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Subject: FLGS Complaint - Am I out of line here? rss

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Tim Earl
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I had a problem with my FLGS today, and before I call the owner on Monday I wanted to get some opinions.

I moved to Michigan late last year and, with no decent game stores in my neighborhood, drove 30 miles to this store and sold my collection of old AH titles and Hero Clix for store credit. At the time I was told that they kept the credit info on file and it never expired, so I could redeem it as I wished. I've been in a few times since then to pick up new games. Today I made a special trip there to get a few more games for my group. When I went to the counter, I was told that only one person can access store credit, and she was at a convention this weekend. After a short discussion about how inconvenient this was, the clerk said she could set aside my purchase and they would ship it to me one the transaction was entered, if I also paid for the shipping. So, I left the store and decided I'd call the owner on Monday. I haven't decided exactly how to approach it, but I think at the very least he should offer me free shipping on my next order (they do take online and phone orders).

Am I expecting too much from a family owned store? You could argue that offering store credit for games is a service he doesn't have to offer, but he chose to include used games in his business, so shouldn't he accomodate his customers? Or is it reasonable to expect anyone planning to redeem store credit to call ahead and make sure the designated employee is there?

You could also say that I'm not exactly a big customer. I think I bought one game before trading in mine, and since then I've been chipping away at the credit. But the transaction is still a money maker for him overall, so I feel I should be treated as well as any other customer.

Any thoughts or opinions on this situation?

Thanks.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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I don't see anything out of line here. Everyone simply doing their job. You can't expect them to allow someone who isn't 'trusted' to access the credit, and you can't expect them to eat the shipping costs.
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re: no FLGS in Michigan

If you are still in Portage, MI Fanfare has a great selection of games.
http://fanfare-se.com (their web site does not feature games but trust me they have them - link here for the address and contact info). There is also Titan in Battle Creek http://www.titangames.com/

I am a regular at Fanfare and can highly recommend it! Never been to Titan but it looks nice.


edit: clarify fanfare's website
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Russ Williams
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Unlike Geosphere, I think you are not out of line. If they never said there were weird restrictions on when you can redeem the store credit, I would assume that means I can go to the store and buy stuff with my store credit any time, just like I can go and buy stuff with cash or credit card any time. I would not assume that only one staff member is able to process store credit. If other staff members can't be "trusted" to access the store credit, why are they trusted to handle money and credit cards?

Given that they neglected to tell you about this little rule, I think the salesperson should have tried phoning the "trusted" person at the convention (if that person has a cell phone) to try to resolve it for you.

Given that this didn't happen, I don't know what I think should happen. Having them ship the games to you later seems suboptimal, regardless of who pays, since then you don't get them for a week or whatever. If I were the store owner, I would probably offer to ship them, though, or else say "Sorry about the mixup; please come back, and I'll sell you those games you wanted at a 10% discount" or something. And I would fix the broken system so that such stupid mixups don't happen again. I see no reason that you can't trust an employee to handle a purchase with store credit if you trust them to handle a purchase with cash and credit cards.
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Greig
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Geosphere wrote:
I don't see anything out of line here. Everyone simply doing their job. You can't expect them to allow someone who isn't 'trusted' to access the credit, and you can't expect them to eat the shipping costs.

And maybe they should have a clerk that only handles cash transactions, one that only does credit cards, one that only does debit purchases and the last for store credit. Then it's a game just trying to be able to buy from them!

shake

I don't think you're out of line here. They should be able to look after your purchases regardless of who's behind the counter. Give them a call, but remember to be polite, sometimes the owner is aware of what's going on, or not going on in this case, when they aren't there.

Good luck.
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Leo Zappa
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cheng wrote:
I had a problem with my FLGS today, and before I call the owner on Monday I wanted to get some opinions.

