STOP PATRONIZING SHITTY
COMIC BOOK RETAILERS!
I’m deadly serious about this. Stop walking into “your” comic book store every week if you are buying books from somebody who could not give a RAT’S ASS about your business!
And I’m not talking about a comic book retailer refusing your friendship either. That’s completely different. Believe me, these retailers have got more than enough “friends” to keep them busy for a lifetime. (By “friends” I mean, of course, people who smile at a store owner and then expect to buy all of their collectibles priced at cost.)
Still, you might become a retailer’s friend– or possibly a close business associate– over time. But just because you buy Marvel Variant covers at above cost– you are not automatically in the “Friendship Club”… No more than that cute lady that cuts your greasy mop at Supercuts is going to blow you. (So you can forget about that little fantasy too!) Friendship, like respect, is earned over time.
Yet, I am here to tell you that there are PLENTY of comic book retailers who simply look at the vast majority of their patrons as scum. While I don’t expect these idiots to like you (or me)– I do expect them to act like they tolerate us while we’re in their stores.
This anti-social attitude unfortunately prevails at more comic book shops than I care to mention– which is why Matt Groening’s “Comic Cook Guy” is such a spot-on Simpsons character. I’m not going to go into why such people would choose retail (of all things) as a profession– or why many comic retailers are so misanthropic… As I have already shed a lot of light on why I believe store owners can exhibit grumpy, surly behavior. Basically, the reasons are as far-ranging as an extremely poor upbringing to half the copies of this week’s Avengers comic arriving damaged.
And sometimes, you might just happen to walk in when they’re having a genuinely bad day. We all have them. Some more than others… But, still.
So please don’t grade the retailer on just one visit… Unless you’re a woman and the owner stares at your boobs the entire time like he owns them… Then there’s very little to forgive.
We’re all human, So make your decision based on, let’s say, 3 VISITS. If the idiot (or his employees) can’t figure out a way to be solicitous to you by then– they’re hopeless and do NOT deserve your business.
I cannot begin to tell you the number of people who stick with shit retailers for years– if not decades… And everybody seems to have a different reason for doing this. Some stay because the ogre’s shop is the closest comic book outlet to their home or work. Others stay because they’re resigned to receive abuse in their daily lives.
I am here to tell you that this no longer has to happen. You do not need to feel like crap when you pay good money to a fucker who would just as soon shit on you than look at you.
Let’s examine ways comic book retailers ABUSE their customers… Just in case you may not have recognized all of them:
#1 They OVER-PRICE brand new books on the same day of release. This happens everywhere. For example, one retailer a MILE away from another one can price their books so HIGH– the amounts could labeled usurious. Do not fall for this. 99.999999% of the time there are plenty of books to go around for the entire world– as long as you jump early (in the first week or less). If you miss out, chill out. Regardless of what your brain tells you– you do not need a 1st Printing of every single book you own… And you certainly never have to submit to having your WALLET RAPED for the privilege of owning anything.
#2 They attempt to make a book seem RARER then it actually is. This could be anything from a buzzed about new Indie comic series to a year-old Venom appearance. Bottom line: if the item’s price is at an amount higher than you are willing to pay– and the retailer won’t budge– politely excuse yourself and go research the book’s “scarcity” on the internet. Unscrupulous retailers are more than willing to prey on your collector mentality. Don’t let them do it.
#3 They say “your” copy of a title didn’t come in– even though all the other stores seem to have the issue. You need to draw a fine line here. As I spotlighted in a previous post, Comic Books Release BS*, the main distributor SHORTS comic book stores on ALL KINDS of titles all the time.
Still, if you have a little known book on your Pull List– and you repeatedly don’t see it in your stack month after month… As hard as this may be for you to believe– the retailer is NOT ordering it for you! He/She/It is simply ignoring you!
#3A They say “your” pre-ordered toy or statue didn’t come in due to allocations– even though all the other stores seem to have it. Again, like Reason #3, this statement can often be true (depends on the store owner’s veracity)… But can also mean they are just fucking you by not ordering your stuff– or worse, have sold your prized collectible to a more favored customer. The economy sucks so hard now– and comic book retailers are so starved for business– allocations for HIGH PRICED items are currently rare… Except for the most limited of items. (That written, don’t bust a retailer’s balls if you wait months to order a limited item and then they can’t get it for you. Cool things do sell out all the time. Live with it.)
#4 Your retailer plays “favorites”. Most retailers will lie and say they don’t have favorite customers. But just like your Mom & Dad lie when they say they don’t love one of their kids more than another (I can’t believe you still fall for that bullshit– if you do)… Most retailers do have favorite customers. Some retailers base this favoritism on the amount of money a person spends every week or the fact that the customer doesn’t give them shit when bad things routinely happen that are beyond their control. Other retailers play extra nice because they think it will earn them a shot at getting into your pants (this can be both a male and female problem). Still other retailers prioritize their customers because they just like playing the role of King or Queen.
