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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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× Talk about whatever you like related to games that doesn't fit anywhere else.

How important is it to support a "F" LGS?

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11 Apr 2008 08:09 #4900 by Matt Thrower
Hi,

A few months ago, a new game store opened in my home town. I was overjoyed and made a great and solemn vow that the discounted prices of internet retailers would not woo me back to shopping online, for now I had a store to support!

So, I go to the store and discover it's run by a chess player who thinks other boardgames are just a curious sideline. Still, he seems eager enough and asks me for some ideas as to what other boardgames he should get in.

Next visit I discover that the store in fact has two floors - but he's using "upstairs" for a very messy display of "large" games like Carrom. And he's not interested it in using it for demo/club/etc space.

Someone else I know from a local club which I've visited goes along and asks to put up a club poster. Sure, says the guy and says there'd be a club discount as well. On my next visit the poster has been taken down. The club discount has never been spoken of again.

At this point I should mention that on each of my three visits, I've bought a game. So I am at least proving myself to be a paying customer and not just some mug hanging around the shop.

Next I ask him to get me in a copy of Arkham Horror. It takes two weeks for him to manage to locate a game which is overflowing with stock on the shelves of virtually every internet retailer. I have no idea what the problem was - in the end he only managed to get a copy because I called his stockist and told them to send him one. The day it came in, I rushed down and bought it.

I now asked him for the availability and price of several other games. That was a week ago and the only reply I had - the day after - was "I'll look into it". I popped into the shop today to see if he'd just bought them in anyway - but no. He didn't mention it, and I really couldn't be bothered to ask.

I'm now seriously considering not bothering to shop there any more as they don't really seem to want my custom, and going back to cheap stuff off the internet. I know some of you are in retail - do you think I should give this guy another chance or not?

Cheers,
Matt

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11 Apr 2008 08:33 #4902 by mrmarcus
Why bother? He's shown no real serious interest in maintaining your custom.

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11 Apr 2008 09:11 #4908 by Schweig!
Oh, I know that sort of behaviour.

When I still lived in Munich, I frequented a store which apparently got big through the prosperous years when Avalon Hill and RPGs where big and PCs were unheard of. So when I appeared there two years ago, the store was in a bad shape, but they still got plenty of reasonably priced OOP stuff. So I bought some of that stuff and one day I asked them if they could get me a copy of GMT's Europe Engulfed. The first response was "Is that company still in business?". Upon my maybe fourth visit and repeat of the question, it appeared to me that they didn't bother, which was very un-"F". I then got the game from a store about 300km from my home (not via mail). Still I kept shopping there because of the OOP stuff and even though only one staff person and his boss work there, they didn't seem to remember me, which didn't bother me, but is also a little un-"F". But shortly when I moved away (not because of the experiences at the shop) they ironically stocked up on a whole bunch of GMT games including EE.

When I paid them a visit half a year after that (to get another OOP game) the owner of the shop was in a very good mood as he told me that all the English games and the newer boardgames (FFG, etc.) went like hot cakes. Upon further notice all GMT games were also gone, which surprised me.

So Matt, keep pushing them towards the right way of handling a store. ;)

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11 Apr 2008 10:21 #4912 by mikoyan
I guess you have to ask yourself how much of an effort to you want to take in order to give this person your money. In my case, part of the reason why I don't mind plopping down a little more cash for a local company is because of their service. IF their service is poor, then I'd rather take my cash elsewhere. It sounds like this store doesn't want to put any effort into his business.

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11 Apr 2008 10:58 #4913 by Michael Barnes
Well, this dovetails nicely into what we're talking about over on the talkback for the TWBG article...

The thing about B&M stores, FLGS, or whatever is that do need your support. However, like any service or retail business, they have to earn that support. Some game stores, in fact most of them, don't deserve your support because of situations like what Matt described.

Just like how board game consumers have this fucked up sense of entitlement, I think a lot of hobby store owners do too...they think they're selling some kind of exclusive product or that you're somehow betrothed to them no matter how shitty they treat you. It's just not the case. If a store is not providing you with the service, quality experience, or selection you want...then no, let 'em go bankrupt.

It's important to support the good stores, the ones that really care about and promote the hobby in positive ways...shitholes run by assholes deserve to tank.

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11 Apr 2008 11:09 #4914 by Matt Thrower
mikoyan wrote:

In my case, part of the reason why I don't mind plopping down a little more cash for a local company is because of their service. IF their service is poor, then I'd rather take my cash elsewhere.


This is rather what I thought. I've stuck in there because of some vague evangelical sense that having a game store in town might help bring more people in to the world of games (we get a lot of tourists here). But with such disinterest on display, I can't really see that happening a whole lot either.

