Store owner complains about Kickstarter and Twitter and D&D

fikuvino

Villager
My point is that the games stores will need to figure out some way to bring customers into the store, or something else they can sell.

A pretty significant number of the game and/or comic stores (in the U.S., at least) make most of their money off sales of CCGs (Magic, Pokemon, etc.), both in the store and online. I have heard a number of owners say that card sales account for up to 80% of their total income each month, even when their stores dedicate most of the shelf space to other things.
 

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prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
A pretty significant number of the game and/or comic stores (in the U.S., at least) make most of their money off sales of CCGs (Magic, Pokemon, etc.), both in the store and online. I have heard a number of owners say that card sales account for up to 80% of their total income each month, even when their stores dedicate most of the shelf space to other things.
The stores make most of their money from CCGs; the stores need to find ways to make money from the space they have. I see no reason these cannot both be true.
 


fikuvino

Villager
The stores make most of their money from CCGs; the stores need to find ways to make money from the space they have. I see no reason these cannot both be true.

Yep. A lot of game/comic stores out there have been wrestling with that problem for many years, long before the additional complications of Covid came along. Unfortunately, the boom and bust of the collector bubbles in the 90s, combined with the rise in online sales, really changed the market in ways that a lot of store owners still seem to have trouble accepting. As has always been the case, hobby stores are often opened by people who just love the idea of being immersed in their hobbies each day, rather than hobbyists with business acumen who have a really well researched, viable business plan and a good location. The reality is that many places just can't support a dedicated game / comic / collectibles store, or more than a certain number of them. A lot of store owners don't seem to want to move to more expansive business models that include hobby items, but have other things that can attract a larger customer base, because being a business owner wasn't as big of a motivation for them as the idea of being around games, comics, etc. all day and making a living off it.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
They would if he was a whale. All you have to do is spend a grand a month at a store and I bet they're cater to your desires!
I don't spend nearly that much, but my wife was enquiring after a book thst wasn't in stock at lir FLGS/comics shop, and the clerk said we would have to pay in advance. My wife give her name, and when the clerk said our surname out loud (which is quite rare) the owner apparently said "oh, them? They donned to prepay, just order it and they can pay when they pick it up." A food store will get stuff and accommodate regulars, for sure.
 




JEB

Legend
Yep, we have retailer tiers, and a way for retailers to order directly from us also.
I was surprised to see that my FLGS had copies of the Level Up boxed sets on the shelves, when I made a rare trip there there this weekend. I didn't even know retailer copies were a thing for your game! (I bought one, of course; was going to be a PDF buy until then.)

EDIT: Sorry, meant the shrinkwrapped bundle of all three books.
 
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JEB

Legend
Yeah, that's odd. I've never heard of a problem with special ordering games from my FLGSs.
One of my local game stores was not only bad with special orders, but one time I tried, the clerk tried to sell me on a completely different (and supposedly better) game instead. Unsurprisingly, that store no longer exists...
 

MGibster

Legend
Where's the steps where you tell your customers what they should be buying and then mock them for wanting things you don't think they should be playing?
When I worked at the comic book store, this is what my manager said on day one:
  1. Never say anything negative about something a customer is purchasing. It's okay to say it's not your cup of tea, but don't badmouth it.
  2. Never ask a woman if she's looking for something for her boyfriend or some other guy. Assume that she's there to buy something for herself.
 

aramis erak

Legend
When I worked at the comic book store, this is what my manager said on day one:
  1. Never say anything negative about something a customer is purchasing. It's okay to say it's not your cup of tea, but don't badmouth it.
  2. Never ask a woman if she's looking for something for her boyfriend or some other guy. Assume that she's there to buy something for herself.
On local ULGS Owner did both. And more.
He put the U in Unfriendly Local Game Store.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I was surprised to see that my FLGS had copies of the Level Up boxed sets on the shelves, when I made a rare trip there there this weekend. I didn't even know retailer copies were a thing for your game! (I bought one, of course; was going to be a PDF buy until then.)

EDIT: Sorry, meant the shrinkwrapped bundle of all three books.
The retailer must have backed the Kickstarter.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
The one that recently went out of business was simply too disorganised to order stuff reliably, not helped by the collapse in efficiency of the main UK distributor after they'd acquired an effective monopoly.

