So, you might have guessed from my initials (C.A.T.) or from the name of this blog… I am indeed a cat person. I like dogs well enough, for short periods of time before they go back to their dog things and I go back to my things, but I just don’t live a life where they are going to fit, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. So dogs are good friends, but cats are a major part of my life.
This means that I recently attended CatConLA (www.catconla.com) which is, as it sounds, a convention about cats, for people who love cats, and for some very lucky cats a chance to get adopted, too! That’s right, the spcaLA group found homes for 97 cats that weekend. Congrats to them! None with me, alas, our lease does not allow for a second kitty so my sweetheart Pixie stays an only cat.
Oh, as a side note, if you’re here for long I’m very sure you’re going to hear a lot about Pixie, she’s very important to me. And she’s cute, lovable, and a bundle of trouble.
The convention was great, lots of samples to take home and things to see. If I were more patient with lines I could have gotten cat eye make up done or visited with Julie Newmar. Instead we stuck to browsing and shopping and keeping me away from the cat adoption area so I didn’t try to smuggle a new bundle of fur into the house. There were great artists, fun crafts, and spectacular products for Pixie.
But there was one thing that didn’t go over so well with me. When we stepped outside to the food trucks, to get lunch, all was well. The wristbands we wore allowed us access to come and go as we pleased for the day, or should have. As we wrapped up our meal, my compatriot in cat-crimes and I noticed a fuss at the door, and as we got closer we were denied entry back into The Reef, the facility hosting the convention. A building security staff member was explaining to an increasingly angry gathering crowd, not for the first time, that the Fire Marshal had decided the facility was over capacity (the con had over-sold the passes) and that we could not re-enter the building. This, by itself, is understandable. Those who had not yet collected their wristbands for the day or weekend could wristbands for Sunday, no matter what day they paid for, around the front of the building. Great! Those of us that already had wristbands for Saturday-only could email the CatConLA ticket email address and request a refund.
This is where I play the record screech.
People with all-weekend wristbands that had already collected them earlier in the day were being let in willy nilly. So there was room, if you had bought the more expensive package. It was only those of us who could not come back the next day that were being denied half of our day at the convention we had paid for, which a “Maybe you can email them and they might consider a refund?” from building security, who did their jobs in passing the message along but had no say in the issue. That’s right, CatCon refused to send an actual representative for the convention out to talk to us in any way. They decided to throw the building staff to the tigers for this one, and declined to get their own paws dirty. Due to the wonders of smartphones, I did email the provided address, right then and there, and then myself and my compatriot stepped away to consider our (very limited) options as we both had evening plans in the LA area and did not feel inclined to drive home just to drive back.
It was fortunate we were still in ear shot when the situation changed again, although over the time that we had spent we had seen several groups elect to leave as there was nothing they could do since CatCon refused to own the issue in any significant way up until that point. The security staff was told they were, as people left the event, permitted to allow small groups of Saturday bands back in, 10 people or so at a time. Being nearby, we were in the first group.
When the Fire Marshal says jump, events have to say how high, I am fully aware of that. The con did not feel more crowded than, say, Anime Expos I have been at in the past, but perception is not always reality, and they had to follow the orders. But to select out the group that could not make up that lost time in any way the next day and exclude them, while freely allowing the more expensive passes in despite the ability for them to return later if they were denied entry at that point, rankled. Worse, the lack of willingness for the convention to own their decision in any way, that was indeed sad.
But I think the final nail in the convention’s coffin for me is that I never got a response to that email. I had planned to let them know, on their message addressing my refund request, that I had gotten the rest of my con day in, and there was no need to do so, hooray for everyone! (Especially the vendors who claimed my budget for the day, money I had not spent before lunch.) All I have gotten is echoing silence. They still refuse to acknowledge me directly or my concerns.
I really enjoyed my time inside CatConLA, but I am going to have to think long and hard if this is the event group I want to continue to support. They clearly have no desire to support me, after all.