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Expo Expectations and Advice?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by aarachnid, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. Axolotl

    Axolotl Arachnopeon

    I'm not necessarily super social, but just being around others who appreciate the same creatures that I've fallen in love with... it's quite refreshing! No one - and I mean no one - in the general public wants to hear how awesome my cockroaches are, but at the shows, my interests are relatively normal.

    For me, the hardest part is resisting unplanned purchases. I go with a list, but I always end up finding 100 other things that grab my attention. I budget extra for a few unplanned items, but with the choices at some of the big expos (like NARBC), that money goes fast. I've started keeping a list of all the things I want that aren't on the original wishlist. Every few hours, I take 30 minutes to grab a drink, go outside, refocus and review that list. I don't naturally do a lot of impulse purchases on animals, but the deals on supplies can be incredible. I like to make sure I'm going home with the most needed items and not just a random assortment of cool tank decor and 2 years worth of substrate.
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  2. Vanessa

    Vanessa Grammostola Groupie Arachnosupporter

    We have far fewer options in Canada for tarantula specific dealers. There is only ever going to be two vendors maximum at any of our shows. There might be a couple of reptile people trying to sell some wild caught, mostly male, juveniles and adults, but the tarantula specific people are very limited.
    I always have pre-orders to pick up as well, but I always end up picking up something that I didn't plan for. This weekend's expo in Toronto is a huge one and will go for two days. It is not reptile specific like the monthly ones are - there are lots of dog and cat people. That always made for some interesting interactions with the public.
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  3. aarachnid

    aarachnid Arachnopeon Active Member

    Thank you for all the tips and anecdotes. I’m beyond excited (been sleeping like shit because I keep reading more about Ts lol). I hope having my partner there makes me not buy a million Ts. A local vendor posted a list on here with a few juvies I’d love, so I’m very hopeful! I also hope I make a couple friends; my current friends are apathetic to politely interested, lol.
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  4. CommanderBacon

    CommanderBacon Arachnosquire Active Member

    I don't know if you've been to any other type of convention before, but IMO they are kind of similar to say, a comic con, aside from the lack of cosplay.

    You'll find your groove once you go to a few. IMO, expos are the best place to get supplies because they are cheaper than pet stores or ordering online. I have bought almost all of my tarantulas at expos. Here's what I tend to do:

    Before the show
    - Look up the vendor list on the show's website.
    - Check the vendors to see if they have an online presence.
    - Ask vendors for a species list - often these will have pricing. Try to ask the weekend before - they're going to be super busy the days before the show and may not have time to get back to you.
    - Look for exclusive sales or deals to order and pick up heavier stuff or items that you can't get locally without having to pay shipping and preorder them.
    - Decide a budget.

    Day of the show
    - Obtain cash.
    - Bring a flat-bottomed bag so your slings don't tip over while you're carrying them.
    - Bring a flat cart if you're picking up a big enclosure or heavy bags of substrate.
    - Get there early for the best selection.
    - Wear comfy shoes!
    -Bring water and a snack! Expo food is expensive.

    At the show
    - Go to the biggest and/or cheapest dealers first to get the best selection, if you haven't preordered items online.
    - If you're not shopping for anything in particular that might disappear immediately, shop around first! See if there are deals that include freebies and ask what the freebies are. A lot of my favorite tarantulas were freebies!
    - Pick up cards for vendors that you're interested in but don't buy from! They'll probably be at future shows in your area, too.
    - Talk to vendors, if you know you'll be coming back!
    - Pick up feeders, if freebie feeders aren't available (the Reptile Super Show usually has freebie feeders, so I stock up)
    - Before you leave for the day, go get your preordered stuff! Don't pick it up early and end up carrying it around all day.

    And that's basically it. If it's your first T, you'll probably wanna grab substrate and a hide. If you know you'll get more Ts, you might wanna consider grabbing other supplies, like tongs (but you can pick 10" tongs up on AliExpress for like a buck) and bulk substrate.

