It is the Militaria event of the year...let's stay awhile...it's a good time...
For many of the sellers, though, it seems that they can't get in early enough.. and at the same time can't leave soon enough. I was discussing this with one friend at Baltimore last week and proposed the following, purely in jest:
Monday, 5-8 setup
Tuesday 8-12 setup, members 12-5
Wednesday members 9-5
Thursday "public" 9-5
Friday 9-noon, then pack-up and move out from noon to 5.
"That way everybody could be home for the weekend!!" (wink, nod)
He took me seriously, and was enthusiastically in favor of it. -sigh-
We're all guilty of this to one extend or another, but it remains true that many of the participants are concerned ONLY with what is the most convenient for them, personally. This is human nature, and no great surprise.. but it does have to be factored into the decision making process. Unfortunately, when making any change or adjustments, there are a LOT of psychological hang-ups and preconceived notions that we must identify and either accommodate or overcome.
From the perspective of many sellers, anyone "truly serious" will find a way to be in the hall early, either on a buddy's 'helper' pass, as a life member, or clinging James Bond style to the undercarriage of a truck coming in during the drive-in portion of dealer set-up. They will run around grabbing at eagles, swastikas, and painted M1 helmets like contestants in some perversion of a 1970's game show, leaving a trail of ATM cash and smiling vendors in their wake. They might even return to hoover up a few overlooked crumbs the following day, but within 24 hours of Wednesday's grand opening, they are already aboard their helicopters and private jets, bound for their secret mountain retreats where the finds of the show are photographed for forum bragging rights, then sealed away in big vault rooms by a squad of attractive yet severe and serious young women decked out in black latex Panzer wraps.
Meanwhile, back at the show, the greater proletariat makes their way to the hall to steal collar discs, break leather sword scabbards, try on uniforms, ask inane questions, overwhelm the lunch lines, and clog up the toilets. The vast majority of serious business is long since complete, and all that remains for the dealers is to stare at one another for TWO DAYS until the blessed hour when the OVMS releases the shackles and they can chunk their remaining wares into dirty plastic tubs and burn rubber for the nearest exit. Departing as close to 3:00 on Saturday is critical, since (for example) "I always get to Dalton, Georgia on Saturday night, and then if I leave there between 6:45 and 7:10 am on Sunday morning, I hit the beltway around Atlanta at the best possible time, which puts me home in time for my Sunday haircut during Missy's shift at Great Clips, and if I miss that I will look like a hippy when I get to work on Monday and I'll loose my job and my children will starve, and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT because I had to stay until 3:30! Why do you have a jihad against my people?!?!"
OK, that is a bit exaggerated, but it is in fact pretty emblematic of the myopic ME ME ME logic that drives a lot of the opinion that has been offered up in opposition to any proposed change to the 3:00 Saturday show implosion. (AND, the jihad quote is a real, actual quote from a real, actual SOS dealer.) Oddly enough, when this topic comes up, many of the dealers whose voices take on the timber of an eight-year-old who just learned that the buffet is fresh out of chocolate puddin' ARE THE SAME ONES who just a few years ago were getting busted for packing up early and going over to set up at Dickson's Gun Show, which, incidentally, runs until mid-day Sunday.
On the other side of the fence, visit any forum and you will learn that the members and collecting public absolutely buy into the concept of the mustachioed super-buyers who sack the Show-of-Shows like Alaric and the Visigoths; leaving nothing for the "normal" collectors to find in their wake but statues with their arms busted off, broken pottery, and tables filled with over-priced, counterfeit Colosseum snow globes. So, the logic goes, if you can't get in on a helper pass or be there when the doors open on Thursday, there simply isn't any point to making the trek since everything good will already be gone. Throw in a little class envy and the normal resentment of any collector who got something that you didn't, and pretty soon they have convinced themselves that the tables which are literally groaning with great stuff on Saturday can't really be tables full of good stuff because anything truly any good would have been gone Wednesday night within the first half hour. So, they talk themselves into a funk and pass by nice artifacts that will only be 'good' again during the first hour of set-up at the next show.
In reality, with 166,500 square feet (~2000 tables) of militaria, there is great stuff to find the whole weekend. YES, some wonderful stuff gets scarfed up as soon as it hits the table during set-up. No matter when you get there, you will miss something, whether you know it or not. That's life. We all miss stuff. I have tried for years to pass a rule that everybody sets up and then stands at attention at their table, with nothing sold until I have a chance to pass in review like a tin-pot dictator.. but the board shoots that down every time. So chances are, they aren't going to pass the same rule for anybody else, either.
As a seller who remains set up until the very end, I can also tell you that there is plenty of business to be done. Is it strongest during set-up day? Absolutely. But, the regular collectors who come in Saturday morning are buyers too, and if you have nice items at reasonable prices, you can sell until our security chases you out at the end of the day. We reluctantly had to put up caution tape around our booth Sunday during pack-out, so that we could get our work done without people digging in the boxes trying to do business. Did enough sales before noon on Sunday to pay the hotel bill for the entire weekend.
So, if as buyers and sellers we don't manage to talk ourselves out of it, the SOS is an epic event for both. However, this trend of buyers and sellers considering the show "over" as of Friday afternoon will become a self-fulfilling prophecy unless the club takes steps to remedy the situation.
Whatever we do, (even if that is nothing at all), will be considered personally inconvenient to a number of people. We must, though, look beyond our own personal preferences and conveniences and work for the good of the event overall. A strong SOS is good for buyers, sellers, and the hobby as a whole.
Robert, in particular I appreciate your input. Your support of the OVMS and the hobby in general are very much appreciated!!