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AA Setup Checklist The most comprehensive list yet!

#1 User is offline   JujuFox 

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Post icon  Posted 16 December 2011 - 11:16 AM

Since there seems to be a few new people in the AA this year, and to keep myself organized as well I decided to start a little checklist.

Feel free to mention anything I may have missed and I will add it to the list!

The Table Setup list includes anything you need on/around/for your table.
The Personal Supplies list includes all of the essential items you will need to run the table and keep yourself running.
The Miscellaneous Supplies list includes all those items you might not think you need, but will need in a pinch(I know from experience some of these are essential).
The Tips list is all about the little things you might not always think of until it is too late.

TABLE SETUP:
  • Table cloth/covering(1 for the table and 1 to cover up everything at night)
  • Display shelves/racks/stands/etc
  • Make sure you have enough chairs(only 2 are provided per table)
  • Signage/Banners/etc
  • Pricing stickers or signs
  • Business cards
  • Inventory sheet
  • Power Strip and extension cord - if you need power
  • Trash bag/can
  • TV tray - if you need a work surface behind your table


PERSONAL SUPPLIES:
  • Cash box(locking w/keys)
  • Credit Card receipts(if you are taking CCs)
  • Bags/boxes/something for sold goods - we got a lot of people asking for plastic bags last year
  • NON PERISHABLE FOOD STUFFS - You will get hungry, and their food is expensive!
  • Water bottles that you can refill
  • Hand sanitizer, sunblock, lotion, and any other hygienic items you may need
  • Camera - cosplayers will be wandering around
  • Butt cushions
  • Laptop/printer/machine - as long as it complies with the rules
  • Portable Power Station(if you aren't getting a power drop)


MISC. SUPPLIES:
  • Duct tape
  • Regular clear tape
  • Permanent markers/pens/pencils/erasers
  • Safety pins
  • Plain white paper or notepad
  • Extra supplies for what you sell(needle/thread if you sew, extra pieces, etc)
  • Band-aids(booboos happen sometimes)


TIPS:
  • Keep Murphy's Law in mind - "If anything can go wrong, it will."
  • Ensure your display and items are secured to your table in case your table gets bumped
  • DO NOT LET THE CASH BOX OUT OF YOUR SIGHT!
  • Most locking boxes come with 2 keys... don't lose them!
  • Stock your box with at least $50 of singles to make change with(many ppl pay with $20s)
  • Smile and make eye contact, just be friendly in general!
  • Try to stand up every once in a while and stretch
  • Make friends with your AA neighbors Posted Image
  • Keep personal items hidden under/behind your table, but not out of your sight!
  • Keep exits and walkways clear - other AA people will be walking behind/around you to escape once and a while

This post has been edited by JujuFox: 14 May 2013 - 10:34 AM

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#2 User is offline   JujuFox 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 11:30 AM

In case anyone was wondering about the food prices at the Convention center, this is a photograph from last year.
Posted Image
This is from the food stand. Other food is available at the little restaurant attached on the side, but expect to pay more.
Attending since 2005 ~ Artist Alley '06, '11, '12, '13, & '14

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#3 User is offline   Manifested Dreams 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:24 PM

Table Bunny!

This is one of the first things you need to consider, but often the last for people. Work days are long and that bathroom will seem awfully far away if you have no one to watch your table. Make sure you have someone who can table sit for a few minutes if need be. Keep in mind that only people with AA badges can be behind the table. If you are going alone, find out who your table neighbors are. Talk to them ahead of time and find out if they'd mind keeping an eye on things if you need to vanish for a few minutes. Most people understand this and are cool with it, but it's best to not assume. Trust me, this is the difference between a wonderful weekend and one of bladder hell.

Trash Can/Bag

Have a designated place for the trash to go. Empty water bottles, paper scraps, etc. Figure out where the closest trash can is and make at least one trash run at the end of each day. This will keep your area less cluttered and keep the convention hall clean.

Credit Card Sales

If you take credit cards, remember to have your receipt book on hand(quite awkward when you forget it, not that I'd know. No sir, not me. :blush: )

On the topic of CC sales. If you have a smart phone with Android or I-Phone OS, consider getting a Square. CCs can help boost your sales and with this service, it makes it super simple, provides a signature and receipt to your customer and deposits in your account quickly (https://squareup.com) A lot of us swear by it. Heck, I got my new phone specifically to use it.

