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Acen And Nature's Call Or, How to Get Your Con Cancelled Due Mass Dehydration

#1 User is offline   Caerulea Windseeker 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 11:53 AM

Let me explain something that many ACen DHs and the Con Chair have refused to plan for.

People need to eat and drink, or they become sick and can faint, even die. There are many people who take medications or have medical conditions that force them to eat and drink.

Because of the above, people generally have to use the bathroom a few times a day. People on medications or with medical conditions may need to use the bathroom more, or more urgently.

ACen generally does not allow people standing in lines to go to the bathroom without losing their place in line, despite the fact that their friends are usually in line with them. In fact, several I.R.T. folks were on a mission to ensure that people would be disallowed from using the bathroom and then rejoin their friends. Several I.R.T. folks seemed to take great pleasure in their little power trip over peoples' bodily functions.

ACen therefore strongly discourages people from eating and drinking as they need to. ACen puts the health and safety of its con-goers, especially those with medical needs, at great risk. Given that a large portion of con-goers are minor children, the problem seems especially egregious.

This has been true at least since last year, and despite promises that it would be better, the situation was worse. I believe drastic action needs to be taken because ACen did not take it seriously last year, and made no improvements to its systems. However, I will hold off describing what actions I believe need to be taken for now because I'd like to give ACen a chance to state what they will do differently next year to ensure that this is not a problem. Specifically, I am looking for:

1) A formal, public apology from the Con Chair, the head of I.R.T., and all involved Department Heads for the poor planning, lack of common sense, lack of compassion, embarrassment and humiliation, and public danger presented by this situation.
2) A plan for next year and future years which describes how ACen will make it possible for con-goers to use the facilities without giving up the activities they are paying to stand in line and see.
3) Public postings of I.R.T. policies and procedures, so that if I.R.T. folks go on power trips with regard to bathroom breaks, con-goers have something on paper as a means of self-defense.

I would like to see ACen fix this problem before the con is canceled due to a medical crisis and the resulting liability costs. I would like to give the high-level staff the benefit of the doubt that they want to see the problem fixed. However, the fact that it was a problem last year and was worse this year gives me pause that anyone at ACen will take this seriously before someone has a major medical emergency or even dies. Please prove me wrong.

#2 User is offline   jhallida 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 12:00 PM

Really? No bathroom breaks for a 8+ hour line? If so, that's ridiculous. I wouldn't have even attempted to wait in an 8-hour, no bathroom line. Fortunately I was pre-registered this year, but I agree this situation should be addressed...

#3 User is offline   davebb 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 12:07 PM

On the medical aspect, I was on EMRT (Emergency Medical Response Team) this year, and I intend (as crazy as it sounds) intend on being on it next year too. I'm not going to say too much on this because can't give details on individual's medical conditions/emergencies as part of privacy, but I did have quite a few medical calls for the registration/payment area on what i'd refer to as the registration nightmare where people's wait time in line was 9-10 hours for some. But there are trained EMT's who are volunteering our time, too, instead of really attending the con. If there was an issue I handled it in the best to my ability including escorting the patient back to the spot or if we had to pull them from the line for medical issues, and their friend was with them, i made sure their friend was back in line approximately where they would be at. I make sure to do the best for every patient I have and every congoer I encounter. We had the unfortunate problem that occured, and it did make my time working work a lot in the registration area. For those that read this thread that somehow had me come through with people, I thank you for not getting upset as I want everyone to enjoy, and have no one hurt or have anything serious occur.
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View PostCaerulea Windseeker, on May 19 2008, 12:53 PM, said:

Let me explain something that many ACen DHs and the Con Chair have refused to plan for.

People need to eat and drink, or they become sick and can faint, even die. There are many people who take medications or have medical conditions that force them to eat and drink.

Because of the above, people generally have to use the bathroom a few times a day. People on medications or with medical conditions may need to use the bathroom more, or more urgently.

ACen generally does not allow people standing in lines to go to the bathroom without losing their place in line, despite the fact that their friends are usually in line with them. In fact, several I.R.T. folks were on a mission to ensure that people would be disallowed from using the bathroom and then rejoin their friends. Several I.R.T. folks seemed to take great pleasure in their little power trip over peoples' bodily functions.

ACen therefore strongly discourages people from eating and drinking as they need to. ACen puts the health and safety of its con-goers, especially those with medical needs, at great risk. Given that a large portion of con-goers are minor children, the problem seems especially egregious.

This has been true at least since last year, and despite promises that it would be better, the situation was worse. I believe drastic action needs to be taken because ACen did not take it seriously last year, and made no improvements to its systems. However, I will hold off describing what actions I believe need to be taken for now because I'd like to give ACen a chance to state what they will do differently next year to ensure that this is not a problem. Specifically, I am looking for:

1) A formal, public apology from the Con Chair, the head of I.R.T., and all involved Department Heads for the poor planning, lack of common sense, lack of compassion, embarrassment and humiliation, and public danger presented by this situation.
2) A plan for next year and future years which describes how ACen will make it possible for con-goers to use the facilities without giving up the activities they are paying to stand in line and see.
3) Public postings of I.R.T. policies and procedures, so that if I.R.T. folks go on power trips with regard to bathroom breaks, con-goers have something on paper as a means of self-defense.

I would like to see ACen fix this problem before the con is canceled due to a medical crisis and the resulting liability costs. I would like to give the high-level staff the benefit of the doubt that they want to see the problem fixed. However, the fact that it was a problem last year and was worse this year gives me pause that anyone at ACen will take this seriously before someone has a major medical emergency or even dies. Please prove me wrong.

