So, selfish question first, since I still haven't come across anyone that could give me an answer to this: if I am given a volunteer badge for helping out with a Fanime event, I'm assuming I won't have a specific member ID number like I would if I had a regular weekend badge. Will this be a problem in signing up for a spot at swap meet?
Delays are understandable especially given this drastic change in location, so I am very grateful that we're finally getting some official word on the meet. However, I feel that the new location is going to wind up being a pretty big deal with most attendees. Before I continue, though, I really want to point out that I can certainly appreciate all of the concerns with safety and logistics that the shared space with gaming caused, along with the fact that there really isn't anything you can do about this decision, especially at this point in time.
I think the biggest problem is that it's not actually going to be in the SJCC. Sure, it's right there, but I've always felt that the swap meet has been a huge draw because it was right there in the thick of things. Even being slightly off site means that sellers no longer benefit from the cross traffic that naturally occurs as people come and go from the gaming hall. Plus, on Friday night when the dealer's hall closes, swap meet is, like, right there. I can't tell you how many times I hear people say "I was looking for this all over the dealer hall, but nobody had it!" and that's only from observing my own space and the neighboring spaces to each side. Who knows how frequently that happens throughout the entire meet. It'll be interesting to see if the location has any impact on the number of people stopping by to look for a deal.
I've always thought it was great that the SJCC has two hotels that are physically connected to it (even though I've not yet had the opportunity to actually stay at either one,) and I know people are constantly coming and going from their rooms. It's pretty neat to wind down from a full day on the floor, maybe change out of some cosplay into some PJs, and then hit the swap meet for some late night bargains. Another thing I've noticed is when somebody browsing the floor sees some awesome giant figure, or decides to finally pick up that dance mat they've been thinking about getting for a while, and winds up with an arm full of win. It's awkward to keep walking the floor like that (though it doesn't stop a lot of people,) so they make a stop back at their room, drop off their loot, and they're back at it a couple minutes later. Sure, the new location won't exclude that from happening this year, but it does make it more inconvenient.
And finally, to address the fact that people, especially sellers with possibly left over merchandise and hopefully a lot of money in their pocket, may not feel safe at night is a valid point to consider. I'm sure Fanime staff will do everything they can to keep that area safe for all attendees, possibly with extra security/police presence? I'm actually not terribly concerned about this myself, since it usually feels pretty safe when you're in a crowd of people with similar interests, but I can totally understand people being wary in that situation, that late at night. Heck, I usually don't get on the road to head home for the night until 2am on Friday night/Saturday morning. I mean, do people usually get freaked out when the Musicfest or masquerade get out? Those usually end fairly late as well, definitely when it's dark out, and it seems like the sidewalks and streets are flooded with otaku. Most shady people would be pretty freaked out themselves. Again, though, the fact that there will be people walking around late at night, loaded down with valuables and cash, can't be overlooked.
I hope that these points have at least been considered, and that they are addressed accordingly or wind up being non-issues. I'm still looking forward to the swap meet, assuming I get to attend. *ahem* I guess we'll all find out if this year's meet winds up being another success or if there's any fallout from these changes in a couple of months. In the mean time, I guess I should get started in organizing all the stuff I want to sell.