Remember your camera!

Cosplayers come to us, so have your camera ready and with batteries if you like to take pictures.

Sleep, Shower, Eat and Drink

6 hrs of sleep a night, 2 meals a day, at LEAST two bottles of water a day and shower when needed. This is the general convention rule, but it applies to the AA as well. A convention is no reason to not take care of yourself. Remember, cans of soda and juice do not count as bottles of water and you will feel it by the end of the weekend.

In regard to food

Depending on the hotel you stay at, you may or may not have free breakfast, access to a microwave, etc. Figure out what your hotel room does and doesn't have before you get there and plan accordingly. I take a rice cooker to all of my shows because it is a safe and easy way to make hot meals. Rice cookers have enclosed heat sources so most hotels are fine with them. You can use them to make rice(duh), pasta, fish, vegetables and a ton of other things. It's already been stated above, but take food with you to the show itself. I pack bento for my table that we eat half way through the day. Have a good breakfast and something for mid day and you'll be a much happier person

Alcohol consumption

I realize this seems out of place, but it isn't. ACEN is an awesome show, especially if you are over 21. There are several nice spots to get a cocktail or beer at the end of the day right in the area. Common sense still applies. Remember you have work the next day and be responsible about it. At least 1 glass of water for every glass of alcohol and you'll avoid a hangover.


I am sure I will think of other things later xD

#4 User is offline   Purplegodess 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:39 PM

I use to tell the artist this back in my day... but.... actually plan out your table. As silly as it sounds, you have 2ft by 8ft, get yourself a tape measure, check that out, and build your table display at home. Artists alleys have been evolving over the years. Back in 2007 there were maybe 3-4 tables who built dynamic displays, now most everyone understands the importance of display. The better you can display your works the more people will notice you. Art teacher side of me wants to stress that if your display doesn't look like you care about your work, why should anyone else?


Also...but cushions for the chairs, seriously, you'll thank me later....

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#5 User is offline   Manifested Dreams 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:41 PM

View PostPurplegodess, on 16 December 2011 - 12:39 PM, said:

Also...but cushions for the chairs, seriously, you'll thank me later....


THIS. Just try not to steal the ones from the hotel xD

#6 User is offline   Tokoz 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:53 PM

Some other things my group brings in addition to the above:

Power strip, if you get a power drop. One time, there were 4 tables who paid for power, and only two outlets designated for our use. Powerstrip saved everyone.

Gatorade or some other electrolye-filled, caffeine-free beverage. (in addition to water. water is more important, but gatorade + water can help a lot!)

Sunblock. No, really. Fluorescent lights give off small amounts of UV radiation and if you're sensitive to such stuff, you CAN get a bit of a burn sitting under them all day like that. Yes, I'm allergic, but even my non-allergic friends have felt it after the second day or so.

Hand Sanitizer. For the prevention of con crud.

TV tray. FOr extra table/work space that doesn't clutter up your display table.

Our first year, my group went off of this list http://victoria-case...om/swa12109.htm for our preparations. SOme of it isn't going to apply, since it was written for an outdoor arts/crafts fair, but it's still a very good list!

Also, thrift stores are great places to pick up cheap, gigantic tablecloths for covering your table and/or work. I think I got mine for less than $2.

#7 User is offline   JujuFox 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 02:09 PM

View PostPurplegodess, on 16 December 2011 - 12:39 PM, said:

I use to tell the artist this back in my day... but.... actually plan out your table.

YES! Planning it out will save you time and headaches at the con.


View PostTokoz, on 16 December 2011 - 12:53 PM, said:

Some other things my group brings in addition to the above:Power strip, if you get a power drop. One time, there were 4 tables who paid for power, and only two outlets designated for our use. Powerstrip saved everyone.