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#4 User is offline   The Commodore 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 12:14 PM

I've got a bit of an overactive bladder so I am totally familiar with the issues of nature's call. I got in the registration line holding a bottle of Pepsi, but got rid of it before I even drank half of it because I had to pee like a racehorse, and didn't know how much longer I'd be stuck in line. As soon as I filled out the info on the computer, I raced over to the bathroom, and then had to reclaim my place in line - thankfully I got friendly with the people in front of me. Going to the bathroom when I need to is extremely important to me - sometimes my bladder controls my life, unfortunately. For people like me, or just people in general, cos everyone's gotta go at some point, the staff needs to allow us the ability to do what we've gotta do, when we've gotta do it.

I was actually trying to avoid drinking during the con so I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom which of course resulting in dehydration and me coming near to passing out a few times.
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#5 User is offline   magicreaver 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 12:27 PM

I have heard multiple people make this complaint, and I'm wondering if we were in the same line?

I myself never left the line, but one of my friends did, repeatedly. We did suffer through the first 4 or 5 hours without leaving the line, but not having eattin since 1 the day before he decided to take on for the team and asked the IRT if he can Reg now since the line at the computers was stopped waiting on the payment area, and then bring us food and go into the express line after he gets back. After he got back and we were only at the computers, the same IRT told him to just stay. After that he, and several people around us all left repeatedly for bathroom breaks, food, even cigarette breaks. We always allowed people back to their spot.
I also saw complaints about people cutting in line, and really didn't see any of that at all. Only one person I saw cut and he was in line anyway, maybe moved about 30 minutes ahead. Lots of people left and came back, which might have been what those people were seeing, I also saw several people already with badges come to visit their friends (which is also understandable in a 8+ hour wait).

Maybe those of us who were in line well before the doors opened Friday morning were just more polite to allow people back into their spots? I'm not sure when you were in line, but IRT and those in line around us were all more then considerate when it came to those things.

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 12:39 PM

Seriously, I had no problems with friends getting out of line and using the bathroom, we just told the people around us and the IRT that was nearest by that we needed to go the bathroom or run and take meds or even in one special case for me...an injury. Since I was in the Friday registration line for 8 hours, certain circumstances were totally understandable.

However if you are just running out of line and not saying anything, then IRT totally has the right to say something and even boot you to the back of the line. Yes, I know it seems like asking for premission when you were in kindergarten but it's a second set of eyes and ears that cover you.

#7 User is offline   Caerulea Windseeker 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 01:19 PM

View PostSongstressLenne, on May 19 2008, 12:39 PM, said:

Seriously, I had no problems with friends getting out of line and using the bathroom, we just told the people around us and the IRT that was nearest by that we needed to go the bathroom or run and take meds or even in one special case for me...an injury. Since I was in the Friday registration line for 8 hours, certain circumstances were totally understandable.

However if you are just running out of line and not saying anything, then IRT totally has the right to say something and even boot you to the back of the line. Yes, I know it seems like asking for premission when you were in kindergarten but it's a second set of eyes and ears that cover you.


I agree with you Songstress. However, the I.R.T. staff were quite inconsistent about the whole issue. Some I.R.T.s in the Soap Bubble line would allow people to go to the bathroom and return to their spot in line with their friends. In the Soap Bubble line, it seemed that the I.R.T. folks handling it were doing a bit of a revolving door. So if you told and I.R.T. that you were going to use the washroom, and when you were on your way back that I.R.T. was nowhere to be found, you were S.O.L. And there were many who were S.O.L.

This is why I would like to see I.R.T. policies and procedures regarding human needs such as hydration and elimination posted publicly. I would like to see them included in the con booklets and posted online so that people can bring the books with or print out the procedures. This way, when I.R.T. folks switch positions and you have an unfamiliar one between you and the bathroom screaming at you to get to the back of the line when you and your friends waited 2 hours in line and they are near the front, you have something in writing to defend yourself. It would help eliminate some of the confusion for I.R.T. volunteers as well, I would imagine. There is no denying it's a stressful job; better and clearer policies that accommodate basic human needs will only make the I.R.T. job easier on those folks as well.

I could suggest all sorts of ways to deal with the issue in addition to better, clearer policies and more consistent communication and common sense security. Bathroom passes sound rather sophomoric but could be passed out by an I.R.T. and collected by any I.R.T. as people head back into the line. This may be the easiest, most consistent, and cheapest way to do things. The I.R.T. checkpoint for the Soap Bubble line should never be between the bathrooms and the line--the line and the bathrooms should be on the same side of the checkpoint. I.R.T.s could use hand-stamps like they do in large amusement parks to handle re-admittance. These are just some of the ideas I have come up with to address an issue that should not have existed this year.

#8 User is offline   AkaneNoHime 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 01:20 PM

Quote

Seriously, I had no problems with friends getting out of line and using the bathroom, we just told the people around us and the IRT that was nearest by that we needed to go the bathroom or run and take meds or even in one special case for me...an injury. Since I was in the Friday registration line for 8 hours, certain circumstances were totally understandable.


I'm happy that you didn't have problems, but it is unfortunate that it seems many people have had these problems. I'm wondering if others experienced this problem in lines other than the registration line? While I don't work for the con, I was in Artists Alley, and during general conversations with con-goers at my tables I heard many complaints from people attending events like the concerts, the Soap Bubble, a couple of really popular panels, and some autographing sessions that they were having the same bathroom/line issue.

Quote

However if you are just running out of line and not saying anything, then IRT totally has the right to say something and even boot you to the back of the line. Yes, I know it seems like asking for premission when you were in kindergarten but it's a second set of eyes and ears that cover you.



I do understand your point about not alerting an IRT person about running out of line for a quick bathroom break, and in a sense I agree...but not really. And the reason why is because for certain events during the con, there are so many different IRT people around that even if there is one near your place in a line to alert, the specific one you alert may not be the one that you have to get through to get back into your place in line. And there are so many people that IRT is coralling during the con that they don't get a chance to alert each other "hey let so-and-so through because they're going to the bathroom." I know a few of my friends ran into this problem, and it totally ruined their experiences with the special events going on through the con both this year and last year, specifically with the Soap Bubble.

Please don't misunderstand - I'm not trying to simply criticize your solution (since it is logical) or IRT (especially since a very nice IRT guy helped me with a bad situation during the con), but I don't think that that is a very realistic solution that will completely prevent this problem.

I can't help but agree with Caerulea Windseeker think that the higher ups at ACEN need to have an established policy that all of the IRT people are all given so that they know it's ok for people go to the bathroom and still keep their place with their friends in a line (not just registration), whether or not they are alerted by a con-goer that this is the case. I would think that if a person's friends are waiting in line, then those friends talking to IRT and waving toward their friend should be proof enough that they are not line-jumping and that they should be allowed back into their line spot...but it seems that just isn't the case.
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#9 User is offline   Caerulea Windseeker 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 01:32 PM

I'd like to make something very clear--I know I.R.T. have stressful jobs. If it were not for my own medical conditions, I would volunteer just to help alleviate the stress. I cannot imagine the antics that some of the I.R.T. have to put up with.

I would like to make this into a win-win situation.

I would not like to see people get hurt or suffer. This is supposed to be a fun thing, not an experience that denies people basic human needs. I would like to see the con continue, and not be canceled because some kid collapses due to dehydration and their parents sue M.A.P.S. for every dime they can get. I would not like to see anime fans painted negatively on some sensationalist evening news program because of reports of minor children, people with disabilities, and those with health problems suffering health problems due to ACen's policies and over-zealous security volunteers.

I would like to see policies that ease the stress on the already over-stressed, over-worked I.R.T. folks, not create more of it. I would like to see policies that even the most ego-tripped, god-complexed I.R.T. volunteer can't misinterpret. I would like simple, effective policies that everyone, from I.R.T. to the most hyperactive con-goers, can understand.

I would like to see some level of transparency and a willingness among the highest level planners of the con to make life easier on both their volunteers and people who pay money to see events. I don't want to see every procedure posted, and there will be things that I.R.T. needs to keep under their hats. But issues that affect basic human needs should be non-issues by next year, for the safety of the con-goers and the sanity of the volunteers.

If the highest levels of ACen staff do not recognize this as a problem, no one else will. If the Con Chair doesn't make the basic human needs of the con-goers a priority, the problem will not be solved. I would like to see the Con Chair and those at the highest levels of leadership address this issue, otherwise it will be forced upon them when people take drastic measures to ensure their basic human needs are met.

#10 User is offline   Shay 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 01:54 PM

I'm not on IRT or on staff, though I have jumped in and helped with line control when needed... plus I've waited in long lines myself.

IRT is busy. IRT is frazzled. Make things easy on IRT. If you need to use the bathroom, wave over the nearest person on IRT and ask them if you can go. Look at their name. That way if you go back, you can say the name of the person who cleared you to go.

As for food/drinks/etc... some of this is a common sense issue. If you're going to be in line, bring water. Not soda, which works to dehydrate you quickly. Bring snacks. I'm hypoglycemic and I always bring SOMETHING to snack on everywhere I go, especially if there is a chance that there is a line I'll be waiting in.

I know that staff were walking around the reg line, keeping an eye out for people bring dehydrated. I saw this myself. And I know that if you asked them if you could. If you have a medical need and failed to bring what you need, ask someone on staff or IRT to help you.

No one can read minds... if you leave a line to run to the bathroom and don't tell anyone, they won't know that you aren't cutting. Unless you show obvious signs of people sick, they probably won't notice. It never hurts to ask, and in most cases you'll be told "yes." If it's a medical emergency, I can't see you being told "no."

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#11 User is offline   Wedge 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 02:03 PM

View PostCaerulea Windseeker, on May 19 2008, 12:53 PM, said:

ACen generally does not allow people standing in lines to go to the bathroom without losing their place in line, despite the fact that their friends are usually in line with them.

Even with planning it is nearly impossible for IRT maintain the lines with 2,000+ people going to and from the bathroom, food runs etc. Which is why our policy is as such.

View PostCaerulea Windseeker, on May 19 2008, 12:53 PM, said:

In fact, several I.R.T. folks were on a mission to ensure that people would be disallowed from using the bathroom and then rejoin their friends. Several I.R.T. folks seemed to take great pleasure in their little power trip over peoples' bodily functions.

If this is the case then give me specific instances and names of IRT operatives, from their badge, or call signs which were embroidered in large bright orange letters to the vets, and they will be dealt with.

View PostCaerulea Windseeker, on May 19 2008, 12:53 PM, said:

ACen therefore strongly discourages people from eating and drinking as they need to. ACen puts the health and safety of its con-goers, especially those with medical needs, at great risk.

IRT and ACen as a whole care greatly for the health & safety of all our members & guests and anyone who wished to leave the line to eat, drink, use the restroom, etc. were allowed to.

