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Subject: Why I won't support my local game store. rss

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Jack Brittain
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California
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I decided after picking up my new pair of glasses, that I would go down to the local game shop to pick up a party game for the evening since my insurance covered more than I was expecting. I was only planning on spending about $20, but spending the extra time to drive to a store generally means I'm inclined to spend a little more if I find some things I like.

First of all, I don't believe in being obligated to support small businesses just because they are small and part of my "community", but I would have liked having a physical place to visit from time to time to do some shopping.

I show up, and nobody offers any help, which is fine, but I over hear the 2 clerks talking about something that relates to my line of work; Something I'm very knowledgeable about, so I interject. Admittedly, I jumped into a conversation I wasn't a part of, but I was the customer, and I was trying to be friendly. The response I get is 2 dead stares and silence. Then I ask if they carry a game I was looking for and they blow me off saying they don't have it and make a sarcastic remark about the game title.

I've been a retail clerk in the not too distant past, it really isn't hard to humor a customer and have a conversation with them. It also doesn't hurt to offer a special order if you don't carry something, because I know that shop does that. Getting attitude from 2 burn outs is an instant way to lose my business.

There is one or two other shops in my area I might check out, but they are more comic and model based shops which aren't things I'm interested in.

I tried to support my local game store, but I think I'm completely fine with ordering games online from amazon, without the attitude and high prices.
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Greg S
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98% of retail clerks are not paid enough to care, and the sheer drudgery of the job will expunge all innate good nature from the average retail clerk within months of starting. Not an excuse of course, just facts.

There is a solution, which I read many years ago in a Tom Peters book: incentivize EVERYONE. Most retail clerks, especially in a store like that, should be paid a commission - big enough to make them care a little bit.
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Aaron Yoder
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The entire reason they're being paid is to take care of a customer. I'd imagine most store owners don't pay their employees to hold conversations with themselves.

My FLGS has polite and helpful workers, and that is the sole reason I shop there.
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Aaron Yoder
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Qualm wrote:
There is a solution, which I read many years ago in a Tom Peters book: incentivize EVERYONE. Most retail clerks, especially in a store like that, should be paid a commission - big enough to make them care a little bit.


I think they do have incentives. It's called do your job or get fired.
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Steve Willows
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jaqviolet wrote:
First of all, I don't believe in the little in being obligated to support small businesses just because they are small and part of my "community", but I would have liked having a physical place to visit from time to time to do some shopping.


I'm one who has consistently supported the idea of supporting community business. It is not an obligation in the sense that you do business with bad business people, but rather, cash that stays local is beneficial to communities.

Sure, not everyone will agree, but I strongly value my local community. I was just reminded how important this actually is in my life when my laptop got stolen a while back. It had Lojack and was recovered. When I went down to pick it up, while I was talking to the detective he said something like "now all I have to do is get this guy's money back from the kid". Then I asked him if I needed to appear in court or something and he goes "nope I just figured all you really cared about was getting the unit back".

Then it hit me. This guy saw something in this kid that said he needs a specific life lesson rather than a beat down.

That, my friends, is community. One that I am very proud to be a part of. I made a donation to the police ball on my way out the door.

But why? I'm already paying the cops with my tax dollars, right?

Now, my particular FLGS (Myriad Games of New Hampshire) is night and day different from what you describe. But there is no question that they are more expensive than online sources. But I value the services they provide. All who are employed there are friendly and very helpful.

I myself work for a company who doesn't sell product at the cheapest price. But we're larger than most of our competitors. Why?

Because it's not about PRICE! It's about VALUE!

Communities also have value, in my humble opinion.
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Sean Tompkins
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Qualm wrote:

There is a solution, which I read many years ago in a Tom Peters book: incentivize EVERYONE. Most retail clerks, especially in a store like that, should be paid a commission - big enough to make them care a little bit.


Ugh. I agree that employers should find a way to motivate their employees - but have you BEEN to a store where people work on commission? All you've done is take burnout cash register operators who don't care about the customers and made them burnout hard-sell lie, cheat, and steal salesman who don't care about the customers. Cash will motivate them to TALK to you, but not to care about you.

