Youmacon 2016

Youmacon is Detroit's big fall anime con, held at the Rennaisance Center and COBO Center in downtown Detroit, Michigan. Usually it is held around the weekend of Halloween, but because that holiday had moved to a Monday, the con slipped a week, being held over November 3-6, 2016.

We drove up on Wednesday so that we would be in Detroit and ready to go when load-in began at noon on Thursday. The drive went smoothly enough, but it still seems weird to go past Fort Wayne and see all the familiar places but not be stopping.

In Toledo we stopped at Sam's Club to get gas, and also picked up some samples. Then we went to the Taco Bell to get the free tacos they were doing at noon, and in the process discovered a branch of our bank that wasn't too far from the Interstate. We made a mental note to come back this way to make the deposit on the way home.

We arrived in Livonia in good time and got checked into our hotel. However, we were dismayed to discover that it had no desk for my husband to set his computer. Because of his bad back, he can't just sit on the bed and do his computer stuff like I do. So I went back to the front desk to see how to fix the problem, and was told that handicap-accessible rooms were "too small" to have a desk, and they had no other rooms on the first floor. This was very annoying to me, since we'd had such a good experience the previous year.

However, the maintenance guy really went the extra mile for us and found a small table that would fit in the available space. With that and a banquet chair, my husband had a serviceable desk to set up his computer. So I brought in our things and we settled in.

I got on my computer and started setting up some orders with a couple of new wholesalers who are selling things that are likely to go well at the church holiday bazaars we're going to be doing during the Christmas season. As I worked, I noticed an irritating tendency for the hotel's WiFi to slow to a crawl. So I did some other things while waiting for pages to load, including writing on my novel.

Because we had a long and demanding weekend ahead of us, we decided to turn in early. However, I ended up lying awake, my mind so full of ideas that I just couldn't seem to slip off to sleep. And when I finally did, it was just in time for the alarm to go off and leave me groggy and miserable.

But we had a con to set up for, so there was nothing to do but drag myself out of bed and down to the breakfast nook to eat. After that we headed up to the mall to get some stuff at Vitamin World before going downtown to the COBO Center. We got there almost an hour early, but we still ended up well back in line. I pulled out my Treo and started working on a con report, figuring I might as well make good use of the time.

Once we finally got onto the show floor, we got unloaded in a record time. Of course it helped that we were loading straight into our booth, without having to cart things through the convention center. And the union guys pitched right in and helped us, probably because they wanted to get as many people in and out as fast as they could.

With the van empty, I took it up to the COBO rooftop parking lot and got it parked. Then I hurried back down to the exhibit hall to get as much done as possible on setting up. We were still heavier on t-shirts than I would've liked, mostly because one box of a four-box shipment had been damaged in transit and returned to the shipper, and because a shipment from another wholesaler didn't arrive until Wednesday, after we'd already taken off. So I'd ended up having to put in a couple of boxes of t-shirts that I'd held back as backup merchandise.

Although we made a fair amount of headway on getting set up, we weren't finished by the time they closed the exhibit hall for the evening. We headed topsides to the van and back to the hotel for the night. As we were having supper, I did some writing.

On Friday we got up and had the hotel's complimentary breakfast. Then we headed back downtown to the COBO Center so we could finish setting up. We actually had some time to look around before the doors opened.

We did have a few lulls, but for the most part traffic was pretty steady, and we were getting good sales. By the time the exhibit hall closed for the evening, I was feeling fairly decent about the show.

We headed back to the hotel to have supper. Then I did some writing and tried to relax before we turned in for the night.

On Saturday we got up and had breakfast. One of the things I really like about this place is the variety of breakfast items they offer. One day they'll have bacon, then ham the next, and maybe sausage another day. In addition, they have both scrambled and boiled eggs, and a big dish of hash browns. So there are plenty of options for both protein and carb items, which go a long way to keeping a person going during a very busy day.

Then we headed back to the COBO Center and got our booth ready for another day of selling. Although it was slow at first, by noon we were selling a lot of stuff. I was surprised at how rapidly the money was piling up in our cashbox. We were having plenty of big sales as well as little sales, and they were coming fast. It wasn't quite as busy as at Tampa Bay Comic Con, but it was certainly busy enough to keep me hopping.

In the evening we headed back to the hotel and had supper. Then I got some more writing done before we turned in for the night.

On Sunday we had the hotel's complimentary breakfast, then headed back downtown to the COBO Center for our final day of Youmacon 2016. We had some very busy sales, and we might've had even more if we hadn't needed to start packing before the con ended. However, we had a lot of fragile stuff that all needed careful packing if we were going to get it home safely. Furthermore, this is one convention with a non-negotiable hard deadline by which time we must be out, and if we don't make it, we get charged whatever union overtime fees the con gets charged as a result. So we did not want to risk missing our deadline.

At least we had some really good help packing our t-shirts and getting all our stuff back into the van. We got done so quickly that we were back to the hotel before we had been on the regular days. It gave us plenty of time to relax as we ate our supper. I got some writing done, mostly notes on where I wanted to go with a novel.

On Monday we had one last breakfast at the hotel. Then we packed our personal belongings and got them to the van so we could check out. At first the trip seemed to go well, but as we were going around Ann Arbor on US 23, traffic suddenly came to a complete stop. We weren't even creeping, and a trucker beside us rolled down his window and said he'd heard the Secret Service had stopped traffic so that Trump's motorcade could get through to a campaign appearance.

At least the rest of the trip went well. We stopped at the bank in Toledo and made a nice, plump deposit. Then we headed back to Indianapolis. I was very glad to finally pull into our driveway, although at least I wasn't as exhausted as I have been on some trips.

Copyright 2018 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated January 11, 2018.