View PostCaerulea Windseeker, on May 19 2008, 12:53 PM, said:

This has been true at least since last year, and despite promises that it would be better, the situation was worse. I believe drastic action needs to be taken because ACen did not take it seriously last year, and made no improvements to its systems.

Improvements were made to our registration systems, while I do not know all of the details myself, I know more computers & staff were added to speed the process, as well as extending preregistration so members could avoid the registration line altogether. I am sure someone with more knowledge of the specifics will be able to provide more information on the steps ACen took to reduce wait time at registration.
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#12 User is offline   Caerulea Windseeker 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 02:09 PM

View PostShay, on May 19 2008, 01:54 PM, said:

I'm not on IRT or on staff, though I have jumped in and helped with line control when needed... plus I've waited in long lines myself.

IRT is busy. IRT is frazzled. Make things easy on IRT. If you need to use the bathroom, wave over the nearest person on IRT and ask them if you can go. Look at their name. That way if you go back, you can say the name of the person who cleared you to go.

As for food/drinks/etc... some of this is a common sense issue. If you're going to be in line, bring water. Not soda, which works to dehydrate you quickly. Bring snacks. I'm hypoglycemic and I always bring SOMETHING to snack on everywhere I go, especially if there is a chance that there is a line I'll be waiting in.

I know that staff were walking around the reg line, keeping an eye out for people bring dehydrated. I saw this myself. And I know that if you asked them if you could. If you have a medical need and failed to bring what you need, ask someone on staff or IRT to help you.

No one can read minds... if you leave a line to run to the bathroom and don't tell anyone, they won't know that you aren't cutting. Unless you show obvious signs of people sick, they probably won't notice. It never hurts to ask, and in most cases you'll be told "yes." If it's a medical emergency, I can't see you being told "no."

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Shay...I have already addressed this issue. If it were simply a matter of notifying I.R.T. to use the restroom, I would not be here saying what I'm saying. I also would not have done the research I have done into more drastic measures I can take to ensure that this doesn't happen again next year. Again, I'm not posting those measures right now because I'd like to give ACen's Con Chair the opportunity to address the problem first. But make no mistake, I am ready to take this to higher levels.

When people notified I.R.T. they were going to the bathroom, the I.R.T. they notified frequently wasn't there when they got out. The replacement I.R.T. did not let them back into line. I saw this several times in the Soap Bubble line. I also saw I.R.T. disallowing people with badges from bringing water to their friends in line. I saw I.R.T. screaming at people for their basic human needs, when those people had done everything they could to address them within the rules.

That is unacceptable, and no amount of "well, just notify I.R.T." will fix the problem. Your solution is not a solution but rather the status quo, and it is naive and completely inadequate.

#13 User is offline   Shay 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 02:30 PM

View PostCaerulea Windseeker, on May 19 2008, 04:09 PM, said:

That is unacceptable, and no amount of "well, just notify I.R.T." will fix the problem. Your solution is not a solution but rather the status quo, and it is naive and completely inadequate.



I've always found it to work for me... but then I always get the callsign of the IRT who lets me out, and then I just say "So & So let me out to use the bathroom" when I come back, and I've never had a problem. Of course, if you're gone for 30 min or something, then you might have a problem because that's really too long of a time for just a quick bathroom run! But seriously, I saw IRT letting people out of the reg line & the soap bubble line... and anime hell and other lines... to use the bathroom... and they were let back in without a problem.

As Wedge said, if you have a complaint against someone in IRT, the best bet is to get their name and report it. Without knowing who caused the problem, it's more difficult for them to correct it.

#14 User is offline   Caerulea Windseeker 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 02:32 PM

View PostWedge, on May 19 2008, 02:03 PM, said:

Even with planning it is nearly impossible for IRT maintain the lines with 2,000+ people going to and from the bathroom, food runs etc. Which is why our policy is as such.


If this is the case then give me specific instances and names of IRT operatives, from their badge, or call signs which were embroidered in large bright orange letters to the vets, and they will be dealt with.


IRT and ACen as a whole care greatly for the health & safety of all our members & guests and anyone who wished to leave the line to eat, drink, use the restroom, etc. were allowed to.


Improvements were made to our registration systems, while I do not know all of the details myself, I know more computers & staff were added to speed the process, as well as extending preregistration so members could avoid the registration line altogether. I am sure someone with more knowledge of the specifics will be able to provide more information on the steps ACen took to reduce wait time at registration.


So, I have an Assistant Department Head of the I.R.T. telling me that it is impossible for people who are waiting upwards of eight hours in line to be able to use the bathroom and not have to get to the back of the line. Wedge is in effect stating that con-goers should expect an endless cycle of lines. We have our first official response to this issue, and it is continuing the same blind, ineffective, naive, and dangerous line of thinking that has permeated ACen's line management since last year.

Wedge, you may have allowed people to get out of line to get their needs met, but you are apparently either totally naive or completely blind to the unfairness of the situation, and the inevitable consequence: people will simply not eat or drink to avoid using the restroom, and you will have medical emergencies as a result. Combine that with the sardine-like way the lines were packed for registration, and you are just asking for a disaster. People are already reporting in other threads how they were made ill by the fact that they could not eat or drink without living their place in line, and that the wait time for the lines was so ridiculously long that it is completely impractical to expect people to be okay with getting to the back of the line after they take care of themselves. That is not caring "greatly for the health & safety of all our members & guests", that is utter foolishness.

