I can’t believe I managed to do four days at this event last year, clearly I’m getting older because after just the one day of trooping I was wiped out for the next 48 hours!
As ever Andrews staff looked after us to an excellent standard and despite being a Sunday all four of us were kept busy enough with photo requests to make the hours fly past. Only one incident right at the end of the day slightly spoiled the event when a parent started encouraging his child to start pulling components off of the costumes and worse, while the child was being kept at arms length began to do the same thing himself.
Although our spotter didn’t get the opportunity to take any photos to validate our event attendance for the applicable detachments luckily pending Denizen Leo was working in-store that day and sent on the couple of photos he’d had taken…
While the marching from the management suite to the shop was occassionally hairy it was probably preferrable to the five of us being lost forever in the maze of service corridors of the Buchanan Galleries.
And as an even more stranger thing, we 100% did not see the secret Lego set being launched in at the midnight opening of the Leicester Square store on 15th May!
So a (literal) long weekend of trooping comes to an end with our attendance at Braehead on behalf of A1 Toys. To be honest even if this had been the best event ever it was probably still going to come as an anti-climax after the fun Lego Store events and coming on the heels of two 14-hour days in and around costumes even if there had been more to it than effectively manning a photo stand it would have been hard going to complete.
Mercifully though it was fairly short and being old hands at shopping centre events we were canny enough to ask to change in the access corridors behind the scenes as opposed to trying to get kitted up one at a time in the tiny (and bulging at the seams) stock room behind the shop.
Not that any of this was the fault of the staff who looked after us well enough, but it just seemed slightly un focused as an event, being positioned three-quarters of the centre away from the shop we were promoting (which itself seemed to only acknowledge the May 4th event by offering 50% off toy light sabres) and there not even being any flyers for the staff to hand out to promote their brand with our presence. None the less they seemed to indicate the shop had been busier than normal which was attributed to our presence, but it just wasn’t the type of event I’d have enjoyed even if I had been feeling up to it…
Day Two of the Lego Store event saw me in my Biker Scout (as opposed to the Stealth Trooper on the sign up) on the shop floor. A slightly busier day, as you might expect for a Saturday, with consistent requests for photos of the four troopers as a group but still allowing the costumers the opportunity to have a wander around the crowded shop floor from time to time. So busy was it in fact that we had to split the lunch breaks so that two of us were about in costume the whole time. I didn’t mind waiting to go for a break on the second shift, but by the time we returned after lunch I was hard pressed to suit up again after so many hours of being on my feet.
What’s worse, the constant parade of shoppers through the store all day had served to increase the temperature to deeply uncomfortable levels, although having to borrow a woollen balaclava (having sacrificed my own to some Cyberman shenanigans a couple of months back) probably didn’t help.
Once again though the manager and staff of the store couldn’t do enough to help us out, both in terms of switching out the main lights to keep the shop cooler and being entirely sympathetic to anyone having to quickly take a lids off breather and gulp of water in the stock room.
While the afternoon may have been a hard slog, I’d still have been happy to carry on after the official end time of the event if requested so I was definitely enjoying it on some level so again I’ll happily sign up again when this comes round next year. Maybe they can build a chair out of bricks in the corner and I’ll just sit there and control R2..?
Being none too enamoured of the hobby for a while now this had all the makings of a terrible troop. It was an early start, a long day, a corporate event, the costume/spotting sign up had been done backwards and if experience with fellow toy vendor Hamleys was anything to go by, it’d be filled with unreasonable demands, being stuck in a single spot all day and a handful of rank chips by provided by way of refreshments and snacks. Still if it was going to be my statutory troop for twelve months, I figured I might as well do it for something I’m a fan of and man I’m glad I did.
The welcome we got from the staff and customers could not have been more opposite of expectations and while it turned out to be a long day to be on my feet spotting it was clear from the off that the two troopers in attendance were having a lot of fun with ample opportunity to interact with customers coming into the shop and free reign to wander around the floor making purchasing recommendations or coaxing the more highly strung younger vistors into posing for a picture.
Although the staff reckoned Fridays were one of their less busy days I’m sure the troopers would agree there was a constant reasonable flow of punters and when it did start to get more hectic post 15:00, there were brilliantly handy air conditioning vents to keep things at managable temperature while enduring the barrage of photo requests. I’d sign up for this again next year in a heartbeat…
You know you just can’t win with Astromech Droids…
Keen to get the little-barrel shaped buggers Five Year event out-of-the-way, the familiar turf of Hamleys was always going to provide a safe environment; lift access for moving him about, a level floor throughout and if worse came to worse and he failed to perform all that we needed to do was be able to man-handle him to the stage area and (nightmares about him picking up a stray frequency and taking off at speed through the glass barrier surrounding it aside) have him sit at the photo stand in the one spot all day.
On the day though he performed like a champ, with none of the battery problems which have plagued his previous outings, which is slightly unfortunate then that the number of members of the public who attended and the resulting size of the queue to have a photo with him mean that he was pretty much parked in the one spot for the reduced amount of time he was out in-between having to be shuffled into a corner to clear the shop floor lest a rammy break out.
With my single day attendance, being isolated from the other costumers, and even isolated from Sundays centre of attention by dint of standing at a distance with his remotes, I can’t really speak for how the weekend went.
Certainly on the handful of occasions I was free of my charge and could navigate round the snaking 2 hour queue for the prop talk to venture elsewhere in the shop, the crowd was massive for the opportunity to have a photo with Vader, his attendant TKs and Snowy and showed no sign of diminishing, so all credit to the members stood under that greenhouse-like roof for the whole day with the sun glaring through it.
As I say, you can’t win with Astromechs. Clearly he’d have performed happily for a much longer stint, probably even the whole weekend if it’d come down to it, but with his notorious unreliability in the past at events it seemed like a good idea to keep his attendance a minimum levels, but in hindsight it seems a bit of a waste to have spent the best part of three days charging batteries and have his Uncle Ian chauffeur him about for the small amount of hours. Sods law that he’ll get signed up for a full weekend at some point and explode within the first five minutes though!