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Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 5:16 pm
by gregory23b
Something has dawned on me re selectivity, multi bash events are selective in many ways, safety, kit requirements etc. This forum is full of a range of events where one group or another are excluded for a variety of reasons without much worry. EG a WOTR battle generally excludes Vikings etc.

So if we accept that as a principle and we seem to, why is such selectivity not as acceptable in a trading environment, surely a contradiction?

Why is a commercial environment seen in a different light than a battle - when the battle may well be part of a commercial excercise?

Just strikes me as a little *rse backwards.

Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 6:09 pm
by 2d
Trouble is that we both know markets where one trader has to work along side another trader who rips off their stock! And this at a 'selective' market too!
oh, tell me about it!!!
Why is a commercial environment seen in a different light than a battle - when the battle may well be part of a commercial excercise?
Good point, and the only reasonable reason I can think of is that not many re-enactors rely on events for their livlihood (although they obviously rely on them for the continuence of their group etc, that's not the same thing) , whereas quite a few traders rely on markets.

(tuppence, who forgot to log in again).

Posted: Thu May 11, 2006 2:06 pm
by Tod
Not so many years ago there was only 1 market, or you bought from traders at your own event. Now there are markets up and down the country(s). Banning a trader is up to the market manager, and they make the rules. Even at society events (I can think of one society in particular) you can end up getting banned, or asked so many questions that are intrusive (as has happend this year) you don't want to trade.
Traders who rip other traders off are just cowboys and in a large way no different to the people who sell fake branded goods at dodgy car boot sales. From a leatherworkers point of view, copying is mega pain in the back end. My work is copied -badly, and then sold at inflated prices. My shoes are are replicated by people who then machine make them and say "handmade", and there are ways of telling they've used my patterns. My problem is that any one can buy leather and do a rubbish job of putting it together. That isn't to say people shouldn't have a go and I think you can take great pride in some thing you make your self. But selling straight copies is not the same.
The situation becomes worse when a punter brings you an item that is faulty and tells you they bought it from you, this is based on "it looks like yours". My reply can be any thing from "yeh, and its made from plastic coated leather, machine stitched and looks like S##te, and you think it looks like its mine, thanks".
At the NLHF I've not seen any replica's of my work, but have at other markets. In one case I played the punter and picked the item to pieces. The seller admitted to my girlie at the time he had copied the stuff his mate had bought - off me!
Those who run the market cannot be expected to police what traders sell. No offence to David buy I doubt he could tell if my products are any good or right for any particular period. But if I had a problem with another trader I am pretty sutre that if I went to him he would do his best to resolve the issue. That's why I sell at his market, amongst other reasons such as its easy to be a trader there - David and his team do all the work!
IMO the traders I know are a really good bunch. Jerky boy even moved his garlic products to the to the other end of his stand as the smell (although nice) was abit strong for my over sensitive nose. Mind you it did cost me a cake bribe :lol:
(Date and walnut next time Martin?).

Foxblade Trading

Posted: Sat May 13, 2006 11:07 pm
by frances
Dear 23b, can I take you up on your comment that 'Equal Opportunities has nothing to do with it'. In the real world there is equal opportunities legislation to ensure that facilities are in place and activities monitored to ensure that various groups in society are not discriminated against intentionally or unintentionally. In re-enactment there are occasions where these laws are completely ignored. Unfortunately it is up to the person discriminated against to bring action in the Courts to put things to rights. How many affected traders or participants have the time, energy or knowledge to do this.

You may not have come up against this problem. But others have. Your sweeping statement is far too all-encompassing.

Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 12:54 pm
by gregory23b
Frances, it was clear that I was talking about traders, not reenactors or membership (whether they trade or not) in a commercial environment, exemplified it with the case of department stores who select the concessions they require for their stores. We have no problem with that, nor is it in breach of EO legislation, so why is it that when the same notion is presented in the case of a 'history' fair that it somehow seems unfair?

As I said EO has nothing to do with it, ie selection criteria for certain events. Conversely a selective approach could just as easily be seen as an example of encouraging a wider representation that may not be possible with limited space etc, a first come first served basis is not necessarily a benefit, imagine going to a fair which is supposed to be general that has mainly one sort of trader on offer, merely because they all happened to sign-up at the offset.