There are lots of retail folks who do a great job and DO care about their customers - those are the stores I go back to.
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Nerds call me
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nomoredroids wrote:
Qualm wrote:
There is a solution, which I read many years ago in a Tom Peters book: incentivize EVERYONE. Most retail clerks, especially in a store like that, should be paid a commission - big enough to make them care a little bit.


I think they do have incentives. It's called do your job or get fired.


Commission solves nothing. It only produces pushy half-wits who think they are knowledgable in the area but know next to nothing about it (see: Best Buy).
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A.J. Sansom
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nomoredroids wrote:
Qualm wrote:
There is a solution, which I read many years ago in a Tom Peters book: incentivize EVERYONE. Most retail clerks, especially in a store like that, should be paid a commission - big enough to make them care a little bit.


I think they do have incentives. It's called do your job or get fired.


This! Since when does everyone need constant praise and recognition and incentives to do your job?!?
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Daniel Kearns
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ajax013 wrote:
Since when does everyone need constant praise and recognition and incentives to do your job?!?


Not sure but this is the direction higher eduction is going too. (Edit: to clarify, the teacher is expected to motivate/entertain students to learn.)

Annoys the hell out of me.
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Mark McEvoy
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An aside:

jaqviolet wrote:
It also doesn't hurt to offer a special order if you don't carry something, because I know that shop does that.


I can hardly imagine any poster on this site taking up an FLGS' special order offer. If you're an internet-competent individual in an FLGS it's because you want something NOW and don't want to order online (in which case you could assuredly get it cheaper, just not *today*).

If they don't have what I want in stock today, and I'm going to have to wait at least a few days anyway, why would I pay FLGS prices *and* have to come back to the store again at a later date, when I could get the game cheaper, delivered to my door, in about the same amount of time?

The only advantage FLGS has over online is immediacy. FLGS - immediacy = better-off-not-involving-the-FLGS. The 'get your store to special order it for you' concept seems, to me, to be stuck in the 20+ years ago.
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mike
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That’s a complete failure by the owner/ manager, they need to set the standard for their store. Retail and Restaurants stay in business because of repeat customers. They are not a place to hang out, and there is no reason to cop an attitude with customers for asking a question. Sure the hourly wages in retail are not great and yes there is a high turnover of employees, because they are generally going to leave if they can get more hours somewhere else or get even a little more per hour somewhere else, however that is no excuse for bad service.

I’ve run a few stores in my day and in this environment there is no reason one of the workers couldn’t have said hello as you came in and said if there is anything you need just let us know. That way they’re not badgering you like say best buy when you get hounded by sales associates, but at least they are acknowledging you are there. If they don’t know they can order something for the customer than again that goes back to the owner/manager for not providing that information or proper training.
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Shayne Gray
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nomoredroids wrote:
Qualm wrote:
There is a solution, which I read many years ago in a Tom Peters book: incentivize EVERYONE. Most retail clerks, especially in a store like that, should be paid a commission - big enough to make them care a little bit.


I think they do have incentives. It's called do your job or get fired.


That is true, except a lot of retail places pay minimum wage and it is not hard at all to get a minimum wage job. You get fired, so what you just go down the street and get another job at some other place.
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RJD
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jaqviolet wrote:

I show up, and nobody offers any help, which is fine, but I over hear the 2 clerks talking about something that relates to my line of work; Something I'm very knowledgeable about, so I interject. Admittedly, I jumped into a conversation I wasn't a part of, but I was the customer, and I was trying to be friendly. The response I get is 2 dead stares and silence. Then I ask if they carry a game I was looking for and they blow me off saying they don't have it and make a sarcastic remark about the game title.

I've been a retail clerk in the not too distant past, it really isn't hard to humor a customer and have a conversation with them. It also doesn't hurt to offer a special order if you don't carry something, because I know that shop does that. Getting attitude from 2 burn outs is an instant way to lose my business.

There is one or two other shops in my area I might check out, but they are more comic and model based shops which aren't things I'm interested in.

