Saturday, June 30, 2012

Good Shop, Bad Shop: My Comic Shop Pet Peeves

I have been meaning to write this for a while. I don't just love comics, I love comic shops. They hold the annals of comic history, and offer some idea of community no matter the quality. However, I have seen my fair share of mediocre and down right crappy shops that are both unpleasant to shop in and add to negative stereotypes of comics. I have compiled a list of what ruins a shop for me.
The Bad
1. Dirty, Cluttered, Unorganized
Boxes and random memorabilia should be blocking off half of the store. his should be a no brainer, but I have been to a shop where over 60% of the shop was just covered in stuff that would probably never go away. I can't imagine the owner knew where anything was, and my best suggestion would be to have a big de-cluttering sale. It is like being on a comic book version of "Hoarders". I have not seen another shop quite like this, but I am sure there are a few out there. There should be a system to inventory and any patron should be able to find it.

2. Bad Service
When I am signing my receipt, don't indignantly throw the pen at me, I am your patron and I just gave you money I could have spent online or at another shop. In any business service is key; this applies double for comics as the most well known example of a comic shop owner is Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons. Comics get an anti-social rap to begin with, and when some one actually fulfills those stereotypes, you hurt the medium and the culture. Greet people as they come in and don't yell when you are talking. I have only encountered truly bad service at a couple of places, but nothing makes a patron not want to come back more than treating them like a jerk for spending money in your shop.


3. Too Much Emphasis on Collecting
Let me qualify this by saying that I know collecting is an big aspect of comic sales, but overpricing everything deemed "collectable" will turn people off and will lead to overstock and clutter. Comics are for reading and I never want to go to a place that is filled with expensive things I don't want and can't afford.

4. A Game Shop With Some Comics in It
Now, I do enjoy some tabletop, and I do like card games, but I run into this pretty regularly where the shop has a taste of every nerdy thing under the sun. While I understand some of these tings typically net more money than comic books, don't call yourself a comic shop unless that is your main focus. In my experience, shops that try to do it all are either really big and have the space to do it all well, or they have disappointing supplies of one category, usually comics. Be a true specialty store!

5. Only Carrying the "Big Titles" & Superhero Books
This usually comes from a similar situation to #4, but I have seen it in some "only comics" shops. Comic is a term used to denote graphic and sequential literature, not just people in tights fighting the baddies. Now, I love superheros, and they are clearly the mainstay of american comics, but I love the medium as a whole. I urge comic shops to branch out to different genres and to carry lesser known titles. Grab some new customers with your selection of serious works and keep your old ones with your hero books.

-Peter

Location:Oak Park, IL