So, we're back to doing this again:
This sort of thing really pisses me off. This continual blame of a certain aspect of fandom for expressing said fandom in a different way than what some may be familiar with. To make enemies out of people who, let's face it, aren't harming anyone.
Look, I'm not a cosplayer. But just because someone decides to dress up in a costume to go to a convention doesn't automatically make them into a fame obsessed, egotistical attention whore who knows nothing about the character they are dressing up as. Trust me, if these people JUST wanted attention, there are FAR easier ways to get it other than spending weeks if not months, and hundreds if not thousands of dollars on costumes. This is NOT an inexpensive hobby.
Now we've gotten into the "sales" aspects of things, with retailers at the shows blaming cosplayers for not spending money at their booths. Or not knowing enough about the characters to apparently match their supposed ideal of what fans are supposed to know.
But I'm a bit familiar with sales, and I know that, to be successful, you can't just sit back and wait for sales to come to you. You need to go out and SELL!!! Meet with people, ask questions, find out what people want. And I've been to plenty of conventions, and the one thing that I can tell you is that the people manning these booths- for the large part- don't engage their customers. They don't ask them what they want. They don't talk to them, unless it's about how much something is and where to pay. Now, granted, these are busy shows. But if you're booth isn't doing a lot of business, maybe you should go out and ENGAGE to bolster sales.
And you know who might be easy marks? How about those people DRESSED UP IN COSTUMES!!! That guy dressed up as Hellboy? How about asking him if he is looking for any Hellboy merchandise? That girl dressed up as Sailor Moon? How about asking her if she's looking for any anime, or art books to use as reference guides? Seriously, someone dressing up should be an EASY way to determine WHAT they are interested in. But instead it just paints them as easy targets for a small number of businesses that don't want to admit their lack of business acumen. You can bet that a few of these types of booths are the types of shop owners who probably ignore their own customers in their own stores, and would probably use their station behind the cash register as a podium to spout off their views to people who just want to pay for their damn comic already.
Because here's the thing- these conventions that these booth owners are selling at? They're not going away. In fact, more and more people are showing up every year. So that means that there are a LOT of fans going there, and a LOT of potential customers. If you're not managing to find a way to sell to this audience, that is CLEARLY interested in the material that YOU are selling in one way or another, then you might need to take a good long hard look at not what the customers are doing wrong, but what YOU are doing wrong in not building your business.
And let's face it- these shows aren't cheap. A four day pass at some places can cost over a hundred dollars. And then there is transportation fees if it is out of town for some people. Costs for staying at a hotel if they are coming in from out of town. Trust me, it can get expensive even if you AREN'T a cosplayer. Some people may not have jobs that give them a lot of disposable income, and especially not enough to drop $250 for a Dragonzord toy (That one could get for $75.00 at a Toys R' Us just a few months prior). And then when it comes to cosplayers, there's the additional expense on top of that. So by the time these fans get to the conventions, they may not have ANY money to spend on the overpriced merchandise a lot of these guys may be hocking from behind their tables where they just sit back, and wait for the sales to come to them, rather than actively trying to engage people.
Sorry that this is a bit of a ramble, but I'm just sick and tired of people trying to insist that there is only ONE type of way to be a fan. That someone has to meet certain conditions if they want to be considered "real" fans, and are blamed for stupid things for bad sales at shows that show record attendance.
There is no "one" way to be a fan. If this means dressing up in costume, or just wearing a Flash T-Shirt while out on errands, no one is wrong as long as they aren't harming anyone by doing it. This isn't a problem that the fandom has. This is a problem that a small few have with the fandom, which isn't nearly the same thing.