Blog: July 2015

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Times have changed

Preparing for Pennsic used to be...different.

tablet, Kindle, phone battery, portable hotspot, all plugged in

Pennsic fail

I got a nasty surprise this Pennsic: the person now in charge of trailers at the site refused to move my little house to our camp as usual.

When our land agent had waited most of the day for the delivery and seen others go by who were after us in line, she went to inquire. (They had cell-phone numbers and email addresses for both of us, and she had personally checked in Friday and all seemed fine then. No calls or email were received.) When she asked after our trailer, she was told that it was unsafe, that they'd told us this in the past (not true), and that they would not move it. If anybody had ever suggested to me that my house was endangering their drivers, I certainly would have inquired further about what needed to change -- I would never knowingly create a dangerous situation like that. It took a while, but we eventually learned that the person in charge thinks it's too tall, wide, and heavy (factors that haven't changed since it was built).

He did not care that they've moved it every year for 15 years. He did not care that his predecessor, who'd been doing this for ages, approved the plans before we built. (Dave is ill and no longer involved with the running of Pennsic.) He did not care that he was springing this on us after land grab instead of getting in touch in advance or saying something when I paid the rent (in person). When our land agent said (after checking with the rest of the camp) that none of us had ever been told anything about a safety issue, he dismissed that.

When I spoke with him I was respectful and cooperative, taking a "what can we do to make this better?" approach. It didn't help. I'll try to talk with him again mid-Pennsic when things have calmed down, in case he was just fried from a long week of camp prep and said some things he didn't mean, but my hopes aren't high. I am also keenly aware that he holds all the cards.

Pennsic is a large event that requires a lot of work. Thanks to us they are now able to hold other large events, and do. We're less important than we once were because of that. And the individuals who built this relationship are largely absent now, after nearly 40 years of holding the event at this site. To those who came after it seems to be strictly a business relationship, while to the previous generation I think there was also friendship and respect.

Pennsic is large, and I suspect that there is no real harm -- actual or perceived -- in disenfranchising the very small number of people who unintentionally cause them extra work. Towing trailers, especially ones with buildings on them, is extra work. There aren't that many of us, and I've learned this has happened to some other people too. If we stopped coming, even if our entire camps stopped coming, would they care? I don't see that it would damage their bottom line. More than 11,000 people pre-registered for Pennsic this year; they don't need the few homeowners.

There is a Silverwing's law to the effect that only Pennsic is worth the amount of trouble that only Pennsic requires. I don't see why that wouldn't be true for both us and the Coopers. And perhaps both some of them and some of us are coming to the conclusion that it's not true -- it's not worth the amount of trouble that it requires. I'm speculating, of course, but this would not surprise me. The Coopers have a lock on Pennsic (by mutual consent with the SCA) for as long as they want it, but that doesn't mean they want each and every one of us.

I hired an outside tow truck (AAA to the rescue!) to move the house to our camp for this Pennsic, and have booked the highly-capable driver for the return trip at the end of the event. That takes care of this year. As for the future... we'll see.