The Salvation Army, prior to the show, alerted me to another event scheduled at the venue during our show and that the front door would be closed off along with the front hallway. I regularly have 12 dealer tables in that front hallway, so I had to jam those tables into the other rooms.
I figured I could fit a few in front of the concession stand in the gym. I moved the concession stand window to Fellowship Hall. Some of the gym dealers did not like it but I really had no choice, I needed that space.
I was able to get a bunch more tables in each room. Luckily, three or four guys cancelled the week before the show. If they had not canceled, I would have had a tough time fitting them in somewhere.
Along those lines, every dealer showed up on the day of the show for the second month in a row. Woot! There is nothing I hate more than dealers who reserve space and then don't show up on the day of the show.
I am also starting to hate some of the dealers who consistently complain. There is really nothing to complain about. The show is a success. My table fees are the cheapest around. Everything is perfect. Just enjoy the freakin' show!
A few of the dealers that regularly set up in the front hallway had complaints. There was nothing I could do. That situation was out of my hands. If the Salvation Army wants to close it off, they can close it off. It is their venue and we are their guests and must comply.
I had other dealers complaining about their location in the building or that I move their spot every month. Unfortunately, the tables are set up differently every month by Salvation Army volunteers. I get to the building at 5:30 a.m. on show day and literally run around for a good hour and half placing dealer name plates on all 108 tables and moving some tables around. I try my best but I cannot please everyone. I am getting really tired of these complaints. With a large waiting list, these dealers don't realize that I don't need them. I've got others waiting for their spot and maybe a new dealer would not complain all of the time. I am starting to think that some of these dealers gotta go. Go set up at another show that charges you double of what I charge and only brings in a fraction of the customers. You've got a good thing going with me and my show, shut the @#%$ up!
Thankfully the dealer complaints stopped early in the morning. Then there were a few hiccups with the admission fee. The March show was my first with an admission fee. I am donating the entire admission fee to the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army volunteer slated to work the front door did not arrive until 9 a.m. and a large number of customers entered the show beforehand and did not provide a donation.
I received reports that customers were seen entering the show through other doors to avoid paying the big $1 admission fee which goes to charity. Many people came up to me to pay their $1 admission when the volunteer wasn't at the door, which was extremely kind. In the future, if you are unable to pay at the front door, you can pay the folks at the concession stand who are all Salvation Army volunteers.
At one point during the show, I stopped by the entrance to chat with the volunteer to see how things were going. While I was there, two of my regular dealers, who had cancelled the week before, were arguing with the volunteer over the admission fee. I explained to them that we are now charging a $1 donation from everyone entering the show. All of the admission funds go directly to the Salvation Army and help fund all the wonderful things they do.
These dealers nodded as if they heard me and understood but then walked past the volunteer without paying the donation! I then took out two dollars from my wallet and paid their entrance fee. Come on now! If you can't give a buck to charity, don't come to the show!!
I heard a couple more complaints about the admission fee during the show. Frankly, I cannot comprehend the complaints. All of the admission fee goes to charity. What could possibly be the problem?
At the end of the day, we provided a nice sum of money for the Salvation Army with more than 600 people through the door along with a great number of food purchases at our concession stand. I could tell that the folks at the Salvation Army really appreciated our efforts and I felt really good about it. It feels great to help out and it is always the right thing to do -- which was how I was raised, and it is what I teach my own children. It is a shame that others never received the message.
I think as the months go on, the admission process should go smoother. The volunteer requested a stamp for the April show so she could stamp people on the hand and determine who paid and who had not paid. I will find a stamp to donate before the April show.
A lot of the dealers felt we had a bigger crowd at our February show than March. I don't think so, seemed to me that there were many more people at this past show than in February. The gym was crowded all day long. The Game Room had quite a crowd most of the day. Kind of light attendance in fellowship hall, for some reason.
I was set up at the edge of Fellowship Hall next to the Game Room. I was pretty busy in the morning. My two guys who regularly purchase football cards were there and bought some stuff! They, along with many others, asked where my binders were. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I change my set up from show to show to keep it fresh. Plus, I have a huge inventory and do not have enough space to place everything out at once, so I rotate.
I brought out six display cases this month and filled them with some oversized pre-War cards, some Exhibits, then the rest with my duplicate star cards as I am saving my main star inventory for the upcoming Sun-Times and Strongsville shows. I also brought out a box of low-priced vintage singles and a box of publications.
I sold several Exhibits along with quite a few cards out of the cheapy box. I then sold all sorts of my duplicate stars. Quite a few people stopped at my table early in the morning like T.J., who came up from the Chicago area. Thanks T.J.! I remember selling a Ray Nitchke rookie to a customer. I'm not sure what else I sold.