Michael Barnes wrote:

Just like how board game consumers have this fucked up sense of entitlement, I think a lot of hobby store owners do too...they think they're selling some kind of exclusive product or that you're somehow betrothed to them no matter how shitty they treat you. It's just not the case. If a store is not providing you with the service, quality experience, or selection you want...then no, let 'em go bankrupt.


You know what's really odd? This is the second shop this guy has opened. He has another one in Oxford, which is maybe 80 miles away from here. That shop has been open for many years and has obviously been successful enough to provide the owner with enough income to allow him to expand and open another premises. So he's clearly not clueless about customer service or retail. Which makes this sort of behaviour even more bizarre. I'm at a loss to explain it. I don't think the new shop is doing very well (surprise, surprise) so whether he's just decided to focus on his old store or something, I don't know. If that is the case then you might think he'd be really grateful for one enthusiastic, regular customer who is active in several local clubs. But no.

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11 Apr 2008 13:12 #4922 by mikoyan
Michael Barnes wrote:

Just like how board game consumers have this fucked up sense of entitlement, I think a lot of hobby store owners do too...they think they're selling some kind of exclusive product or that you're somehow betrothed to them no matter how shitty they treat you. It's just not the case. If a store is not providing you with the service, quality experience, or selection you want...then no, let 'em go bankrupt.

It's important to support the good stores, the ones that really care about and promote the hobby in positive ways...shitholes run by assholes deserve to tank.

I also have my other hobby of collecting higher end military action figures (they are more like models than action figures but that's besides the point) and one day while searching the internet, I found a store that's not too far from me that offers them. I went in there and they are very nice and I've been in there enough that they know me by first name and almost know my tendencies. I have no problem supporting a store like that. They also have a frequent shopper club for a 10% discount. That puts their price in line with what I'd pay if I bought it over the internet. When I go in, they are usually fairly busy and often times they have kids that are looking to do a diorama for school or something. They are pretty helpful there too.

I compare that place with one of the hobby shops I used to go to when I was growing up. I had 1/72nd scale Army men that I would set up in my basement for little battles and stuff. There's a company other there that sells HO scale military vehicles (It's close but not quite) and there was a store in the area that would sell these but they kept them behind a case. The owner was shooting the shit with someone who was into RC stuff. he pretty much was ignoring me and I pratically had to beg to get him to get what I was looking for. If I didn't really want it, I probably would have not bought it. Once I found better hobby stores, I never went in that place again (although I'll go there now for a chuckle). Amazingly, that place is still in business and the same asshole works there.

Then there was the other hobby shop in the area where I grew up. It was pretty good and had a decent selection, until the owner's son got interested in the Civil War. Pretty soon there were no models and the only wargames were Civil War games. When his dad died, they went out of business. Although, I think he may be selling replica Civil War stuff.

But I think you are right. It seems that many hobby shops are in business because the owner is interested in a particular aspect of a hobby. they carry the stuff they are interested in and grudgingly carry other products. If you ask them about the stuff you are interested in, they kind of huff and act like they are doing you some sort of favor by taking your money. That may have worked 20 years ago but when someone can go to www.myhobby.com and get what they are looking for, that model doesn't work so well now. The landscape is alot less littered with hobby shops now than it was 10 or 15 years ago.

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11 Apr 2008 13:20 #4923 by Michael Barnes
That opens up a much larger discussion.

There _aren't_ hobby shops like there used to be- R/C car stores, slot car tracks, model train suppliers, kite shops, macrame stores...it used to be that hobby stores were either kind of all purpose (like when you could by AH games at some craft stores) or there were specialist retailers (almost always independent) that are no more...now if you get into a hobby, chances are you're doing online. Probably as far as discovering it online and being involved with any kind of community online as well.

It's really kind of sad- we're the last generation to really have hobby shops, I think.

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11 Apr 2008 13:32 #4925 by Darilian
Hobby shops are doing well(ish), they're just turning into Craft stores, like Michaels, or Hobby Lobby.

RC got killed by the trade in cheap crap from China. My little brother, in the 1990's, was HUGE into RC cars- made the kits, raced them. They were EXPENSIVE little mothers, but he built them and was very good at it.

Nowadays, you can buy a cheap kit that does the same thing (for only a week, but thats long enough for Christmas..*sigh*) for less than a THIRD of what Richard used to spend on his kits.

Model trains are still doing well. As are historical miniatures.

But Board Games are starting to bug me...this movement towards the 'cult of the new' at the LOWEST possible price worries me that people are looking for games that are DIFFERENT from games like Sorry or Monopoly, yes, but not really THAT different. The Lowest Common Denominator of gaming. And as company's move to that new dollar, to pump out more and more product, the idea of the 'hobbyist' game will disappear. Just like the idea of Model RC Cars has virtually disappeared from where it used to be in the face of cheap RC crap from China.