I moved to Michigan late last year and, with no decent game stores in my neighborhood, drove 30 miles to this store and sold my collection of old AH titles and Hero Clix for store credit. At the time I was told that they kept the credit info on file and it never expired, so I could redeem it as I wished. I've been in a few times since then to pick up new games. Today I made a special trip there to get a few more games for my group. When I went to the counter, I was told that only one person can access store credit, and she was at a convention this weekend. After a short discussion about how inconvenient this was, the clerk said she could set aside my purchase and they would ship it to me one the transaction was entered, if I also paid for the shipping. So, I left the store and decided I'd call the owner on Monday. I haven't decided exactly how to approach it, but I think at the very least he should offer me free shipping on my next order (they do take online and phone orders).

Am I expecting too much from a family owned store? You could argue that offering store credit for games is a service he doesn't have to offer, but he chose to include used games in his business, so shouldn't he accomodate his customers? Or is it reasonable to expect anyone planning to redeem store credit to call ahead and make sure the designated employee is there?

You could also say that I'm not exactly a big customer. I think I bought one game before trading in mine, and since then I've been chipping away at the credit. But the transaction is still a money maker for him overall, so I feel I should be treated as well as any other customer.

Any thoughts or opinions on this situation?

Thanks.

Since there appears to have been no caveats provided with the store credit such as "call first to be sure someone authorized to redeem store credit will be on hand", I would say you have a legit beef - how are you supposed to know when you can and cannot redeem credit, and it's not like the store is right around the corner. The most fair solution? With gas prices over $3 per gallon, and you 30 miles one-way from the store, and assuming your car averages 30 mpg (if you have a compact or economy car), I figure you are out at least (30 miles x 2 (round trip)/30 mpg) x $3/gal = $6 gas money which you should get as additional store credit added on to your original balance - more if your car gets worse mileage - I'll let you do the math . I'd ask for the additional credit based on this calculation. I think that's fair.
 
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Ed
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If I were the store owner, I'd probably give you a discount on shipping. Just be polite when you talk to her. I doubt the policy is there to inconvenience you; it's probably there to protect you and the store from getting ripped off. You can imagine a dishonest store employee using your credit to buy games. Then what? Is the owner supposed to believe you when you say you should have more credit left? Just be polite and try to see it from the owner's point of view before you get wed to the idea that she owes you free shipping.
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James Davis
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Geosphere wrote:
I don't see anything out of line here. Everyone simply doing their job. You can't expect them to allow someone who isn't 'trusted' to access the credit, and you can't expect them to eat the shipping costs.

how cant you expect free shipping if you go into the shop they cant give it to you and you had to drive a long distance to get there?

Of course the woman was doing her job and she couldnt help it, so I wouldnt be blaming her, which tim doesnt. But it is the Business's problem, so the fault is with the manager. If your not going to have trained or trusted employees that can deal with most things then there is something wrong.

it isnt much to expect free shipping or something else for the huge inconvinence. I dont think its such a big issue though and nothing to get dramatic over, but Im sure the owner will be more than accomodating with the problem and youll probably get something.
 
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jason
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With gas prices over $3 per gallon, and you 30 miles one-way from the store, and assuming your car averages 30 mpg (if you have a compact or economy car), I figure you are out at least (30 miles x 2 (round trip)/30 mpg) x $3/gal = $6 gas money which you should get as additional store credit added on to your original balance - more if your car gets worse mileage - I'll let you do the math . I'd ask for the additional credit based on this calculation. I think that's fair.
Totally. It's obviously the stores fault that gas costs as much as it does. And why the hell do they have to be so far away from where he moved to? They'd be total jerks not to give him additional store credit. Whats worse, I can't believe that the store expects him to actually pay for shipping. The nerve! That's what happens when you deal with a small independently owned business.
You were right to ask if you were out of line. My advice is to buy from one of the many online retailers. You'll never have to put up with the crap you get from independent retailers. While we're at it does anyone else have beef with small bookstores? Total jerks. I only shop at Amazon now. You guys should check it out. Awesome. That's all I can say. No mix ups, no personality conflicts, no human errors. Just pure cold efficiency at unbeatable prices. It's what every consumer deserves. They would certainly never make a mistake that could easily be remedied at a later date. You know, like perhaps selling the games to Cheng with the promise of reversing the credit card charges upon the owners return. Nope. If I were you I'd burn the store down and salt the earth where it stood.
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Ryan Johnson
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This is actually one of the largest problems FLGS have in this hobby. Everyone that sits behind the cash register should be able to complete EVERY transaction in the store... or someone who CAN should be available.