I tried to support my local game store, but I think I'm completely fine with ordering games online from amazon, without the attitude and high prices.


Of course, if no one ever tells the owner/manager, then there's far less of a chance the problem will ever get fixed.
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Nathan Bergom
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I wish I could bring myself to support my FLGS, I really do. They're very friendly, and they seem to know their stuff. The problem is, the stuff they know is Magic the Gathering, not board games. Fridays and Saturdays are completely devoted to Magic, while board games are relegated to Thursday evenings (if that; they've moved all of their announcements to Facebook, which I refuse to use). If they were as enthusiastic about board games as they are about Magic, I'd probably stop making online purchases altogether to support this place.

At least the restaurant it's attached to is amazing, and it's nice to keep those dollars circulating locally.

soccastar001 wrote:
Edit: Just realized I should give a shout out since the store is so amazing. Family Game Store in Savage, MD

I keep hearing great things about this place, but it's quite the hike for me. I may just have to make the drive some day just to check it out.
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rudd 1
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-i am fortunate to have 3 really good stores in my area with solid/helpful staff.

-i am a believer in supporting local "brick and mortar" operations whenever possible...if they have an item i desire in stock i dont mind paying 10-12 bucks more than at coolstuff or nws. *however* if i have to special order a game im gonna do it online. if i have to wait i may as well get the best possible price.

-one thing i do to ease my conscience is to try and pick up "cheaper" games locally. paying 30-40% more on a $15-20 game is a helluva lot easier to swallow than pay in 70 bucks for a game i can acquire for 40ish on teh intrawebs.
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Liam
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My worst one was visiting a store to buy a rules expansion - hurrah they had a copy!

Then the owner told me emphatically that I really shouldn't get it, as I didn't need it as it was all online at X.com and I would be a fool to buy it from him today.

While I really admire the non-greed orientated viewpoint of the owner, I don't think I've had a more baffling and off putting sales experience ever. I wanted a hard copy and he had one to sell... but being slightly under the weather and a irritated I left empty handed, despite solely going into town for that reason.

As a result I won't be shopping there ever again. Very odd and somewhat regrettable outcome of honest, kind but misguided customer service.

Ug... maybe I'll give it another go after a break. The fact that he gave me the website demonstrates he's a nice guy... but perhaps lousy shopkeep.

Feedback:

In your case I would simply write a letter to the manger - copying and pasting from this forum. They need to know that their staff are failing in their duties.
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Jack Brittain
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UnluckyNumber wrote:


Of course, if no one ever tells the owner/manager, then there's far less of a chance the problem will ever get fixed.


I'm thinking of doing just that, but honestly, I think anybody could have taken one look at those 2 cashiers and realized they weren't going to be good employees.

I understand their job is wrangling smelly MTG kids all day (I used to be an MTG kid, although I wasn't the smelly variety), but you have to recognize the differences between your customers. Smelly MTG kid has sticky quarters to buy soda and candy bars, I have multiple lines of credit, equity, and nobody but myself keeping tabs on my spending habits. I'm easy to convince to buy things, in fact, they had 3 games I was willing to buy and it would have been over $60 in total (I know, not a fortune, but a decent, easy sale)

To be fair, I'm still fairly young, and I have very radical, outlandish ideas about the world, but I still know when it's time to work and when its time to be a smart ass.

I was in retail a few years ago selling dvds making under $10 an hour, and you know what, having an income is better than no income, especially in this day and age. I've never been fired from a job because regardless of how much I couldn't stand doing something stupid for little pay, I recognized that my actions have an impact. Sure, I ended up quitting those jobs and moving on to better things, but I also have a long list of people who would recommend me for a job in a heart beat, despite me leaving their company, because I had a good attitude and I was good at making people feel good about buying stuff.

I'm also fine with supporting my local community so long as it is worth supporting. This game shop didn't sell me on that, as well as a lot of other local businesses in my area. If you are going to open a small business and charge more, you better offer something more than a large retailer. Great customer service is a very large part of that. Otherwise, I see no reason why not to shop at wal-mart or amazon, etc. As long as I can get what I want at a low price with little to no hassle, I'll take that over a large price tag and attitude any day. Supporting your community goes both ways, it shouldn't just be an obligation because it is "the right thing to do."
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Robert Beachler
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While I agree that working retail can seriously suck and pretty much these days offers nothing to the low wage employee in the way of benefits there is always something to be said for taking pride in your work no matter what.

