A topic about wristbands on the MCM Expo Facebook Page pinged up on the Blood/Sugar radar because a few people expressed the difficulties they have with wearing them and one person said that they have to wear a glove & put ice under theirs to help relieve the allergic reaction they get from these seemingly innocuous strips of plastic!
Now, I had to take a break from Expos for a bit from October 2010 due to being really, really sick and didn’t return until May 2013 which was my first encounter with the new wristband system at MCM Expos (which I understand are now called “Comic Cons” also). Within 2 minutes of having the wristband put on, the area under it became itchy and red, but I thought I was just because of the sharp edges making my dermographism flare up, but, within 3 minutes my entire arm was red and within 4 minutes it had started to swell up and felt like it was burning. By the time I’d had it on for 5 minutes, I’d had to be cut out of it by one of the Expo officials (the 2nd one I asked as the first one apparently wasn’t “allowed” to make that decision or use scissors on me or something). It took an hour and a couple of antihistamines before my arm went back to normal. I was offered a hand stamp as an alternative, but I am also allergic to the ink they use for them; so, the Expo official who cut me out of the wristband signed my booking form and wrote an explanation on it for me to show instead of a stamp or wristband.
When I got to the door, showed my signed form and explained myself why I had no wristband or hand stamp I was again offered a hand stamp. I think I just started blankly at the attendant in question before again explaining that I could not be hand stamped and probably showed them my angry, red arm as well. They did let me in though eventually. After the first couple of times of repeating this each time I wanted to enter the main hall they started to get the picture, but it was frustrating at first. Then, on the second day, when I’d got the door all sorted out, two supposed Expo “security” (they refused to show me sufficent ID, had no walkie-talkies or staff t-shirts, so I am not convinced of their legitimacy) were going around selling wristbands and stamps in order to chase off anyone who was “loser-con-ing” (totes the technical term btw). They refused to believe me and aggressively tried to make me buy a second ticket and could not grasp the concept of being allergic to the hand stamp ink. However, I held my ground and told them to go ask the official who signed it if they didn’t believe me because I was absolutely not endangering my health for them, which did get rid of them but in Terminator style I was told that they would “be back”. They were not, but it still really annoyed me that I was being treated like a liar and a criminal just because of my stupid, dumb body’s rejection of all things chemical.
So, I decided that I was absolutely not ever going through that hassle again ever and came up with a card that can be signed by the ticketing officials at events which use wristbands and hand stamps and placed in a id card pouch or badge holder like this one (I got it in blue myself) with the wristband or stamp. Just order a holder and lanyard or safety pin and print off my DNFTA Allergy Aware Event Card (pdf in link or jpg image below). And if you want to know what the heck a [DNFTA] is anyway, go to www.dnfta.co.uk & see what I’m up to in my non-cosplay life…
Take care all you fellow itchy beggars out there,