Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday splat.

I have absolutely zero interest in the movie, J.Edgar. I can't think of a less appealing person to base a movie on. In fact, he is actively repellent.

So, you know, it'll probably be a big hit.


What would happen if, every time the stock market went up 500 points, you sold? And every time the stock market went down 500 points, you bought?

Just wondering.


I wonder why it seems like half my customers love Tintin and Asterix, and half my customers have never heard of them?

It's either one or the other. No vague familiarity.

Love them, or haven't heard of them.

Of course, after Christmas, EVERYONE will know who Tintin is. Because they know who Spielberg is....don't you know.

One of the more frustrating things about being "in the know" and being a "retailer" is the disconnect to those customers who "aren't in the know" but are potential customers.

"Hey, this young adult book, Hunger Games is really cool. And it's going to be BIG! when the movie comes out...."

"ummmm.....I'll think about it."

So I spend a couple of years talking up Game of Thrones, or The Walking Dead, and getting blank looks and rejection and I'm nearly begging them to give it a try -- and then the shows come out, and it seems like all of a sudden EVERYONE wants them.


I make it a habit not to recommend anything I don't actually really, really like.

But I guess the customers don't know that.


See what happens when you retire, Andy Rooney? Happens every time, I tell you.


Check out the Triumph the Comic Insult Dog video about Occupy Wall Street. On the Conan show. Or, it's over on the local The Source site. Genius.


I swore I wouldn't watch any videos or look at any pictures of The Hobbit movie-- but I couldn't resist.

It looks fantastic. Kind of seems like it will be lighter, more humorous than LOTR's; but then, so was the book.

Go, Radagast the Brown!

(I always related to Radagast, because my name, Duncan, can be translated as Brown (dark) Warrior.)


Old technology that still works. Trains and books!


Here's why I don't bother to look at the bestseller lists.

The current top 5. Publisher's Weekly.

1. The Litigators, John Grisham.
2. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
3. The Snow Angel, Glenn Beck.
4. The Best of Me, Nicholas Sparks.
5. The Christmas Wedding, by James Patterson and some other guy (who probably actually wrote the book.)

At least three out of the top five are utter pap, and the fourth is probably pretty workmanlike. I'll let you guess which three. (Well....Glenn Beck? Shoot me now.)

I have ordered 1Q84 by Murakami, however; as well as trying to get his back list as much as possible.


Being a card shop.

I was trying to imagine how hard being a full service card shop would be right now. One of the big three sports isn't even playing. And since Basketball is the only big league sport in Oregon, that's even more impactful.

Panini (the Italian sticker company who has exclusive rights to NBA basketball cards, and what does that say?) hasn't even bothered to put out a brand so far this year.

It's as if a third (or more) of the product that your store sells, just disappears.

What sport card shops who still survive have, is what I call Cockroachability -- not even a nuclear bomb will completely wipe them out. I suspect, mostly, because most current owners don't actually live off their business...

What's interesting to me how demanding sports card customers can still be. They usually give me a "treat me right or else" vibe, to which I usually give a, "here's what I got at what price, buy if you like" answer. As you can imagine, that very often doesn't work.

So I sell the occasional packs to casual customers. And the even more occasional boxes.

The price structure to sports cards is completely dysfunctional. The only way you can survive is to be MORE expensive than S.R.P., and yet, like I said, the customers expect you to be CHEAPER than S.R.P., because there are plenty of people online selling for near cost.

Crazy industry.

I've managed to eke out small profits by doing it my way, but it's constantly on the edge.

I recently had a customer think that I was raising my prices so that I could give him a 10% discount. The truth was, I was actually doing the opposite!

I was keeping my prices lower than usual because he was buying so much.

In the old days, I would've been paying enough attention to know what I had priced something the last time, but nowadays, I do a quick calculation and put the price sticker on. Since I have a fixed formula, I tend to average it out either upward or downward, depending on a number of factors that aren't always the same.

So, say I arrive at a retail target price of 73. 40. So, I'll average that out to either 69.99 or 74.99, depending. But like I said, I may not remember what I did the last time.

What gets me, I suppose, and why I'm writing this, is that this card customer automatically assumes the worst motivation.


The solution, I've decided, it to put a price on the box and not offer discounts. That way, there can be no misunderstandings. The price is what the price is.

So I raised all the prices on the boxes to the prices I normally would charge, and I'll stick with that.

Back to doing this the no fuss, no muss way.

The customer can decide. I totally understand if they don't want to pay my price. There are always a few customers who will, fortunately.

A retail store shouldn't try to be a flea market. I don't offer those kinds of automatic discounts for any other product in my store. Well, I give 10% for comic subscription customers, and I give a "Buy 5 packs and get the 6th pack free deal" to Magic customers. But that's it. Everything else is retail priced.

And now, so too are sports cards. No more unnecessary discounts.

I wonder why I was ever tempted to do so? Tradition? Industry norms? Customer pressure?

Whatever it was, it's come to an end.


H. Bruce Miller said...

"Old technology that still works. Trains and books!"

New technology that works better: jets and e-readers.

Anonymous said...

Gay Edgar Hoover is the greatest man in US history.

