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Subject: Wayland's Forge - Birmingham rss

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Nick Henderson
United Kingdom
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We've just moved up to Birmingham from Exeter and were sad to say goodbye to the FANTASTIC Clifton Road Games down there. They were always helpful, really knew their stuff and were very happy to answer any tirade of questions thrown at them.

Anyway, I digress. We moved to Birmingham and couldn't believe that there was only one boardgame shop in such a massive city but low and behold, Wayland's Forge was the only one nearby.

We took a trip over there with a couple of games in mind to buy. The experience we had there not only put me off buying from them while we were there but also put me off buying from them ever again, even if they are cheaper.

I'd like to share the experience with you on here and see what y'all think about it.

First of all we weren't approached or even acknowledged by anyone in the shop. I'm not asking for phone-shop levels of customer approach but at the very least a "hello" or "can I help?" would make me feel welcome. My girlfriend and I turned up at about 1pm on a Monday and the first thing we saw was the cashier sitting back in his chair with his back to the door and his feet up on the till. The whole time we were in there he didn't move or say anything, surly much? There was a small group of people sat at the table chatting quietly and when we walked in they looked at us and seemed genuinely annoyed that we were in there.

We stood browsing the selection for about 5 minutes until we left feeling thoroughly let down and unwelcome.

I appreciate that there are off days but come-on, ultimately you are running a customer based business and (especially in niché retail such as this) every sale has to count, hasn't it?

Unfortunately this experience has put my off Wayland's Forge and I'll be looking elsewhere for my future purchases. Any suggestions welcome!


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Neil Blaiberg
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London
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Not sure if it's too far for you but spirit games in Burton is awesome
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Mark L
United Kingdom
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I have to say, it doesn't sound that bad to me.

Basically, your problem is that the one member of staff present didn't pay attention to you?

The other customers who were present may have been annoyed that you were in there, as you say, or you may just have misinterpreted their attitude. In any case, what would you expect the shop to do about that? It's not like they were actually rude to you.

While the cashier ignoring you is certainly not good practice, I've heard of much worse. One example springs to mind of a shop owner who obsessively followed customers round, watching them as if they were trying to steal the precious things of ths shop.

You don't say that you approached the cashier and asked him for advice or anything. Maybe he'd have been happy enough to help if you'd shown any sign of wanting it.

And even if that one guy has a poor idea of customer service, I'd at least give it another go when other members of staff are in (assuming there are others). Maybe if the owner/manager was made aware of the problem, they'd do something about it.
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Joe Browes
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Doesn't sound like a super-great experience but you probably ought to give them another chance. Being ignored by store staff is a personal bugbear of mine, and in a small shop that depends on repeat business building a relationship with yours customers is vital.

But everyone has off days and who among us is at their best on a Monday?

If they're consistently sub-par on your next few visits, open up your own store across the road and show 'em how it's done.
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Nick Case
England
Epsom
Surrey
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I was working on a short contract in Hagley Road a few years back and took a walk out to Waylands Forge to see what they had. The staff seemed pretty similar back then to what you describe and were hotly debating the merits and de-merits of a mego-blatotrom-zippididodar gun compared to plasma armour with intel chip (or some other bollocks). However they had quite good stock and I bought a few games as I remember.

And thats the point. I went in there to check out and and possibly buy some games, not have a deep and meaningful (or even a light and meaningless) conversation with a nut job in a Metallica t shirt with a scurfed back ponytail. Mission accomplished

If you want wide and varied chat, go speed dating.
 
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Geoff Hall
United Kingdom
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I admit that I haven't been there in years but I went to university in Birmingham and used to visit Wayland's Forge all of the time, that was before the shop moved to its current location. I've been in a handful of times since the move and, whilst I prefer the old shop layout, I never had any problems with the staff and the selection tends to be good.

I have friends in Brum who shop there fairly regularly now and they certainly don't seem to have any issue with the place.

And honestly, some people prefer not to be hassled by shop staff when they come in to browse. I'm one of them. I'll put up with it to a limited extent but I'd prefer they ignored me if I didn't engage with them. If I want something I'll ask. So the cashier remaining on the till and not bugging me? That would be a plus point as far as I'm concerned!
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Count me in as one of those people who if I need help, I'll ask. Otherwise I like my gamestore like I like my bookstore, or a library, quiet and left alone.

I remember my childhood FLGS. It had a stout fellow in the back wearing glasses, suspenders, bifocles, and a book fixated in front of his face. He owned the place and ran it. He played jazz on the PA, and never said a peep unless you asked him a question, or was ready to check out. I loved it. I could linger for hours reading this and that, petting the store cat(every good flgs should have a wandering cat)
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Charlie Wilson
England
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Maybe, that's where I went wrong with Northumbria Games (in Darlington). I smiled and gave a greeting when people came through the door - and if I had been reading (or eating my lunch [one-man-band]) put it down.
Only offering help IF they looked like they needed it - but not pushing it on them.
 
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Jason
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I think the first few times I walked into my local game store, I walked around the place for ages, picking up so many boxes - literally like a kid in a toy shop. I appreciated the space to do that, still do... I'm more than happy to have someone tip me a nod and leave me in peace.

What's nice about my local is if you pick something up you're never too far from a customer who might chip in with something positive to say.

A bit of banter goes a long way. And usually has my wallet in traction for a week afterwards.

Similarly, I've had some brilliant service and really prompt, friendly emails when I'm made contact with online stores. There's only a couple that I will absolutely never use again.
 
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Robyn Adams
United Kingdom
Birmingham
England
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I totally agree with the OP here. The staff at Waylands Forge are terrible. Ive worked in retail half my life and the customer service is shocking which is a shame because there new shop in its new location (Custard Factory, Digbeth) is AMAZING! Brilliant space, amazing selection. Sure some of the prices aren't as good as online but the main reason why I go into local board game shops is to see like minded people and to talk about what were exited about with our fellow geeks!
As soon as my boyfriend and i walked in i/we felt unwelcome.
I smiled at the person behind the counter and got a nonchalant scowl back, there was three other people in there who all ignored us, but they were discussing what titles to get that were a buzz from GenCon.
I usually would have jumped in on a convo like this, but i felt like i definitely would have been shot down if i did (and the fact that a couple of the games i wanted to enquire about, the two elder staff(?) members openly slagged off and took the mick out of.)
I mean other than the blatant disregard for potential life customers and the swearing, bad attitudes - i could go on, the shop is too lovely to not visit, but don't expect to have a great experience.
 
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Robyn Adams
United Kingdom
Birmingham
England
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every time Ive been in they have been the same! The best word my friends and I have used has been "Elitist"
 
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