Or to put it another way in the 'real world' a job post is up and a certain group is not represented so in many cases women or men, people of specific ethnic groups are encouraged or even there are exception clauses which the EO legislation allows for in order to create a situation where more people are represented in a limited job environment. That is exactly the same logic and process that Department stores and fair organisers use (granted for commercial reasons), but that in the latter case is somehow deemed as 'unfair'. The old EO argument is a double edged sword in this particular case.

Or has everyone got a right to trade where they want? The real world would say not.

There is enough scope in the wider reenactment market world for large un-restricted general fairs and for smaller more selective/specific (or whatever term you prefer) markets too and to be fair David has done both.

Neither option is perfect but it does actually offer consumer choice, as much as going to a supermarket or a local butcher does, again you could equally argue that a smaller 'selective' market is the local shop, it all boils down to if you see it as 'fair' or not.

God forbid that all markets were the same or followed the same model, how very, very dull.

Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 5:38 pm
by david smith
And there's going to be a very selective market at my Dark Age Festival next Early May Bank Holiday, as only traders with goods and tentage suited to Dark Ages 400AD to 1066 are invited.

However the good news for the more Medieval Traders is that I know of an excellent alternative for them over that week end :twisted:

Best wishes

Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 6:45 pm
by gregory23b
Exactly David,
as much as your Napoleonic fair is aimed at Nappy people, there is a set of criteria, theme etc.

What is the 'other fair' OOI or have I missed the dates?

So can we all accept that selectivity is alive and well at all markets - to some degree, just that we don't always like it?

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 9:05 am
by david smith
It's not my event, so I don't wish to pre-empt the organiser in when where and how they want to announce it.

However, I can say it is a great venue, with far reaching views and a genuine Castle.

Best wishes

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 10:37 am
by agesofelegance
As someone who was banned from trading at a particular market about 10 years ago (still not sure why never been told) then these things happen and you get on with life.

It didn't put me out of business, but then I made sure it didn't. If you have a strong enough business and doing it for a living you make darn sure that you don't just rely on one market. That way you aren't at the mercy of organisers.


Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 9:57 pm
by frances
Dear 23b, I still disagree with what you are saying. EO legislation is there to stop people with disabilities being discriminated against just because they are disabled. Any department store worth its salt will not put up barriers that prevent the talents of people with disabilities being utilised to help the store make its profits.

It is possible to ban someone from an event by making the conditions of attendance so difficult that they are unable to attend. Either the site owner or the organiser may do this conciously or unconciously, but the effect is the same. And it is illegal.

As an example, a trader with a disability was today asked not to come to an event to trade. The reason? That last year they were an inconvenience because they took a longer time to pack up. Now, it takes a very brave and strong person with a disability, and someone with time to spare, to challange that ruling. And many people with a disability take longer than others to undertake many tasks, whether for day-to-day living, or preparing the goods to sell. So the chances of the disabled person challanging this organiser's attitude are low.

As Dawn pointed out, traders are at the mercy of event organisers. If a number of event organisers take the same attidtude, then the options for a disabled person are much more limited than those not disabled. And this is what I meant when I said that EO legislation is not being followed in re-enactment.

Someone who is not disabled would not appreciate how widespread this attitude is in re-enactment markets.

Posted: Tue May 16, 2006 10:29 pm
by Drachelis
Frances, I am disabled But I haven't (as yet) had any problems apart from a hike to the loo only to find that the disabled one is being used by all and sundry to change etc because it is bigger than the ordinary ones. ( note to organsiers)

I do have Ming to do the lifting and humping ( in the nicest possible terms)
but when by myself I can usually ask for some help with packing up. .

Folk are pretty good like that - but they do need to be asked just in case said disabled person gives them a mouthful for presuming that they need help.

