Back in December 2012 I wrote about FLGSsFriendly Local Game Stores. They’re a topic that has arisen again, unsurprisingly.

I’ve been actively insulted because I questioned the status quo. First a let’s get you up to speed. Here’s the part that caused the most offence:

I shouldn't have to "support" a shop. If their business model is sustainable then they'll stick around and I'll buy from them because they're the best option. If they're not that's their problem. It's literally their job to make customers want to buy from them.

Which received the following response:

As I have become friends with one of the local shop owners, and really get to see what all goes on in the financial books... Go fuck yourself and the high and mighty horse you rode in on. We're not talking about big chain hooby stores, we're talking about the blood and sweat someone shed to live their dream of owning a hobby/game shop. Every purchase made is another dollar towards the next order. towards employee wages. Towards MAYBE being able to give your hard working employees a small raise if it has been a really good year. Between magic, warhammer, board games, other card games, warmachine, infinity, etc etc etc etc... Stores have to invest a LOT of capitol into keeping shelves stocked and GW fucks them pretty hard in this regard ($10,000 or stock to be a brick and mortar retailer).

It would seem the notion of how a business runs in a capitalist environment is entirely lost on a great many wargamers if this chap is anything to go by. The blood and sweat someone shed to live their dream?

I’ll tell you what that makes me think of:

Sorry, your business is failing because you gave it a bit too much heart and soul?

As a business person there’s plenty of interesting things to talk about on the subject. As a customer my take goes like this:

Not my problem.

The deliberate callousness is important. As a customer I am not there to wonder what their profit margins are. If they’re making a killing then good for them. If they’re just scraping by too bad. Their job is literally to make the business work. If it isn’t then they need to work smarter.

I say smarter because for the most part calling any of them lazy would be grossly unfair. They love what they do and do indeed put their hearts and souls into it. Unfortunately it takes more than that to make a business a success. It’s difficult but the reality is that thought needs to be put into what makes the business money.

For example – it’s easy for most local game stores to generate good will. People like them and have fun there. Unfortunately the love of one’s customers doesn’t pay the lease.vlcsnap-2013-08-06-22h04m35s179

Hello, UNICEF?
Yes, I'd like to donate some of my immense riches.
What's that?
Children are still starving in Africa because wife love is worthless to you?


The trick to a good business strategy is of course trying to figure out how to convert that positivity into income. I doubt it’s easy but it is their full time job to do precisely that.

If keeping inventory and selling it isn’t generating enough to pay the bills then there are three options:

  1. Work to sell more
  2. Reduce costs
  3. Change focus

Lots of wargamers don’t want to hear it but let’s be fair – if not enough people are buying then their opinions are meaningless. The customers matter more than the target market. The difference being the former exchange their own money for goods and services rather just talking about it.

From my perspective I’d rather pay to play and feel no obligation to purchase goods from them. I have enough goods and not enough money for the next goods I want. I do have some money that goes towards entertainment each week. It’s not much but I either go to the cinema, or buy some lunch, or have a few pints. At the moment there’s no avenue for that to go to a FLGS.


Always make it easy for people to give you money.

-Moist von Lipwig

If you need money and people with spending money are coming into your shop why are you letting them leave with it?

Service industries are growing. Retail on the other hand…

The business environment changes. As a business owner situational awareness and survival instinct are what keep the coffers full. Getting me to want to spend money is all well and good but learn to close the damn deal!

2 responses to "You’re like a 7/11…"

  1. Whilst I dont entirely agree with your sentiment I do see your point. If I have a choice between buying from say an Ozzy retailer or getting it the smae from OS I will buy Oz every time. Having said that it has to be a large saving for me to pass up buying from Oz. I will still buy from OS though if the saving is big enough, my national pride goes only so far. But to your oint the guy I buy from jumps hoops to keep me his customer where as other big Chain retailers who shall remain namely (GW cough) couldnt give a flying fork about keeping me on side.


  2. He jumps through hoops for you because you're buying from him. That's how it's supposed to work. The problem for me is when he's got me to like his shop but isn't giving me any way to put money in his pocket. I have enough products, I'd like services instead.

    I shouldn't have to feel sorry for him or treat him like a charity. He chose to run a store - that means higher risks but greater control over strategy. Whether he succeeds or fails is on him and that was his dream after all. I want him to want to make me happy - businesses aren't supposed to dictate to the customer. Given that we're surrounded by massive companies that treat us with condescending arrogance it's easy to forget that, sadly.

    Ultimately I want FLGSs to succeed but I'm not going to bail them out by buying kits I don't want or need. They're small but that means they're agile - if survival is possible I hope they find a way. The big boys can afford to ignore the changing environment for much longer but they're also rarely in a good position to take advantage of new opportunities when they appear.


Leave a Reply