One specific I.R.T. who was particularly obnoxious to those who needed to use the restroom was dressed in a Mario costume outside the Soap Bubble line. I did not catch his badge because the second anyone so much as breathed in their direction, many of the I.R.T. folks outside the Soap Bubble seemed to be ready to confiscate badges.

Edit: Furthermore, it is not an issue that is limited to I.R.T. alone. It is a broader issue that comes from the very top. I do not want to go after one piddly little I.R.T. person here and there for their rotten attitude or complete lack of common sense. I want to see the entire policy changed. And no offense to Wedge, but that kind of change can only come from the top down, starting with the Con Chair. As much as I can criticize a few I.R.T. folks, it comes down to the fact that it's not their fault that no one above them put together a common sense, practical, realistic plan for dealing with excessive lines and the inevitable problems with them.

#15 User is offline   Exrandu 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 04:53 PM

View PostCaerulea Windseeker, on May 19 2008, 08:32 PM, said:

Edit: Furthermore, it is not an issue that is limited to I.R.T. alone. It is a broader issue that comes from the very top. I do not want to go after one piddly little I.R.T. person here and there for their rotten attitude or complete lack of common sense. I want to see the entire policy changed. And no offense to Wedge, but that kind of change can only come from the top down, starting with the Con Chair. As much as I can criticize a few I.R.T. folks, it comes down to the fact that it's not their fault that no one above them put together a common sense, practical, realistic plan for dealing with excessive lines and the inevitable problems with them.


Srsly, this is the truth.

We're doing the best we can, guys and gals.
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#16 User is offline   Stipper_Axel 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 05:02 PM

This brings to mind another problem regarding dehydration as well. In the rave you had to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated because you get all hott and stuff dancing right. Well, this also leads to the need to urinate as well and unfortunately the IRT's weren't letting people out of the rave to use the restroom and come back in. I was bluntly told I'd have to go all the way to the end of the line if I left to use the restroom actually.
Fortunately, I'm a fairly sly person and found my way back in. Unfortunately, that was shady on my part but thats what the situation called for.
There should be a restroom that the rave attendee's have access to with out running the risk of being kicked out of the rave.

#17 User is offline   Zalis 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 05:14 PM

Another need that's not quite a basic necessity, but can feel like one sometimes: smoking. While I don't smoke, some people who I was in line with do, and fortunately they had no problems leaving and re-entering. It's just one more thing to consider...if people are waiting 5+ hours in line, do you really want to add nicotine withdrawl to their dissatisfaction?

#18 User is offline   Caerulea Windseeker 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 05:24 PM

View PostExrandu, on May 19 2008, 04:53 PM, said:

Srsly, this is the truth.

We're doing the best we can, guys and gals.


This is exactly my point. I think Wedge got a little defensive about it, but I am not posting to be a jerk. I'm not trying to be a pain in the rear to I.R.T. While there were I.R.T. with bad attitudes, there are also I.R.T. folks with very good attitudes.

What I am saying is that ACen's higher-ups did their volunteers no favors by failing to create a fair, sensible, practical plan to address something that every human being has in common. Just as it was unfair to the con-goers, it was unfair to the volunteers. This is why I say that reporting individual I.R.T.s is not a solution IMO. It is a bandaid. It may even make the problem worse by removing I.R.T. volunteers from the potential pool for next year.

I have analyzed the situation from my perspective and found what I believe is the breaking point of the system, and it was not individual I.R.T.s. It is the failure at the highest levels of con organization. Volunteers as well as regular con-goers were let down by this. So, I am calling for a high-level solution. I am calling for the Con Chair to make peoples' safety and health while standing in lines priority #1. I am calling on the Con Chair to enforce that priority, and ensure that it is every DH's priority #1 as well.

Lines will happen in cons; there is no way to get around that. The way that ACen handles its lines has a huge impact on the con-goers, and for many, will make the difference between coming back next year and going to other cons instead.

#19 User is offline   Lordi 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 05:30 PM

As someone now in Reg, and formerly in IRT, I can tell you that both departments would rather that you tell someone that you need to leave the line for food, water, toilet instead of waiting and collapsing and/or making the floors even more dirty. It's less work to an overworked, unpaid staff.

Now, I've said this for four years, and now I'm saying it for the fifth. If an IRT op was rude and/or unhelpful or dismissive of you, read the bright orange callsign on their vests. IRT has those made for every OP so that people can report inappropriate IRT OP behavior.

WE WANT TO KNOW WHEN IT HAPPENS. IF IT HAPPENS TO YOU, AND YOU DON'T TELL US WHO DID IT, WE CAN'T FIX THE PROBLEM!!!

In other words, if you don't get their name, they can do it again and again, until someone finally reports it.

As for the pizza box, it's an Acen myth. Pix or it didn't happen.
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#20 User is offline   Caerulea Windseeker 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 05:44 PM

View PostLordi, on May 19 2008, 05:30 PM, said:

As someone now in Reg, and formerly in IRT, I can tell you that both departments would rather that you tell someone that you need to leave the line for food, water, toilet instead of waiting and collapsing and/or making the floors even more dirty. It's less work to an overworked, unpaid staff.

Now, I've said this for four years, and now I'm saying it for the fifth. If an IRT op was rude and/or unhelpful or dismissive of you, read the bright orange callsign on their vests. IRT has those made for every OP so that people can report inappropriate IRT OP behavior.

WE WANT TO KNOW WHEN IT HAPPENS. IF IT HAPPENS TO YOU, AND YOU DON'T TELL US WHO DID IT, WE CAN'T FIX THE PROBLEM!!!

