Rolling for Initiative--Target Stores and Europe, Revisited
Column by Scott Thorne
Published: 08/05/2012 11:30pm
A couple more differences between European game stores and those in America came to mind after last week's column.
Trash-or rather the lack of it. Again, basing my experience on a sample of two game stores visited during midweek, but the gaming areas in both stores were quite clean, as were the streets outside. Typically, after a gaming session at our store, even when we remind people to clean up after themselves, we find a stray paper cup or soda can, crumpled paper and candy bar or card wra ppers on the floor or in the recycling can. Nothing like that in either World of Games or 7 Kingdoms. This might be due to the limited number of snacks sold in the store (as far as I could tell, limited to soda and coffee), but, based upon the trashless streets outside, I would attribute it to the culture instead. Even on a pretty warm July day, I saw few people carrying bottles of water or cups or cans of soda. Nor were many walking around eating as Americans are wont to do. No trash sources carried around means much less available for tossing on the ground.
Handicapped accessible means something different that it does in the states. One store had a "Handicapped Accessible" sign on its front door but the raised sill on the door and lack of entrance ramp meant that anyone in a wheelchair would encounter significant difficulty entering the store. Once inside, the crowded sales floor and narrow aisles (maximizing floor space as much as possible) meant that anyone in a wheelchair or on crutches would have a problem navigating the space. One woman pushing a baby stroller took up the entire width of the aisle and had to navigate corners slowly. A wheelchair would have much more difficulty. The gaming space, as mentioned last week, is on a separate floor from the retail area, up a narrow staircase, completely unreachable by anyone in a wheelchair (though, granted, both stores occupied older buildings and had been grandfathered in regarding accessibility but still, why the "handicapped accessible" sign? I was told it was because the store had a handicapped parking space right outside its door, and sure enough, it did. Apparently, that was enough to qualify as accessbile.
Just a follow up thought on the Mayfair Games' exclusive agreement with Target vis a vis the Star Trek Catan game. Mayfair indicated that communications with distributors indicated not enough interest in the game for Mayfair to justify a product run for the specialty game industry. However, Mayfair does have its Authorized Retailer Program and a survey of participants in it would have helped retailers feel that they had at least had the opportunity to make their viewpoints and likely purchases of the game known to Mayfair before the company made its decision. The result would probably have been the same, but including the retailers, who have sold Catan and other Mayfair games far longer than Settlers has been available in mass market retailers, would have been certainly helped lessen the surprise when the announcement was made.
As long as I am talking about Target and the hobby game industry, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the recent agreement announced between the retailer and Geek & Sundry. From August 1 through October 31 of this year, games that have appeared on the Geek & Sundry TableTop program AND are currently carried by Target will get promoted by the retailer with a "Geek & Sundry" sticker. There was no special arrangement with Target to get these games into the store; all of them involved in the promotion had already been brought into Target by the Target games buyer. From Geek & Sundry's point of view, this is quite a coup as Target is currently the largest corporate partner with which any YouTube channel has associated. From the viewpoint of the game publishers, this can only help them increase sales. Specialty game retailers are less delighted, but Geek & Sundry associate producer Boyan Radakovich Boyan Radakovich says that FLGS are a vital part of the gaming community and has revealed that a Geek & Sundry promotion is planned specifically for hobby game retailers this fall (details to come).
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflct the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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