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Here we go, marching right into Day Four of the 30 Day Geek Out Challenge!  Today’s topic is again the inverse of the previous day’s, and asks us to look back on our worst convention experience.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been to a number of cons over the years but fortunately I cannot think of any particular event that stands out in my mind as “a worst experience” for me.  As such, I am going to come at this topic from a slightly different angle.

Upon looking back at all the cons that I’ve been to, I think the biggest factor that distinguishes them from each other is how I approached them going in.  I’ve attended events in a variety of roles over the years (consumer, socializer, supporting the booth of a friend, etc.) and without a doubt my best and most memorable experiences all come from the times I was there purely to hang out with friends (most of whom know a lot of people in the scene) and just wander about.

On the other side of that, my most forgettable cons are the ones that I went to mainly as a consumer.  This occurred mostly during my teenage years, when I was more into having stuff and didn’t have any friends interested in going.  I spent a ton of money on stuff I loved at the time, but ultimately didn’t have much staying power. The vast majority of that stuff I’ve either gotten rid of (out of both want and necessity) or relegated to a lonely shelf or box in the attic.

I’m not saying that I regret my actions (I have no doubts I would have spent the money on something else), but I do feel that as I’ve gotten older, and debatably wiser, I have distanced myself from a consumer-centric view and couldn’t be happier about it.  It’s not always easy, especially in this age of cool, shiny toys expertly marketed at the geek scene and the desire to show them off, but at this stage in my life I far prefer the experience.