    IMO it's worth it to pick up the ExoTerra nano talls for arboreals, and you can find them for sweet prices at shows. I just use clear shoeboxes and food bins with DIY holes for my terrestrials and fossorials, tho.
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  5. Kitara

    Kitara Arachnoknight Active Member

    Oh good point! I didn't even think of that and I never carry cash.

    Oh, we're at a different one, but if I was still in the Philly area (just moved from Medford, NJ) I would totally look out for you. I'll be the nervous girl with the tall, not nervous at all, 14 year old that is prepared to spend all my money. :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2019
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  6. Tim Benzedrine

    Tim Benzedrine Prankster Possum Old Timer

    I think that it is wise to not "impulse" buy. I figure that you will not do so, but I think a lot of people might. Those people should predetermine what they may be interested in and do research if necessary. This might not apply to people who are actual exotic hobbists, I'm thinking more along the lines of the ones that go to just look at animals and spot a really cool-looking critter and just decide to by one and hope they can fly by the seat of their pants with the animal.

    I went to my first this past spring, and I am going to another next Sunday.
    when I went to the previous one, I had decided that I was going to watch out for a Ceratogyrus, (darling or marshalli, whichever I could find) to try as my first Old World or a pixie frog (I"ve kept pacmans) and would not succumb to the temptation to purchase any other livestock, except for the possibility of a New World I've wanted such as a GBB, since I already have experience in keeping different species of tarantulas, and knew ahead of time what I would be getting into with most that I would expect to see at the show.

    This next one, I have one "maybe if I see one" on my list, a S. polymorphus -I may be mangling the classification on that - because I've not tried any centipedes yet, but have done enough research so I likely would not blow it. (But would need to freshen up a little, probably) Other than that, I'm gonna be just watching for good prices on some gear for my current critters, plus some feeder insects. And the same thing applies to the possibility of another NW species like the aforementioned GBB. If I see any A. genic s'lings, that will be a lock.
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  7. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    Bring cash, and don't be afraid to haggle. (I have had more success with haggling when offering to pay in cash.)

    I prefer vendors that label their tarantulas with scientific names. I recognize most of the scientific names, but the common names I often have to Google, and you're never really sure what you'll get if they're slings.

    If I'm looking for particular species, I research prices before I go so I know if it's a good deal.
  8. aarachnid

    aarachnid Arachnopeon Active Member

    My boyfriend loves haggling, so I see myself getting some neat deals and making some connection with vendors. I already have the cash set aside for Saturday!

    I only know the scientific names for things, really, as my research early on poo-pooed common names ( andI hate calling my T a GBB except it’s easier to type, in my head and in real life I refer to her by her Latin name). I am not gonna lie, I’m too new to know if I’m buying something mislabeled unless it’s the wrong color lol. Hoping only buying Ts with Latin names helps!

    I’ve done soooo much research on prices. Feeling confident now, just nervous about the unknown. I’m so appreciative of everyone’s advice!
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  9. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    That's always a risk, especially with slings (a lot of slings look similar), but more reputable sellers/breeders can generally be relied on to be selling what they claim they're selling.

    Unfortunately, when you're just starting out, it's not always easy to evaluate which sellers are legitimate. The use of scientific names on labels is one sign to look for. Generally dealers that primarily have some other kind of animal with a few spiders on the table are less knowledgeable than the ones who appear to specialize in invertebrates. As you gain more knowledge, you can also gauge a seller's honesty and knowledge by what he says to people at his table.
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  10. nicodimus22

    nicodimus22 Arachnomancer Arachnosupporter

    It's hot, crowded, and loud. Get what you want fast and get outta there.