This is one of the things that sets a decent FLGS apart from the shoddy half-baked small businesses that plague our hobby.

I can understand that sometimes there exists a relationship between store owner and customer, in which only the owner can operate. I have had those relationships before, and I know that if I 'Need' something I should call ahead of time to make sure they are there... but this guy was a new customer... this service is obviously offered to anyone who isn't wearing county orange....

Mistakes like this are the FLGS's to carry in my humble opinion... Run a business or attend a Con.... I only give a rats tail-wiskers about one of those.

If it were me... the shipping cost would be the last thing I paid to that FLGS unless they are friendly enough to discuss based on their error.

But that's just me... I've never run an FLGS... just shopped them for 30 years.
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Donald Dennis
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desertfox2004 wrote:
I'd ask for the additional credit based on this calculation. I think that's fair.

Or if they don't charge to ship the games, that'd be fair.
 
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Chrees M
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I don't believe they are at fault, it's just one of those things, and i don't believe it's worth causing hassle with them.
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Eric Hymowitz
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kjuice wrote:
and you did not ask enough questions.

You're kidding, right?

"So what if I come in on a Sunday afternoon, can I use my credit then?"

"What if it's raining out, can I use my credit then?"

"If there's a solar eclipse, can I use my credit?"

"If a bluebird builds a nest on the window ledge above your store, lays three eggs, but only two hatch, can I still use my credit?"

What questions should he have to ask?

If the store has employees that can't complete all functions of the store, then the store has a problem.
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jason
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I'd ask for the additional credit based on this calculation. I think that's fair.
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Or if they don't charge to ship the games, that'd be fair.
Am I nuts for thinking that all that's required here on the part of the store owner is an apology for a mix up? I can't for the life of me think why money should come out of their pocket.
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I'm suprised that neither of you at the time suggested you paid for it and have it refunded later when the owners sorted it out ... seems a simple fix to apply at the time and would ensure you had the game.
This is exactly what I thought. I also think people need to give these stores a break. When they're gone you'll all be sorry that you can't take advantage of the perks they offer.
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If the store has employees that can't complete all functions of the store, then the store has a problem.
I've gotta disagree with you here. While this Marxist idea of every employee being equal looks good on paper, one only needs to look to game stores in Cuba and North Korea to see that it doesn't work in practice. There's a definate heirarchy in the store of owner, manager, ass't manager, and clerks.
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Jon New
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jason718 wrote:
Am I nuts for thinking that all that's required here on the part of the store owner is an apology for a mix up?

I agree. I think it's just an unfortunate series of events.

I'd just wait and see what the owner has to say. I suppose if he feels particularly bad he may offer to send the games for you with free or discounted shipping at least.

At the end of the day, a 30 mile trip and the time out of your day isn't the end of the world. Just don't go in with all guns blazing.
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E Butler
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And the cashier couldn't pick up the phone and call the owner? Yea, I'd be more than a bit PO'd. Be polite but firm, you expect free shipping.
 
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John Goewert
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generalpf wrote:
cheng wrote:
FLGS Complaint - Am I out of line here?
You're always out of line on this site when you criticize an FLGS.

Where is DWTripp, anyway?

Huh? I thought that was the other way around. Internet stores = Gods! FLGS = Devils.

Anyhow... this is a complete customer service mess. Store credit should ALWAYS be available no matter what. I invested in over $3000 of equipment and software to handle all of this and any of my employee can pop a purchase against someones credit at any time. It all gets logged, so no problems keeping a paper trail.