Had we not brought our power strip and extension cord we wouldn't have the power drop we paid for! They put us so far away from the power, and our table neighbor paid too, so we shared with her. Luckily it worked out.
Attending since 2005 ~ Artist Alley '06, '11, '12, '13, & '14

Cosplays 2014: Friday: Ness(female version) Saturday: Chell Sunday: Myself
Cosplays 2013: Friday: Major Motoko Kusanagi(picture) Saturday: Chell(picture) Sunday: Ness(picture)

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#8 User is offline   Millions_Knives 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 02:43 PM

power drops are um troubling for everyone
(shakes fist at prices)
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#9 User is offline   IcyPanther 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 02:50 PM

Thanks for this list! Very helpful!
Does anyone have any pictures of table designs in the past? I've bought some stuff, but would love to see how others set up.
On the power drop, I know it's being priced through the center this year, but does anyone know how much it has cost in years past? Just an estimate would be great! Looks like Ineed to go find my extra power strip. I know it's in my closet somewhere...
I will (hopefully) be attending ACen 2015 as an Artist.
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#10 User is offline   JujuFox 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 03:07 PM

View PostIcyPanther, on 16 December 2011 - 02:50 PM, said:

Thanks for this list! Very helpful!
Does anyone have any pictures of table designs in the past? I've bought some stuff, but would love to see how others set up.
On the power drop, I know it's being priced through the center this year, but does anyone know how much it has cost in years past? Just an estimate would be great! Looks like Ineed to go find my extra power strip. I know it's in my closet somewhere...

Well... here is what my table looked like last year, but I am going with something completely different next year. Also I am putting out all of my stock instead of one of each type.

Posted Image

This year we are probably going to go with the wire cubes instead of that deavy wooden shelving unit we had. You can see the person on the left side and far behind me used the wire cubes for plush and prints.

This post has been edited by DavenEvanXaviour: 16 December 2011 - 03:08 PM

Attending since 2005 ~ Artist Alley '06, '11, '12, '13, & '14

Cosplays 2014: Friday: Ness(female version) Saturday: Chell Sunday: Myself
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#11 User is offline   IcyPanther 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 03:37 PM

aww, that's so cute!
I actually did buy wire cubes, they were recommended to me by a friend. And I figured that they'd be useful in other ways to, once I get my apartment and what not.

I love your little spirtes!
I will (hopefully) be attending ACen 2015 as an Artist.
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#12 User is offline   Tokoz 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:32 PM

View PostIcyPanther, on 16 December 2011 - 03:37 PM, said:

I actually did buy wire cubes, they were recommended to me by a friend. And I figured that they'd be useful in other ways to, once I get my apartment and what not.




Yes, the wire cubes are VERY handy. Here's a picture of my group's table last year http://lobster-ball....setup-213371083

It was our first year using the wire boxes -- definitely better than what we had before. I can also recommend inexpensive portable dollies, like these. They're super-handy for carting your stuff to your table if you don't have containers with wheels or regular dollies or hand carts.

#13 User is offline   FurGear 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:57 PM

I use a wire grid both hany for the height and great for hauling with 2 people

Posted Image

this just seems to work well.

#14 User is offline   AnimeMonster 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:04 PM

This is going to be my first year. I really appreciate all the information, help, and tips everyone is giving. thanks
:)
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#15 User is offline   IcyPanther 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:06 PM

How on earth do you get them to stand up like that, Furgear? Really neat!

Also, I've seen people hanging prints off the wire cubes. Do they attach like a paperclip or something to the back with tape? I dont' want to put a hole in it, but I really like that idea!
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#16 User is offline   FurGear 

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:13 PM

Actually they come with T stands that just screw on and can lay flat when not in use

The wings are held up by those little things that keep name tags on you shirt if you work at like say Walmart like i do
I loop the button part around the wire and fasten it and use the clip part meant for the shirt to hold my items
you can get like 12 of them at any office depo for like $2

Its a wonderful process there isint any fighting with the weird circle things with the cubes
and they can be used as a handy carrier with two people

#17 User is offline   Maurizio 

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 05:23 AM

Backdrops-- how tall can they be (are they even allowed)? :)

#18 User is offline   Voltaire30 

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 02:36 PM

View PostMaurizio, on 17 December 2011 - 05:23 AM, said:

Backdrops-- how tall can they be (are they even allowed)? :)


Yes, but they may not interfere with the studios around you.

The space that you have available to you is 8' x 5', and after the space the table takes us (8' x 2') you have 8' x 3' to use (if you don't count the space under the table.
So... if you can fit it without interfering with the studios around you or without causing a fire hazard, you can do it. Posted Image
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#19 User is offline   djdragonblood 

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 02:36 PM

How tall are displays allowed to be? I don't think that I saw that information anywhere.

