So I was shuffling through the Blog roll today while waiting for a report to pull at work and came across this post…. To sum it up, this guy’s FLGS decided to put a surcharge on the table space… We recently had one of the local shops do this and I’ll tell you flat out, it drove me and my Visa card from their store…. seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face to me…..
Same thing happened to me – here’s the things that caused Above Board Games to lose my business….. Pay to play – It was $5 to play unless you bought something… OK I can do that… the economy sucks and if you’re struggling then I can pitch in a little more… but when I buy a Tau Battleforce for $90, then you need to cut me some slack… but they weren’t gonna – that cleared me for ONE NIGHT ONLY… That right there had me pretty well pissed off…. Also, they offered NO DISCOUNT… so you can’t compete with the Internet… So as a result, they lost their chance to either attract or retain my business… FOREVER too… cause I don’t have any reason to go back…
Looking at the hobby in a broader sense though…. stores only fulfill a few major functions:
1. it’s a neutral place for people to meet. I may not know Bob well enough to invite him to my place for a game, but I can get to know him at the store and build some rapport. Now if you have a healthy gaming club that meets in the basement of your local church, you can still get this… it’s just more work. So, most of their appeal is in providing that space and they make their living by selling to the crowd that visits. Sort of like a golf pro-shop… All good golf courses have a pro shop and some place where you can grab snacks and stuff before/after the game (the 19th hole) But, they need to realize they have more in common with a Pub or ProShop than a toy store and market accordingly….
2. it’s a place to buy stuff – sort of – In the past few years, with the Internet being what it is… I don’t HAVE to order from my local store to get stuff. I can hit up an online warehouse like the Warstore and they’ll have it to me in 3 days. So your gaming store is NOT NECESSARY as a place to buy your toys anymore – If you don’t realize that as a shop owner, then you’re an idiot. When I was a kid, this was not the case… The comic shop guy was all powerful… but not anymore…. I have a credit card and a paypal account so I don’t need you.
I think most of us try to buy from the local store — but if you, as a shop owner, don’t offer me some kind of discount, the you WILL lose out major purchases. In the last year I’ve built 2,000+ points of Tau and Space Wolves each. Also, as my lists get tweaked, I buy more models…. So, if I have the option to spend $150 to support my FLGS or $110 to buy online.. Then Neal at the Warstore is getting my order. I’ll buy an extra coke next week to make up for it…. But if it’s $115 to order locally or $110 online, then I’m ok with paying a little extra to support locally… I think the adage, “I’ll bend over backwards for ya… but not forwards” applies…. Luckily, where I play gives a 20% discount on Warhammer stuff to guys in the local gaming club. So, they are now competitive with the internet… so every payday I end up buying models from them instead. So their choice is to get a slightly lower profit margin on WH40K sales… but sell stuff, or keep the prices at retail, and lose business to the Net…. seems like a no-brainer to me…. But the internet has taken away their ability to be the “keepers of stuff for our hobby” and they should realize that. Another thing the FLGS does that makes sense, is they allow you to sell between gamers for store credit… so if I sell Bob a rhino for $20 in exchange for store credit, then he still makes a sale… Duh… it’s gonna happen, so you might as well get involved…. In the end, you’ll still make profit…
3. They put on tourneys and events. This can, and should, steal other gamers in the area to come to the shop more often. If I go somewhere and have a really good time, then I’m more likely to come back…. Which can enrich my gaming experience. From a shop owners perspective, they’re hosting a blind date…. If the guys have a good time on the date, they might call ‘er back… if not… then not only will they not return for games… but they’ll tell their friends how bad thier experiance sucked….
Now, I realize that for most stores, Warhammer (40K or fantasy) is not what pays the bills… It’s Pokeman and Magic…. But, when I add it up, I’ll spend a stupid ammt of $$$ every year on this hobby, so even though I won’t pay your rent, I’ll certainly help your business… so please don’t be stupid… take care of us and we’ll contribute to paying your rent… Piss us off though and we’re gone….