The one that went out of business over a decade ago simply lied about what was available through that same distributor, who were efficient at the time. This got to the point where I rang the distributor myself to check what they had, then went back to the shop and stood over them while they ordered the stuff.

Sorry, it is hard to feel sorry for my local gaming store when I asked them to order some Call of Cthulhu books for me and they refused. I had even offered to prepay. Only interested in D&D and Pathfinder, plus those books had to be from major publishers. I understanding not wanting to get stuck with inventory that you cannot sell, I was offering cash in advance for produce.

Where's the steps where you tell your customers what they should be buying and then mock them for wanting things you don't think they should be playing?

(At least two game stores in different cities where I've lived seemed to operate on the "the owner knows what you should be playing and you should listen to him" model. Neither of them are in business anymore though they survived longer than you'd think. The 90s were weird.)

These kind of stores definitely used to be more common in the 80s and 90s, IME, but I guess some are still around. Where the store exists to some extent as a clubhouse for the owner and his friends and employees, and doesn't make a really good effort to be customer-friendly.

It's been an interesting thing, over the years, seeing this stereotype gaming store gradually be replaced, IME, by friendly, clean, well-lit, professionally-run shops. There does tend to be a small downside in losing the shelves packed full of older and more obscure products, as the newer, more professional shops tend not to have QUITE as extensive stock and selection. There's one old-school gaming shop hanging on in my area that's been around since the 80s (with a couple of changes in location), but even it has pretty good customer service. The aisles packed with stuff I can't find elsewhere occasionally demand a browse.
 

Mezuka

Hero
Some store owners are weird. At one I organized three 40k tournaments with 12 people (a small location) which brings sales. A few weeks later I walk into the store in the evening and he is there with his gang of usual cronies. He starts shitting on 40k saying WHFB is much better, bla, bla, bla and goes on for about 5 minutes ranting.

My response: 'I'll take my tournaments and players and go the store 15 minutes further down the road.' never went back. All he had to do was shut his mouth. He closed about a year later.
 

MGibster

Legend
It's been an interesting thing, over the years, seeing this stereotype gaming store gradually be replaced, IME, by friendly, clean, well-lit, professionally-run shops. There does tend to be a small downside in losing the shelves packed full of older and more obscure products, as the newer, more professional shops tend not to have QUITE as extensive stock and selection. There's one old-school gaming shop hanging on in my area that's been around since the 80s (with a couple of changes in location), but even it has pretty good customer service. The aisles packed with stuff I can't find elsewhere occasionally demand a browse.
It really has been interesting. A lot of times my wife won't go in the game store when I stop by, and she'd used to say something like "Have fun looking at all the ass cracks." But a few years back I had to tell her that I couldn't recall the last time I saw an ass crack at the game store. It also got me thinking about what other changes I had seen over the years. There was always that stinky guy who had only a cursory acquaintance with soap and laundry detergent, but I haven't seen that guy in a long time either. I don't know if those folks are tolerated these days like they were back in the good old days.
But there are still game stores that have that dank cave atmosphere. But even those have a decidedly noticable lack of ass cracks.
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
But there are still game stores that have that dank cave atmosphere. But even those have a decidedly noticable lack of ass cracks.
80s and 90s clothing was really unforgiving to folks who were outside the average in waist size - both too large or too thin your pants would be falling off of you. The elastic was always poor quality and a lot of it wasn't meant to be worn with a belt, so if you were not within a certain tolerance for the pants size you wore they were probably falling off your ass. The fact that this became spun as an intentional style choice by those of us young enough to be self-conscious about it at the time is, in retrospect, hilarious to me.

I think the "untucked shirt" look coming into fashion has done a lot to remove those unsightly cracks from our collective view. And as someone who always wore a belt back in the day because my pants never fit quite right, I'm happy for it.
 

Jraynack

Explorer
To be honest - I support my local game store, but I make most of my D&D purchases from Amazon because it is so much cheaper for me. Unless it is D&D or Pathfinder, my local stores have very little shelf space to take gambles - so most alternatives are limited to one or two copies unless you wanted to special order it. Especially, after the pandemic when stores we're closed or had limited hours for a long time. One of my local stores supplements their income with their own online store. Game stores are going to have to rethink certain strategies or they too will go the way of Waldenbooks.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Great thread. Thanks everyone. I've been lucky to live in cities with great stores, but I've moved a lot to PDFs lately....
 

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