I am not sure how many Nationals I have set up as a dealer. I think it may be seven or eight. I do know that the one constant has been my pal Dave McDonald. I love setting up with this guy. He is one of the most knowledgeable guys I know. We also enjoy a lot of the same things like vintage cards, classic rock, food and a good laugh. We always have a great time at the National.
At that very first National with Dave, we were joined by our pal Bob. I think Bob set everything up the first time. He registered us for the tables and charted out our layout. It was great. Unfortunately, Bob's work and family schedule makes it tough for him to set up. So the second National I set up at as a dealer, I made the reservation and recruited additional guys.
I also registered the group for the third National I attended as a dealer. At that one, we were set up across from PJ and we agreed to join forces. PJ has been registering the group for the last several Nationals now.
I remember when I was registering the group, it was real easy to get space. However, I observed that there has been an increase in demand for dealer space at these past few Nationals and PJ has had to really hustle to maintain our regular spot at the Chicago Nationals.
PJ and Dave also set up at some Cleveland Nationals that Scott and I were unable to attend. As a general rule, it is really hard for me to get the time off work to set up at the National, a five-day show. At every other National in the past, I have needed someone to watch my booth so I can represent clients in court in the morning then head over to the convention center.
This time around, I made an extra effort to schedule my court cases before and after the National. It was difficult to do but I was able to get it done. I have been thinking about the 2022 National in Atlantic City and decided just before this year's Chicago National that I want to set up in Atlantic City next year.
I have been talking about it with Dave, PJ and Scott. They do not seem all that interested. I cannot do it alone, I need a second person. I enlisted by brother Jon who has agreed to attend the 2022 National in Atlantic City with me. Thanks Jon! I have never been to a National outside of Chicago so I am already excited for 2022. Also, I have always wanted to go to Atlantic City. Jon and I love to gamble. Our dad taught us how to play craps when we were toddlers -- we're from Chicago, what can I say!
So in order to reserve space at the 2022 National in Atlantic City, I had to attend a dealer space lottery on Saturday morning. I was very concerned about making it to the lottery at my allotted time of 8:20 a.m. because I am a terrible morning person.
Thankfully waking up was not a problem and I made it to Rosemont in about 15 minutes, in plenty of time. I have never participated in this lottery before as space used to be simple to obtain back in the day. PJ advised I use his name for registration because he was a "5" and I was a "2." The 5's get called for booth selection well before the 2's. When I arrived to Room 12, there was a crowd already there. I observed folks filling out paper work. I grabbed some papers and a pen, went into the dealer hospitality room where folks were chowing down on complementary doughnuts, and filled out the forms.
I saw Tony Schafer in there grabbing some doughnuts. We had talked about possibly teaming up for Atlantic City and the next Chicago National but I wanted to ensure I had some space so I joined this lottery deal.
With the paperwork complete, I got in line in Room 12. I handed my paperwork to a lady and watched her fumble with the forms and she seemed to be matching my paperwork with a list of names.
She told me that I am not a 5 but I am a 2 and had to register with the 2s. I explained to her that I partner with PJ and he is a 5 and I would like to register under PJ Sports. She said no. I had to register under my own name. I then attempted to explain my situation to a guy sitting to the her left. He said no, I have to register under my own name and had to redo the form with my name. They could not find a notecard with my name and wrote my name on a piece of paper and told me to hand it to a guy at the front of the packed room at a podium. I complied.
I sat down next to Gary George (love that guy!) and told him my situation. Gary was sympathetic. I am thankful that he'll be at Atlantic City so I know I'll see a friendly face next year. I scratched out PJ's name on the form and put my name on there and waited for the 2's to be called.
About 30 minutes later, I was called to come up and select my booth from a large map. I know nothing about the Atlantic City show and just randomly picked a spot. When I finished selection, I observed that only a handful of booths were available. The 2022 National was just about to sell out of dealer space.
I handed my form to a guy I recognized, I am pretty sure my pal Mark Smith introduced me to this guy in Strongsville and we had dinner together after one of the shows. I tried to explain my situation and he said that I could not register under PJ's name. I sucked it up and paid the famous Megan. If you ever registered for the National, you spoke to Megan at some point. I paid for the booth. I then was directed to hand my paperwork to my friend Gizmo. I received a fist bump from Gizmo and am now all registered for 2022. Woot! Now I need to obtain a hotel room....
That lottery was exhausting. Gizmo advised I go back to my booth and make some money. I made no argument. Back at the booth, I began to rearrange my display cases and informed the troops that I could not register under PJ's name. So this will affect us for the lottery in Atlantic City when I try to get booth space for 2023 in Chicago. I will have to wait until the end of the lottery to select booths for the 2023 National in Chicago. Ugh! Hopefully there will still be space available!!
So I waited too long to write this blog and cannot remember what I sold on Saturday. I was much too tired Saturday night to do a write up. I know I had steady sales all day long. Sales were not nearly as strong as Thursday or Friday but still much better than Wednesday.
Another big crowd on Saturday. My pal Ross Forman, who writes for SCD, told me the autograph line on Saturday wrapped around the building. I also watched a YouTube video of the line just to get into the building. Man, oh, Man!
And what was the deal with all of the video taping? I have never seen this before. Starting on Wednesday and continuing throughout the show, I observed folks making video of the show either using just their cell phones or various types of video cameras and equipment. Camera after camera went by our booth. Often they were in groups. I thought the ones videoing by themselves were talking to themselves before I realized they were talking to a camera.
There were many impromptu interviews at PWCC's booth. Crazy. I need to go on YouTube and start watching all of these videos. I made many a goofy face when I realized I was on camera. Maybe I need to start doing vlogs instead of blogs which seems to be the trend.
I bought a few more things on Saturday but not a whole lot as stuff to buy because cards just did not show up at my booth, unlike past Nationals where I was overrun with people selling cards.
The bathroom was still gross. Someone dropped a can of Miller Lite in the toilet I was about to use. Nasty.
Regardless, Saturday was another fun day. I was tired when the show ended at 6 p.m. but was looking forward to dinner with Dave, PJ and our friend Larry at Tom's Steakhouse in Elmwood Park, near Rosemont. Tom's is an old-time restaurant. It is rumored to be a mob place. I think it was bombed in the 1970's. I first went there in the mid-1980's when my girlfriend's parents took us there for dinner. I loved it then and love it now. My own parents love Tom's and have taken me there many times. Then my wife and I went there when we lived nearby.
It has been a while since I have been at Tom's. Maybe 10 years. One of the things I loved about Tom's in the past was it's 1960's decor and the "Relish Cart" which is a cart the waitress brings over before your meal and is filled with pickles, olives, spiced veggies and the like. I observed that the 1960's decor was gone as is the Relish Cart. Nevertheless, my strip steak was absolutely awesome! Tom's soaks each steak in au jous sauce and it is just awesome. We had a great meal! Thanks Dave!
I was beat when I got home and watched "Venom" with my kids. What a silly movie. I slept hard that night.
I had an opportunity to walk around the show today and saw all sorts of cool memorabilia. Pictured above is a 1934 Detroit Tigers pennant.