In many ways your local comic book store isn’t at all like other businesses you visit. You know them and they know you. You shop there several times a month and develop a relationship with your store and a sense of loyalty. Often, even a sense of pride. In doing so, customers often overlook poor service, selections of merchandise, questionable business practices, dirty or cluttered stores, and so on that they would never accept in the other businesses they frequent.
You should absolutely look at your LCS with the same level of scrutiny that you do other businesses. Small or large, new or established, your LCS should do their utmost to provide you with a positive shopping experience.
- Their store should be neat and clean. Not maintaining a clean store shows a clear lack of respect for the people that shop there. If a shop owner can’t even be bothered to do something as simple as cleaning, how are they going to handle more complex tasks?
- They should be polite and helpful. You should feel genuinely welcome in your LCS. Employees should be helpful and attentive to your needs. You should not be dismissed or put off or made to feel unimportant. In some stores it isn’t uncommon for small ‘cliques’ of customers to receive preferential treatment, oftentimes marginalizing other customers. Every customer should receive and expect to receive the same outstanding LCS experience whether they spend $5 or $500.
- You should always know what you’re paying for something. Products should have prices marked so customers can make educated decisions. Any store that isn’t willing to put a price tag on an item is trying to take advantage of you.
- Everyone should feel welcome. Men, women, children, parents, grandparents, straight, gay, democrat, republican, white, african american, Falcons fans, and so on (you get the idea) should all feel welcome and comfortable in your LCS. If any single group of people isn’t comfortable in your LCS then you shouldn’t be either.
- In general, they should have what you’re looking for. A comic book store should have comics. Tons of them. We’re at a point where large selections of back issues aren’t an absolute must, but your LCS should have a generous selection of new comics for you to peruse. 200-300 new monthly titles on the shelf at absolute MINIMUM. You should be able to walk in on a Wednesday and flip through all the new comics that came out so you can pick some up off the shelf. After all, what’s a comic shop without comics?
- You should never have the feeling you’ve been taken advantage of. Good businesses take proper care of their customers and always leave them feeling positive about their experiences. Is your LCS asking you to pay more than cover price for new comics? Did you buy a back issue only to find out that you paid way too much? If you ever get the feeling that your LCS has been less than honest with you, you’re probably right.
- They shouldn’t constantly be making excuses. Does the comic distributor make mistakes? Absolutely. Do they make enough mistakes for your LCS to be complaining about them several times a week? Not very often. If your LCS is regularly not getting you the comics you ordered, it’s generally because they don’t do a good job managing their orders.
- They should be open when they say they will. Your LCS should be open the hours they have posted. Always. They shouldn’t be opening late or closing early unless there’s an emergency. They’re breaching your trust when they’re not open when they said they would be.
- They should know their product. Your LCS should know comics and how to properly grade them. How can they make recommendations if they don’t read comics? How are they setting prices for their back issues if they can’t even tell you what condition they’re in? How are they putting a value on the collection you brought in to sell them?
If your LCS isn’t taking proper care of you, let them know. They can’t make changes or improvements unless they know they’re doing something wrong. If they’re doing an exceptionally bad job, ask yourself why you continue to go. It may be time to check out another store nearby. Lastly, if they’re doing a great job, let them know!