Dennis Barger is a well known outspoken comic book retailer, behind Wonderworld Comics and QuickStop in Michigan. A regular on Bleeding Cool, he often has a lot to say, but this one goes further than most. He posts to Facebook, saying,
Goodbye new comics from WONDERWORLD COMICS
Dear customers and friends,
The eve of the New Year is upon us and it's always time for a retrospective and refocusing review of life, work and family. But, As many of you know I've been doing this for several of the last two years. And with this the new decade provides many opportunities to do this even better.
For nearly 15 years I've sold comics. It's the longest I've ever done anything in my professional career. I've made no qualms that the biggest hurdle, in my opinion, for retailers of comics, games and toys to succeed in the future, is the biggest part of most of our business models, Diamond comics inefficiency.
I see the biggest problems facing us is the safe transference of collectible comics from the publisher to us, the lack of reward for positive credit scoring when we succeed and the truly effete way they treat someone they call partners. Not to mention the troubling rehashing from some publishers that isn't exciting the customers and fan base at way higher prices per book. But I'm only going to focus on the straws that broke my back.
The diamond box, the bane of my existence and first topic at every retailer summit, for nearly every retailer that speak to me about this for nearly a decade. For years the phrase "we are working on it", "we'll discuss this with you later" and recently "we found a solution" has been the status quo from Diamond. "Quit making waves for attention Dennis" is they way they were really responding. Now, with the advent of the new "crush proof" box most retailers are reporting the same, if not worse damages than before. This would be reason enough for most of my decisions. But there are more.
By redirecting my money from investing in this industry for just two years I've raised my credit score over 100 points which has finally allowed me to invest in my future and families betterment. This is another thing diamond refuses to discuss.
And lastly, the tyrannical way Diamond treats its "customers". To no end, I complain that Diamond does not treat us fairly, if you make waves, they publicly show the rest of the industry what they'll do to trouble makers. I'm the perfect example. The dismissals of my complaints in public, the lack of communication publicly of the problem and finally the removal of my ability to attend functions for over a year and a half physically has left me helpless to affect my course (and recourse) in this industry.
Because of this, starting this week, we will no longer be carrying new comic books from any publishers for the proceeding years until all of my problems are addressed by Diamond. This isn't a hollow threat from a "fake retailer", this is me stopping the flow of good money after bad to a distributor that won't address or fix my problems. As the Diamond leaked acct info shows I'm still in the top 600 acts for Marvel Comics spending nearly 100,000 annually, and that's without a retail store currently. Now, I'm literally just going to walk away from this.
Why? Because it doesn't benefit me or my customers anymore to pay into a system that does t respect me or it's other customers. I consider myself a damn good judge of what going to be hot and what's not. When I do get a "hot one", Diamond usually finds 1 of 3 ways to screw it up on a regular basis. Pack it like crap, ship it in a crap box and hope ups doesn't destroy it or send it to someone else and shrug "are you sure it's not in there?", "we regret the error". I'm tired of idiots with no knowledge of the real industry telling me books are sellable when my 15 years of daily experience says they aren't. I'm tired of the denials of the real problems, I'm tired of most of diamond and it's ineffective lying mismanagement technics.
Now there are people at Diamond that are great, I wouldn't still be here if it weren't for the smartest problem solver they have N.R., but heaven forbid those incompetent fools ever put her in a position where she can fix the problems they all know exist.
And one last thing. I've been told over the years, Diamond's here to help the retailer (make money for Diamond). At the same time I'm told of horror stories of how diamond will track you to the ends of the earth after you go out of business for what's owed to them, go after your home, future job earnings etc. But I found it odd that when I made this decision there wasn't one simple way to do it, not an easy way to quit diamond. Either by design or the backward thinking, "why would someone want to leave Diamond???" There should be an easy way. A simple button to push to end things amicably. But there isn't. How to stop the $4 weekly fee for Tuesday delivery for secret shoppers I haven't seen in two year, the monthly comic shop locator service fee, the annual comic suite fee, the monthly free preview that would get shipped in a ups box by itself if you didn't cancel it, etc. I still plan on occasional orders just not weekly new books. I find that most ironic in this whole saga there's just not a way to do this.
So lastly, what will I do? I will focus my efforts on my highly profitable and successful amazon store, the best simplest way to get comics to customers around the world, instead now I'll be selling all old comics. I'll still do variants from publishers I love, occasionally for new books, but only when it motivates me. And lastly I'm going to spend a lot more time with my kids and family. I don't think customers really know how much their retailers miss at home while dealing with Diamond BS weekly. Hours to go over Previews, hours FOC'ing hours inspecting weekly orders, cataloging damages and shortages, damage replacements, replacements for the replacements etc. it's mind numbing what I've missed in my kids life because Diamond can't deliver 1000 comics weekly, free of damages, in a box they know ups will damage…
And for that I bid Diamond's weekly comics adieu, for now. Along with loyal customers I've known for 15 years, publisher friends and allies and brother and sister retailers that I'll urge to find a way to become Diamond independent in 2020.