I am afraid that organisers of private events ( and that is what they are) can invite or disbar anyone they choose - as can department stores when choosing their concessions. If Debenhams has an Evans concession and a Berketex concession they are there because a contract has been negotiated and they would not have a Shadowlight Designs concession just because I am disabled - one because the garments I create are not suitable for their retail outlet, two I am a very small concern and couldn't meet the volume of stock required to satisfy their customers. They may see that I produce a good standard of work and offer to give me business in alterations for their customers but if I did not show the required standard of work they would not employ me in any capacity just because I was disabled and it would give them Brownie points.

shadowlight Designs

Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 12:30 am
by gregory23b
Frances, other than you mentioning disability discrimination, what has that to do with fair organisers who set criteria for the nature of goods sold at their fairs?

The issue of disability is not the topic, but how one organiser can set legal criteria that people may or may not like. It has nothign to do with discrimination, certainly not the type you are mentioning.

Moreover the markets being alluded to here are certainly not being criticised for that kind of selectivity, tying that in is misleading.

The fact that a market organiser has the following criteria:

a limit on the number of traders selling the same goods

the 'quality' of those goods

is not a mark of discriminatory practice in the same sense as you mean, so is not an EO issue.

I say again that in the cases of certain markets, their criteria actually encourage a wider representation of goods, ie they seem to make an effort in diversity in the traders, it is obviously a commercial decision which seems to work for them, otherwise they might not be doing it.

FWIW frances I was a care worker for the disabled for 14 years and am pretty well acqainted with access issues after having spent a lot of time trying to get around various places with people in wheelchairs or walkijng difficulties etc, but they are not under the glass here.

As for the trader that was not invited again on the basis of their disability then I know what I would do, make as big a fuss as possible and then find other markets to trade at where their physical condition is not an issue.

The few markets that I trade at have a fair spread of people in a range of healths and abilities and I would be very chary of trading at an event where that kind of attitude was known to happen. Moreover that attitude is commercially stupid as most audiences and visitors will have a fair portion of people who need access provision by law.

But that is not what we are getting at, but the right of a fair organiser* to set the bar at which goods are sold at their event, as much as Harrods can say who trades at their supermarkets.

*shop owner even

Given that there is not unlimited space, volume is the first hurdle, variety the next etc, all acceptable in other aspects of life, but somehow not in reenactment trading, quite odd and inconsistent IMHO.

Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 12:45 am
by frances
Ah ha! 23b, we seem to agree on one thing - that it is also commercially not a good idea to ban people due to their disability.

But since the thread is about banning traders I think that what I am saying is totally relevant and, as it turns out, topical.

Drachalis, I agree, it is not commercially sensible either to have any trader just because they are disabled - unless they also fit in with the published critera for that event. And published can be the internet, of course, as well as on paper.

It is a pity that more event organisers having a market do not publish the criteria they use to choose which traders are able to apply for a space and which are not.

Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 7:52 am
by X
Banning a trader on the grounds of not being able to pack up quick enough could actually be quite legal, depending on circumstances. If the trader was so slow that the organizer could not meet their own deadline for clearing out, required of them by the site manager, then it would be legal to request that trader not to come again.

However, the organizer - if it ever came to court - would have to prove that other alternatives were unreasonable, such having that trader start packing up early, or providing extra help. The organizer would probably not be expected to take on extra staff just to help that trader, but if they had several staff it might be deemed reasonable to detail one of them to spend some of their time helping the trader if it was possible to do so while still completing all of the rest of their tasks.

It's not legal to ban someone because they're not quick enough for you to get home and watch East Enders, though.

There is a difference between discrimination and not allowing someone to do something for valid reasons. For instance, the army requires certain levels of fitness in its recruits; this obviously bars any person with a severe disability from serving in the army. This is not discrimination; this is the result of the fact that someone with a severe disability could usually not carry out the tasks demanded of a soldier, to the level required in the circumstances they may be required to work.

Before you decide whether something is, or is not, discrimination, you often need to look at all sides of the story, not just the disabled person's.

Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 8:19 am
by Lord High Everything Esle
There is also a duty of reasonable behaviour.

As a trader I work out what I can manage on my own. So I have a 15ft tent rather than a 20ft tent and only sell those large boxes that I can manage to lift out of the vehicle and only bring sufficient stock so that I can get it displayed and packed up within a reasonable time.

I am still the last off site though, except when Jayne or Frances are there! And I always check and meet the deadlines set by the organisers.

I often refuse the kind offers of help from fellow traders and organisers reasoning that if I can't manage by myself it is time to review my trading arrangements.

Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 8:38 am
by gregory23b

Just so we are clear do you believe that a market organiser has the legal right to:

set the criteria for the items sold at the market

set a theme for a market (eg an era)

set the prices for pitches

put a limit on numbers

ask for insurance details

put a limit on the number of traders selling the same thing

encourage a wider range of traders as a result of the latter

refuse entry for those it deems not meeting the above criteria?

Because they are the issues here, purely those and they are not EO issues in their own rights, because

No one has a right to trade at market - they are by invitation and application.

There is not unlimited scope for traders to be in one place at one time

Remember the Tower of London Market? where there were only a few of us? that was the most selective market I have traded at, ie only one of each of us, would you say Mark was in breach of EO because he specified the people he wanted to come? I should think not.
It might not please some people but that is not the same as saying their rights have been violated.

"However, they should also advertise what their criteria are so that potential traders know whether or not to apply."

The market that was mentioned on another thread does indeed do that, not only that but it was reinforced verbally to me and the paperwork is about as precise and clear as it can be, ie time for sending off cheques and insurance details, yet that was the market that people felt aggrieved that they didn't get re-invited to (understandably), but that is not breaching EO regs, it is the opposite in some cases, ie a wider spread of traders that might not normally get a chance, do you not agree that is a good thing from the perspective of new traders or those who normally can't get a look in?

I expect over time that I will have applications for entry refused, that is much like a tender being rejected, you then get on with it as Dawn says.

Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 2:47 pm
by John Wycliff
I agree with equal opputunities, and think they are great they give everyone out there a fair chance to do good business ina fair and stable enviroment.

However from a market point of view if you are trying to collect an ever fluctuating group of really good quality traders to appear at a market and lets not forget they change every year, you can have problems. Space for instance, its the organisers decision as to how many traders he or she feels a site can comfortably accomodate and also the number of traders they can personally deal with.

If I wanted to organise a top notch market I would look around at what was on offer and pick the cream of the crop to appear rather than having lots of ok traders there, I would then hope that re-enactors would notice this collection of good quality items and appreciate the effort I had gone to get them there, I would not want to associate myself with humdrum traders or adaquate products, only the best.

Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 3:05 pm
by Lord High Everything Esle
John Wycliff wrote:I
If I wanted to organise a top notch market I would look around at what was on offer and pick the cream of the crop to appear rather than having lots of ok traders there, I would then hope that re-enactors would notice this collection of good quality items and appreciate the effort I had gone to get them there, I would not want to associate myself with humdrum traders or adaquate products, only the best.
Therein lies the nub of the matter. What is the best, for the trader, the organisers and the attendee?

Some markets are designed for the re-enactors alone, others need to cater for the needs and wants of the public, sh :twisted: iny spar :shock: kley things.

Then of course there are differing grades of re-enactor. What do you do for the new kid on the block, a student say, with little to spend. They can't afford the "top notch". They will, of course, want to improve as time and purse allows as we all do.

And thus we get back to "let the market decide". If a trader does not do well they will look to improve/change their wares or go elsewhere.

I agree that it is up to the organiser to set the rules. I hope they would seek advice from, say the Historic Branch of the Market Traders Federation

Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 6:06 pm
by gregory23b
"Some markets are designed for the re-enactors alone, others need to cater for the needs and wants of the public, sh Twisted Evil iny spar Shocked kley things"

Agreed, hence the variety of markets on offer, and let us face it, regardless of rights and wrongs we seem to go to most sorts either as visitors and or traders.

In like vein not all traders or more precisely their stock are suitable for all markets, they have a choice to either adjust their stock to meet the change or not or simply not go, it is a two way street and not just about what an organiser wants or not. I don't see myself doing fetes because my stuff has not got that broad appeal and I am not fussed about merely selling stuff so I wont do some markets, I choose not to, I am being selective and discriminating - that is sensible one hopes.

I do like the range of markets available, some are better for me as a trader than others not just in terms of revenue but contacts and a good weekend out to boot and to buy goods for myself.

Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 7:37 pm
by Lord High Everything Esle

I hope you are OK. You don't seem to be replying to my emails.

banning traders

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:14 am
by preprice2
It has to be seen that competition from the traders point of view is at it's optimum, not enough to go around, copying, lack of public have all been mentioned. I have seen a downturn in some of the standards at events, there are many traders that do not seem to bother any more, their tents are less attractive for some reason. We all suffer from heat and the cold, this does affect the dress code, but some traders just do not dress up at all slopping around in casual every day dress, it is things like this that organisers look at, it come down to value for money and a well laid out tent with traders dressing the part will always be the attraction.
There is another element I think that is creeping in, that is ordinary market traders who have been priced out of the town market for whatever reason. These new traders think that to buy a tent and to start trading at a medieval event is all that is needed, their goods are not always of the standard that organiser want. [ I am not knocking plastic swords or dragons or gonks, [[age showing]] It is easy to buy copy goods, for a trader making his or her own stuff in their own style to see imported copies on show at half the price must be a slap in the face. When looked at we will remember the bad element not the good.
Maybe the 'banning' of traders from certain events is the start of a knock on affect, unfortunately personal preferences are lumped together with professional ones. I can only hope that organiser decision to 'ban' is part of a big picture, to put medieval markets back into the categary of medieval markets and not into open markets.

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:46 am
by Martin Cowley
maybe sectioning the market into 2 area's ? strictly hand crafted aufenty medieval in one area,then next to it people with "other" stuff ,not sure where i'd go though lol,probably in the middle somewhere :D

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:18 pm
by Lord High Everything Esle
There are definately two main catagories of traders:

a). those who make and sell their own authentic stuff and
b). those who buy and sell but don't make.

The last catagory can be further sub divided into:

1). authentic
2). 6 foot authenticity
3). gonks

a). and b1). requires lots of re-enactors
3). requires lots of public and
2). requires a mixture of the two.

There is a role for all these traders across the range of events but some are not suitable for the event that aspires to true authenticity.

For members of the public there needs to be a range of trinkets that they can buy as treats for their children or as "souvenirs" of the event. Remember that the public are their for a day of entertainment and if we can get a bit of education into that then so much the better but "retail therepy" is part of the entertainment of the day. They may buy a single arrow or a display sword but are not going to buy a suit of armour or similar.

However a re-enactors fair is never going to be a good place to sell dragons or ethnic costume jewellery.

Where an organiser has more traders than space they have to make difficult decisions. This can be done in several ways:

1). First come first served as in Tewkesbury. I won't be there because I booked late. Sadly there will not be a good selection of boxes on site but nobody will miss my jewellery.

2). A "millenary lottery", as Duke Henry puts it, whereby each catagory of trader is chosen by lots to try to achieve a balance of trade across the catagories. As at Cressing Temple. Sadly for Sally, she was not included.

3). A restriction on source of supply. That is to exclude historically inauthentic materials or sources. As at Cressing. My boxes made of Indian Rosewood fall under this catagory and as such I am not even invited to participate in a "lottery".

4). Personal whim.

Personally, I hold no resentment for being excluded by any of the above. It really is up to the organiser as to how they wish to run their event. If someone wants to buy my goods they will find me elsewhere on the circuit at

Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:49 pm
by Miel
What about the punters ? Surely they have a right to expect a certain level and quality of traders being present

TJ and I were not allowed to continue to trade in the market we believe David is refering to without any reason being given. In fact the organiser lied to us when we queried their lack of response. To this day we have no idea of the true reason.

We are as authentic as most and better than many, our quality is good, and neither of us has punched anyone on the nose.

Many of our regular customers travelled there to buy from us only to find we were not there and nor were any other traders selling our kind of goods.

We have since found somewhere better to trade. I expect that many of their past visitors will find somewhere better to visit.

It's a great shame as it was a good event.

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:16 am
by Tuppence
Could I just say that I hate the assumption that traders all have to be in costume to be any good at what they do?

It really and truly makes no difference whatsoever.

When required to wear costume (eg re-enactors market), I do so.
At markets where it's not required I "just do not dress up at all slopping around in casual every day dress". I freely admit that.

But that's because my stall isn't about me - it's about the clothing etc I'm making and selling (which I'm told is some of the best around).
And I pay attention to what the stall looks like (less than to what I look like). Or at least I do when the tent's not falling down...