This post has been edited by djdragonblood: 18 December 2011 - 02:40 PM


#20 User is offline   obakasan 

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 05:49 PM

Remembering my flea market days:

It's often a good idea to be standing when at your table and dealing with customers. Get on eye level. Interact. Which brings me to this wonderful item to put on your list: a small rug or "fatigue" mat. Get carpet sample piece, or just buy a small rug at somplace like Target (I got one brand-new for under $5). Your feet, legs, and back will thank you for it. Even if you are sitting most of the time resting your feet on a softer-than-cold-concrete surface is danged nice, especially if you've popped off your shoes...

:thumbup:
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#21 User is offline   Sapphy 

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 03:23 PM

For those of you using the wire cubes in your displays, how do you secure them to the table? I went out and bought a set of cubes (I'll be at ACen as Happy Hatpire Designs selling paper-art shadowboxes, my first table at a convention! Yay! So excited!) but I keep imagining a disasterous table accident involving my cubes toppling over at some point during the weekend. Do you guys tape them down to the table or secure them in any way, or are they sturdy enough to stand up without any additional support?

I'm getting so psyched for the con and this is a really, really nice list. There's a few things on there (like butt cushions!) I would never have thought to bring. Thank you all for this!
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#22 User is offline   JujuFox 

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:29 PM

View PostSapphy, on 21 December 2011 - 03:23 PM, said:

For those of you using the wire cubes in your displays, how do you secure them to the table? I went out and bought a set of cubes (I'll be at ACen as Happy Hatpire Designs selling paper-art shadowboxes, my first table at a convention! Yay! So excited!) but I keep imagining a disasterous table accident involving my cubes toppling over at some point during the weekend. Do you guys tape them down to the table or secure them in any way, or are they sturdy enough to stand up without any additional support?


Although I have not used them before for ACen, I have used them in the past for a storage solution, and they are pretty sturdy on their own. As for securing them to the table... well last year they actually covered all of the AA tables with a blue plastic covering, and on top of that I had a cloth table covering. So it would not have really been possible to secure anything down with duct tape or something(without wrapping it around the table).

Maybe someone who has used them before have any tips?

I was also wondering if it is possible to have two towers connected by cubes on the top. Anyone do this last year or know if this is possible? I thought I saw this last year, but I could be wrong.

I was thinking something like this...

Posted Image

I haven't measured how many cubes high it will need to be, but I am assuming 3 or 4 high. I'm pretty sure the table behind me did this, but I don't have a picture of them since they set up later than we did.
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#23 User is offline   IcyPanther 

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:14 PM

That'd be a really cute idea, Daven! I'd imagine it would stay up because as you said, they are pretty steady, so long as you don't put anything too heavy inside.

I'm going to be using a rod of some sort and putting that up top to hang things from, most likely prints or a banner. The cubes I purchaed, unfortnately, were meant to be built directly next to each other, so I'm short about 4 sides to completly make my individual stacked cubes.
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#24 User is offline   JujuFox 

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:27 PM

View PostIcyPanther, on 22 December 2011 - 04:14 PM, said:

The cubes I purchaed, unfortnately, were meant to be built directly next to each other, so I'm short about 4 sides to completly make my individual stacked cubes.

Oh yeah you gotta plan out based on the sides. I am planning on probably having to buy at least two sets of the cubes. I'll figure that out a little later though. I have only started planning right now and will start buying like in Feb or March. I still haven't really decided if I want to do shirts on the top cubes, products, or hang my banner there. A rod across the top is a good idea.

I'm actually thinking cubes stacked across like that is overkill... and possibly unstable.
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#25 User is offline   Karmada 

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 09:43 AM

View PostDavenEvanXaviour, on 22 December 2011 - 08:27 PM, said:

I'm actually thinking cubes stacked across like that is overkill... and possibly unstable.


I think I've seen it done at other booths, but I think they also reinforce the ones going across the middle with zipties (along with the holding-together-peg-things they come with.) It also depends on what you plan on putting in there.

If you're putting soft things or hanging pictures, I think it will be fine. Putting heavy items might be structurally unsound. You'll definitely want to pre-test it out and check the weight capacity of said cubes before deciding if you're gonna use it at the con.