Do NOT put up with ANY of this juvenile behavior! I spend HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS a week on comic books and I do it with a retailer that treats me exactly the same way they treat all their other customers. That’s why I give them my business. I’m NOT special because I have more money to spend on comics than other people… And anybody who thinks I am is an ASSHOLE. Any retailer that treats their well-heeled customers with more dignity than their other customers is somebody you need to STOP handing your money to RIGHT NOW!
You can imagine how often this happens in Hollywood. I know several retailers– one in particular– that fall all over themselves to give Actors, Writers and Film Producers preferential treatment (hard to find books, comics at cost) even though these monkeys are largely HACKS that flim-flam people for fame and don’t deserve the respect. I am a TRIFECTA in ALL 3 of those creative categories– and I will NOT drive into Hollywood and give them my business… Just on principle.
MONEY DOES NOT MAKE YOU SPECIAL.
#5 Don’t fall for the “ALL or NOTHING” approach to comics retailing. If you buy a book at another comic book store and happen to mention this in your regular store one day– and your regular retailer has a conniption fit– screw them! Any retailer that thinks their shop is the only shop you should buy comics from obviously doesn’t understand the basic concept of freedom. No comic book store could ever have everything a customer desires. It is not possible… And the last time I checked, you are FREE TO SPEND YOUR MONEY WITH WHOMEVER YOU CHOOSE.
#6 You see a retailer mistreat others to their face… Or they cruelly joke around behind a customer’s back. I’m sure your Mother told you that you should treat people how they treat you– and not worry about how they treat others. That’s bullshit. You’re not in the “In Crowd” if a retailer makes fun of another customer in front of you. You were just standing there when the insecure bastard (or bastard-ette?) acted like an idiot… And if you think they don’t do the same goddamn thing behind your back– then I have an “extremely rare” Chris Claremont – Jim Lee X-Men #1 I’d like to sell you for $500!
#7 If a retailer FUCKS you ONCE, they will most assuredly FUCK you AGAIN! Nobody likes to be screwed unwillingly or unwittingly. You wouldn’t stand still and allow one of your loved ones be taken advantage of on a regular basis would you? Then why do you keep allowing your comic book retailer to do it to you? Stop it! I’m telling you this because they will continue to fuck you until you tell them to stop, make it certain you will no longer tolerate their shitty behavior… Or best case scenario– leave their store and never come back.
Why in the hell do comic book fans take this abuse? Do they do it because they think the comics are so rare that if they miss a week hunting for a new store they might also miss their most precious? Do they think it doesn’t matter because all retailers are mono-syllabic slugs? Or maybe they think that they themselves– with their “little” comic book habits– don’t matter.
Quit deluding yourselves! Again– in this economy every comic book a retailer sells– and every comic book customer a retailer has– is important… And if your store owner doesn’t act like it… Then leave the asshole alone to manage their small, poorly lit hovel into oblivion or bankruptcy– whichever comes first.
I personally think the BIGGEST reason that comic book fans take such abuse from their retailers is because they feel landlocked. They fear the unknown and don’t understand that there are plenty of people are out there that will treat them like human beings. Please, I beg you… Do not be afraid to move on.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my father once told me a piece of wisdom that I have found to be extraordinarily true:
ANYBODY WILL TAKE MY MONEY
If the next comic book seller is a swine, then move to the next and the next after that. Decent comic book retailers do exist. I quit buying from my local comic book stores years ago. I grew tired of the store owner’s attitudes and a lot of their childish customers. I simply didn’t feel like jockeying with unwashed fat asses who were willing to pile drive me into a Magic Card display so they could be the first customer to pick out a mint copy of the current Batman.
If you’re more of a “hands on” type who needs to be in a store to pick out your issues… Then at least find an atmosphere conducive to the way YOU want to conduct business. It’s YOUR money and you can spend it any way you see fit.
Me? I went mail order. And I didn’t choose a mail order only company either. I went with a real store that also sold through the mail. That way I knew I was supporting someone who had the same overhead and the same advantages and disadvantages of any other “brick & mortar” comic retailer. In short, I was leveling the playing field.
This was important to me because I was supporting a store without having to live near the store.
I’m truly sorry– but naivety is no longer an excuse. Between computers and the internet(s)– virtually everything you desire is at your fingertips.
SO STOP BEING ABUSED. STOP BEING SHIT ON.
SPEND YOUR MONEY WITH GOOD PEOPLE WHO APPRECIATE YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS.
If you are being taken for granted or lied to or otherwise abused by your current retailer and you don’t make plans to go to another store or mail order seller after reading this post– then I can’t help you.