For example, at Tewkesbury last weekend, I didn't get into kit once. Because I'm not a fifteenth century re-enactor. I don't really have C15 kit, so would be wearing C12th.
Which in my opinion would be far, far worse than modern clothing.

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:40 pm
by Lord High Everything Esle
Tuppence wrote:Could I just say that I hate the assumption that traders all have to be in costume to be any good at what they do?

It really and truly makes no difference whatsoever.

When required to wear costume (eg re-enactors market), I do so.
At markets where it's not required I "just do not dress up at all slopping around in casual every day dress". I freely admit that.

But that's because my stall isn't about me - it's about the clothing etc I'm making and selling (which I'm told is some of the best around).
And I pay attention to what the stall looks like (less than to what I look like). Or at least I do when the tent's not falling down...

For example, at Tewkesbury last weekend, I didn't get into kit once. Because I'm not a fifteenth century re-enactor. I don't really have C15 kit, so would be wearing C12th.
Which in my opinion would be far, far worse than modern clothing.
This is your personal experience. However each trader should make up their own mind about what is appropiate. Circumstance are different for everyone and I think the dividing line might be how much you sell to the public.

I wear what I think is appropriate for the occasion. Usually something approximating the period of the market (or something cool!). "Dressing" my stall is very important and I see myself as part of the overall effect. In my opinion, if you are reliant on customers who do not know you or the quality of your goods/research, you are selling yourself as well as your goods.

Have you asked yourself what a potential customer (who does not know you or the excellent quality of your goods) thinks about a trader who does not use their own product. Gwen and I have been criticised in the past for not wearing any of our rings. We still don't. For safety reasons because we might catch them whilst working although I often curse my long sleeves, which were never designed to be worked in!!

On the other hand if you are in civvies you can become your own "crowd" :shock: and thus attract people to your stall by "feigning" interest. :lol: A customer browsing your stall gives passers by an indication that they can do the same and that there might be someting interesting there. A large crowd is even better. Nigel, in particular, is a crowd on his own. :twisted:

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:13 pm
by Pete the Pong
My personal take on this one is that by agreeing with an organiser to take a pitch at their event as a Historic Trader, you are implicitly agreeing to be part of that event, and to provide that event with extra colour and spectacle. Ie yourself and your tent. Although we often complain, the fees charged to us are very reasonable compared to other commercial events -and I have always maintained that a trader should not be charged extra for a larger tent, as our investment in that tentage adds to the prestige of the show. And the public like to see authentically dressed traders in their natural habitat.
And yes, the Battle of Tewkesbury was in the middle of the 15th century. But the Fayre is advertised as generic "Mediaeval" . OK it's important to keep battle dress accurate (it seems that the wearing of woad has finally been outlawed), but the rest of the show is not exactly Living History, is it?
Besides, I personally like dressing in decent clothes for once, and thanks to Cheryl I now have two fantastic bunny fur trimmed houplandes to choose from.

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:35 pm
by Kate Tiler
I've just edited this as on reflection I may not be in my in my best 'posting' frame of mind, sorry.

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:03 pm
by Pete the Pong
Re the Tewkesbury pitch fee.
You friend had it slightly wrong. the fee was 10% of take, regardless of stall size. Exactly the same as it has been for many years.
Where the confusion arose is that the organisers based there ADVANCE payment on the size of the tent. So the principle was that if you had a small tent you would pay (say) £50 for your pitch and a large one (say) £100. But if both stalls took then £1000 each, the smaller stall would owe another £50, and the larger one would owe nothing. I have no idea what happens to people (like us) who took less than 10 times their advance pitch fee, but personally I see the difference as being my contribution to a very enjoyable weekend.
This system has caused a lot of confusion, and I am under the impression that it is going to be altered again next year.

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:47 pm
by Kate Tiler
So it's sort of a bet?

I bet you 4 times some money that you are going to take that much money and if I'm right you pay me more & if I'm wrong I keep the money?!

Sounds like a good bet!

I think the system or people running it has just caused some people some grief this year & they will probably bounce back again, but as i said, its all academic to me!

Glad you had a great time, I just get sad because I have so many people who expect to see me there & I have to say no I won't be.