Running a comic shop is not an easy task to begin with, dear reader. Dealing with Diamond, dealing with scalpers wanting to rip your head off for no longer having copies of first prints of Batman #89, these are the daily occurrences that you know you have to deal with. As I write this in my shop however, I just rang out a man who coughed all over his comics, his debit card, and me, and I have washed my hands seven times in the last 5 minutes. Paranoia has set in, and thanks to the Coronavirus, comic selling, and retail for that matter, feels like a pretty irresponsible thing to do.
My shop is located in a mall, an it is a ghost town right now. Here in Ohio, the first cases of Coronavirus were confirmed a couple days ago. We all know that there are likely tons of cases of Coronavirus just out there undiagnosed and have been for awhile, and it is spooking myself and my customers big time. Another today stopped their pull completely until this is all contained or worse. Many are staying away not because of the general malaise with the audience towards comics currently, but because they don't want to be sick. Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1 came out today, and usually that is a good driver of foot traffic. Not so today. here is what the mall currently looks like:
This is at 3:00 PM on NEW COMIC DAY. As more and more states declare state of emergencies and such, this is only going to get worse. Reorders will go down, people will spend less money. Are we sure if Coronavirus isn't under control soon somehow that the local comic shops will be ok? I'm not. I cannot even bring myself to order Door Dash food right now, I am too afraid of who is handling the food.
I know I am letting the Coronavirus media coverage and panic sweep me away here, but this could turn into a real problem. Comic stores are not on the most solid of ground right now to begin with, and this type of situation is not going to help. If I am being a moron, so be it. But comic stores are going to be affected by all this. Some already are.
Stay safe out there, fellow comic retailers and readers.