Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

The Booth Bunny Has a Bad Day

The first year I went to Dragon*Con (2000 I think it was), in an effort to stand out and flog my rather meager (at the time) wares, I pulled out a notebook and a marker and scrawled on it, "Buy my stuff! I'll be your friend!" This I held up in front of me while wearing my best kitschy smile -- my wit, such as it is, is my strongest suit, and thus what I tend to open with.

The sign was a success; even if it didn't lead directly to a sale, the silly gimmick and campy grin caught the eye of people walking past, giving them a chuckle and creating a favorable impression. A small-but-significant number of people came over and actually bought books on the strength of the sign alone (apparently figuring that if I was funny in person, I'd write funny comics), and it's been one of my "mainstay" gimmicks ever since.

Fast-forward to D*C 2006 in the artist alley. mammallamadevil and I have since printed up "Buy my stuff! I'll be your friend!" t-shirts, but these don't work very well -- badges and miscellaneous stuff on the table tends to block the message entirely. Sales were slow on Saturday, so late in the day I crafted a new "BMSIBYF" sign out of bristol, tape, and extra cardboard and went back to the campy grin technique. Immediately sales picked up, and by midday Sunday, I'd made lots of new friends. :)

This caught the roving eye of the booth bunny next door. I have only a passing familiarity with the group who was next to us, but like so many of the people at D*C (and even more at Comic-Con) they are an indy comics shop who are Not Dark Horse and Not Image Comics, if you see what I mean. Demons in spandex and leather-trenchcoat vigilantes, that kind of thing. Their table had fairly brisk traffic, but their only product as far as I could make out was a $20 shirt with their company logo on it -- not exactly an item calculated to set the congoing public on fire.

Thus, they had a booth bunny, a latter-day Betty Boop who appeared to be in her early twenties, with abs and eyeliner and auburn-in-a-bottle hair, who would take turns sitting on their table and lying on her stomach on their table, batting her eyelids at the people who walked by. Unfortunately for our neighbors, even having a booth bunny was not enough to make a $20 shirt bearing an indy comics label logo an attractive commodity, and sales were suffering. Meanwhile, 85% of the people who came back to our little corner and spotted me smiling happily and holding up my silly little handmade sign, would at least laugh, and a good 50% would then come over to the table and even if they didn't so much as buy a button, they'd walk away having heard of NeverNever and The Suburban Jungle and remembering me as the "buy my stuff sign guy." Several people who'd never heard of my work still wanted pictures of me with my sign.

Well, not knowing the booth bunny I can't really ascribe motives to her, but I got the distinct vibe that she was jealous. At a lull in the proceedings, she sidled over to our table, batted her eyes at me, and cooed, "Could I borrow your sign for a little while?"

Halfway between annoyed and amused, I responded, "Wellll ... I dunnoooo..." In the past, I've been approached in exactly that same manner by people who then proceeded to punch me in the face and take my lunch money. But she assured me that she only wanted it for ten minutes, so I acquiesced. And, having learned from bitter experience that discipline is paramount in these situations, made an exact note of the time.

So she took the "Buy my stuff! I'll be your friend!" sign, hiked up her midriff-tied torn-off t-shirt, and started posing with it and telling people, "GOSH, if you buy our SHIRT, I'll be your FRIEND! What more could you WANT?" David Allen, being susceptible to booth bunnies and insufficiently clad females in general, took the opportunity to take several pictures of her.

Not a sale.

After eight minutes of the fanboys not noticing the difference between her with the sign and her without it, their continued insistence on not buying the shirt no matter how much they stood around and ogled her, and my answering queries of "You gave her your sign?" with a casual, "Yup ... she's got six minutes left!" she apparently got disgusted and handed it back to me.

"Here," she said. "I guess I'm just not as cute as you are."

I shrugged and replied in my best just-joshing-ya tones, "Well, I didn't want to say anything, but..."

Within minutes, I was making new friends again. Make of it what you will. :)

-The Gneech


( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 6th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
Sex Sells, yes.

But at Dragon*Con, sex is all over the place, so why should they buy it when they get lookie-loos for free for the whole weekend?

Whereas dapper, witty, charming, and cuddly is in short supply, especially all found in one package!

the_gneech for the win!

Sep. 7th, 2006 11:05 am (UTC)
Aww, gawrsh! *^.^*

Sep. 6th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC)
I'm going to be giggling at that story for several days. ^,^
Sep. 6th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC)
You should have a Tee shirt that says...

"I bought Stuff from The Gneech,
and now... I be his friend."



I suspect things would pick up... especially if you gave one to the Booth Bunny. ;)
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:06 am (UTC)
I dunno, I'd think that shirt had a very limited market. ;)

Sep. 6th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
ALL they had for sale was a tshirt???

