This is a guide to how to treat your LCS, and those that inhabit it. If you don’t follow me on Twitter (and you should!), you probably missed these as I posted them the first time around. (Some of them made it to my Twitter Digest, but it’s annoying to search them for specific tweets, and the digests are there more for me than for anything else.)
I started this list after a few years of being open and noticing certain habits and behaviors that were recurrent among segments of the people who shop in my store, and how little they’ve changed since I first entered this industry more than 20 years ago. I’ve expanded some of the entries from the original tweets, since I am no longer limited to 140 characters, and added some additional commentary as well. Oh, and just in case you didn’t know, LCS stands for Local Comic Shop. A lot of these Tips are LCS-specific, but many of them are also useful for other small retail shops as well. I’m going to break it up into 3 or 4 articles, depending on how verbose I get, to keep the post length from getting out of hand.
I welcome any feedback in the comments section, even suggestions!
LCS Etiquette Tips Part One
#1: If you’re going to move, let your shop know beforehand so your store doesn’t order stuff you can’t buy.
I have had numerous instances of this. I’ll call a customer who is MIA for more than a couple of weeks, and they always say the same thing, “Oh, um, I moved 3 weeks ago. Didn’t I tell you?” Sometimes they elaborate to tell me how they told “the guy there” that they were moving. I am the guy. It’s rare that anyone else is going to be here. You are now 500 miles away. Why lie to me about it? I have had some customers let me know ahead of time when they’re moving, many with a “final new comics pull” date. Those customers are royalty.
#2: If you have “financial difficulties”, close your file or significantly reduce the number of comics on your list so the store you liked doesn’t order stuff you can’t buy.
Look, I understand what it’s like to be broke and out-of-work. It’s really tough. The first thing you need to do is cut your luxuries, and as much as I hate to admit it, comics are luxuries. When you get back on your feet, you can come catch up on what you cut. Letting your file sit there while you hope you get a job costs your LCS money, and if YOU think your finances are rough, imagine how it is when you LCS has dozens of files sitting there unbought. One bad file won’t sink a store, but a dozen can.
#3: If you call on Thursday, and ask your shop to hold something for you, you don’t need to call on Friday to ask again.
Some stores have a 24 hour hold policy, some are longer. Find out what it is before you call every hour to see if they still have something.
#4: It’s not really a big deal that there’s a female in the shop. Leave her alone, and don’t stare. This goes DOUBLE for female store employees.
EVEN IF SHE’S HOT, GOT IT? Unless she’s carrying a sign that says, “please look at me”, female customers are entitled to the same level of “Leave me alone” as the male customers. I have a fairly high percentage of female customers that shop here, and I have never seen any of them carry such a sign. None of them like being ogled. Also, don’t “accidentally” bump into or brush them lightly. That’s not cool, it’s sexual assault.
#5: If there’s only a few left, ask before you grab more than one of something. Sharing is a basic skill.
At least once every couple of months, there is a #1 of a new series that has been declared “HOT” by teh internets. Almost always, someone grabs the whole stack of that title, probably thinking they’re going to make a mint on reselling them on EBay. No, you can’t have them all.
#6: Use only the kind of language that you would use in a job interview. Foul language is not necessary, and bothers some other people.
Look, if you walked into a McDonald’s and they handed you your food and said, “Here’s your f****** food. Did you want any c***-s****** ketchup with that?” no matter how nice they smiled or how friendly they seemed, you’d want to punch them in the nose. This is not your living room, or your favorite bar. This is a public retail establishment, and some people are offended by foul language. Children shop here. Grandparents shop here. Learn some new words, people. People try to argue this with me. “There are no kids here now!” they say. If you have one standard of what words you’re using when there are kids there, and one when there aren’t, someone is going to screw it up. “I let MY kids hear me talk like that!” Well, aren’t you the parent of the year. I’m sure your children are wonderful and will only have to spend PART of their lifetime in prison. “I’m gonna say whatever the f*** I want to wherever I G****** want to.” Sure, lady, but not here. MY store, MY rules. Look, my personal opinion is that no words are inherently bad; only the way they’re used can be harmful. Our society however, has standards for public behavior, and if you can’t say it on the radio, you shouldn’t be saying it in a store, not even Hot Topic.
I think that’s good enough for today. Look for the next batch of LCS Etiquette Tips next Monday!