LCS Etiquette Tips Part Two

03.21.11

This is the second part of my multi-part series of tips for dealing with your Local Comic Shop (LCS) and the people you might find therein. Most of these were originally posted over several months on my Twitter feed, and are here expanded and explained in more detail.

Part One can be found here.
Part Three can be found here.
Part Four? Right here.

As always, your comments are welcome in the comment section.

LCS Etiquette Tips Part Two

#7: If you hate the latest issue of something and want to drop it, let your shop know RIGHT AWAY.

#8: If you love the latest issue of something and want to add it, let your shop know RIGHT AWAY.

Here’s a little secret of comics retailing. It’s really, really hard. One of the things that makes it so difficult is trying to predict how something will sell.  Your LCS wants to order enough copies so that everyone that wants to buy one from them can buy one from them, but not so many copies that they have to figure out how to make them edible, because they spent their food money on some comic that is just sitting there. Brian Hibbs has done some great articles on retailer math, but I will some it up for everyone: Retailers have to sell most of what they order just to keep the doors open and the family fed. Getting caught short on something can sometimes be just as bad. If a title unexpectedly (because no one asked for it) flies off of my shelves, that means there isn’t one there for the next person who comes in. Some people are fine with waiting for a reorder or second printing. Some people want it NOW! or not at all. They’ll either go elsewhere, or just forget about it. Some people will “Wait for the trade,” but most of the people who say that don’t come back for it. So, the sooner you let your LCS know you want something, the better chance they have of making sure they order enough copies for everyone, and the sooner you let them know you don’t want something, the sooner they can cut their orders for it, and not get stuck pouring milk on shredded copies of it.

#9: You may love talking to your shop owner/employees, and they to you, but if there’s a line behind you, walk away.

It may be the very first time you’ve found someone that shares your hobby of memorizing episodes of Punk Brewster translated into Kilngon, but your LCS needs to pay those bills. Some people waiting on line can be so annoyed by your staying at the counter yakking to the cashier that they will quietly put their chosen items down, and leave. It may come as a surprise to you, but many members of this hobby are a tad shy, and would rather eat glass than interrupt someone else’s conversation, but it’s true. Step aside, and you may continue the conversation once the line has cycled through.

#10: All discussions about who will beat who in a fight have the same one answer: Whomever the writer wants to win.

We have heard every possible “Who would win in a fight” combination. Seriously. The Crow vs. Man-Thing. Spawn vs. GI Robot. Howard the Duck vs. Optimus Prime. No one ever asks the question without having an answer in mind, and nothing anyone could say can change their mind. Pick a different conversation starter, fanperson. The writer gets to decide who wins, every time. If the writer wants Spider-Man to beat the entire X-Men team, in under 2 pages, Spidey’s gonna win. (It happened in Secret Wars #3, btw, and it was Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Cyclops, and Professor X, not some scab team with Dazzler on it.)

#11: Don’t put items from your hold file back on the shelf. Hand them to the employees and have them take it off your file.

This is closely related to #7. If you don’t TELL your LCS you don’t like it anymore, how will they know? Please don’t let your LCS continue to order those comics you don’t want. There’s lots of other things they can spend their money on, that you might actually want instead!

#12: Cash is better than debit or credit. If you write a check, make sure it’s good before you write it.

Cash doesn’t cost a retailer any fees to accept it. Credit Cards and Debit Cards have a cost to the retailer. Some cards cost your LCS more than others. AMEX is always a high fee. Rewards cards are as well. Why is that? It’s because the credit card companies pass on the costs of the points (and miles and cash back) to the retailers that take them. Did you think they were giving them to you out of generosity? My personal “Most Hated Credit Card” is the Amazon.com Visa. You earn points (that your LCS pays for) that can then be spent only at the one website that has done (and keeps doing) more to hurt the entire book business than any other. I don’t accept checks, because join the 21st century already. Seriously, the only people who use checks anymore for anything but mailing payments are little old ladies and people trying to commit fraud. Get a Debit card, bunky. Every retailer has a different plan with different rates, so you might want to ask them next time which card (debit or credit) they prefer.

That draws this week’s installment to a close. Check back next Monday for another installment!

13 Responses to “LCS Etiquette Tips Part Two”

  1. tiki god says on :

    I’m always worried about #9, I usually just take my own stuff and head out, cause by that point I’ve already taken up like 2 hours of your time, lol.

    #12 be sure to support the Durbin Amendment! http://durbin.senate.gov/showRelease.cfm?releaseId=325810 there’s a huge HUGE push by the banks to be able to charge retailers a ton of money and to be able to have uncapped fees for cards. http://www.capitolconnect.com/nacs/register.aspx?AlertID=118 for a letter to send to your political people to tell them that $5 atm charges are just obscene.