In other words, if you don't get their name, they can do it again and again, until someone finally reports it.

As for the pizza box, it's an Acen myth. Pix or it didn't happen.


Gah, I feel like I'm talking in circles. Telling an I.R.T. that you have to use the bathroom doesn't help when that I.R.T. cannot be found when you come out of there and the one who replaces him/her doesn't believe you. Reporting individual I.R.T. is a bandaid. ACen needs a total line policy makeover. Even the most congenial, talented, intelligent I.R.T. can't watch two thousand people standing in lines, look for people disturbing the peace, watch for line-jumpers, make sure no one is sick, ensure that no one is falling down drunk, check props, keep the area up to the fire marshal's standards, and keep track of everyone going to and from the bathroom by facial recognition, all at the same time without a better system.

Don't tell me there is no way to make the situation better. I have already proposed 3 different ways you could handle things differently, and I'm sure there will be more proposals to come. As I have said in another thread, now is not the time to be dismissing suggestions or peoples' horrible con experiences. Now is the time to listen and acknowledge that the system is inadequate.

#21 User is offline   AkaneNoHime 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 06:00 PM

Quote

As someone now in Reg, and formerly in IRT, I can tell you that both departments would rather that you tell someone that you need to leave the line for food, water, toilet instead of waiting and collapsing and/or making the floors even more dirty. It's less work to an overworked, unpaid staff. Now, I've said this for four years, and now I'm saying it for the fifth. If an IRT op was rude and/or unhelpful or dismissive of you, read the bright orange callsign on their vests. IRT has those made for every OP so that people can report inappropriate IRT OP behavior. WE WANT TO KNOW WHEN IT HAPPENS. IF IT HAPPENS TO YOU, AND YOU DON'T TELL US WHO DID IT, WE CAN'T FIX THE PROBLEM!!!


I think that we all know and agree that one step to helping the problem is to take the name of an unreasonable IRT person that is causing a problem. But, it is not the solution to the overall problem. Yes, trying to get the IRT staffer's name and reporting them to someone is a good solution if it is just plain rudeness or unreasonable behavior. But, by reporting on IRT people that are acting on bad information or unknown information, it puts the IRT staffer in the bad position to be punished for something that is not their fault. Plus, even though their names are in bright orange, it can still be difficult to get their names depending on how quickly or heatedly the situation is passing.

Quote

In other words, if you don't get their name, they can do it again and again, until someone finally reports it.


Even in GOOD situations where IRT people really are nice and helpful, it is still hard to get their names. For example, I ran into a bad situation in the dealer's room where another con-goer groped me. Luckily an IRT person was right on hand to deal with the unwelcome situation and took him away to talk to security...but I never knew his name (if you're reading this, thank you!), and everything happened so quickly that I never got a chance to see his name...I just knew he was IRT because of the vest and the hat. Plus, there are many other patches, names, badges, icons, etc. on IRT vests that they (understandably) want to decorate their vests with in the spirit of the convention, and this can either obscure their names or make them hard to find. In the case of the IRT person outside the Soap Bubble that the previous poster mentioned, if he were in a Mario costume and not wearing a vest, then how would their name be able to be found in the standard spots to look?

In addition, when I have seen other congoers trying to get an angry IRT person's name in the past, they are unable to do so because of people being hurried along to control crowds, or being afraid that asking for the IRT person's name would be percieved as a threat that would result in the con-goer's badge being confiscated.

I think it is unfair to only post saying, "Well then get the IRT person's name and report them." That sets a dangerous situation for any IRT person who is working off of the information that they understand to be correct. Plus, I'm sure that many people have reported badly acting IRT people in the past, and yet, it seems that this situation still happens. Again, I'm not trying to criticize IRT - they DO do the best job they can given the information that they're given, and for the most part are very good at their jobs and alleviating bad situations. It's just that the con sets these IRT staffers up for failure if they are not all given the same information from the get-go.

Also, just for the record, I had posted a question about bathroom passes possibly being issued far before the con in the Soap Bubble forum, and was told by a staffer on there that it wasn't a likely possibility to happen. And when I asked what other options there were to make sure unpleasant situations like this wouldn't happen again, the question went unanswered. So again, I think that the person who started this thread (who's name I currently forget...sorry!) is right...some sort of system handed down from the higher-ups at the con needs to be created to solve this problem. And staffers replying simply by stating "report IRT people" aren't helping members of their own staff.

Quote

As for the pizza box, it's an Acen myth. Pix or it didn't happen.


Thank goodness, because that's just gross!
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#22 User is offline   Dogao 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 06:02 PM

View PostCaerulea Windseeker, on May 19 2008, 03:32 PM, said:

One specific I.R.T. who was particularly obnoxious to those who needed to use the restroom was dressed in a Mario costume outside the Soap Bubble line. I did not catch his badge because the second anyone so much as breathed in their direction, many of the I.R.T. folks outside the Soap Bubble seemed to be ready to confiscate badges.


OH MY GOD, we had a run-in with him, too. We made friends with the people in front of us, so they let us back in when I went to the bathroom. But when my boyfriend went, "Mario" wouldn't even let him BACK WHERE THE LINE WAS. Which is in itself absolutely obnoxious, since we'd waited over an hour, but he still wouldn't budge even after my bf told him that *I* had his phone and car keys and was still in line. He still kicked him out.