Or, I could just be pessimistic and grumpy today. :)

Darilian

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12 Apr 2008 20:14 - 12 Apr 2008 20:20 #4938 by BigLizard
I agree with those that say support the store if you feel it's giving you the service you need. If not, then no point having such a place around where your friends and neighbors might go and come away with a bad experience related to board games. That certainly won't help the hobby. Strange that his other store seems to do well. He should know better and one would think he would have a better handle on the industry and be able to get those games no problem.


Except for maybe RC cars, I think the hobby store is still doing OK. While I can think of two hobby shops locally that specialized in RC cars and went belly-up recently, I know of one that's been going well for at least 15 years. I also think RC cars were kinda faddish anyway. The one general hobby shop in Columbus that I frequently visited in my youth opened a second store a few years ago which appears to be doing well. The first store used to sell all the AH stuff but now game-wise only sells Flames Of War stuff. But the new store does sell boardgames, FOW and GW stuff. And the one general hobby shop in the Cincinnati area that I visit frequently recently moved into a bigger space in order to offer a bigger selection, to escape a high rent rate, and to have space for gamers to play, usually Star Wars miniatures from what I've seen. Seems to be doing well, too.

The advent of PC and console games and the Internet may have had an effect on the hobby industry in general, but I think there are still enough people out there, especially of the older generation who are retiring now, who are not complete computer nerds and still love having hands-on hobbies.

The model railroad industry does try to protect the B&M stores, but there is also a large Internet community. The hobby seems to be integrating the two sales models fairly well. In fact I recently found a new B&M model railroad store locally that had been purely an on-line supplier for the past two years and decided to open a real store. I hope to be able to support this guy as much as I can in the future. Best of all he seemed a nice friendly guy and gave me good service. I wonder if the on-line supplier/store proprietor model could work for game stores as well? The best of both worlds as it were.

BillN
Last edit: 12 Apr 2008 20:20 by BigLizard.

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13 Apr 2008 12:07 #4944 by mikelawson
I have to agree with the people above who say that you're not obligated to support an FLGS if the "F" isn't really there. I've been in a couple of stores that distinctly have that "F" missing, and others that the clientele scared me off. Usually when I go to a game store, it's with at least one or more kids in tow, so if there's too many R-rated items in easy view (not hidden in the back but stuck out front implying that the place is a Hustler-lite), then I'm not planning on dropping in. However, that's just common sense; if you're planning on selling adult items with the family items, make sure the adult stuff is in the back and separate from the family section.

--Mike L.

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13 Apr 2008 17:18 #4947 by Gary Sax
I buy almost strictly online because there is no F if FLGS in any store I've been to. Disgusting stores with either really weird dudes or know it all assholes working there. And of course it is expensive. So I buy everything online. I feel no shame because I also don't dick these people around by going in their stores and fucking with them or wasting their time.

I also have no evangelistic tendencies towards the boardgaming/wargaming hobby. I introduce friends who I think might like them to to play with me but unlike many I have absolutely no need to know that many strangers are getting into it or I'm spreading the word. The industry is about the size I need to it be in terms of # and quality of games released, probably larger than I need it to be in all honesty.

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22 Apr 2008 03:52 #5217 by Matt Thrower
I gave him one last chance to see if he'd get the games I wanted. The response was "phone my other store and check if they've got it and I'll bring it over". Not good enough IMO - why couldn't he check for me?

So last question - is it worth me telling him about his poor service and point out he's lost a potentially good customer?

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22 Apr 2008 09:24 #5219 by mikelawson
MattDP wrote:

I gave him one last chance to see if he'd get the games I wanted. The response was "phone my other store and check if they've got it and I'll bring it over". Not good enough IMO - why couldn't he check for me?

So last question - is it worth me telling him about his poor service and point out he's lost a potentially good customer?


Depends. He might notice the lack of business with you missing, and he might not. If the guy just seems clueless, maybe a talk would help, but unless the guy is a real dick to me I typically don't tell them that I'm taking my business elsewhere.

(Boy, I hope my two FLGS' people don't read this and think that I've left them; I've just been kinda poor in the money department. Honest.)

--Mike L.

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22 Apr 2008 20:53 #5264 by Mr Skeletor
MattDP wrote:

So last question - is it worth me telling him about his poor service and point out he's lost a potentially good customer?


Nup. As Gordon Ramsey would say, the dude is a dud. Let him and his store fall, hopefully someone with half a clue may be motivated to pick it up.

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