I tried to get out early to make my rounds to pick up table fee as my helper Rachel had to leave early for her real job. My other helper Jason was out sick. Many dealers helped me out by bringing their table fee to me. Thanks guys! So I was away from my tables most of the day. I don't know what Rachel sold but I did see quite a few blank spots in my display cases. She does such a great job!
Everyone thinks Rachel is my daughter. I might start claiming her as my daughter because she is so great. Though, her father Scott Ziegert might take exception. At one point, Rachel's sister Danielle came over to bring Rachel some food. Afterwards, a dealer ran up to me and asked if I have twin daughters. I had to laugh. Both Rachel and Danielle belong to Scott. I do have a daughter who, unlike Scott's kids, won't help out. She is not willing to wake up at the crack of dawn to help at the show, even if I pay her. I am kind of like Rodney Dangerfield at home. No respect.
Onto other issues at the show... thankfully, no reports of theft this month. Last month, Randy had some blaster boxes stolen. I think he may have caught the culprit last week at the Root River show. I heard there was quite a commotion when Randy saw the guy steal the box from him. Apparently, Randy came out from behind his table. tackled the guy and punched him out before others pulled him off. Hopefully, this thief learned his lesson!
Back to the concession stand -- I really enjoyed having the concession stand window in Fellowship Hall where my tables were located. It was so much easier for me to grab some food. I had a Sloppy Joe well before my usual helper Doreen arrived to snag me one. I also went back for a brat. Good stuff!
On the buying front, I bought some stuff as well on Saturday. Gary and I had been talking before the show. He had a 1948 Leaf Ted Williams that was trimmed badly. I wanted to see it in person to make sure it was real. Sometimes the trimmer will cut off the word "reprint," so you have to be careful when purchasing trimmed cards. I determined the card was legit by feeling the surface which was a bit rough to the touch. Most of the fakes I find are smooth, not rough. Also, the '48 Leafs are thicker than the average baseball card and I saw that this one had the requisite thickness. I ended up working out a deal with Gary for the card. Gary also had a handful of 1960 Topps baseball that I purchased as well.
My pal Dave had a box for me filled with a bunch of 1954 and 1955 Topps baseball. Dave always gives me a good price and there is no negotiation. Another dealer gave me a nice price on a 1963 Topps Willie Mays. I was really happy with my purchases. I also talked to a few more guys about some deals that will hopefully happen down the road.
Overall, a pretty great day. I was really busy, the day just flew by. Seemed most dealers had good days selling cards. One dealer, Jake, was noticeably absent. Apparently, he is now famous in the box break world for pulling a six-figure card recently. I guess now he is too big of a deal to set up at the show! I kid. Jake's a great guy and hopefully, he'll be back in April. Can someone send me the YouTube link to Jake's pull?
I think I need to address, once again, a problem at all shows -- personal hygiene. Please bathe before coming to my show or any show! Nothing worse than being stuck in someone's stink all day. Ugh!
I let a new dealer stick a table in front of the Coke machine in Fellowship Hall, near my tables. The dealer was fine but his buddy stunk something fierce. His stink was so bad that it engulfed the entire room. I thought I was going to puke. After a while, I wondered if maybe it was me but after sniffing my pits, I received the pleasant scent of Old Spice, not a dead dog... which was the god-awful stink emanating off this guy in the worse way possible.
After the show, the guy was in the parking lot near my car. He stunk up the whole parking lot! How is that possible? Of all my stink complaints over the years of doing this blog, this guy was the worst! Ugh!
Do I need to place signs around the building advising guys to shower before coming to the show? Man, oh, man! Have some compassion for your fellow sports card collectors and remove that stink before coming to the show!!!
Anyway, this was a double bill weekend. I was set up in Schaumburg on Sunday where I battled more stink! Bathe! For god sakes, bathe before coming to the show!! Stinky Schaumburg show report coming soon.
In the meantime, I am gearing up for another double bill weekend. I've got the Rock Church show in Rockford on Saturday, March 12, then Orland on Sunday, March 13. I haven't figured out what to bring out yet. Guys were clamoring for my binders last week but I still haven't finished that '74 baseball binder. I just don't want to bring out the binders without at least one reloaded.
I'll probably do the same set up from this past weekend and add a few things more because I've got quite a bit of space to fill at the Orland show. Should be fun! I might start a fundraiser next weekend to purchase a cache of cologne to give out to those that are hygienically challenged.
Overall, a pretty great show in Oak Creek this past weekend. Thank you everybody for making the show such a grand success!
Below are some photos from this past Oak Creek show: