Column by Marcus King
Posted by Marcus King on November 8, 2017 @ 4:40 am CT
Owning a game store is a life's dream for many retailers, and that is exactly what is wrong with owning a game store. Most retailers get into this industry thinking "Hey, I can do that better." The problem is that there are no training schools for how to run a game store, no courses offered at your local or state colleges, not a lot of help out there.
Most new retailers have little retail sales experience at best. Things they may have learned working in retail as a young person they carry with them. One such saying is: “The Customer Is Always Right.”
In my opinion, after 31 years of retail experience, that is not the case. Sure, it is OUR job as retailers to give our customers what they want. WITHIN REASON.
Any customer who comes into my shop can expect a clean store, well-lit retail displays, a great selection of new and used games in all genres, tens of thousands of comics, all the top CCG boosters, packs, singles and more - and friendly courteous respectful assistance from a highly trained and qualified staff.
We call all customers by name if we know them, or sir and ma'am if we do not know their names. We charge fair prices, allow 100% returns on any purchase for any reason if not satisfied, and will bag, box, giftwrap purchases. We offer custom gift Coins for those who cannot find just the right item, and we will ship an item anywhere they want for a low fee. With over a million dollars of inventory, and nearly 20 people on staff, we are a big city games and comic store. Located in a small town. And, we are inclusive of nearly everyone: LBGT-friendly, minority-friendly, and accepting of all our customers.
However, we do not allow certain behavior. Kids who roughhouse at our game tournaments or leagues are asked to leave. Kids who wear their pants low on their hips showing their underwear are told to leave, and not come back until their parents learn how to dress them. We do not allow cursing, yelling, leaning back on two legs of our chairs, or vaping.
It takes some time for most new retailers to realize that not every person who comes into their store is a customer. Not every person who walks in the door wants to spend money, and not all of the gamers or collectors who walk in your door are people you WANT in your store.
We ban thieves for life, and have no issue banning someone who is popular, and starting over rebuilding our entire player base for any game, including Magic, Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh!.
At Mad Ox Games & Comics, in London, Kentucky. we do not allow our customers to sell single cards in the store. We have a trade-sell day for that, but ONLY allow it on Saturdays. We do not allow customers to try to steal deals, either. Five times in the past year I have had people trying to sell me used games when a "customer" walked over and tried to sour the deal by offering them more. Each time we waited for the seller to leave, and then banned the "sniper" from the store, permanently.
For a new retailer it takes a while to learn that it's "okay" to tell someone that they are not welcome in your establishment. And, over the years, I have had every reaction you can imagine when giving that news. I have had women threaten to kick my butt, and men break down crying, kids wet their pants, and elderly people curse a blue streak.
April will mark my 32nd year as a games retailer. And, I have been dealing in back issue comics even longer. I have owned game shops in Michigan and Alaska and Kentucky. I have been self-employed as a primary means of income for 27 years. I like it. But, that is because I make the rules.
"The Shop Owner Is Always Right."
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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