A place that has bad attitude employees typically says to me that the owner is no better and probably just hired his buddies to work for him so he can goof off all day.

I've been in a variety of game and comic stores over the years and those that last are typically ran by a nice person who loves what they do and enjoys helping people. A quality they look for in their employees as well. If I don't feel that the first time I visit a shop there is a good chance I will never go back.
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UnluckyNumber wrote:


Of course, if no one ever tells the owner/manager, then there's far less of a chance the problem will ever get fixed.


Even odder is, for a brick and mortar games store, one would think the first person you would see at the counter...is the owner. I like seeing the owner each time I go into my FLGS. It gives me the sense of that if I am willing to put in the time to support my local businesses, so are they.
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mike
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You’re right it is easy for retail employees to go down the street to get another job which is why an owner/manager can’t afford to keep bad employees around. An owner is in it for the long haul, while most employees are nomads. Bad customer service will ruin your reputation faster than anything. It takes allot to turn a store around that isn’t doing well or where customers stopped going from having bad experiences.

I got thrown into such a situation my first time as general manager, the previous GM thought the store was their personally hang out, was friends with the cashiers, didn’t really care too much about the store or the customers. It took me a year and firing all the previous employees to turn the store around, get all the merchandise where it should have been, clean up the store and get customers back in. I can’t even tell you how many weeks I went without time off.

Case in point this thread. Some customers won’t be as nice as Jack as to not name the store or employees if he got their names. They’ll be all over facebook and twitter saying how much that hated their experience at store X and how cashiers A and B were complete tools and how they would never shop there again.

I would certainly bring up the issue with the owner/manager especially if it happens more than once. One time incident you can often overlook but if there is a trend then it needs to be dealt with and if they have to hire someone else then so be it.
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Dave James

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Quint Wheeler
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DaveJames wrote:
You can catch more flies with a cup of honey than you can with a cup of vinegar.



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Zalendar wrote:
nomoredroids wrote:
Qualm wrote:
There is a solution, which I read many years ago in a Tom Peters book: incentivize EVERYONE. Most retail clerks, especially in a store like that, should be paid a commission - big enough to make them care a little bit.


I think they do have incentives. It's called do your job or get fired.


That is true, except a lot of retail places pay minimum wage and it is not hard at all to get a minimum wage job. You get fired, so what you just go down the street and get another job at some other place.


On the other hand, minimum wage jobs generally require little to no skills (which is why they are minimum wage), so they ought not to be hard to fill. A person who lacks the disposition for retail is easily replaced by someone who has it.
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jaqviolet wrote:
Then I ask if they carry a game I was looking for and they blow me off saying they don't have it and make a sarcastic remark about the game title.


Sooooo, what was the game title ? whistle
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Juan Medina
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Sorry to hear your FLGS is missing the F.

I am happy to say that my local stores (San Antonio area) are really good. I do not buy every game from them, but I do buy a good deal of them there. My main store is http://dlair.net/sanantonio/. Their service is really awesome. They stock a good selection of games and have gaming space available. The personnel there is not super knowledgeable on board games, yet they will try hard to give you as much help as they can.
I also do drive to Austin exclusively to browse games at a game store I love, http://www.greathallgames.com/. They also have play space, and a real good combination of classic games, board games and war games (probably the best all around store I have "nearby"). They do have some staff with good knowledge about board games, so they can actually do some really solid recommendations.

It is a shame your store does not have the right people. I have found that most of the ones I go to are owned and manned by people that like games, comics and miniatures (or some combination of that). Hiring someone to clerk only is probably not what a geek with a question is hoping for.

So, though I am lucky, I do share your point of view. I am also reluctant to go back to a business where service was subpar, where I really like going back to places where people showed genuine interest in helping me out and remain loyal just for that.
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