Uh, isn't IRT supposed to keep us SAFE? Instead, Giant Mario knowingly kicked my boyfriend out into the rain, with no phone, jacket, ROOM KEY OR CAR KEYS. WTF. He finally had to sneak into the hotel computer lab, contact his cell-phone company for help, and send me a text message via their computer, to come save him from IRT.

Did you catch that? T-Mobile was more helpful to a congoer than your staff, in solving a problem created because nobody had the foresight to put a freaking Porta-John in the dance itself.

Nevermind that we wasted an hour waiting for an event we never got in to. Never mind that this IRT guy could have solved the problem by walking 60 feet and having 200 people vouch that my boyfriend was in line. The REAL issue here is that this all happened because the entire staff refuses to acknowledge this is an issue. Caerulea is right: you all need an iron-clad policy RIGHT NOW.

I can't even imagine the hell the people "attending" RegCon '08 went through.

You want sufficient reason to fix this? Here you go: my boyfriend is a whooole lot nicer than I am. If it'd been me instead of him, I would have walked to the nearest phone and dialed 911. You think the Rosemont PD wouldn't send officers in response to "help, these people kicked me out in the rain and won't let me access my personal property?"

The Hall Pass idea and IRT Accountability ideas both sound workable. Though let me be perfectly honest: I don't care how you solve this problem, but it is your responsibility to do so. I will not be driven to dehydration at a DANCE because after ten years you can't - or WON'T - think of a good way to meet basic human needs.

How long do you think people will put up with this before they start finding a corner to pee in?

#23 User is offline   Lordi 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 06:20 PM

IRT policy - if an attendee asks for your name or callsign, you are OBLIGATED to give it. There's also an escalation process - if they have a radio, you can ask for someone higher than them to come to the scene. Anyone with an IRT vest who has colored shoulders is above a standard IRT OP, and are supposed to help when attendees have issues with a standard op.

The same applies if you leave the line to use the bathroom - ask for a name. Most IRT ops are able to communicate with each other or dispatch with a radio or a phone. Even if you don't get a name, describe the person that let you go to the person there when you came back. Even something as simple as "he had a blue t-shirt" tells the op something they can use to help identify who let you go.

If someone gropes, stalks, sexually harrasses you, find the nearest IRT op to help. If IRT is not available, highly unlikely but it happens, then get a rough idea of the offender in your mind and find the nearest staffer. General staff has ninja ways of contacting IRT and getting you the help that you need. People who do that are escorted out of the con at the very least, and in some cases, delivered to rosemont public safety all nicely gift wrapped and ready for delivery.

Lastly, IRT ops who are reported are disciplined. Unfortunately, every year we have to put the new recruits through a trial by fire year on year to weed out the bad ones. You helping us by letting us know who's bad (because, let's face it, if they're good you usually don't remember them) helps us identify the bad eggs and make the con better overall.
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#24 User is offline   GothicKDM 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 06:22 PM

I totally agree that was over the top for being so strick on things like that...the poor girl a row over was coming down terribly sick. I ended up with a migrane because we waited in like for i think over 5 hours and we were all starving and I'm usually fine with not eatting for long hours, but we also had a four hour drive ontop of this and eatting very early throws me all off, and pre-registered (but didnt pay advanced because it was too late for that).

Honestly you should have kept the people that were not registered seperate from the people that had registered and just needed to pay, or have them go to the end of the line with the people that already had registered, instead you had them merging in with those that had preregistered and needed to pay.

I've been to other cons and its never taken so long as it did to get in. You need to have some better backup plans as well when things like the printers go down....like sharpie markers.

We did complain about the genious of this setup and was told it wouldnt do any good to complain....

#25 User is offline   Lordi 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 06:31 PM

View PostGothicKDM, on May 20 2008, 12:22 AM, said:

We did complain about the genious of this setup and was told it wouldnt do any good to complain....


It does and it doesn't. Ranting that it suxxors OMG LOLOLOLOL isnt helpful, but if you have a suggestion to alleviate the problem, we want to hear it.
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#26 User is offline   Catwho 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 07:18 PM

Here's a genuinely helpful suggestion:

Have each IRT person have on their person 5 or so official ACEN Potty Passes. Upon needing to break line for the restroom, IRT personnel hand out a hall pass that verifies they were standing in line and have left it only to go potty. That way, when the person who answered the call of nature returns to their spot in line, they can grab another IRT person, go back to their friends, then return the potty pass without being accused of line jumping.

(The penalty for stealing a potty pass is con ejection, natch.)

I'd say make the pass nondescript but unwieldy, sort of like the yaoi paddles but smaller and not quite as fun.
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#27 User is offline   Caerulea Windseeker 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 07:18 PM

View PostLordi, on May 19 2008, 06:31 PM, said:

It does and it doesn't. Ranting that it suxxors OMG LOLOLOLOL isnt helpful, but if you have a suggestion to alleviate the problem, we want to hear it.


Lordi, I have been giving suggestions, and my reasoning behind them, this entire thread. The system needs an overhaul. A system needs to be put in place so that people can leave lines to go to the bathroom and rejoin them. The solution could be a bathroom pass, a hand stamp, and/or moving I.R.T. checkpoints so that people don't have to even bother I.R.T. when they leave the line to go to the bathroom.

Your response thusfar has been that I should report individual I.R.T. As I and other posters have pointed out, that does not alleviate the situation, and may even lead to more problems next year due to the wrong people being weeded out of the already small I.R.T. pool. Please understand that I do not want to attack you, but your responses thusfar sound like a broken record that doesn't take into consideration my main points.

