing the problem of too many people inside the building.

Rhode Island Comic Con's second deleted status pertaining to the problem.

Rhode Island Comic Con’s second deleted status pertaining to the problem.

Someone asked why the previous statuses were deleted.

Someone asked why the previous statuses were deleted.

While Rhode Island Comic Con did eventually open their doors, it wasn’t until 5PM and well after the majority of the events had already taken place. And of course, many people couldn’t help but wonder how the convention was going to manage the extra Sunday traffic considering any Saturday ticket-holders would be allowed in Sunday. Unfortunately the answer was they weren’t.  

The problem also wasn’t regulated to fans, as a vendor also let me know that they were treated poorly and staff seemed unprepared for vendors: riccvend While many people have received refunds, most people are more upset with the fact that they spent so much time preparing and traveling only to not get in or to miss certain events. Cosplays were reportedly ruined due to people having to wait in the rain for such a long period of time and some people who spent months crafting cosplays weren’t even allowed in for the cosplay contest they were signed up for:  

To make all this even worse, we have yet to even receive real word of why this was allowed to happen and officials involved with the convention seem fine with attributing it to the fact that people who paid money for the con weren’t leaving fast enough to allow for other people to check it out: riccmess riccmess2Needless to say, I think we all expect some actual answers here shortly. For con officials to tell fans, some of which who paid quite a bit of money for VIP passes, that they were essentially there too long is ridiculous and a poor comprehension of what drives fans to cons in the first place. We’re there to connect. To catch panels. To enjoy all the nerdy things that bring us together. Not to quickly sweep through a place we spent $30 to go to. And when you consider the fact that some of these very people spent a ton more money to get photo ops and autographs from celebrities – and then were unable to – goes to show just how poorly this was all planned. Then again, we probably should have expected as much when Colin Baker tweeted that he was stuck at the airport.


About the Author

Kierra Prince

Was born with a controller in her hand. Fan of all things nerdy and has a tremendous amount of love for RPG's, anime, and anything horror. She secretly wishes to be a mash-up of Catwoman and Sailor Moon.