LCS Etiquette Tips Part One

03.14.11

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.

Here is Part Two
Here is Part Three
Here is Part Four.

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!

12 Responses to “LCS Etiquette Tips Part One”

  1. Mark Sullivan says on :

    Well said, Brian. It really shouldn’t be necessary to point these things out, but apparently lots of people were raised in a barn, or something.

  2. tiki god says on :

    sexual assault is a bit strong of a phrase, no?

  3. admin says on :

    Read that sentence to a woman. She’ll agree with me, as does Florida law:

    “Sexual assault is physical contact of a sexual nature in the absence of clear, knowing and voluntary consent.”

    http://www.pjc.edu/students/services/rapeeducation/saas.html

  4. Emily Dee says on :

    Tiki,
    You know that bit in any film or tv program where the character pokes someone in the chest or grabs their arm, and the cops go “that’s assault” and haul them in?

    If the purpose of the touch is to provide pleasure or thrills of a gratifying nature for the touch-er, then it puts a sexual spin on the assault.

    And while I wouldn’t put it in the same realm as what’s traditionally thought or referred to when we say ‘sexual assault,’ it’s very rarely appreciated by the woman in question when it happens, doubly so if she’s just leaning over to get a look at the lower shelf of new releases, you know?

  5. tiki god says on :

    “The statute you have selected cannot be found. ”

    the pensacola state college’s link is out of date, the Fla Legislature updated the law a while back to read: http://archive.flsenate.gov/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=794.005&URL=0700-0799/0794/Sections/0794.011.html

    I think that my main concern is the word “assault” which is usually meant to be ‘a crime of violence‘ I hesitate to equate being a lecherous leech and bumping someone with rape.

    all this is not the point though, it’s darn rude and you’ll get arrested for it in all 50 states.

    Has this happened at your store before? was there police involvement or at the very least a ban from the store?

  6. admin says on :

    The link works fine for me.

    Your link leads to “Sexual Battery” which is completely different. Assault and Battery are two separate actions.

    Wikipedia is not a source of legal clarity on anything.

    TO MY KNOWLEDGE no one has encountered the “touching” aspect in my store to date. Keep in mind that a vast number of sexual assault crimes go unreported each year. One of the reasons my store is set up the way it is, with wide aisles (wider than ADA requirements) is to help prevent such things from happening. The “staring” aspect happens, just like everywhere else. I like to think that it happens here less often.

  7. tiki god says on :

    the link you linked to links to a florida statute page that is no longer around, so it’s validity is dubious at best. afaik there is not ‘assault’ law, only the battery one.

    and you’re absolutely correct about wikipedia, I was just linking to the definition of assault.

    also, I highly suggest the use of a comment subscription plugin for your wordpress install, I use: http://txfx.net/wordpress-plugins/subscribe-to-comments/

  8. Adam says on :

    I’m married now, so the tip about leaving females alone isn’t aimed at me anymore, but sorry, nah: if I wasn’t committed and I saw a cute girl, especially one in a comic shop who therefore shares an interest of mine, I’d do the same thing I’d do if I met her at the gym, or the subway, or whatever – strike up a conversation.

    That your LCS staff or customers might find this threatening says more about them than anything.

  9. Thomm says on :

    Radio decency isn’t much of a standard, either. S&M is a top playing song right now.

  10. admin says on :

    if I wasn’t committed and I saw a cute girl, especially one in a comic shop who therefore shares an interest of mine, I’d do the same thing I’d do if I met her at the gym, or the subway, or whatever – strike up a conversation.

    The tip there isn’t aimed at those people who might walk up and start a conversation. It’s aimed at the people who just ogle, or titter about there being a girl in the shop. This is not a problem that occurs only in comic shops, it’s present in our culture at large, but in comic shops it has been historically prevalent.

    That your LCS staff or customers might find this threatening says more about them than anything.

    None of the women I’ve talked to would agree with that.

  11. admin says on :

    I’m unfamiliar with the song. Does it have any of George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on the Radio” in it?

  12. grace says on :

    >>>None of them like being ogled. Also, don’t “accidentally” bump into or brush them lightly. That’s not cool, it’s sexual assault.

    Hear, hear. (And, protip, this goes for EVERYWHERE, not just comic shops.)

    If you stare or whisper, you’re just playing into the stereotypes of Gross Men in Comic Shops and guaranteeing that there will be fewer women interested in comics for you to hang out with. Because women generally stay away from places that make them uncomfortable, and it’s hard for us to find out about comics if we don’t go into the stores.

    >>>…That your LCS staff or customers might find this threatening says more about them than anything.

    There’s totally a difference between hitting on a girl and being a creeper, whether you’re in a comic shop or a bar. Feel free to strike up a conversation! I love talking to people. Don’t touch me. Don’t ogle me. Don’t talk about my body, to me or anyone else.

    Basically, like I said, if I don’t feel comfortable somewhere I won’t go back. Think of it as doing your LCS a favor by turning down the creepy quotient.

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