Also, in regards to holding down said cubes, I use the giant wire panels, and I just use a C-clamp (a little itty bitty one) in a couple of key places where I can fit em. This way I can get them to fit any thickness of table, and can tighten up the clamp so it won't go anywhere.
Depends on how the tables are set up this year if there will be room to put them both on the front corner and back corner. Namely, you just want to keep em from tipping.

#26 User is offline   Millions_Knives 

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 09:57 AM

i second the zipties for the cubes for sure

also the table covers are not the best in the world
and only hang about a foot from the table

so if ya want a nice table top
and to hide your stuff under your table
ya may want o get your own cover
want to learn about cosplay materials? click here->my youtube cosplay tips and tricks<-click here

#27 User is offline   Manifested Dreams 

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 03:31 PM

View PostDavenEvanXaviour, on 22 December 2011 - 12:29 PM, said:

Although I have not used them before for ACen, I have used them in the past for a storage solution, and they are pretty sturdy on their own. As for securing them to the table... well last year they actually covered all of the AA tables with a blue plastic covering, and on top of that I had a cloth table covering. So it would not have really been possible to secure anything down with duct tape or something(without wrapping it around the table).

Maybe someone who has used them before have any tips?

I was also wondering if it is possible to have two towers connected by cubes on the top. Anyone do this last year or know if this is possible? I thought I saw this last year, but I could be wrong.

I was thinking something like this...

Posted Image

I haven't measured how many cubes high it will need to be, but I am assuming 3 or 4 high. I'm pretty sure the table behind me did this, but I don't have a picture of them since they set up later than we did.


I did the "Up and over" cube display for Otakon this year: http://i202.photobuc..._Otakon2011.jpg

We zip tied the Bejebus out of it and it held up pretty well. Never had a break or anything like that.

The biggest problem we ran into was that it created this cave sort of effect. Made it hard to see customers sometimes, to interact with them. It also made the table itself feel cramped and caused some things to get overlooked until we adjusted.

I personally don't recommend it unless it is the only option.

OTHER CHECK LIST STUFF:

If you are someone who plans to do a lot of shows and really needs to have electricity, I suggest investing in one of these:

http://www.amazon.co...duct/B000EJS9IM (or something similar)

They work great for powering sewing machines, laptops/PCs, scanners, printers, charging your cell phone etc etc. One of the other studios I travel around with has one and it's come in very handy both at shows and when a car has needed a jump or tires inflated.

Plus, you'll have one for your car then.

Just make sure to plug it in at your hotel room every night to make sure it's fully charged :)

#28 User is offline   Millions_Knives 

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 05:53 PM

View PostManifested Dreams, on 27 December 2011 - 03:31 PM, said:


If you are someone who plans to do a lot of shows and really needs to have electricity, I suggest investing in one of these:

http://www.amazon.co...duct/B000EJS9IM (or something similar)



i would say everyone who wants power this year to buy one
power drops cost a lot lot lot
this will pay for it self so quick
if i remember right the cost of a power drop was way more than the cost of a table
want to learn about cosplay materials? click here->my youtube cosplay tips and tricks<-click here

#29 User is offline   Grimby 

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 05:59 PM

View PostMillions_Knives, on 27 December 2011 - 05:53 PM, said:

i would say everyone who wants power this year to buy one
power drops cost a lot lot lot
this will pay for it self so quick
if i remember right the cost of a power drop was way more than the cost of a table


Do you have any idea what the power drop cost is going to be this year? Or what it was in the past?

I really like the idea of this contraption thing, but I'm not really ready to shell out 100 bucks if the power drop for ACen costs less.. I'm just wondering what the power drop fee will be, because I guess if it's more than the table itself, I'd rather just spend the money for something I can use multiple times.

#30 User is offline   Millions_Knives 

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 07:17 PM

so everything in the hall cost a "flip table" amount if you ask me
but the center has the upper hand so not much to do

sadly i cant go into details being no one of importance staff wise
but the changes are in the contract and/or the info sent to all AA ppl
many times carefully reading your contract and/or the info will help you to plan for these detail for the con
im glad Deven was able to help shAre power/costs via the power strip

it seems DevenEvenXaviour would know the cost
since she was kind enough shAre her power strip and help out her fellow AA ppl
he/she may be able to shAre with you the exact numbers

This post has been edited by Millions_Knives: 27 December 2011 - 07:23 PM

want to learn about cosplay materials? click here->my youtube cosplay tips and tricks<-click here

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