A Simple Equation – Don’t want to pay, Don’t go

I rant about this annually because every year I encounter people trying to circumnavigate the simple concept that if you want to attend CONvergence, you have to pay for it.

Before I make my blanket statement on the issue, here are a few facts:

1)  I am not speaking as a representative of the convention when I rant about cheap jerks who think that badge sharing is completely OK.  This is my opinion.

2)  In case you are unaware, I am one of the founders of the convention.  While I’m no longer on the board, I have put in as many or more hours than just about anyone who has ever worked on the convention.  I’ve paid for my badge every year.  My wife has paid for her badge.  We’ve paid for our kid’s badges.

I’ve never gotten a free ride and that is by design.  We want everyone to know that we all pay to attend.

3)  If you are one of the few people who has received a badge because you are a professional or a performer, good for you.  I’m totally not talking to you.  Thanks for coming and sharing your talents with the convention attendees!

The caveats are out of the way.  Here’s what I have to say to anyone out there who is thinking of attempting to ghost the convention either by trying to couterfiet a badge, share a badget with their friends or just by sneaking around and hoping they don’t get caught: stay the fuck out.

If you think the con is too expensive, that is your right.  The proper response to that opinion is to stay away from the convention.

I’m tired of hearing people say “I love the con but it is just too expensive.”

Well the reason the con is so awesome is because people pay to attend.  If you love the con that much, you should be shoveling out your own money to make sure it continues to be awesome.

I’m not going to tell you what your membership buys because inevitably someone says “Well, I never get coffee from Cof2e2 so why should I have to pay for it?”

“I only have a few skittles from consuite – why can’t you have a lower registration rate for people who don’t want to go there?”

After someone dismisses every aspect of the convention, they reach the point where they say something like “I’m just there to hang out with my friends – why should I have to pay $50 to do that?”

You don’t have to.

Go hang out with your friends somewhere else.

This is called a park and you can go there for free!

You can even dress up if you want.

Nobody is forcing you to go to the convention.  If you want to go, however, there are some rules we expect to follow.

First and foremost is this: you pay to go to the convention.  You don’t get to share your badge with someone else.  You don’t get to “just hang out at a friend’s party.”  You don’t get to go to the convention if you don’t pay.

I know that sounds draconian but it really isn’t.

Because hundreds of people put in hundreds of hours for free to put on this con and by saying their work was worth nothing, you are insulting them.

Even if you do nothing at the con, the very fact that you are there costs the convention money because (believe it or not), the hotel charges the convention money just to be there.

Do you think the at the door rate is too high?  I think you’re wrong because it is a four day convention that runs 24 hours so if we assume that the con starts at 3:00 PM on Thursay and runs through Sunday at 6:00 PM, you paid $1.33 an hour to attend.

Still think it’s too high?  You could have pre-registered for a much lower rate.   That’s why the pre-registration rate is there.

Or you can make the decision that you aren’t going to go.

I know that sucks that you might not be able to afford to go to the con this year.  You know what sucks worse?

Working your ass off for the convention and then dealing with people whining about the fact that what you did isn’t worth it.

Or realizing you don’t have the money to attend the convention this year, staying home and then hearing about other assholes who snuck in because they are assholes.

Day passes?  Please!  We have a day pass rate.  It’s called pre-registering for the convention.

If you only want to go for a day – so be it!  Pre-register and you have already paid less than whatever might have been charged for a day pass.

I’m pretty obstinate about this because I tire of people failing to understand the simplest of all equations: if you feel that something is overpriced, don’t buy it.

Any hey, I know almost anyone who reads this is either 1) going to the con and they’ve paid/will be paying for their badge or 2) not interested in going to the con.  Fair enough.

It isn’t just about us, though.  It is about anyone we know.  If you see someone talking about sneaking into the convention or badge sharing or doing anything other than paying the registration rate, tell ’em this:

If you feel the registration rate for CONvergence is too high, that’s fine.  I may think you are wrong but you need to decide for yourself what constitutes value.  If you don’t think you get enough value from CONvergence, the solution is simple.

Don’t go.

About Petsnakereggie

Geek, movie buff, dad, musician, comedian, atheist, liberal and writer. I also really like Taco flavored Doritos.

6 responses to “A Simple Equation – Don’t want to pay, Don’t go”

  1. John Maddening says :


  2. Joseph Erickson says :

    I know people who were prevented from sneaking into the con who should never be allowed to go for legal reasons I won’t go into. The badge rules also help keep people safe.

  3. Alice says :

    The one area I’ve been ok with a little badge-sharing is giving someone who isn’t sure if it is an experience they’d enjoy, who has never been before a small taste with the understanding if they want back the next year their own badge is the answer. This article does match my feelings, though about those who make a point of sneaking over and over. CONvergence is an awesome event and I’m sure many people have no idea how much work goes into it.

    This is the first year in a while I won’t be able to attend. *sigh*

  4. Cat says :

    I sincerely disagree with Alice. As much as I have showed around a new writer (whose mentors are pushing her to go to cons to get her name “known”) at Con – I understand WHY CVG is discouraging even the “I just want to see if it is worth it.” Most of these kind of people KNOW people who regularly attend Con, and if their friends’ recommendations aren’t enough, tough.

    If you can’t pay, DON’T GO. It’s that simple. If you want to see friends that are ONLY in town for Con, then meet them at NON-Badged areas (like the Navigator’s lounge). *DO NOT* force your way into badged areas.

    If you just want an excuse to get drunk and party for free – do it on your OWN property. It’s July 4, for goodness sake.

  5. conwidow says :

    My husband helps run Arisia, which is a big, all-volunteer-run SF con in Boston. He’s also the corporate treasurer, so let’s just say that I hear a lot about how money issues *are* important. Arisia does offer a fairly inexpensive day rate or “taste of Arisia” rate… I think you can pay for the badge and turn it back in within some set number of hours and get your money back if you decide the con wasn’t worth the money. Most people who choose this option do not turn their badges back in.

    That said, the con cannot stop non-badged people from visiting friends’ hotel rooms or hanging out in the hotel lobby. But “ghosts” introduce legal liability and other headaches that can seriously mess up a con’s future (google Boskone 24 for an example.)

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