After many attempts, this year was our first PAX experience, and one of the things that my children E (8) & K (10) naturally gravitated towards was Pin Trading. In fact, I think it's safe to say that it was the highlight of the show for them (save for perhaps the PAX Pokemon League). For me, it was a blast to see them go from "window shopping" to actively seeking specific pins. In the end, it was this type of "pin hunting" that created our most amazing PAX14 memory.
The boys had both met Jerry/Tycho on the show floor and traded for his pin, but hadn't seen Mike/Gabe yet. We were told that our best chance to guarantee to see him was at the Pin Trading Meet-Up on Sunday night at The Paramount. Since our hotel was right across the street, we figured it would be the perfect way to close out our PAX experience (as we did not have Monday Passes) and figured we could just walk over after it started. Oh how we wrong we were!
When we arrived we learned that the line had already been hard capped and we would not be able to get in. To make the most of it, we let the boys go up and down the line to see if they could make any trades. We ran into Enforcer Brenden, who had been INCREDIBLY helpful to us all weekend in the Info Booth, and he generously offered to get two Broodax pins for them since they couldn't go in (thanks again Brenden!) . . . and here's where the story really takes off.
K was on a Holy Grail hunt for the PAX East D&D "&" pin, and failing hard (no surprise, as it's a very popular pin). E was happy making general trades and was especially excited when he traded for a Rayman pin and a Zombie Tycho pin. A little while later, disaster happened: his newly acquired Zombie Tycho pin had apparently fallen off of his lanyard and was lost. He went up and down the line in a panic looking for it, and it was nowhere to be found.
Seeing what had happened, a Good Samaritan (whose name I got at the time but have already forgotten - sorry GS!) told an Enforcer what happened and gave up one of his pins to trade to Jerry for a replacement Zombie Tycho pin. A few minutes later, the Enforcer returned with a Zombie Tycho pin, signed by Jerry himself
(on the back of the pin card). E was thrilled (and very relieved).
I told him to put it into his pocket so that he wouldn't lose it this time, and as he did he found the other pin! It turns put that he hadn't put it on his lanyard at all, and when he had checked his pockets the first time in a panic he didn't feel it (in his defense his 3DS XL fits into the same pocket, so it's pretty deep). His immediate reaction was, "I can't believe I caused such a commotion!"
He ran over to show my wife and she suggested that since he found the one that he thought was lost, that he should return it. He agreed that it was a great idea and went straight to an Enforcer to return the "lost" pin. The Enforcer said that he should personally return it to Jerry, and began to escort us in. Being right next to us when this was happening, K came along (probably hoping for another opportunity to find his D&D pin).
When we got in, the Enforcer walked us straight to Jerry's table and said that we could stay until the current group left (which was in a few minutes). I thanked her and returned my focus to E, who was explaining the situation to Jerry. Jerry was very gracious and told him that he could keep the extra pin and that he "should trade it for another pin" that he wanted. To this E immediately replied, "Do you have a D&D pin?" (I explained that his brother was looking for the PAX East D&D pin, but Jerry hadn't seen one around).
Jeff Kalles overheard our conversation from the next table over and said, "I think I can help you out." He dug into his jacket, which was hanging on his chair, and pulled out the pin.
Jeff: "What do you have to trade for it?"
E: "I have a Zombie Tycho pin."
Jeff: "That sounds like an excellent trade."
E (Giddy): "[K]'s going to be so excited. I have to go find him!"
I thanked Jeff and said, "The best part about this is that he got that for his brother."UPDATE:
Before posting this, I found the following tweet from Jeff ( @Sellak
"Pin trading event so awesome. Night was made when I traded a D&D ampersand to a young boy who was looking on behalf of his brother." 10:58pm - 31 Aug 14
I went with E to find K who, unsurprisingly, had immediately resumed his Grail Hunt while E & I were at Jerry's table. E found him standing right in front of Mike and said, "[K], look
what I found. It's YOURS." K looked in disbelief and was visibly shaking with excitement, and then he gave E a huge hug of appreciation, which E enthusiastically returned.
Mike had a front row seat to this exchange and said, "Are you serious?!? Who do these guys belong to?" I said that they were with me and he replied, "That's incredible! Do you guys have the Hanna pin yet?" I told him that they didn't and then he
started digging in his jacket, pulled one out and told them, "This is an ultra rare pin," and handed it to K. K immediately turned to E and said, "You should have this, since you found my D&D pin." Mike was astonished.
They spent the last minute or so making another trade or two, but mostly just being excited and looking at all the pins on the few tables they got to look at before we left.
Meanwhile outside, while this was all happening, Enforcer Brenden had acquired a D&D pin for K and had traded it to my wife for her Order 1866 pin. He and a small group of people who knew what was about to happen had stuck around to see K's reaction, and were all shocked when K came running out to show off his newly acquired pin. While K was excitedly talking about it, my wife & Brenden slyly "untraded" their pins and laughed about it.
We shared the story about Jerry, Jeff, & Mike, and it capped off a great evening of pin trading for everyone and a fantastic first PAX experience for us.
I'd like to give a HUGE
THANKS to the Jerry, Jeff, Mike, the Enforcers, and the rest of the PA Staff; you made our first PAX amazing.
Most of all, though, I wanted to make sure to thank ALL of the Pin Pals out there who were patient and generous with my boys. Whether it was the "Staff-like" 1-for-1 trades with them, politely declining trade offers from them, giving them trading tips, or just taking the time to talk to them about your pins, you all made the pin trading experience for them a great one. They definitely out pinned me, and I'm jealous of a number of their pins, but I couldn't be happier about it. I can only hope to repeat the experience again next year, and hopefully help other new Pin Pals have a similar entry to the world of Pinny Arcade.
Thanks Pin Pals!