Well, I'm back at work now, having spent most of the past three and a half days on my feet attending, enjoying, and assisting at BotCon. By volunteering both with the convention itself, as well as with Captured Prey, I intentionally set out to make this experience a bit different than what I'd had in the past. I find myself at the end very tired, but glad to have made that decision.
When I wrote about BotCon 2009, one recurring theme of that convention was how long the lines were. For the most part, that situation has improved considerably, although I'm perhaps not the best person to say. The Wednesday night line was definitely easier than my similar experience two years ago, and I found the addition of a "souvenirs only" line on Thursday night to be a big help, but as a volunteer handling the lines later that evening, I did have the opportunity to talk with a number of people, especially in the more general club store "cash only" line (it was true to a lesser extent in the "credit only" line, oddly enough) who had been waiting for several hours, and the convention actually had to cut off the lines that evening and ask those who were still waiting to come back the following morning (pushing back "second trips" to later on Friday than had originally been planned), so there's obviously more that can still be done.
The highlight of my volunteer experience for BotCon itself was handing out free toys to kids waiting in line on Saturday morning. In fact, I specifically chose the volunteer schedule I did so that I would have this privilege. I was definitely caught by surprise by the toys that Hasbro donated to be given away, though. There was the usual assortment of "Robot Heroes" and "Robot Replica" toys — appropriate to the age group, but of little interest to older collectors — but they also had some of the more collectible pre-movie toys such as the impossible-to-find Reveal the Shield Windcharger! I gave at least two of these toys away (feeling just a twang of envy as I did so. This is one I don't have myself, yet), and told one of those kids "this one's very hard to find. You'll be the envy of many!" I didn't want him to be taken advantage of by some more knowledgeable collector if I could help it. Toys are meant to be played with, and if he is going to give it to someone else, he should know what he's giving up!
I also had the privilege of manning the autograph line for Gregg Berger (voice of G1 Grimlock, among others). When that line worked its way through, and I was officially done with my scheduled volunteer time, I had Gregg sign my volunteer cap. Definitely a good way to close out the experience.
I'll have more to say about BotCon, and my time with Captured Prey, in a day or two.