A single tshirt does not content make.

The purpose of a booth bunny is to attract the johns into a location where they can be marketed at. They'd better have something for the johns to look at when they come over to the booth, having been attracted by the siren song of the booth bunny.
Sep. 6th, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
seriously. "well, he has actual stuff to sell, and i don't... but maybe the reason he's making sales is he has a better slogan!"
Sep. 6th, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, she seemed highly perturbed that the guys walking through the room weren't just snapping up the t-shirt that she had posed for.
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:06 am (UTC)

Sep. 6th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
Humor trumps sensuality. Who'd a thunk it?
Sep. 6th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
What I found the most amusing/dismaying was she tried the Marilyn Monroe patented delivery/facial expression. See, it worked when Marilyn did it because she came off as sincere and underneath it all, innocent. The sign works for you because you come off as if you mean it (and you do). It just didn't come off that way for her. It came off as a device, which is just what it was.

You handled the situation with great aplomb.
Sep. 6th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC)
I believe the word to use in reference to her tactic was "smarmy". Which, in this case, should be delivered as such:


Sep. 6th, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC)
I just kept thinking, "Does that really work on anybody?" I guess it does, otherwise she wouldn't keep doing it.
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:07 am (UTC)
D'Aww! *^.^* Thank you!

Sep. 6th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
Hey, I guess there's something to be said for sincerity, huh?

And I'm guessing you were more charming, anyhow. :)
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:09 am (UTC)
"Hey, I guess there's something to be said for sincerity, huh?"

I did have a few people ask if I'd still be their friend if they didn't buy anything, and I said I would. So, you may be on to something there. ;)

-The Gneech
Sep. 6th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
Heehee, nice one!
Sep. 6th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
I can see why she was jealous. You have a magic sign and know how to use it.
Sep. 6th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
Correction, that's a +1 sign of persuasion.
Sep. 6th, 2006 08:47 pm (UTC)
You are so right. Hell, I took pictures of you and the sign despite already owning all your stuff and having met you several times before. The sign (and the attitude) just rules. :)

It also takes a very particular kind of person to make a sign like that work. With a lot of people it would be annoying and intrusive, but you have the right personality to make it warm and friendly. :)

Sep. 6th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
I've seen that gothy type. You are indeed much cuter!
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:10 am (UTC)

Sep. 6th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
I would be more likely to buy something from the Plan 9 booth than from a bunnied booth. If I want a booth bunny, I'll buy a SJ book and gaze longingly at the female cast ;)
Sep. 6th, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC)
I kept threatening to get a pair of white rabbit ears, some long white gloves, and some stick-on whiskers and go as Mopsy, the booth bunny.
Sep. 6th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
That would be fun to see :)
Sep. 6th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
actually, the buy my stuff, I'll be your friend shirts WORK...
I will contact you about Mako's and my experience with the dude in the Club Room waiting for da plane....

not to mention the comments I get when I wear the sucker....period...

Sep. 7th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC)
Ah, must be your witty smile. I think I know just which one that is, too.
Still, looks like you've gotten more attention from your sign than she did. Good or bad? I have no clue.
I got one thing burning on my mind: Did you sell any LEONA fanboy shirts? :3

Speaking of, my friend saw me wearing it and said "WHOA! Where'd you get that? That's totally your character!!" and stuff.
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:11 am (UTC)
Actually, we didn't have the LEONA shirts, 'cause they're kind of in limbo at the moment. I still want to retool them to get the colors a little better.

Sep. 7th, 2006 12:27 pm (UTC)
I wore mine, though. :)
Sep. 7th, 2006 03:54 am (UTC)
Well, when people see you with the sign, you actually look like you MEAN it. I'm guessing when *she* held the sign, most people are like "yeah, right..."

As amusing as that is, I feel a bit sorry for her...her job was to sell stuff with her body, dunno if she felt bad that she wasn't pulling it off.
But that booth got what it deserved. A comic vendor selling nothing but SHIRTS? WTF?
Sep. 7th, 2006 04:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, that makes no sense to me, either.

Sometimes chutzpah doesn't get you EVERYTHING you want.
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:14 am (UTC)
I doubt she felt bad about it in any kind of self-referential way ... I expect it was more of "Why aren't these dumb fanboys buying my shirt?"

laurie_robey's theory is that the booth wasn't really a selling booth so much as a "hang out and schmooze wit da fans" booth and that the shirt was an afterthought.

-The Gneech
Sep. 7th, 2006 11:01 am (UTC)
Great Storeeeeeeeee heeeee heeeeeeeee!!
Sep. 7th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC)
okay that was funny

but i think my buy the gneeches stuff and ill be your friend shirt worked well too

course its hard to manuver around the dragon witout bein shoved to the table LOL
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

March 2017


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow