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.
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!