Please Give Me Advice on BEA

Discussion Post

Okay, guys…I need some help.

Ever since I heard about it, I’ve been obsessed with wanting to go to BEA. But I’m not sure that it’s exactly feasible, and I want your help deciding if I should go this year.

As some of you may know, I have a disability called Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (read my story). Basically, it’s a nerve disorder that affects both of my feet, making it difficult and painful for me to walk. So, if I were to go to BEA, I’d have to be in a wheelchair, and I’d have to bring my mom to push me around and carry all of the books.

As soon as I realized that I wouldn’t be able to go by myself, I got kind of nervous. Now that I’m a semi-established book blogger, I’ve made a lot of connections with fellow book bloggers. I’d probably see some of my friends at BEA! Do I really want to beΒ that girl who brought her mom? I mean, as much as I LOVE my mom, it’s honestly kind of embarrassing. And being handicapped is embarrassing in itself. I’ve gotten pretty used to being in social settings where people might stare at me because I’m walking funny or because I’m 22 years old and using a walker, but honestly, it can still sometimes be a little hard to deal with. I don’tΒ want to be scared or embarrassed to participate in social events because of my disability,Β but I am.

I’m also worried about the feasibility part of the equation. I’m assuming it’s going to be very crowded and hectic, and it might be overwhelming to have to maneuver around both the two of us and a wheelchair. So, here are a couple of questions I have about this, and about BEA in general:

  1. Do you think I should still attempt to go, even if I’m in a wheelchair and have to bring my mom? (be honest! πŸ™‚ )
  2. Have you seen handicapped people or people using wheelchairs at BEA? Did they seem overwhelmed?
  3. How crowed/hecticΒ is it?
  4. How do you carry all of the ARCs you receive…a backpack?
  5. If I’m mostly interested in YA, I should be going to the children’s day on Friday, right?
  6. Have any of you done the one-day pass before, or do you mostly just do the whole weekend?
  7. Is the whole weekend worth it, or should I stick with just Friday?


Please help me answer my questions if you’ve been to BEA before! And, even if you haven’t, do you have any advice about my wheelchair dilemma? Are you going to BEA, and this year is your first time?


P.S. If you’re following me on Twitter, you might’ve seen my little rage- and tear-induced rant last week when, right after writing this post, I heard from BEA that they weren’t going to let me bring my mother to help push me around without having to buy her a separate ticket (which, at potentially hundreds of dollars each depending on which tickets I choose, would not be cheap). But, after pointing out to them that that was actuallyΒ illegal discrimination under the ADA (as I wouldn’t be able to equally participate without an aid to push me and carry my books),Β they “graciously” agreed that my mom should be able to get her ticket for free. So, while I’m happy that that’s resolved, I’m still a little hurt and offended by the whole situation. Having to be disabled is hard enough as it is without having to deal with people and companies who aren’t accommodating like they should be. It’s really upsetting to be denied something just because you have a medical issue that makes you a little different than everybody else.


19 responses to “Please Give Me Advice on BEA

  1. I have never been to BEA, and probably never will *sobs* because of my current Australian location. And then today I found out that BEA is on my birthday this year and I just ASDFGHJKL.
    Okay, as for your questions. I think it’s MORE than okay for you to be in a wheelchair and bring your mum. You should be able to go to this amazing book event, and if a wheelchair can take away some of the pain you would otherwise feel at this event, then use the chair. Your health and comfort is paramount at an event like this.
    And bringing your mum is awesome. Personally, my mum is my best friend. We go everywhere together. Bringing your mum wouldn’t make you THAT person. And if you’re worried about it, try and look out of your age bracket. I mean, when you see a 35 year old woman shopping or whatever with her mum, do you think anything of it? No. I just think that the way society is today makes it seem taboo/lame for younger people to hang out with their parents. Just because they’re our parents doesn’t mean that they’re less likely to be our friend, you know? So don’t worry about it. πŸ˜€
    And if I were you, I’d definitely take a backpack. If you do use the chair, then you can hang it off the back, right? And then your mum won’t have to carry it, and neither will you. Win-win, yeah?
    And as for the ticket situation. Ohmygosh. That’s ridiculous. The only thing I can say is that I’m glad they eventually gave your mum the ticket. I mean, if she’s attending to help you then there’s no way you guys should have to pay. Geez.
    Anyway, whatever you decide to do: I hope you have fun, and grab heaps of amazing books. ^.^

    • Aww thanks for this sweet comment, Chiara πŸ™‚ Do they have any similar events in Australia?

      My mom is like my best friend, too! I’m used to her pushing me around, so I hope it won’t be too awkward. I just don’t want to be uncomfortable. I think it might be weird trying to network and make friends with my mom RIGHT THERE trying not to butt into the conversation, haha. But I really do want to go, so hopefully it won’t be as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be. I tend to get super anxious about things and then they end up not being nearly as bad as I thought they’d be, haha.

      Yes, you’re right about the backpack…good idea. I have a special wheelchair one that I might use.

      And ohmygod I know, right? I was pretty upset that they were being such jerks, but I’m glad that they eventually came around!

      • Sadly, we don’t have very many author events in Australia. At least not ones with international authors. Later this month I am going to an Aussie author event, and my favourite author of all time will be there. I am just lucky she is Australian! πŸ˜€

        I think everyone gets anxious about things that turn out not to be a big deal when they happen. I know you might feel self conscious, but just remember that these people you’re meeting like you! I don’t think any book bloggers would be judgemental.

