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When Your LCS Doesn't Want Your Love...or $$$

  • imcubillo | Male | 43 years old

July 2021

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My first post - hope you enjoy. 

I live in Florida which is not conducive to public transportation or walking, as a result, we have to drive everywhere. I wanted to set that context, because for the last year I found myself buying 99% of my books from a large online store. I have come to enjoy the online service, the discounts, and customer service -- but all of this has come at the expense of my LCS. 

Every Wednesday as a kid I used to ride my bike about 8 miles total trip to my LCS. I would show up all sweaty, pick up my books, package them in a trapper keeper, and ride back home --sometimes in the rain. The point being is that I was and am willing to put in the effort to support a local business. 

I tried to show my LCS love but several times they have broke my heart and I am now ready to move on. Here are my tragic tales.

  • Option 1: Brick and Mortar Store

I found a store 5 minutes from my home, drove there super excited hoping to find a place I could visit on a regular basis - that is not what I found. The place was set up nicely, had a good amount of back issues, graded comics, statues, and toys. Their new comic selection was sorely lacking and when I asked about a 'Pull List' - it seemed foreign to them; almost as if I invented the term. The owner said I could right down which books I wanted on a piece of paper and he would order them, plus a service fee, plus costs for bag and boards - seemed like I was signing up for comics with Micro-transactions. I declined the service. That was strike 1. 

My daughter and I were the only customers in the store and we barely got any service. The owner was on his computer the whole time and it really seemed like this was just a hub for his ebay store. Walked away disappointing but gave him a little of business and bought several back issues.  

I decided to give them another chance for FCBD! 

I called the day before to ensure they were going to participate and the guy told me he was so excited to host - he had all the books, was going to have free giveaways, and it would be quite an event. 

NONE of that happened. 

We showed up to an empty parking lot, we were the only ones in the store and he told us how the distributor screwed him over and did not deliver any books. I didn't call him out on my call the previous day and didn't trust him as he had several FCBD books, but not not not all 50+ that were being solicited. I walked away not trusting the guy, missing out on FCBD and in my head thinking that he kept all the books in order to sell them on ebay. That was strike 2 & 3. 💔

  • Option 2: Local Flea Market 

Found a small store at a local Flea Market - decided to visit with my daughter as we are now 'hunting' and trying to experience different stores. Walked through the many different kiosks trying not to buy old collectibles and miscellaneous items until we found our final destination. 

We walked into the small kiosk said hello - did not receive a response back from the owner, no acknowledgement that he had potential customers. Weird! 

No new comics at all, so we started to look through some of the long boxes. (Keep in mind this is Florida). After a couple of minutes we were sweating, it looked like we were running instead of dollar bin digging. For all we know there could have been priceless gems in those boxes but we did not have the stamina to continue. We left without a goodbye from the owner probably never to be back again. Just too hot and unfriendly. 💔💔

  • Option 3: Mall Comic Store 

My last local option is about 35 minutes away. The ride there is terrible as you are battling against a ton of traffic lights. I was conflicted on the ride as this has nothing to do with the store, however, it is part of my overall experience. This store is located inside a local mall and was very clean, had a large selection of new books, back issues, and supplies. The person working said hello and asked if we needed help and then went about his business. This was a Friday so it was a light day but I was having a real hard time getting a sense of community from this place. Since it is located inside a mall, they get a lot of traffic that is not interested in comics - which is great for the store but maybe not what i was looking for. 

I looked around for a while, couldn't find anything that I wanted and was not sure about asking about a pull list as that ride was not something I would want to do on a regular basis. 

I ended up buying 2 packs of BCW Current Bags and Boards. I didn't even check the prices as I knew these were ~$10 each when you purchase online. I also know that the price drops significantly when you buy in bulk which is what I assume the store was doing. (I checked and it comes to $6.83 when you order 10+). I had the order rung up and almost fell to the floor when the sales person asked for $65 dollars for the 4 items and tax. To this day I have no idea why I payed - I certainly understand markup but in my opinion that was ridiculous. 

I haven't fully given up on this place but understand that their mall presence may mean higher costs. They have more work to to do to win my business. 💔💔💔

Will continue to hunt. Would love to hear your stories and if you are having trouble finding a great LCS experience.

  • Jul 30, '19 by MegladonALPHA's avatar MegladonALPHA
  • You just summed up what I go through. I have been out of collecting for awhile, but after a good run with other hobbies, I am getting back into the water so to speak. I found I had a LCS within minutes of my house which is rare. I was surprised to see it had been there for a few years with out me hearing about it. So I went to see and the service sucked. The new comic selection sucked. They had maybe 300 back issues. Maybe. The whole store seemed more bent on gaming than comics and I guess that is what pays the bills. I hate that I get better comics online right now, but its easy, there are discounts, and I get what I am looking for. Back in the 80s when I was a serious collector, I would ride around on Saturdays and visit the hot spots. The flea market was the best option. They had new books, tons of back issues and we traded like stock brokers. It just seems like the passion for these books has changed because people see them for the money. I don't know. I could be wrong or just stuck in a part of the country that has no appreciation for comics. Either way, I am saddened by it.
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