| This comes up every year at least once, so I want to try and address it as best I can.|
Alterers that visit the Fest do so because they enjoy working with you, the player, to come up with an item that your character would enjoy.
Our routines for handling waiting lists have improved over the years -- when I was training as a GM and did my very first alteration session with my supervisor onhand, I altered for 5 people. It took two hours. My supervisor congratulated me on being so fast!
That said, please bear in mind that we will always continue to strive for improvement. I know alterations are a huge draw at the Fest -- there are some facts you should keep in mind when attempting to gain entry to the workrooms.
1. Alterations are not guaranteed. Yes, we do (and will continue to do) our best to get as many people in the door as we can, but every single person with a ticket is not going to max out their slots. Some may not even end up being picked! There is usually at least one session towards the end of the fest specifically for people who have had no work done yet.
2. Getting your name on a list does not mean you will end up in a workroom! Sometimes an alterer will grab 5 names and call it done, sometimes they will do more. Sometimes, they have a large block of free time and will just try to get through as many people as they can. Only very occasionally will you see a merchant power through an entire list of 50+ names.
3. Assistants/helpers speed up the process an incredible amount. For myself, if I didn't have experienced players screening designs, I imagine I'd crap out after two hours and get through maybe 10 people. They're not just helping the GM behind the alterer, they're helping every other player with a ticket!
4. Some merchants are not very nice. You don't have to work with these merchants if you don't want to, but you should not expect them to be nice to your character just because! GMs like to RP, too. There are other merchants. I personally run at least four different merchants every festival - only one of them is mean!
5. It's early yet. Take a deep breath, and keep trying. There's a reason you will usually find people camping the Merchant Lounge - patience and perseverance make a difference!
6. There is absolutely nothing wrong with two alterers working in the lounge at the same time. If a GM has time right now, I'd rather they go right now than skip the session all together because I'm down there working. You may have to make a choice between the lists being offered. This is not a bad problem to have!