I volunteered for this convention as I have in the past, only after buying and waiting for my badge, do I find out that the required amount of volunteer hours have doubled without notice,, making it impossible for me to have my badge refunded. However, as inconvenient as this is, it is NOT what I'm complaining about:
On Sunday, May 29th, after an INCREDIBLY stressful and disappointing convention experience that had included a lost badge, I was negotiating with a member of Fanime registration staff (I believe her name was "Samantha" ,she was Asian) for a printed replacement to my volunteer badge without having to pay another 80 or more dollars, as I can't possibly afford that, ONLY so0 that I could attend the B&W ball with my partner and that we could have a single dance together, be able to forget about everything bad that had happened to us over the weekend, and then be able to leave the convention on a high note, despite all that had occurred beforehand.
She,(the Asian female staff member at reg named Samantha) and her Fanime staff superiors demanded a form of collateral from me for this, and as I have no ATM or Credit cards, I was forced to relinquish my California EBT card, for which I receive public assistance including food stamps. I was told to tell no one about this arrangement and return the badge tomorrow morning to get my food stamps back.
Yes, you read that right.
The staff of Fanime, San Jose's largest anime convention, is holding a low-income person's public food benefits hostage over a ticket to their (now since ended) Japanese cartoon convention.
I told them quite clearly: "Without this card, I will starve or have to beg or steal, because I am poor, and I need it to eat." I could not have been clearer.
Needless to say (and many of you already know what happened), my partner's dress attire was *somehow* disqualified after waiting so long and taking for so much trouble to somehow attempt to save what was turning out to be the worst convention experience of our lives with a single, romantic gesture: one, formal, dance.
But that never happened, because the cloth black hoisery that we had selected to accompany her Chinese style red dress were deemed "leggings", a thing strictly verboten by fanime gestapo! (specifically a large, very heavy set caucasian female staff member who remained seated in front of the dance, barring us access, and making threats and calling security) whereas i had seen other females leaving wearing cheap 10$ garter stockings that could have been bought from a local sex shop, but their attire was apparently "classy enough"?
Anyway, that incident ended with us being threatened with security, and then another staff member (female, caucasian, brown hair and bad attitude) used VERY underhanded means to confiscate my replacement badge (without warning and WITHOUT CONSENT) making me unable to return it for my EBT card which I need to eat, because I am poor .
This is only and the final warning I am giving. If I do not receive my EBT food stamps card back from convention staff in five (5) days, I will file a formal complaint of welfare fraud at the social services agency in San Jose on Senter road on June 9th, which is the day I am supposed to recieve the benefits i need to survive, and also is the day i am scheduled to meet with my social worker (yes, I'm so poor that there is someone working in the city of San Jose who's JOB it is is to check in with me regularly and ensure I am still alive and not homeless).
I fully expect this complaint of fraud to be takenseriously. I was bullied and coerced into giving it as collateral., just so i could go to a dance with my romantic partner, and in the end we were not even allowed that. I would like everyone reading this to know that if an immigrant person (like my father) had owned a seven eleven store and had done what offical fanime staff have done to me - had had confiscated a low-income individual's EBT card for collaterol on a debt - that convenience store owner would lose his business and go to FEDERAL PRISON for WELFARE FRAUD.
I am fully 100% serious about bringing criminal and civil charges against FanimeCon, its staff, and its board of directors, starting with welfare fraud, and starting with your registration staff worker Samantha, if this situation is not made right.
I'm going to end this by saying that the nepotism, elitism, cliquishness, selfishness, abuse of power and downright corruption exhibited by all levels of fanime staff has ruined what was once my favorite convention.
Every year for the past three years I have had to complain about this, and be told that staff was 'fixing' things, and that next year will be better. Enough.
Unless systematic, top to bottom changes are made to the operation and management of this convention, do NOT ever expect a dime from me, or a minute of my volunteer time towards your convention EVER again, I would rather simply enjoy the convention from the streets outside (and the inside of various hotel rooms).
Thank you for your time,