4 Sep 2012

Tuesday Table Top Fun - Loyalty to the Store

I play at two places, Fandom 2 and Wizards Tower. I like to buy my products there. Fandom 2 has great prices but the selection is either new or filled on a special order basis. Wizards Tower has a great selection of Privateer Press products but they are expensive.

So why do I keep loyal to these stores?

I play there and I understand to some degree of what it takes to keep those doors open.

I understand that retail has a weakness; keeping stock. I learned this while working in a few comic shops back as a young dumbass. As the back stock increases the amount of space goes down. You need to balance the number of back stock with the rate of sales and interest of the new stock.

Example: Issue # 14 of Backlash is out. Long time readers have subscriptions and so that intake of sales is marked as sold. But how many extra issues do you order for the odd pick and sale.

The character is generating some interest and has some adverts in the local Comic magazine and has developed an online presence. You know of a few customers that pick up the odd issue of Backlash. These factors help a store owner decide how many more issues he will have on shelf outside of the subscriptions. Unknown or slow sale books tend to get the minimum order and then get put into the back issue bin.

The back issue bins were where a new reader starting at the example of issue #14 and decides he likes Backlash, of course he would, and wants the rest of the series. So the store in order to add another sold copy of the issue 14 and future issues has to wager on the possible pick up of the back issues to a new reader.

If you only have one of each issue then you’re boned for the next guy to come up and pick up the series. Now trade paper back collections have made this simpler to comice book retailers, needing less back issue bins and instead keep a fair selection of TBP’s that can be easily re-ordered as needed.

So apply the same to the local games store.

Fandom 2 has plenty to start a player off and gets plenty of new releases. There is not much of a need to keep a full stock since if a player wants something, they can order at the store or online. Savings are also passed down to the player to ensure new release sales.

Wizards Tower has a huge selection and their prices are higher, but they have what you want most of the time. They lose money to online retailers who sell for less without adding the shipping costs. Yet since they host Sunday games there is always a sale or five of odds and ends from players who are looking to top up their collection while they are in store. You pay for the convenience of having what you want when you want.

So I buy from both stores, they give me a place to play.

Is it important to me? Yes, because without a common place to play the people I play with would not meet and would not play. The hobby would die in Ottawa.

We need a place to play and unless space and time are free, which they as of now are not, places to play need to pay the bills. To pay the bills they need to sell product. Just so happens that they sell product you want.

So yeah, I may pay a few more bucks for my Zaal, but he was their when I wanted him. Also the 5 bucks I would have saved ordering online would be reduced or made more expensive due to tariffs and shipping cost.

We each must decide to walk that line of cash/model, deciding how much we want to pay for our hobby. I guess what I’m asking of you is to think about the shops that support your hobby when you shop somewhere else. Picking up the odd model or box makes it worth the stores time to stay open on game nights allowing you and another to look across the table and battle it out.

If you're in town, hit up one of my shops and pick something up.