Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Make it too difficult, and I'll stop.

Got to work yesterday, and it felt different. Just really slow.

I wonder if the next two days will be more indicative of the month than the first 10 days or so....

I waited most of the day for customers, got a guy who comes in from Eugene periodically, and because he was an out of towner in the know kind of guy, I kind of dumped on him. (I mean, I complained about how hard it was to sell comics....)

After he left, I was surprised by the bad taste that left in my mouth. Wow. I didn't know I was that down on the business.

Then, I got a father and son in the door. He reeked of alcohol and was a big, loud pain in the ass. Expounding about the 'right' way to collect cards, (the son was actually pretty right on his observations, the father completely wrong.)

I finally stepped in and explained that I don't "really do" singles anymore, that all the cards in the boxes and albums were a flat .50, that I don't have any inside knowledge on trends.

And hour in, the father is still asking if I have "Joe Namath Rookies" in any of the boxes, and how the Beverly Hills Card shop he goes to is so much better, and on and on.

It was the on and on thing that finally got to me. The son had pulled about 100 cards out of my alphabetical albums before I thought to ask if they were going to buy them.

They both froze. I went over, quietly closed the albums, and said patiently, "Why don't you pick a few cards out of this stack you want, before we go any further...."

Anyway, a family came in an started shopping for books, but every time I tried to say anything, this guy kept loudly interrupting.

Finally, (after about and hour and a half of this of trying to reason with a brick wall), I said, "Come on guys, you need to finish this up. I've got work to do. Buy something."

He said something rude, and I said, "O.K. then, I'm going to ask you to leave."

He got all blustery, and told me he was going to shove the cards up my ass and it was too bad I wasn't doing well and was burned out, but I didn't have to be such an asshole.

Just leave, I said tiredly.

He got in my face ready to fight, but I didn't feel fear or anger, just tired and he saw it in my eyes.

I said, "You might want to think about not drinking during the daytime."

He said a few more rude things.

Finally he left.

The father of the family in the store, who had been watching all this in stunned silence turned to me and said, "Well, that went well, considering."

This is the second incident with sports card collectors, concerning singles. I think I'm ready to remove them completely. Pat was always on me to remove the Magic singles, as well. They both seem to attract the wrong kind of business.

If I'm going to run the store by myself, I need to simplify. The 'burn out' accusation isn't far off, at least where it concerns cards. Simply selling packs and boxes ought to remove some of the tension between 'collectors' and me and will reinforce -- confirm and nail down -- that I don't buy, trade or SELL singles.


MrBruce said...

Sounds like these people are looking for some killer deal in some isolated store by a vendor who has no idea of what his stuff is worth.

Hell yes, dunc, you need to figure out what your time is worth, and get rid of the stuff that burns your time, you spent what two hours with a guy who only wanted to spend a dollar, a dime, or just steal shit.

You might want to tell that type upfront in the future, that there are no killer find's in your store, that your not running a flea-market.

Yes, with pat you can absorb the assholes, and walk away, and then come back, now you can't leave, you could just lock the door now and take a deep breath.

It still sounds to me that your attracting the kind of people that go to garage sales and look for something 'special' they can resell on EBAY, its a BIG fucking biz in BEND/REDMOND ton of self-employed doing this, ... trouble is you need to keep those people out.

You need to somehow tell those people your a full retail store, not a flea-market, that there are no hidden treasures your going to give away for ebay treasure hunters.

Sadly, there will be more, but honestly you need to save your TIME AND THEIRS by being upfront with them, ...

I would think you would have three types, ..

1.) come in and get what they want
2.) browsers, but don't touch
3.) fuckup's that just want to diddle with shit, steal, or find a deal.

My guess is father son drunk were looking for high value cards to steal, and then sell on ebay.

You should be able to size up #3 in a nano-second, what I would do is say, "Hey the guy around the CORNER 'X' has just what you want he's an idiot, selling $100 cards for a dime, ..." They'll run out the door. That's what I would do, that way they're gone, and fucking up someone elses store. Or some store out of town, just tell them anything so they run out of your store. ASAP.

You know what their looking for, you need to tell them up front they're not going to find it in your store, and tell them where they will find it,

There's going to be a lot of sad people doing stupid shit over the coming years, and I'm sure a lot of people haven't been told that the "Card trading Bubble is over".

Perhaps you ought to put all the trading cards behind locked cages.

Maybe next time this type comes in you can ask what they would pay for all your open sets, and eventually find some EBAY reseller to just buy it all from you and be done, unless you think the stuff is coming back?

but its not coming back? Is it?

Duncan McGeary said...

"You might want to tell that type upfront in the future, that there are no killer find's in your store,"

I did, repeatedly, he wasn't listening. This type never listens.

"Yes, with pat you can absorb the assholes, and walk away, and then come back.."

Yes, exactly.

"You could just lock the door now and take a deep breath."

I would've done exactly this, but there was always someone else in the store....

"They'll run out the door. That's what I would do, that way they're gone, and fucking up someone elses store."

I used to do just that, just as the other stores did that to me.

Sadly, there ARE no other stores....

"I'm sure a lot of people haven't been told that the "Card trading Bubble is over".

My GOD, what will it take? It's not so much that they haven't a clue, but they are still arrogant about it! Once a hobby becomes poisoned, apparently it remains that way until everyone dies off.

I get phone calls from guys who act like they're doing me a favor to sell me their cards at book price. They act all put out when I refuse. I always wonder what they think when they realize that there ARE no other shops, no other shows, and they call long distance and someone offer's them pennies, and they take two weeks and try to sell on E-bay and get even less offers, and go back to the guy who offered them pennies, only now he's not interested.....

Just had an old customer come in with a set of cards that is worthless, and some 'friend' had pawned it off on him for 20 bucks.


Keeneye said...

Every time I have a customer who is a jerk, I just want to tear into him (haven't had many women that are so confrontational).

Instead, a straight face and a "I'm sorry you feel that way" is all they get from me.

I'm not sorry. I'm just sorry that they feel that way.

Unknown said...

Your description of the episode seems to point towards a sub context to their visit. 90 minutes is a long time to hang out looking through cards. Bruce might be correct that they were looking to steal/get a great bargain but 15 minutes should have been enough time for that to happen. The quick personal attack seems to point towards a familiarity related to your blog and he was looking for a reason to create a confrontation.

You are putting yourself in the position of giving a different message then others in your community. The messenger bringing bad news always gets the blame.

Concealed carry isn't a bad idea during desperate times.