    In regards to #12, the most recent merchant statement that I saw at my own place of employment mentioned that retailers can set minimum prices on credit card transactions.

    This political message brought to you by the Political Action Committee for a “subscribe to comments” function on this website.

  2. admin says on :

    In regards to #12, the most recent merchant statement that I saw at my own place of employment mentioned that retailers can set minimum prices on credit card transactions.

    That is absolutely correct. I don’t do it because it is customer-unfriendly. One reason I won’t go to the Movies Eight anymore is because they wouldn’t let me buy 2 tickets on debit (a $4.00 total) while Krispy Kreme across the street lets me buy a single donut for 99 cents on debit. (Not that I would get a single donut there.)

    This political message brought to you by the Political Action Committee for a “subscribe to comments” function on this website.

    PACs tend to give bribes gifts to the organization they’re trying to influence…

  3. Michelle says on :

    Do debit cards have lower fees for retailers than credit cards do?

  4. admin says on :

    Excellent question.

    The answer is, “It depends.”

    If there is a choice, like for a Visa-branded Debit card, then here at Secret Headquarters, under $27 it’s cheaper for us to run it as Credit, while over $27 it’s cheaper to run as Debit. Every store has a different deal with their merchant services provider, though, so when shopping at a local business of any kind, it’s good to ask them what they prefer when you’re checking out.

  5. jason says on :

    Concerning #12, any fees related to accepting debit/credit cards is a cost of doing business. I as a customer should have no concern about our choice of payment methods. Personally if my lcs mentioned this to me, I would kindly recommend to them that if these fees are a concern to them, they may wish to reevaluate their business plans and find a place that will appreciate my business a bit more.

  6. admin says on :

    You are absolutely correct, these fees are a cost of doing business. You don’t need to have any concerns about it if you don’t want to.

    Telling your LCS

    I would kindly recommend to them that if these fees are a concern to them, they may wish to reevaluate their business plans

    sounds to me like you don’t like your LCS very much to begin with. Informing the consumer about a business aspect is not showing you that they don’t appreciate you. Being an informed consumer, and following up on that information with a minor behavioral change, shows them that you appreciate them.

    Look, nowhere is it written in stone “THOU SHALT USE CASH ONLY.” These are tips, not laws. I’ve written these tips to help make EVERYONE’s experience at your LCS better, both yours, other customers, and the retailers. If a few more people payed in cash, the money that would have been spent on those fees is likely to be put back into the business, through additional products and services for the customers.

    If you think that the credit card companies deserve those fees more than your LCS does, that’s up to you.

  7. Joseph says on :

    I understand where Jason is coming from. It is rather off-putting to be plunking down a substantial amount of money on a weekly basis and then have the retailer indicate they do not care for the method of payment. I use my credit/debit cards everywhere, including small mom-and-pop stores, and my local comic shop is the only place that has ever made any mention to me about it.

  8. admin says on :

    I think that’s an important point. I haven’t ever told a customer that I didn’t care for a method of payment. There HAVE been people who have specifically asked me what I preferred, and then I’ve told them, but always politely and friendly.

  9. Lee says on :

    In regards to #12, I think we all agree that it is the customers choice on method of payment, but I think it is short sighted on a someones part not be somewhat aware of costs associated to the store.

    Most stores are not rolling in cash. If I can save the store a $1, then I will try to. I know I will get that $1 back later in some other fashion. Maybe it’s a sale, maybe it’s notice about a hot book, maybe it’s the last copy of a book the store owner saved for me because I was late getting there on Wednesday, maybe it’s just 5 minutes more in the store after it was supposed to close. Whatever it is, my $1 will come back to me.

    I believe the relationship between stores and the readers is one of the most symbiotic in all business. Stores are small, the market is small, and it doesn’t take much to upset the balance. No one is saying you have to pay cash, but if you can, it doesn’t hurt.

  10. Del Coro says on :

    Thanks for the advice. It’s hard to avoid terrible comic shops who treat their customers like dirt; it’s very considerate of you to let everyone know you’re one of them.

  11. admin says on :

    Ooh! My first real troll! I’ve finally arrived!

    Oh! I know! I know! Say something about my mom next!

  12. tiki god says on :

    @joseph
    in regards to that, if you’ve ever gotten gas in tallahassee, I’m sure you’ve seen either the cash incentive prices or the branded credit card offers. there’s a reason that the Gate stations have their own card system, it saves them a ton of money to handle it in house than letting visa m/c handle it

  13. Ryan says on :

    Del Coro has obviously never been to SHQ.

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.