Frank Edwards of Docking Bay 94 Comics and Games in Coconut Creek, Florida read Wizards of the Coast's response regarding the date conflict of their Magic: The Gathering--New Phyrexia pre-release with Free Comic Book Day (see "'Magic' and FCBD") and had this to say.

"We schedule events to maximize overall player and store satisfaction."  That was the Wizards of the Coasts quote.  Neither is being accomplished in our neck of the woods (South Florida).

The organizers of Free Comic Book Day created an event.  They promoted it (at some expense) and pushed it for 10 years.  They earned their success.  It's a second "Black Friday" of wonderfully high sales for us perfectly timed at the opposite end of the year, just when we need it.  Along comes WotC and they are faced with a decision.  Can they also create buzz for their own product, or do they just hijack someone else's audience?  They took the easy way out.  As is their trend, demonstrated by scheduling their Dungeon & Dragaons events for Wednesdays specifically because it's the day new comics come out (this reasoning was confirmed to me by a WotC employee).

Any big sale, party or promotion carries with it a downside.  The week after (and perhaps the week before) can be proportionally slower.  Either because your crowd over spent at the sale, or is saving up for the sale, thinking, "I'm going to the event next week, I can skip this shop this week."  People only have a certin amont of money each week.  There are 52 weeks in a year.  And they can't all be Christmas.  We, as retailers and vendors, need to think of 52 reasons for people to WANT to come in each week.  We have comic regulars and gamer regulars, a few hybrids and as Brian Hibbs calls them, a few "civilians" who may see a string of cars outside my store and wander in to find out why.  They need a reason to spend their "fun" money on us and not
some other diversion.

A comic shop is busy enough on Wednesday, a little less on Thursday and then Saturday.  Three out of seven days.  You want to do Friday Night Magic?  Great idea!  Make my Fridays busier. You want to try the same idea with D&D?  Put it on Sunday or Monday when I have nothing better to do with my tables.  MAKE an event, not piggy back Wednesdays.  A pre-release for games could be wonderful if it's two weeks before or after the week the comic customers filled the store. (I could buy more Magic with all that FCBD cash I made.)  But noooooo, this year I have to pay for the big FCBD order pretty much the same week I buy all the Magic: The Gathering I can still cash flow my way into.

My players are not getting "satisfaction" either, because, the three ring circus of FCBD gets in they way of player concentration.  It also ties up tables normally used for CCGs.  The 4 pre-releases/ releases of M:TG could be four more weeks of the 52 we have a reason to celebrate.  I loved the results of the October and February release parties.  But I have officially told WotC that if they schedule again for the first Saturday in May, we will NOT participate.  I'm hoping that if many other retailers do the same, they'll do the right thing to ACTUALLY "maximize overall player and store satisfaction."

The flower and greeting card industry was wise enough not to put Valentines Day, Secretaries Day, Mother's Day, and Fathers Day all in the same month.  Cinco deMayo is a fairly ignored holiday in Mexico until Corona Beer brought it to the USA so they could have their own version of St. Patrick's Day.  We can see other industries doing it.  Any guy who's bought flowers has complained about it.  Why can't we be as wise to mimic it in our own industry for the "satisfaction" of all concerned.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of