The AGM crew returned home a few hours ago, and when the truck is finally unloaded, our SOS will officially be over. Well, sort of. As those involved in events planning know, the work on 2017 SOS began while this year's event was still fully up and running.
On the drive home I had about 5 hours to reflect on the show, and scribbled some hasty notes to hopefully recall nuggets of information and ideas that will hopefully help us in the never-ending process of making improvements and adjustments to this event. I have a few proposals that I would like to run past you all for your thoughts, but we will save that for a few days on when a bit of rest might bring them more clearly into focus.
One theme that kept coming up over and over again for me and in discussions with the other officers and directors of the club was our profound and sincere gratitude and thanks to everyone who attended, and to all of those who may not have been able to make it but help out by spreading the word, lending their support and enthusiasm for the Show-of-Shows. A successful show does not happen by sheer force of will alone; it is in fact something of a consensus. Without the support of the collecting community, all of the planning and effort that goes into one of these would be for nothing. THANK YOU.
For those who do not know already, we also chalked up a nice win in the shoplifting department which was the direct result of sharp observation by several OVMS members, and very quick and efficient police work by the force of Louisville Metro officers who were working the show for us. Before you ask, (as they are DEMANDING at the W-A forum, I see..) I will not be posting photos or names of anyone involved until such time as we are advised by our legal counsel that it is appropriate to do so. However, there is a lot of gossip floating about, so here's the straight story. An individual was suspected of shoplifting an expensive item from a dealer who had just sold him another piece. The dealer spotted the individual at another dealer's table, and politely asked him if there had been some mistake. At that time, the second dealer noticed a similar item missing that the fellow had been looking at earlier, asked him about it, and the subject 'remembered' that it was in his pocket. Knowing that at least one other similar item was stolen from a friend the day before, they wisely put the subject at ease, as though all was happily resolved. The dealers involved immediately gave an excellent, detailed description of the suspect to our OVMS staff and Louisville Metro officers, who arrested the subject. The stolen property was recovered, including items reported stolen from the previous day.
I will not comment on the status of any prosecution, as that is now between the individuals involved and Louisville Metro Police Department. However this turns out for the fellow who was caught, he will never again be admitted to any OVMS show, and we will communicate all details to other show promoters so that they might do the same.
Of important note, he was a 'dealer helper' who was NOT a member of the OVMS. This underscores the security reasoning behind our desire to require all dealers and dealer helpers to be members. Our experience is that a majority of thefts occur during the necessarily chaotic set-up period when only dealers and dealer helpers are supposed to be in the show. In this case, the witnesses noted the man's badge and name, which of course traced back to absolutely nothing in our system.. because he wasn't a member. Fortunately, they also observed great accurate details that allowed us to efficiently get a net over this guy, so it worked out. Is the membership requirement a foolproof safeguard? Of course not. But, like any good security system, it is both a deterrent and a good tool to have in your arsenal.
One other thing - in the course of marching around the hall, I noticed a number of seller 'referrals' happening at the show; sellers who may not have had the specific item that a customer was seeking were using the show guide book to point customers to other sellers who they knew or suspected would have the desired artifact. I (literally) bumped into several who took the time to personally walk the customer across the hall and make introductions. Makes me smile. There are of course always a few examples of guys whose customer service lapsed because they were too busy trying to figure out which Star Wars character is best resembled by the big booger they just mined. Frustrating, yes, but it is what it is. Wouldn't be a militaria show without them. Those inclined to be courteous and helpful, though, are an asset to the fraternity of collectors and help to make the show a fun event for all involved.
Thanks to everyone! Let's work together to make 2017 as good or even better than this one.