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Subject: Support your local hobby shop? rss

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Ed
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Hi everyone,

The hobby shops in this area all seem to devote a fair amount of space for gaming. I've met people who share my interest in games and learned several new games this way and really appreciate the fact that these stores are letting me use their space for free for hours at a time to have fun. One place even has a refrigerator filled with soft drinks you can buy by dropping fifty cents into a jar on top of the refrigerator. How can you beat that?

I'm starting to feel like a louse for buying many of my games online and not supporting my local game stores. I haven't done a price comparison, although I suspect the online retailers are a few dollars cheaper even after shipping. Anyway, I'm starting to reach the conclusion I need to start buying my games from my local game stores to support what they're doing for the hobby.

Anyone else feel the same way?

Ed
 
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anoni mouse
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Heya Ed I see from your profile we are both living in the same village. I know that I occasionally hit Matchplay. But I have not really tried a gaming night anyplace.... yet. I keep telling my self one of these days. I could careless if the shop has the on site food and drink. Heck if there is a store within 2~3 block walk then I am happy
 
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Mark Crane
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I need to do this. It hurts to compare prices. Memoir 44 is $34 online, + $6.00 shipping=$40, and is $50 at all of the local shops, or 20 percent more. Still, I wouldn't balk at paying five bucks a month to use the space, so if you look at it that way you're not really paying a premium, and you get to open the game immediately and play it!

Sometimes a group member will leave $20 with the owner, but maybe it would be better to put that into buying a game, so the owner sees the traffic leading to *some* sales. If a group of four all donated $5.00 to someone who was going to buy a game anyway, that person could get the game at online prices. The recipient of the monthly $20 could rotate among members. Just an idea, I'm sure there are flaws with that system.
 
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Michael Sosa
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Yep. I buy a lot of games locally for that reason. I'm willing to pay $10 more to buy it at the store and get it NOW rather than waiting. Also I buy one game every two-three weeks and only once have made a large online order. I have another large order planned, but games keep getting crossed out as I buy them locally. The store owner has now decided to host a board gaming night every week, a winning proposition for all.
 
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William Tan
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I support my local store as much as possible even when I know that the pricing will be higher. I do check the online pricing to ensure that I'm not getting ripped off though.

How much of a markup would you accept? That's probably up to the individual. Set some sort of personal percentage...maybe 5% or something. Realise, before you set an impossibly low figure, that the store has to pay for its rental, storage of games, employees, and purchasing of the games.

At the end of the day, there'll be those who want to take advantage of the store's facilities, yet thrift by buying all their games online. You can't help that...

But if you support your local store, at least you know you're doing your part in keeping it there for you the next day.

The local stores could certainly help by having memberships with discounted pricing for usual customers. (And higher priority to the facilities.)
 
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What Ryan fails to see is the unintended consequence of not buying locally when it's possible. It sounds like the originator of this thread has a nice local store and though I wouldn't feel guilty if I was him, I'd want to buy there instead of online. And I'd ask the store owner for a discount too.

The idea that a $50 retail game cannot be had for less locally is silly if you live where there is any competition or where the game store owner has customer discounts. Further, if you buy so many games that paying an extra $5 or $10 for a game will mean you cannot afford more games then I suspect you're over budget to begin with. Let's assume the average Geek who claims online means they can afford more games buys one game a week and the average retail is $25 per game ~ assuming some retail for $10 or $15 and others go for $30, $40 or more. That's a grand total of about $1200 per year... at retail. So if you save up and buy every single game from someone like Thoughthammer and every single one of the games is 30% off and every single order is $100 minimum, then you save $400 for the year.

I don't know about you, but it sure seems easier to approach your store owner, ask tell him or her you spend about $1200 a year and suggest they give you say, a 15% discount, so long as you prepay and order no less than $100 a pop... same as you'd do with Thoughthammer. Now you're paying $200 a year so you can support your local economy, your local gaming community and also avoid the unintended consequence of good games never getting enough in-store exposure to take off and grow the market overall.

How do you replace the $200 in your budget? Easy, that's one less Metrosexual-Effeminate-Chocolate-Enriched-Latte from your local corporate coffee overlords, serving pansified wussy-boys everywhere.

 
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John Farrell
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ed95005 wrote:
Anyone else feel the same way?


My local games stores don't provide space to play. They don't even know why they stock particular games - just because the supplier had them. OTOH, I have gamed with 2 Australian internet games sellers. I don't think the FLGS offer enough value for the extra money, so i'm going to ignore them if I can. I'd rather support the people who support the hobby.
 
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J Kee
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I have purchase some games online, but I enjoy buying them at the local game shop much more. Yes, I can save a few bucks here and there (which can add up) but the loss of a game shop is potentially tremendous. As an example, I read a lot of science fiction. One Saturday morning I woke up a couple of years ago to watch a space shuttle landing on TV and saw it disintegrate into nothing live in front of my eyes. Exceedingly depressed by this, I went later that day to a local sci-fi/fantasy bookshop here in Evanston, IL called "The Stars Our Destination". This store had been around for over two decades in various locations around Chicago and was one of the best bookstores I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. That day as I perused the stacks, I overheard the owner, Alice Bentley, mention to another customer that she was closing the store in the near future. I was stunned. This institution of sci-fi/fanatasy (where I had Neal Stephenson sign my motorcycle at a book signing once) was going out of business due to competition from the internet. Needless to say, this news further compounded my misery. I resolved to purchase my books, games and other sundry items that are important to me at local independent shops. The value to me of the community that typically surrounds these retailers is immeasurable compared to the 10 or 20 % I can save by buying titles from Amazon, etc.

 
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Barak Engel
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Quote:
I don't know about you, but it sure seems easier to approach your store owner, ask tell him or her you spend about $1200 a year and suggest they give you say, a 15% discount, so long as you prepay and order no less than $100 a pop


I think you're very right. Of course, some shop owners would not go for it and therefore lose you as a customer. I've had this experience contrasted at two local stores. The first one is Black Diamond Games in Walnut Creek; the owner, a nice guy who is very knowledgeable, would not be willing to discuss anything relating to discounts, regardless of what commitments I was willing to make. I don't buy any games there.

The guys in Gamescape SF, on the other hand, have put me in their system as part of their "loyal customer" program (basically once you've spent $250 on games with them), and now I get a 10% on anything I buy there. In the past couple of months I've spent over $200 in the store.

Not sure which owner made the better decision, but I think it has the be Gamescape. I easily spend over $1000 a year on games - easily - and I am more than happy to divert a significant portion of that money to a local store, as long as the disparity in prices isn't (IMO of course) insane. If anyone would give me a 20% discount regularly I will buy pretty much everything at their store. At 10% they get a pretty nice chunk of my business. Below that the onlines win.
 
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Scott Mellon
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It's simple, if you like the local shop, and want to see it stick around, then buy there.

I have found that using onlne retailers costs me more money. I get more games, but I spend more money. (Just one more, and I'll get free shipping!).

Do we need to buy games that fast? I still have about 10% of my collection unplayed, and have 3 more games on order.

Just my thought, take from it what you will.
 
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Gary Heidenreich
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If they have space to play in and offer game night, etc. Buy locally. We FINALLY have a game store on my side of town (opened in late Nov) that has space to play and just started Game Nights on Wed., Fri., and Saturdays. Also, they have Go nights on Thursdays and Sundays. Whoooo! I have almost always bought locally with my exception of purchasing from Robbirob for any overseas game I cannot get here. One thing the new store does is on game nights, you pay $5 and you then receive an instore credit for the next week. I like that. Mind you, this store carries ONLY board games. No Warhammer, CCGs, Role Playing books. Just board games. If I go down to a game night (been to one, so far, plan on more) and use their space, time and effort, dropping $5 is nothing. They stayed open for an extra 1.5 hours the first Friday I was down there. I got to play a few games, one I never played before (Haicenda), meet some new, interesting people and enjoy an evening of games GEARED at board games. For $5.

Also, I have to agree with Mr. Tripp.
 
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Chris Kice
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I used to go out of my way to do about 40% of my shopping at a FLGS when they had tables in the back and let groups game in store. Unfortunately, they decided that the comic and book side of their store was making more money so they gutted their game stock and turned the gaming space into a storeroom. I don't shop there any more. (While I do wonder what would have happened if more people shopped the game side of the store, truth be told they were a book store first from day one and were never really a true game store.)

My only other FLGSes are the crappy stores at the mall that sell 4 billion different editions of Monopoly, poker chip sets, slot machines, and - oh, yeah - a few dusty copies of "real" games. If I happen to be in the mall, I'll stop in to see if there are any sales going on, but otherwise make no effort to shop there.

If you have a good FLGS and like to spend time there, you owe it to yourself to do at least some of your shopping there. If you prefer shopping on line, at least offer to host in-store demos of games to help introduce people to new games (and, hopefully, to get the store some sales and/or new customers).
 
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Allen Vailliencourt
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generalpf wrote:

If you can, buy everything from your FLGS. My area doesn't have competition, so my FLGS doesn't discount. $67.99 for Tigris & Euphrates? It's $45 online.


I'm with you here on this one. My FLGS is the only one in town (in the mall). All (or at least the games I've priced) are all MSRP. I find it hard to drop $50.00 on a game that I can get for $31 @ Timewellspent.org. I'm supporting the industry both ways IMO.

They don't offer gamenights so I don't feel particularly loyal to them either.

My budget determines where I shop. If they had sales and good deals then I'll buy from them.
 
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Magic Pink
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Not a bit. I'll support my local store when they can match prices. I don't use them for anything else.
 
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Magic Pink
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generalpf wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
How do you replace the $200 in your budget? Easy, that's one less Metrosexual-Effeminate-Chocolate-Enriched-Latte from your local corporate coffee overlords, serving pansified wussy-boys everywhere.

I hate the skip-the-coffee argument.


I hate the pathetic slam on anyone not a "manly-man" myself.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Of course, if no such local hobby shop exists, that makes it a lot easier to decide.

Even so, I buy at a hobby shop in London (Playinggames)...which is absurdly costly given train fares and so on. But I think its a great shop. I may buy online if I really neeed games fast. Even then I buy from Shire Games, which are a local store too, in their part of Staffordshire.

I drink a lot of coffee. Actually I make 2 cups of coffee at the same time and then drink both, about 3 times a day. But cutting down would not generate much money, maybe 5p a cup?
 
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Jeff Coon
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DWTripp wrote:
How do you replace the $200 in your budget? Easy, that's one less Metrosexual-Effeminate-Chocolate-Enriched-Latte from your local corporate coffee overlords, serving pansified wussy-boys everywhere.


You can take my $200, my 30% online discount, and my latte when you pry them from my cold dead hands.

To me, this is a simple argument. If your FLGS is providing you value-add, try to give them some business. How much business is up to you. However, if your FLGS doesn't give you anything in return like space to play, loyalty discounts, etc. (mine doesn't), they probably don't deserve your business.

I don't give anyone $200 a year without getting something in return.

I'm off to get a latte.
 
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Robert M
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Valien wrote:
generalpf wrote:

If you can, buy everything from your FLGS. My area doesn't have competition, so my FLGS doesn't discount. $67.99 for Tigris & Euphrates? It's $45 online.


I'm with you here on this one. My FLGS is the only one in town (in the mall). All (or at least the games I've priced) are all MSRP. I find it hard to drop $50.00 on a game that I can get for $31 @ Timewellspent.org. I'm supporting the industry both ways IMO.

They don't offer gamenights so I don't feel particularly loyal to them either.

My budget determines where I shop. If they had sales and good deals then I'll buy from them.


FYI, they do offer a $10 discount card to give you 10% off. That is enough to bring the price close on many games if you aren't ordering enough to get the free shipping.

Just need to compare and decide if the difference is worth the wait.
 
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Brian A
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DWTripp wrote:
And I'd ask the store owner for a discount too.

As a consumer, I actually resent not having the lowest price options advertised to me. I don't like the bazaar atmosphere. If there is a sign on the wall or in a newsletter that says "Frenzy Club! Order $1000 or more in one year and get 20% off all games the next year" or somesuch, fine. Or if there is some kind of punchcard system, etc.

But suggesting the consumer ask for a lower price? In this economy where everyone's cards are (for good or for bad) on the table, I don't even have do that with vehicle purchases anymore.


DWTripp wrote:
How do you replace the $200 in your budget? Easy, that's one less Metrosexual-Effeminate-Chocolate-Enriched-Latte from your local corporate coffee overlords, serving pansified wussy-boys everywhere.

I am guessing this hackneyed generalization of coffee consumers and coffee businesses will be passed off as a joke?
 
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Propo Pod wrote:
But suggesting the consumer ask for a lower price? In this economy where everyone's cards are (for good or for bad) on the table, I don't even have do that with vehicle purchases anymore.

Yeah I kind of have to agree with that. It's not like the markets of old where I can haggle because there's another guy 50 meters away selling the same stuff. Haggling with the threat of ordering online just doesn't work in retail. Not even so-called price matching policies will consider an online deal.

And anyway, while the local game store around me does have places to game, but I'm just simply not interested in that atmosphere for gaming. I like to game in a more intimate setting with relatively few people (6 or less). While I will occasionally give business to my LGS, it's only to suit my own whims, not because they're particularly providing me with a service.

The ability to physically browse the games before purchasing will be rewarded with a purchase if I find something suitably satisfying, in both my needs and price point. I don't really see how buying a game is any different from buying a DVD.

Nick
 
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Mike zebrowski
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Propo Pod wrote:
But suggesting the consumer ask for a lower price?


Why not? If you are making a large purchase and can speak to someone who has the authority, why not try to make a deal?

Quote:
In this economy where everyone's cards are (for good or for bad) on the table, I don't even have do that with vehicle purchases anymore.


1) Not all of the cards are on the table. If they were, people wouldn't be complaining about the price difference.

2) Vehicles still have alot of wiggly room when it comes to price. The "no haggle low price" was a brilliant marketing ploy that has convinced people that the price that they are paying is the rock-bottom price. However, if is was true, then why do dealerships still have year-end deals? If they were already at "rock-bottom" prices, then where is the money coming from?

Mike Z
 
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Quote:
I'll support my local store when they can match prices. I don't use them for anything else.


Of course we've all heard this particularly shallow argument. The only way there's any integrity at all attached to it is if the holder of this view point applies that exact same standard to every aspect of their entertainment spending. FWIW, the only person here that I am almost certain does that is Kobra1, the creator of the CPP formula.

Ejamer gets it though, as do many others... if you can't afford to buy a large quantity of games without getting a 30% discount then you probably can't afford high speed internet access, your monthly World of Warcraft fee, your online porn fee, the nice pc you use, the iPod or any of the many extras you have in your life. My argument is simple, if you are fortunate enough to have a good nearby store or two and they treat you well, then using their assets without supporting them is parasitic and selfish.

The unintended consequence of supporting online discounters over nearby B&M stores is that eventually this might reduce the number of venues for many new games to be seen by potential gamers, RPG gamers who may come over from the dark side, CCG players who are getting burnt out on that money pit or comic geeks who happen by and get invited to see a demo. None of these are offered by online merchants. Online merchants serve exisiting game geeks and sometimes the recent family and friend converts. B&M stores are what this whole genre was founded on and without them there would many, many fewer new titles being published.

Quote:
I hate the pathetic slam on anyone not a "manly-man" myself.


Probably not as much as I hate the pathetic inability to see beyond one's own nose. Well, that and the fact that there really are people who lack any sense of humor, irony, sarcasm or grip on how the world really works.

Lots of BGG members are online buyers for reasons other than they're incredibly cheap and niggardly about what they'll spend on a board game. Some retail stores suck bad. Some won't listen to reason as far as ordering and expanding their customer base. Many people live too far from a good store for it to be worth buying locally. Oh yeah, then there are just some games that are not easily available through customary retail channels. I'm not suggesting that saving money is bad or that buying online is wrong... I'm just pointing out that if you have a good store and you can support it, there are a multitude of reasons to do so and even many more ways to replace the $200 extra it might cost you.

As for me, the way I look at it, it's only $200 and I'll pay that and more if it'll keep local game retailers affluent and enthusiastic.
 
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I do both. A lot of times my local game shop doesn't carry what I want or the price difference is too great, so I don't even buy the game. If I am looking to buy several games and most are cheaper online I might make an order and get games I wouldn't have purchased otherwise. But usually I buy individual games locally.

However, because I consistently buy from the same shop I occassionally get perks such as first dibs on discounted games. I've overpaid many times but I get phenomenal deals too. I got the second edition ASLSK for ~$15US. I got a damaged copy of Conquest of the Empire for $20US.

So, I say buy locally as much as you can. Be friends with the owner and the perks along the way should balance things out if you buy any sizable quantity of games in a year.
 
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Kevin McF
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When I worked in the retail market at a large national chain of stores (not gaming reltaed) I grew to hate the question, "Is that the best you can do?" Depending on my mood I would ask what they meant or tell them that I could do better, but it wouldn't fit in the alotted budget the customer gave me. THat was never what they meant, they always wanted to know if I could lower the price. I guess if one never asks, one will never save any money. However, the store had a discount program the customer could use and everyone knew it; it was advertised all over the place. One nice thing about an FLGS is that they are just that: friendly and local. I think that knowing the clerks/owners and them knowing you is much better than a national chain who probably have a lot of nameless faces.

I've already stated my method for choosing FLGS or internet, but as the topic has come up again I will mention it again. If my FLGS introduces me to a game (which they mostly do because I can go and play it first), I will buy it from them. If not, I go online.
 
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Ken B.
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DWTripp wrote:
The unintended consequence of supporting online discounters over nearby B&M stores is that eventually this might reduce the number of venues for many new games to be seen by potential gamers, RPG gamers who may come over from the dark side, CCG players who are getting burnt out on that money pit or comic geeks who happen by and get invited to see a demo.



Hey! That burnt out CCG guy was me!


DW, I remember mentioning this on another thread and we sort of hit one point but glossed over this....here was my progression to becoming a die-hard board gamer:


1. Board gaming as a child (Monopoly, e.t.c.)
2. RPG
3. CCG boom
4. Burnt out on CCGs...hear about War of the Ring and The Queen's Gambit from a hobby site I frequent
5. Google
6. BAM! Here I am. Nearly a thousand+ dollars later.



Now, we have two fairly sorry little places here to buy games, so perhaps I'm an exception.

However, I think the idea that someone will wander into a game store and get hooked on games is antiquated. Most hobby stores are in the cheapest places for rent possible and are therefore more succeptible to destination business rather than walk-in style visits.


Do I think it's worth supporting a local store? If it's a good one, absolutely. It's a Catch-22, though...many stores can't be "good" without your support in the first place.



So I'm saying that if the local store provides a value-added experience....knowledgable staff, good selection to BUY IT NOW!, tables for playing or a group-finding service for finding other, like-minded gamers...it's worth the premium.


But a local shop is not entitled to your business solely because it exists. Still, I'd give them a shot, but if you find your experience isn't up to snuff, don't feel guilty after that point.
 
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