So I got to spend some time with some of my favorite people, outside of family, yesterday and Tuesday. These are part of a special breed of person. They are Salt Lake Comic Con FanX volunteers. I volunteered with them at the first FanX, and then decided not to volunteer for Salt Lake Comic Con in September, but missed it, so I decided to volunteer again this year, and it has been a good experience. The team I volunteered with this year were all behind the scenes, so we didn’t get to help any of the attendees or guests directly, but trust me, you will all feel the effects of what we did. We moved in all the FanX supplies for Salt Lake Comic Con, and then snuck out before anyone saw us. Like little magical elves making shoes for the shoe maker when he is sleeping. Wait, that sounds lame. It was more like Ninjas (wish I could take credit for that name, but I can’t). So, you will probably not come in contact with anyone that was on my team during your visit to the event, but you will come in contact with any number of an army of volunteers.
These folks are just absolutely amazing, and don’t get half the credit they deserve. None of them are volunteering for FanX as a living, which is good, because in the way of money, it does not pay well at all. And by not well, I mean it pays nothing in dollars and cents. These people don’t do it for that. They all have day jobs, and they all take time away from those day jobs to come to FanX, not to just attend and enjoy the event, but to make sure that you get to come and enjoy the event. Some of these volunteers end up working the whole event, so they don’t get to see anything. Those same people are probably not even doing this for the first time. This is probably how they spent the last three cons, and probably how they will spend the next three as well (or beyond).
None of these individuals are professional registration workers, or access control workers, or vendor floor workers, or panel room workers. That doesn’t mean that they don’t know what they are doing. Quite the contrary, actually. As I mentioned before, for many of the volunteers this is the third or fourth con they have worked, so they have experience. They want nothing more than to help you and all the other attendees to have a great time. In addition to their experience, they have sacrificed even more time leading up to the con to be trained in their individual areas. They have also been given a lengthy handbook to help them to know how to provide the best service available. I think as a result of all of this, we may see a staff so friendly and helpful, it may be like visiting Disneyland, only without the measles outbreak, hopefully.
So, why write all of this? Because, from time to time, they are not treated great. Sometimes, attendees get a little frustrated because a panel was full, or they missed an autograph, or a photo op sold out, and they were really looking forward to it. Sometimes, those attendees are going to let someone know about it, and that someone is typically the one wearing a bright colored volunteer shirt. I will say, when that happens, I am confident that these volunteers will do everything to make it up to that attendee. I will also say, that sometimes that same volunteer will have a lot of attendees let them know about issues like that, and that can be tough for anyone. It can wear them down, and they begin to forget about the vast majority of people who are having the time of their lives. In any customer service position, you always hear from the minority of people who are upset, and hardly ever hear from the people who are having a great time.
I guess what I am saying is, we should do something about that. I know I don’t have the largest readership, so I am asking you pass this on to your friends who are going. Let’s make tomorrow (Friday, January 30) and the next day (Saturday, January 31) National Thank a FanX Volunteer Day. It’s simple. If you see a volunteer, just tell them thanks. Let them know we appreciate everything they are doing. It’s a call to action. Spread this on to the Facebook pages of Salt Lake Comic Con, and through twitter and to all of our friends- let them know that tomorrow is National Thank a FanX Volunteer Day. They will all be working to make your day, so maybe we can return the favor and make theirs too.
So, who’s with me? Upload pics with them to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtag #ThankaFanXVolunteer. Maybe we can make it a trending hashtag by the end of the day Saturday.