Saturday, April 26, 2008

Don't Make Me Be the Boss

When I was managing IT professionals, this was one of the things I would say. Don't make me be the boss. In other words, for the love of god, please do what you're paid big money to do and don't make me have to manage you. In IT, most managers are working managers, meaning their management responsibilities are in addition to their regular technical jobs, and are usually an ass pain that nets them a small pay bump over those they're managing. In my case it also exempted me from overtime pay. I'm a much better manager than I was then, and I still suck at it!

This week in the store was about being the boss. It wasn't with the employees, since I'm very lucky in that department right now, it was with the customers. Not just any customers, the black clad, teenage, angst ridden, bad smelling, foul mouthed, thieving customers. They made me be the boss, as they're simply not experienced at being human beings yet and needed reminding of basic human expectations. They'll still need some managing, but man I hate it when they make me be that guy.

As the only game store left in the area, we cater to all types of gamers. However, if I were beset by competition, where competition forced every store to have their specialty, I would gladly give up everything collectible to a competitor and fire my collectible customers. It's mostly a drag because it's a commodity product that serious players buy online. There are no collectible customers that are my customers, only people who visit on occasion, sometimes to pick over singles for cases of product they bought online. I can sell a box of cards for 40% off and they still think they're doing me a favor by buying it. These are the people who will gladly drive an hour to save a buck and then bring their product back to our store to play. Selling collectibles feels like drug dealing, and I wouldn't do it if it didn't pay the rent so very well.

On the positive side, we're seeing a lot of new Warhammer Fantasy players. The high profile GW releases this year have gotten a lot of people interested, and although our fantasy game nights are not quite there yet (we desperately need a volunteer), customers are arranging times to come in and play on their own. Games Workshop, for all their quirks, represents the opposite of the collectibles market. You've got a well run company, with controlled distribution (no online selling, for example), excellent product supply, and good customer service. Customers who play at the store generally buy at the store, unlike our collectible gamers. You pay a premium for this experience, but I think you get a good value for your money.

There's also something that's just more honest about miniature gaming. You come into the store. You buy a model and know what you're getting. You put it together and paint it and now you have something. You've been creative. You've gotten your hands dirty. It's the geek equivalent to growing your own food. Compare that to buying blind booster packs for a card game that you may never play again after next Tuesday. It's just more satisfying selling miniatures. It's a more honest experience for everyone.


  1. Hangin's too good for 'em, burnin's too good for 'em, they should be cut up into itsy bitsy pieces and buried ALIVE!!!!

    The Griffin

  2. "Hanover? Is that you?"

    - Capt. Stern

  3. Do I need to go rent Heavy Metal? It's a reference from the movie, right?

  4. Rent Heavy Metal?

    I think the proper term here is PURCHASE... especially when it can be found for $9.99 (or at least could be found for $9.99), or possibly less.

    - Capt. Stern