I took Friday, November 22, off from work and arrived at the Stephens Center around 10 a.m. My tablemates Bob and Dave were already there and set up. Bob's brother Bill was there as well and had a gift box of 1977 Topps for me. Thanks Bill!! It took me most of the day to set up because I have to tape down my binders after getting one stolen at the 2010 National.
It was a typical Friday at the Sun-Times show with not much of a crowd and few sales. I was able to purchase some T206s, so I was pretty happy. There was a dealer with a stack of low-grade T206s. I picked up a few and planned to go back later once I made some money. Though when later came, I saw Levi at the dealer's table purchasing most of the remaining cards. Yet, I was able to make a nice purchase of 1952 Topps baseball from another dealer.
Then the Steve showed up at our booth. I've talked about this guy in the past. He hovers around our booth each and every Sun-Times or National at the Stephens Center. He is absolutely worthless. He doesn't collect cards. He thinks they're stupid. He also wants us to get him into the show for free in exchange for some crappy sandwiches. He usually doesn't show up on Friday. He showed up on this Friday. He promised to bring some Polish sausages for lunch on Saturday. At the National, he actually did something useful and brought us some amazing Polish sausages.
The next day, I had my usual busy Saturday. I sold a lot of cards. The OBC guys, who I've complained about in the past, were actually reasonable today. A new customer from Detroit made my day by purchasing my 1955 Davey Crockett set and a whole bunch of Tigers cards from 1933 to 1973. I saw quite a few regulars from all my other shows like Jim and Jason from Milwaukee, Dennis from the Orland show, and Bob from the Schaumburg show. Everybody bought some cards. Thanks guys!
Steve brought us the Polish sausages. They were a let down, not nearly as good as the ones he brought to the National. Then he just got in the way, as usual. He sat down in my chair and started eating one of the Polish sausage sandwiches. Shortly, he had mustard all over his face and was spitting out bits of bread and grease while barking at me to eat a sandwich. I was across the booth helping a customer. I'm happy to eat one of his sandwiches but my purpose for attending the show is to sell cards. I'll eat when there are no customers at the booth. Steve doesn't get it.
Already annoyed with the Steve, in the afternoon I got suckered into an argument with him. Arguing with Steve is a regular feature at the Rosemont shows. The guy just about hates all of mankind. I have no tolerance for people who hate others who are a little different than they are. I should have known better than to argue with him. We argued about the Affordable Care Act. The argument spread to one of Dave's customers and the dealer next to us from Texas. I'm a fourth-generation Chicago Democrat, so you know which side I was arguing. After a while, I got so disgusted with the Steve that I told him to leave our booth. He refused. I dropped a few F bombs and told him to bother someone else. He wouldn't leave. He was even there while I was packing up, still trying to argue with me. I've about had it with this guy. I've been dealing with him for about 10 years now. I don't like him. I've never liked him. I don't understand why he hangs out at our booth. I told Dave and Bob that I don't want him around. They didn't respond. I overheard Dave tell Steve to not worry about me. I told Dave that he could set up with Steve for now on. I left the show pissed off. Luckily, I left with Mark Smith, Chuck T., and Mark's friend Craig. These guys helped me forget about the Steve.
I had made plans with the guys weeks earlier. I wanted to show off some of the restaurants from my old neighborhood. Unfortunately, I made them walk to the CTA lot where I had parked my car. It can be a tough walk. Mark and Chuck carried some heavy containers of cards. They weren't looking so good when we finally arrived at my car. Worst yet, I set off the door alarm, the door would not shut and would not stop making a "ding" sound. We got the door to shut but the "ding" sounds stayed. They were pretty good about ignoring the "ding." I gave them some food options including BBQ, Polish, Italian, German and Chinese. They chose BBQ. I took them to Russell's in Elmwood Park, a Chicago-area icon. They enjoyed their BBQ beef sandwiches and we had a great time. Though the "ding" kept on and we got stuck behind some trains on the way to Russell's and on the way back to the Stephens Center. I did not enjoy the "ding" on the drive home.
On Sunday morning, I had to debate with myself on whether I wanted to just go get my stuff and go home or sit through another day of the Steve. Thankfully, and appreciatively, Bob and Dave were in my corner and agreed that the Steve should not be allowed at the booth.The Steve still showed up but didn't stick around very long. Sales were a little better than expected and I bought a bunch of stuff, including more T206s, some 1941 Play Balls, stars from the 1950s and 1960s, and a nice group of 1953 Topps baseball commons. Largely Steve free on this day, I enjoyed myself.
Except for the Steve, it was a good show. My sales were much better than the March Sun-Times show. Though, I did observe that attendance was noticeably down. I've said this in the past but it should be said again: MM-Shows LLC does a lousy job at promoting this show. These folks need to wake up and spend a few bucks and properly promote the show. At the very least, get the thing listed on the Beckett show calendar!! After the Sun-Times show, I always spend the next several months weighing my options on whether I should set up at the next one. On the negative side, I had a lousy show in March 2013 and it would be three days with the Steve. On the positive side, I had a good show in November and I picked up some new customers. Right now, I'm leaning toward doing the show in March, as long as Bob and Dave agree that the Steve is banned from the booth. I can't deal with that guy any longer.
Back to the present day. I had a nice December and hope to get another blog together soon discussing those shows. In the meantime, I'm getting ready for the January 5 Schaumburg show at the Best Western Plus. My next project is to reload some 1961 Golden Press. I also have some 1961 Fleer football and 1974 Topps baseball ready for reload. I hope everyone has a happy new year and hope to see a nice crowd in Schaumburg on January 5.