I am amazed that one question, one simple question can amass such a response. The reason why I say this is because CGC gave me such a wealth of information with my interview. I feel I could write an article for each question asked. I hope you will be patient with me and tell me what you think. You also might learn something… I did. I write with my own style compared to my fellow writers, not better, just different. I like my words to form a picture and although I can state my question and their answer, it doesn’t tell or show you anything. I mean to entertain. Comments are not only welcomed, they are desired. If you collect CGC or are thinking about it, I hope you enjoy.
I sent an e-mail to CGC through their ‘contact us’ portion of the site. I got no response. I did so again not even two days later. Wizard World was fast approaching and I wanted this interview desperately. I already lined up Mike Grell with the help of a fellow registry member and Brad Guigar who I have spoken with many times over the years. This was different, this was a company that changed the way people collect comic books. If you don’t believe me then answer me how four books that they graded reached over a million dollars….each.
I couldn’t pass on the chance to be able to talk with them. Eight days before the event, I called. I was told Harshen Patel, Vice President of Operations would be the person I would want to talk to. I gave my number, but they said it would be better to call him on Friday. I did and had a great conversation with his voice mail. I left my info and figured I would call back. I didn’t have to, he called me.
My conversation with CGC on the Monday before Wizard World 2011 netted me an interview with Paul Litch, the head grader. I just had to call Harshen Patel on Thursday morning to figure out when. They flew in Wednesday night and I called at ten A.M. the next morning. Harshen and I quickly discussed when would be good for him. I never expected ‘how about now’. I told him I would leave in fifteen minutes. He didn’t know I worked nights and I only had less than two hours sleep. I got ready, made sure I had my questions and my recorder; then left.
The public transit ride was uneventful. Even the homeless guy with the old cardboard stenciled with the words “please help”. Being in a comic book frame of mind I picture the Fifth element with “Lelu” asking Bruce Willis’ character for help. After the guy walked out of sight, I went back to thinking of my first interview, an interview that has been over twenty years in the making. Not many people know, but I joined the newspaper club in High School. My first assignment was to interview the cross country captain. He kept making excuses day after day. I kept showing up. It took a week when he finally stated “Run with me, you can interview while we run” I think he expected me to back out. I didn’t. I never got the interview, he was too good of a runner, but I did get a spot on the team. I never went back to the newspaper.
I would like to tell you I was nervous, or scared, maybe even a little bit insecure. I wasn’t. I was excited. I was going to meet with a company that I have been hooked and addicted to for the past few years. A company that I wrote over 150 journals for on their own registry, not to mention all the Facebook posts I tend to throw on their wall. The El made its way under the city streets. Once at my stop I rushed above ground calling them to let them know I was close. I entered the convention center; security tried to stop me. I waved my hand and said these aren’t the droids you’re looking for….then he asked again can I help you. I Left my little fantasy and let him know I had an interview with CGC. He waved me along….the wrong way.
I called Harshen again and was told where to go. I turned back around, walked past the security guy again…..I have to say not too intimidating… but once I rounded the corner to 115a…. down at the far end I saw three guys waiting. This is where a spike in my adrenaline soared through my good fortune. My first interview before the convention would even start. I met Harshen Patel first and he introduced me to Paul Litch, Vice President and Shawn Caffrey, Senior Grader. He let me know that I would be chatting with the two of them and if I needed to know anything about the operation I could always call him.
I introduced myself to Paul and Shawn and let them know I was planning on recording it so I wouldn’t forget anything. They didn’t have a problem with this. I set the camera up not caring so much if any of us were in view of the camera lens, just that our voices were picked up. We sat down and the interview began.
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