Monday, March 20, 2017

Why I can't afford conventions!


I’m not exactly being hounded to attend but I am getting a few invitations to attend the convention.  In honesty I decided to sit down and do the sums to justify why I could not attend, on top of some other issues I had.

The event is being held at Brisbane Table Tennis Centre located at Windsor which is a 22.3 km trip, and a 29 minutes journey with the traffic being favourable.  Clearly if the traffic were to be otherwise then the time or distance will change.  This is if I were to travel by motor vehicle from my residence.

Parking is an issue.  The venue indicates parking for 50 vehicles, yet does not indicate whether it is paid parking to be there?  No where can I find any indication of free parking?  All I know is that people who have attended other exhibitions at the venue have complained about the parking options at the Centre and the surrounds.  This negative feedback I have received from others raises a red flag before I even step foot out the door.

If I were to take an Uber the fare would be $31-40 fare one way.  Clearly using Uber would be prohibitively expensive - $160 for the weekend, not an option to consider.  I would think that a full tank of petrol, say $50 for the weekend should cover the period for my personal vehicle.

Consulting Translink a bus will take me an 1 hour and 20 minutes approx, with between 2-3 bus changes and even a train depending on the route chosen and times.  Some walking would be involved somewhere between 1-2 km.  The costing of bus fares I’m unsure of how to calculate as the different zones you pass though have different costs.  Gocards I’ve never used since the last time I was on a bus was in the 1990’s.  The Translink indicates $3.90 for the trip or $1.56 for Concession Card holder which I am.

The event I’m interested in playing in costs $50 to play in for the 2 days which on the whole seems a reasonable amount.  I could not see any additional costs, but then I did not follow through the transaction to its completion, just enough to find out what the cost was as the site did not openly show each events costs (which I found annoying).

The last item to consider is keeping yourself alive - which means food and water.  In this case it means a 2l bottle of Pepsi Max for the day.  Yet some food would be needed so I’d probably do a food run at Coles or Woolworths and allocate say $10 each day. 

Let’s look then at private versus public transport.

$50 Event Fee, $50 Fuel, 2 hours lost in transit, $25 Food&Drink, Parking Cost – unknown if venue filled and it is free parking.  Parking at cost elsewhere then additional expense?
TOTAL: $125
PRO: Quick, familiar, plenty of room for my gear, not restrained by timetables (apart from the event).
CON: Parking, expense of running the car for the journey and the distance. Not a local or central venue for me.

$50 Event Fee, $8 (maybe), 6 hours in transit, $25 Food&Drink, Parking Cost – Nil
TOTAL: $83
PRO: Cost, its cheap transport cost.
CON: Hours lost in transit, hoping the public transport system is on time and running, transporting gear, dealing with my mental health issues of travelling.

Firstly this is not in any way to be seen as an attack on BrisCon.  This is my way of explaining why so many events are fast becoming the playground of the persons with disposable incomes or cash.  If I was in a different position then this little piece of diatribe would not have been written. 

Times change and the dispersal of the gaming community goes with it.  Demographics is not what it was twenty, thirty or forty years ago.  Like schools whose numbers grow and diminish based on aging populations and movement, so does the gamer.  To expect certain locations to be suitable to the greater Brisbane population is a difficult matter to determine, it’s not something that a census poll is likely to ask.

For me the cost of these events are very much to be weighed against my everyday living expenses.  As a pensioner I have a very limited budget, so to lash out for an event for the prospect of nothing but camaraderie is a big ask; then I really have to justify it.  If I was a competitive player, likely to win top places and come home with a prize(s) for my effort then I’d justify the expense.  Yet as a man known as one of the unluckiest players in Brisbane, I can’t really convince myself it’s worth it.

For me that $125/$83 is a new game I haven’t played, or admission to my local game club for the next 12/8 meets.  It’s less stress and disappointment, better not to see things you know you cannot afford anymore.  There comes a time in life where the pain of not going outweighs any benefits you may get from going (and that’s probably my therapist telling me that).

So growing old as a penniless pensioner and a gamer sucks big time.