Also, something comes to mind here. Lordi is suggesting that we talk to individual I.R.T. to get names when we have to leave the line to go to the bathroom and want to rejoin it instead of waiting more hours in the back of the line. Wedge, the ADH, has stated unequivocally that it is completely, utterly against policy for people to leave the line--for any reason--and rejoin it where they left off. So, this points out part of what the problem is. Different people in I.R.T. have different ideas of what is allowed and what is not. Hence my suggestion to have certain I.R.T. policies posted publicly and in writing so that individual con-goers can use those written policies in self-defense when the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.

I'm doing my best here, and my points are either being entirely glossed over or disregarded completely in favor of band-aid "solutions" that mean that ACen '09 is going to be more of the same. Why should anyone come to a con that is so obviously broken, where people could suffer major health crises, just because people will not get it into their skulls that strongly discouraging people from taking care of basic human needs is a catastrophe waiting to happen?

Edit: Also, Lordi, I have been attending this con since its Arlington Heights days. I did not know about the escalation process. I figured that if I said boo to an I.R.T. while in a long line, much less asked to talk to their superior, I'd get my badge stripped on the spot. Tensions were running that high. How much do you think the average con-goer knows, who has been to this con maybe only within the past few years?

The system is broken, and everyone, from regular con-goers to dedicated volunteers, suffers for it. Beryl, the Con Chair, needs to make this issue priority #1 on the list of things to fix about ACen.

#28 User is offline   Ghost Fighter 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 08:03 PM

View PostLordi, on May 19 2008, 07:31 PM, said:

It does and it doesn't. Ranting that it suxxors OMG LOLOLOLOL isnt helpful, but if you have a suggestion to alleviate the problem, we want to hear it.


I believe I made the most sweeping suggestion to fix the problems. Axe everyone who's failed and find replacements either through new people who are trained by people who are competent at other conventions, or just bring in professionals. Seriously, IRT should be axed and it should return to Security with the T-shirts and not those stupid SWAT vests. It makes you think you have actual power when you don't. As for the current leadership, I met the guy who's in charge of the IRT once or twice, he comes off as what in Hockey is called an Enforcer, he's not Head Couch material since he takes a heavy handed approach and lacks tact. Plus I heard rumors he got drunk on duty a few years back. (No evidence to back it up, but rumors like that don't start without some validity to them) Either get rid of him or demote him since the action of security reflects on his leadership, in that it's sorely lacking.


I don't get how IRT can get their panties into such a bunch with people getting out of line to use the bathroom. Can't we just use the honor system and tell the person in front and in back that we are leaving and to confirm that with anyone else who's questions the validity of the line? If IRT gave me flak for that, I'd just have them ask my neighbors, and if they still say it's wrong I'd just go 'Eat crap and die' and ignore them. When they try to strong arm me, I'd yell I'm being oppressed or something dramatic.


I'm all for Caerulea Windseeker's idea for an attendees bill of rights since IRT has gotten out of control with their actions and with the blank check on the back of the badge saying a staffer can strip you of your badge for any reason they see fit, we don't have much defense against them more than complaints on this board that would be ignored.

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 09:38 PM

View PostGhost Fighter, on May 19 2008, 09:03 PM, said:

I believe I made the most sweeping suggestion to fix the problems. Axe everyone who's failed and find replacements either through new people who are trained by people who are competent at other conventions, or just bring in professionals. Seriously, IRT should be axed and it should return to Security with the T-shirts and not those stupid SWAT vests. It makes you think you have actual power when you don't. As for the current leadership, I met the guy who's in charge of the IRT once or twice, he comes off as what in Hockey is called an Enforcer, he's not Head Couch material since he takes a heavy handed approach and lacks tact. Plus I heard rumors he got drunk on duty a few years back. (No evidence to back it up, but rumors like that don't start without some validity to them) Either get rid of him or demote him since the action of security reflects on his leadership, in that it's sorely lacking.


I don't get how IRT can get their panties into such a bunch with people getting out of line to use the bathroom. Can't we just use the honor system and tell the person in front and in back that we are leaving and to confirm that with anyone else who's questions the validity of the line? If IRT gave me flak for that, I'd just have them ask my neighbors, and if they still say it's wrong I'd just go 'Eat crap and die' and ignore them. When they try to strong arm me, I'd yell I'm being oppressed or something dramatic.


I'm all for Caerulea Windseeker's idea for an attendees bill of rights since IRT has gotten out of control with their actions and with the blank check on the back of the badge saying a staffer can strip you of your badge for any reason they see fit, we don't have much defense against them more than complaints on this board that would be ignored.



Honestly, can you do me a favor...yes staff and IRT need to re-evaluate things but that doesn't always mean. "Hey let's point the finger". It's called the adult rule.

If we get a bill of rights, we sign it and not just use it as a scapegoat for everything. Trust me there will be people that do this.

Also since you have so many suggestions, why don't you join staff or irt? I'm going to do something about it and join...how about you? ^_^

#30 User is offline   Moogle_21 

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 10:00 PM

View PostGhost Fighter, on May 19 2008, 09:03 PM, said:

Plus I heard rumors he got drunk on duty a few years back. (No evidence to back it up, but rumors like that don't start without some validity to them) Either get rid of him or demote him since the action of security reflects on his leadership, in that it's sorely lacking.


If you have no evidence to back up your claim of the head I.R.T. getting drunk, why do you even bring it up. I think you're just trying to use hearsay to get more people to join your smear campaign of the convention. Which by using your rumors trying to emphasis your point only shows that you have no validity, not the staff.
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