Yeah, this is definitely a screw up and regardless, the store should pay for shipping since your credit wasn't available to you at the time you needed to use it. Hell, I would. But I guess that's because I'm not a complete ass and why the podcasts in the area call my place "one of the places doing it right" and "doesn't smell like fungus".
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Brad Brooks
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ed95005 wrote:
I doubt the policy is there to inconvenience you; it's probably there to protect you and the store from getting ripped off. You can imagine a dishonest store employee using your credit to buy games. Then what? Is the owner supposed to believe you when you say you should have more credit left? Just be polite and try to see it from the owner's point of view before you get wed to the idea that she owes you free shipping.

Wouldn't that same employee steal my credit card number or take the cash and ditch the transaction? Credit card and identity fraud have a much bigger downside then messing with someone's in-store credit so if the store owner is using your rationale they need a serious wake-up call.
 
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Robert Wesley
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oh where, oh where has our "DW_Tripp" gone?
oh where, oh where can HE be?
Is he riding around or maybe "games groping" bound?
We implore HIM to hurry back with "Godspeed"!
soblue
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Daniel Corban
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30 miles? That is half an hour of driving. I drive more than that twice a week just to play games for a few hours.
 
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Brad Brooks
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dcorban wrote:
30 miles? That is half an hour of driving. I drive more than that twice a week just to play games for a few hours.

Yeah but you're using metric hours. You need to use the appropriate conversion to American hours.
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Daniel Corban
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That was just assuming the slow-ass 60mph mile-a-minute conversion. Around here I drive 140-150kmph, (which is whatever in ye olde English) so it would take me even less time. Granted, Michigan drivers at least go the 70mph speed limit most of the time.

Also, I have a diesel car (which I find it is almost impossible to buy diesel in the US anywhere but on a highway), so the gas mileage is something like 50mpg.
 
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Robert Trifts
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This is a typical cash/inventory control issue in stores that extend credit and deal in second hand goods. Because there is typically no document to be surrendered on store credit, any staff worker could say that store credit was used to purchase the product, make a note to that effect, and pocket the cash actually paid for a transaction.

A theft devised by an employee in that fashion could go undetected for months - maybe even a year or more. Perhaps only after the employee has long left and the theft is practically untraceable.

The issue which prompted this change in policy may have reared its head since you sold for store credit (namely, as the owner got burned by an employee in the intervening period) so it may not have been something they could have told you about when the credit was given.

Usually one of the owners is there and it's not an issue. Today, that didn't happen.

The policy is, from a small business person's perspective, a reasonable and necessary one. It is heightened in importance - because as you say - there is no time limit within which the store credit must be used. This gives even more time within which the theft may go undetected and raises the chance an employee might be tempted to try and do a cash swipe on a interim basis, hoping to fix it at some vague "later" date (and "later" never comes).

You are not out of line for feeling put out; but the store owner is not out of line in making such a policy to deal with non-cash transactions that are open to employee fraud and abuse.

It's a shitty situation - but one that happened to bite you on the ass. My guess is that it won't happen again as you will ensure that there are no issues in that regard before taking the drive.

Have a little sympathy for the FLGS owner, please. They are trying, I'm sure.
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Ed
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beehive23 wrote:
Wouldn't that same employee steal my credit card number or take the cash and ditch the transaction? Credit card and identity fraud have a much bigger downside then messing with someone's in-store credit so if the store owner is using your rationale they need a serious wake-up call.
The difference is stealing a customer's line of credit is more likely to alienate the customer. With a stolen credit card number, the customer has a remedy available through his or her credit card company and probably won't blame the theft on a specific retail outlet. With stolen cash, that's the store's problem, and the customer isn't affected. But if a customer's line of credit is stolen, the customer will eventually find out and will know exactly whom to hold responsible. If I'm the store owner, while this may not be the biggest form of theft, it's one that's relatively easy to prevent.
 
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Jonathan Morton
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I also think people need to give these stores a break. When they're gone you'll all be sorry that you can't take advantage of the perks they offer.

What perks exactly have they offered him? Being able to sell his games to them? Couldn't he have sold them on EBay? Would he not have ended up further ahead, money-wise, bypassing the store's markup?

Don't get me wrong, I think supporting small local business is generally a good idea. But I don't think it makes sense to support them regardless of the quality of their service.
 
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