Comic Store In Your Future: People Are The Worst

Selling comics, cards, and other collectibles through a physical store means dealing with people. On Sundays, we are not even open, though we have been having people coming in, making me learn the hard way I need to lock the door when I come in on Sundays. While I was in the back room, a person walked in, and he let my employees know he did not like me. He was in not to buy anything; he announced that he had not read a comic in decades and then went into politics.

More recently, a person came in and pointed to the Pokémon packs and asked why are these so high? I replied that no one has ever said anything about the price before. He then claimed that another store had packs for $2.60. I was amazed. I had never heard of Pokémon packs priced so low. I simply said that Target and Walmart have them for the same price we do, at $5 each. He hesitated before replying that Target and Walmart have the packs for a higher price because the packaging is more expensive. I rolled my eyes at that. We have the exact hanging packs of Pokémon that Target and Walmart have. He then asked if we had any more Pokémon packs. I flatly said no. He then left.

We have people that call in asking for certain items to be put on hold, saying they will be in over the weekend or soon. Most of the time, they never show up and end up blocking sales for the items that were put on hold for them.

People who claim they are dropping their comic pull box from another store because of an issue with the other store always worry me. Excuses range from not holding what they wanted to the store selling comics out of their pull boxes. Most end up not lasting more than a few months with us. I learned that they were most likely the issue, not the store they left. Holding comics for months on end unpaid just hurts stores. We tell everyone that they need to get their comics monthly. Granted, there are exceptions, such as people serving in the military. If a person can get comics monthly but is not willing to make a monthly trip, then comic collecting is not for them. Be it lack of interest or never-ending financial issues. Things happen, of course, though hurting another person's finances is irresponsible. Had one person with a pull box who told me that, for his job, he would be gone a few months, though he still wanted his comics pulled for him. I figured he had let us know, so we should still hold them for him. I was a little worried because he did travel in the past and would pick up comics he had us hold for him elsewhere. He even stated that doing so made his previous store upset. I tried to explain that yes, they were purchased by us, so they would be purchased by you.

After months went by, we did call him to make sure he still wanted the comic even though he assured us he would be back from them after his business trip was done. He apologized and said that things did not work out as he planned and that we could just go ahead and sell the comics in that he had on hold. He had over 500 dollars worth of comics on hold. As for his just go head and sell the comics that were on hold, that line gets used a lot if we actually get a hold of the person who does not bother to let us know they no longer want comics held for them. It amazes me when I hear that line. To me, it is just a bit of common sense to know that maybe comic store owners order what they believe that they can sell to start with? Most comics that are abandoned in pull boxes are dead products because they were held for so long. We could only sell a few of the over=$500 worth of comics, such as past issues of the few popular comics he still had on hold. Easily over $400 worth of comics turned into dead product that we would never had ordered if he had not requested we do so. It makes matters worse; there were comics he had on hold that I did reorder for people because he failed to let us know he was abandoning the comics.

A Comic Store In Your Future: Being Beatdown By People
The beatings store owners take by the public. Photo by Justin Jenkins.

Why not get people's credit cards on file? I worry about the possible hack or having credit info on the store's computer. A more realistic answer in my mind would be just doing away with pull boxes. Comics are collectibles. Many people will be worried they will sell out before they will get them, so they will make a lot more effort to get the comics. Many think of the comics in their pull boxes as "theirs" even though they are not until they actually pay for them and end up falling behind, building up too many unpaid for comics that they can no longer afford to get them.

Over the years, people have become ruder, as anyone who deals with the general public can attest to. I now have people that just hang up on me when I call to contact them about their unclaimed pull box. I could understand if I sounded mad or rude about it. I am just calling them to remind them they have comics in their pull box that have been on hand for over a month, and then I get hung up on. I call back thinking maybe the call got dropped; it goes to voicemail if they have voicemail set up, which lets me know I did have the right number when their voicemail states their name. I leave a message and never hear back.

Currently, business for us is good. We are blessed with a lot of great customers. One will catch more bees with honey than with vinegar, which means being polite is much easier to get what one wants than being rude. I have had people who have abandoned their pull box with us without communicating anything to us and disappear and then reappear later and want a job with us, which stuns me. If one could not be bothered to tell us about abandoning a pull box or not reply to our calls about if they still wanted comics pulled, I will not hire that person in a million years. I want employees that have basic concepts of respectfulness and responsibility. Everyone hopes to be dealt with in a respectful manner.

Being rude to people is never right. Costing store owners money is flat-out wrong. They are working just like most people do and paying off bills just like most people do.

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About Rod Lamberti

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