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Some pluses to this: The price for these items was usually cheaper. Some fans also preferred to make their purchases "by hand" in order to inspect the product first, as well as choosing not to deal with the unknowns of the postal service. Some fans would advise other fans to only purchase zines "by hand" from certain zine publishers, due to their unreliability.
The main minus to purchasing "by hand" was one of limitations; a fan had to be physically present at a con, or rely upon someone else to make the purchase in their stead.