Thursday, October 8, 2009

My (not so) FLGS

a random pic, but kinda à propos nonetheless, err, cràpropos...

So I'm going to do something a little uncharacteristic for Mik's Minis, and that's rant...just a tad. Also, for the record, I just deleted my long-winded diatribe in lieu of something a little more direct and a little more to the point, which hopefully follows.

I've mentioned the new Space Hulk before and lamented not getting it. Well last week I called hobby shop #1 and they were sold out, no surprise. Then I called hobby shop#2 and they "still had a whole bunch left". Great, I hopped in my car and headed straight to the mall, walked in, found my way to the GW rack, scooped up the beautifully heavy, new Space Hulk goodness and proceeded to the register. Then I glanced at the pricetag.

It said $149.99.

This is a retail store in a shopping mall. Their foot traffic comes from overflow out of the food court, yet here they are, friggin' price-gouging the new hotness. At the register I asked what the deal was and the half-arsed reply was, "People were buying up multiple copies to sell on the internet." So what? You are a retail store, what do you care what people do with the product when it walks out your doors? If you're concerned about that, truly, then simply slap a "limit one per customer" sign on it or something. Having worked retail before, I know that the number one job of such a place is to sell, not be self-appointed morality police.

Obviously I didn't buy it, instead I picked up a Reaper fig off the racks and the beautiful new Mouseguard RPG book. But it still stuck in my craw, so to speak. This was last week, and after venting with my friends at last night's game session, I realized I didn't even want to support this particular game store anymore because of their unethical? practice.

It's true, businesses can do whatever they want, but when it's blatantly a slap in the customer's face, I choose to no longer support them, especially when they give me no reason to do so. Brick and mortar game shops are important, I know the debates of supporting them, but not this one, no more. I can honestly say I've been buying from these guys for well over twelve years now, but I won't spend another penny in their store. Ever.

I went back tonight with my Mouseguard book, unopened Reaper fig, my receipt, and got a full refund. It was just a kid working the counter, so I didn't feel my Braveheart-inspired "this ain't right" speech would've meant anything to them. It was kind of sad though, knowing my resolve meant never stepping foot in there again, or if I do it's to get a firsthand look at something to decide if I want to buy it somewhere else. Walking out the door, I smirked when I saw that their six copies of $149.99 Space Hulk were still on the shelf.


  1. My shop's still got a few copies at $85 each if you're still looking to get one. It's in Idaho, though.

  2. I'm, going to start calling you Ralph Nader....

  3. Thanks Chris'

    @Raz File Chris: I'm half-tempted to PayPal you, but no, I think the Space Hulk ship has sailed for me. Our buddy got a copy, so it's not a total loss, and I've had my eye on Chaos in the Old World anyway...

    @Oz: Nice! You coming out with us tonight for the Arcane Legions party?

  4. Hobby Store #2 has never (in my experience) been very good at customer service. Back when they carried FOW stuff I had accidentally purchased the wrong item. When I went back they would not let me exchange it for the correct item without my receipt (which I had misplaced). Didn't want my money back, just to trade for an equal value pack...

    I'll throw my coin to a FLGS instead of the interwebz if they offer something useful - such as gaming space, willingness to special order, etc. Hobby Store #2 on the other hand offers nothing other than the ability to hold the item in your paws before buying...

  5. @Brian: You're saying the same stuff we talked about the other night, I agree wholeheartedly. For us, we don't need the gaming space, but I endorse a store that provides it nonetheless!

  6. I think it's good you returned your other purchases. Sadly, a shop like that will only listen when you speak with your wallet. Sometimes they never do. We had a "buy and get out" attitude here at one store... it closed it's doors just a few months ago.

    Plus, I just hate it when you can't get something because it was branded "LE" and the speculators jacked up the prices. (I may be extra bitter for living in AZ and trying to buy a house...)

    Unless you played Nids or Blood Angels, it wasn't THAT good a deal anyways. My FLGS had the figs for their in-store copy stolen, so I'm looking to buy the rest and convert my own figs...

  7. These guys don't even have gaming space. They have absolutely nothing going for them but the fact that they're local. If that's how they want to appreciate their customers, I'll just order my stuff at 20-35% discount online. They need me more than I need them.

  8. @Dverning: You and I are on the same page for sure, thanks you're right, I'm a DA player, I would've painted up my own Deathwing for it anyway. It's a shame someone had the audacity to steal your store's figs, sheesh!

    @Andy: Preach it brother! I'm serious chief, I'm done with them, for good.

  9. Same deal at my local game shop ... 149 bucks ... wtf. I saw it this afternoon and just shook my head. It was disappointing too because it just says "Hey we are greedy ... come here .. bend over" ... it undermines my trust of the store. I did fortunately pre-order a copy from GW so I have one ... but if I hadn't I'd be just as pissed and I'd boycott the thing.

  10. Wow, first time reading this blog and what a post to come in on.

    The rally cry around FLGS so often flies in the face of the crappy service, bad inventory, and crazy pricing.

    I have frequented three FLGS locally in my days. All of them suffered from some issue or another inflicted upon them by owners who just didn't seem to get it. Either they had crappy stock and/or would do custom orders, even for long time customers or they had staff or owners who didn't know the first thing about customers.

    I have been ignored or had the product I wanted to buy insulted or decried to the point of disgust. My friends have been yelled at for not buying things, despite having made several purchases, participating in club and store events on site. One store we discovered was routinely charging more than MSRP.

    Through all of this, I have been poo-pooed by other gamers to support the local stores. Online merchants often have better stock, quicker relative response to inquiries, and seldom charge at let alone above MSRP.

    Congrats to you for speaking with your wallet and showing another cruddy store just why they are likely not making the money they try to blame "the business" or their customers for not making.


  11. @Lord o' Excess: Thanks, it's funny, if I just had the disposable income at the time, I'd have ordered from GW and not think twice, but this is, well, crap. Shaking your head (and no longer shopping there) is about all you can do.

    @Eli: First off, welcome aboard! Glad to have you, it's a quirky blog and I tend to ramble, but welcome. Secondly, it does seem that game shops lack business sense, and not just ensuring payroll doesn't bounce, but ensuring you're making a customer-friendly environment that keeps them coming back. Sounds like you have some real winners in your neck of the woods as well.