        Maybe take two backpacks. I have seen the hauls people get from this event!

        I’m glad they came around, as well. It seemed very money grabbing of them!

  2. I’m going to BEA for the first time this year!! So yeah I really can’t answer your questions as I have like 10,000 myself. I just wanted to say don’t be embarrassed to bring your mom! I bring my mom everywhere and I’m 30!! And my mom was trying to come with me to BEA also bc she’s worried about me being in NYC with people I don’t know that well. Moms are the best!! I think Kara from Great Imaginations might have good advice for you about BEA and the crowds and whatnot bc I believe she has issues with her feet as well πŸ™‚

    • Ooh thanks so much…I’ll definitely get in touch with Kara, thanks for the advice! Haha I’m glad I’m not the only one that goes everywhere with their mom πŸ™‚

  3. Okay, I’ve never been to BEA (but I’d LOVE to go one day) so I can’t help you with the practical questions, but I just wanted to say how ridiculous it is how they acted with your mom having to buy a ticket too. I’m glad it got resolved in the end, but still, I understand that you feel bad about it. Everyone should be able to participate in the event and feel welcome. Also, on bringing your mom: You shouldn’t worry about that! I’m 21 and I take my mom everywhere too. if there is some concert or something that I want to go too, and none of my friends are interested in the artist or don’t want to spend the money on tickets, I just take my mom. πŸ˜‰ Moms are the best ❀

    • Haha wow that’s great πŸ™‚ It’s good to hear that so many people besides me like to go places with their moms! Thanks for the sweet comment πŸ™‚ I was pretty upset about how they acted, too, but I’m just glad that it all got sorted out in the end.

  4. *flexes fingers* *settles into chair* ALL RIGHT. There is no reason why you should not go just because 1) your mom and 2) your wheelchair. Think of it this way: built in seat. Everyone else has to stand because there’s too many people? Not you! And your mom is an extra set of hands to carry books, plus, she knows exactly what you’ll need (medically or psychologically – crowds can be overwhelming, and she’s probably in tune to when you get overstimulated?)

    Story time: one of my friends from high school had a brain aneurism, and she has to use either a walker or a stability dog to get around, and still teeters a lot. In fact half the the time I’m running after her because she goes so fast that I’m not sure her legs can keep up. Her scooter is always on “rabbit” setting – going to the mall is a workout, literally. She really doesn’t care if people are in her way – she will actually just barrel through and hope they move their feet. So be bold and run over some toes for me πŸ˜‰ And then send me oodles of pictures and emails so I can live vicariously through you!

    • Kayla, you’re seriously the best πŸ™‚ You made me feel so much better about this. And you have such a way with words. I am totally going to go run over some toes and take LOTS of pictures for you. And for me!

      The more I think about it, the more I want to go. Even if it’s weird…I don’t care. I have every right to be there, and if people are going to stare β€” whatever, they can stare. You’re right, I’m sure that everybody will just be jealous because I get to sit down, haha. Although, truly, I’d take their spot in a heartbeat.

      I’m going to be thinking of this comment the whole time I’m there πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for giving me the pep talk…I really needed it and you’re so right. I’m so glad we’re friends!

  5. So I don’t know about BEA… but I have been to a HUGE con.. Comic Con San Diego. So for the panels if you are in a wheel chair or disabled you got to jump into the head of the lines. The only time I can foresee when someone would have a hard time was on the showroom floor or exhibit floor where it is PACKED. Back to back people. Comic Con though does have what they call “preview” night so people can buy tickets to that and skip the crowds. I am surprised BEA doesn’t have more information on their website or that they didn’t provide more information on the phone. Wow.

    • Thanks for the info! πŸ™‚

      Yeah, seriously. You’d think they’d be more open and/or have more information about that stuff. Basically, on their website, it says “contact us if you’re disabled and have questions,” so I emailed them and asked what their policies were for disabled people and double-checked that my mom would get in for free, and their response was (more or less) “Nope. Hahaha sucks to be you. Any more questions, bitch?” (in a nutshell πŸ˜› ). I mean…seriously? You’re a large organization and you have NO positive response or helpful information, and blatantly attempt to discriminate against me? I still want to go, but I’m really annoyed and upset about their customer service and company policies, even though they did eventually fix the problem (after I cited federal law, of course). It’s so hard having to deal with being disabled as it is…I shouldn’t have to go through crap like this just to participate as an equal attendee.

      Sorry, rant over, haha. I guess I’m still kinda bitter! I’m trying to do the whole “turn the other cheek” thing, but sometimes it gets hard. People can be surprisingly rude about that stuff sometimes, and it gets frustrating.

  6. Don’t let that hold you back!! You have no reason to be embarrassed, and you have every right to enjoy it too! I would say go for it. I’ve never been to BEA before, so sadly I can’t answer any of those questions, but I’m sure they will find some way to accommodate you! And by the way, if you go we could meet πŸ˜€

    As for the bags part, you’re not allowed to carry a suitcase or a backpack, but Ashley @ Nose Graze said they have a bag check so you can make trips back to that to drop your books off. You *might* be able to carry a tote bag (they may provide them?) but I’m not sure! There’s a lot of posts out there with advice, though…try Google searching!

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