Maintained a faggot list of every queer in USA to get sex whenever from whoever he wished.

Died after 50 years of holding the most powerful police position in the world, died in the arms of his male secretary in his office at his desk, by the way his secretary was his lover during the whole time.

Killed presidents and controlled virtually all polytickians for 50+ years.

His legacy continues, today the FBI maintains MORE offices abroad and agents than they do in the USA. The FBI is a perfect case of a praetorian guard gone without limits accountable to no one other than itself.

Of course these days there are many other agency's quite similiar, the FED, CIA, IRS, ... the FED too like the FBI had the same guy for a generation.

The real question about the Gay Edgar Hoover story is how in the hell does a nation that his controlled by such a man call itself free?

Anonymous said...

"Here's why I don't bother to look at the bestseller lists. [...] At least three out of the top five are utter pap, and the fourth is probably pretty workmanlike."

Popularly does not correlate well with quality. One needs to wait a couple decades to really separate the dross from the wheat.

Anonymous said...

What would happen if, every time the stock market went up 500 points, you sold? And every time the stock market went down 500 points, you bought?


Its a house rigged insiders game. The only way to play the stock market is to start company's and take the public and sell the worthless paper to suckers. The houses get a commission and make a profit either way. The company's transform worthless paper into CASH. It's win-win for everyone except the 'consumer'.

There are 10's of thousands of books written about numbers and play the game 'The Turtle' for example. These days ALL the big money is done on nanosecond trading. There were story's in the 30's of guys playing numbers games, but now the guys use super computers and enter and exit trades quicker than they can be cleared.

The best book on the stock market is 'where are the customer yachts', written in the 1940's and points out clearly the game, and who keeps the money.

Anonymous said...

Getting back to the stock market, the USA is now a financial mess.

For 70+ years the wall-st has convinced Joe-America to 'invest', well now Joe is Bend-Broke(tm).

The future will be very interesting for Wall-St.

Never forget that Wall-St has always held to the PT-BARNUM theory of the US public.

The only DIFF today is WALL-ST owns ALL our poly-tickians, cops, and judges. Of course the money will dry up, and a new ownership will take place, ... but this change will be slow and painful.

Who will own et-al tomorrow? Maybe the Godfather-Pizza I'm sure HBM will like that.

Anonymous said...

A retail store shouldn't try to be a flea market


Your shop is a flea-market dunc, who in the hell are you actually talking too?

Do as I say NOT as I do?

I doubt anybody would follow your 30+ year model of sitting on the same inventory and waiting for customers in the same area.

Fad's come&go, and always will.

There is nothing really wrong with a flea-market sort of nostalgic. But NOT modern, so the kids are out, but given the large number of tourists in Bend, I'm sure that people wander into your flea-shop just to see how dinosaurs used to operate prior to the star-buck model of open-ness.

"what's that store dad?"
"It's a flea-shop son"
"Here I'll take you inside for a gander so you can see what would happen to your room, if you didn't clean it out for 30+ years"

Anonymous said...

Reminds of Persigs motorcycle maintenance of the 70's, what is quality?

Anything the majority is doing you should run, be that a crowd, or watching TV, or reading the same book. The majority always has been and always will be DULL's-Ville.

So print a list of the best-selling books in the USA, might as well make a list of the most common feces found in India.

The rare and unseen has always been and always will be the most interesting. Why in the fuck is this even topical??

H. Bruce Miller said...

"One needs to wait a couple decades to really separate the dross from the wheat."

I don't expect to be around that long, so I gotta take my chances.

Anonymous said...

Apathy is the final death nail on the USA disease.

But real pain will only come when the beast runs out of cash-flow.

Anonymous said...

Even the NY-TIMES now reads like malaise, ... there's something really amuk now in the USA, the liberals are apathetic about their chimp running wash-dc.

The Pugs have a gaggle of geese fighting over the kluster-fuck that OREO leaves them.

Most important in coming weeks the AUTOMATIC kick-in comes for the great debt debate of aug2011, automatic cuts to entitlement and military are coming, because the blue-ribbon commission did nothing. Sort of like the old Titanic story, all aboard the good ship USA are watching the iceberg come closer, but nobody is doing a fucking thing to correct the situation.

Apathy by all, ... of course why care? The smart left the USA long ago.

Anonymous said...

Rooney worked up until he was ready to die, and then he quit working and died.

Steve Jobs did the same thing, he worked until he was ready to die.

Rooney died of old age, Jobs of cancer.

Gay Edgar Hoover refused to die, so he died in his office of stage 4 syphilis. Nobody in the USA had the ball's to make the fucking zombie quit, only when rigamortis had set in did anyone in the FBI have the balls to haul out the corpse out of his private suite at FBI headquarters.

Anonymous said...

Got a good laugh out of the comments today. ("flea market") Good to see that all the ol' timers are at it!

H. Bruce Miller said...

"I can't think of a less appealing person to base a movie on. In fact, he is actively repellent."

True, J. Edgar was a world-class creep. But some wonderful movies have been made about creepy characters (real or fictional). You don't have to admire the character or find him attractive to enjoy the movie. Did you find Hannibal Lecter admirable?