Friday, January 18, 2008

Calm After the Storm

This is that post-holiday week where everything just kind of stops. Hours go by without customers and you try to do those tasks that have been piling up since the holidays, or in the case of something like paperwork, since around May. When you've finished with all these less important projects, you start going over what's left. At a certain point you decide if those tasks will ever get done. Will I ever sort those boxes of dropped off Magic cards? If not now, when? Do I really want to pay an employee to file invoices from six months ago? What are the chances we'll ever need to find one at this point? How about a big box simply marked "2007"?

The tendency is also to attempt to spend your way out of the low period. Perhaps if you had just a few more hot games, something new at the very least, customers will come back. That's a bad bet. They'll come back when they're good and ready, and probably not for a few more weeks. If you own a game store, cleaning, filing, working on your marketing budget are all good tasks for right now. Better yet, last year this week I was on vacation in Paris. It's not that this period is just slow, it's demoralizingly slow after a peak season. It is emotionally draining to have the car screech to a halt after setting top speed records. Thumb your nose at the whole thing and take a trip.


  1. Don't spend money?

    Take a trip?

    Do you really want to be telling your customers these things?

    Granted, I haven't purchased much the past two weeks - but I gave you ALL of my extra money during the winter break, and need some time to actually play all of teh games I bought.

    I'm hoping to get a lot of games in this weekend, at the BDG boardgame minicon. That means that, at the very least, I'll be buying some sodas.

  2. I'm writing this from a retailer perspective. There are ebbs and flows in the trade, and this is one of those ebbing periods. There are new products coming out that we're buying and we're certainly not closing the store for vacation, but you can't help notice that it's not as crowded as it usually is.

    Events have been strong. In fact, most customers who do come in are coming in for events. It's just slow otherwise.

    As for sales, I'm talking from a macro perspective. There are always regular customers who spend money throughout the year, but stores need much more than that to survive. Even a top customers comprises no more than 1% or so of a stores total sales.