    Also, if you're not sure what you're getting, setting up a couple of enclosures of various sizes at home before you go is a good first step.
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  11. moricollins

    moricollins Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Rather than having things setup at home another option is to make sure you have enough supplies and containers to house your purchases at home, that way you aren't tied in to what you have already ready.
    (That's the approach I'm taking with my expo visit this weekend, I have various containers and supplies ready to use)
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  12. aarachnid

    aarachnid Arachnopeon Active Member

    Yes, thanks! I don’t have anything set up for real, just appropriately size enclosures I’ve put holes holes in, substrate, cut in half flower pots, decorations, spagnum Moss, etc. ready for any critters I bring home. I am stoked, but doing research makes me also not want to buy a bunch of stuff this time (gonna stick to my list). I want to expand my collection eventually, but I also know I get deeply invested in animals, even if they’re apathetic towards me, so I don’t see me shrinking my collection when I want to add more. Right now I want 10 NW terrestrials, but when I feel ready for a fossorial or arboreal, I probably don’t want a collection of 20-30 total tarantulas.

    Sorry for being so verbose; I spent all night thinking about how I’d ideally like my collection to go in the coming years while also acknowledging that I am the kind of person who will become attached. And if I’m never ready for the more “advanced” guys, I’m sure all the NWs I’ve been torturing myself over wanting but not as badly as the ones on my list for this expo will still exist in the hobby. :)
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  13. moricollins

    moricollins Arachnoprince Old Timer

    You can build a fantastic collection with just new world tarantulas, they were definitely my preference.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  14. aarachnid

    aarachnid Arachnopeon Active Member

    For sure!! I just see myself not having more than 7-10 total, and I aim to feel comfortable and experienced enough to keep a few fossorial eventually. I can always buy more, but getting rid to make space for more would be tough. Like, I have a little GBB female. My ideal T would be an adult female G Pulchra. If someone offered me one for my GBB, I couldn’t even though the value of the trade would be dumb to say no to. I’m trying to make it easier on me a year or two from now when I might realistically be getting some more “challenging” species. :)
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  15. CommanderBacon

    CommanderBacon Arachnosquire Active Member

    That's what I thought. Now I have 32 spiders and all of my friends think I'm a weirdo XD
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  16. aarachnid

    aarachnid Arachnopeon Active Member

    I did end up going slightly off list because I got there a little late and there were no a genic or d Pentaloris left. I got

    1 juvie unsexed A Hentzi
    1 juvie unsexed B Vagans
    1 A Brocklehurst sling
    1 B Cabocla sling
    1 B Hamorii sling

    My partner got an emperor scorpion

    I also got cork bark for super, super cheap!

    Thanks for all the advice, guys. It was stressful and crowded but extremely worth it for me.
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  17. Minty

    Minty @londontarantulas Arachnosupporter

    Best advice I can give is get there early.
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  18. Tim Benzedrine

    Tim Benzedrine Prankster Possum Old Timer

    What is an effective method of haggling? I've never really bothered to haggle, I'm more of a "Shut up and take my money!" kinda guy. :D
  19. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    I'm not an expert haggler, but I'll usually try something like, "What would you take for both if I paid in cash?" (It's easier to haggle if you're buying more than one.) Dealers usually don't want to pack up inventory and take it back home, so there is an incentive to make deals, especially for cash buyers.
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  20. Tim Benzedrine

    Tim Benzedrine Prankster Possum Old Timer

    I can see where that would be true. Generally I'm not in the market for duplicates, but I guess I can imagine a scenario where I might be if the price was really good. It beats what I was thinking of trying..."If you don't give me a deal, I am gonna stand here and pee my pants right in front of you and you will feel really awkward!"

    Do you think that is a better strategy as the end of the event is drawing near? Seems to me that would be the case. Early on, there could be a chance of moving two items without dropping the price. I'm probably heading out to the show in about an hour, sooner if I get restless. Not really going with the intent of buying livestock, but if I see a couple critters I have in mind, I might bite on one. A new A. genic is almost a lock if I see one, but I doubt that I will. Maybe a desert hairy scorp, or a tiger centipede.

    Otherwise, gear and feeder mice are my primary goal.