Is personalized, friendly service not the norm in comic book stores?

Walking into the local comic book store in the evening, when the owner and his cronies are huddled in the rear section the store playing some RPG, the vibe I get from him (and his pals) is that I’m kinda-sorta intruding. Service during these times is often quite brusque, and I really feel he wishes he could shoo me out the door even though I am sending money. I really feel like I’m intruding on on some private club by making a purchase.

Is this normal for these kind of stores? Is personal, friendly service really that much of an afterthought in comic book stores?

Worst. OP. Ever.

(Someone had to do it…)

Generally a combination of cluelessness, rudeness, and contempt can be expected at most comic book stores.

There have been a few exceptions I’ve experienced, but those were the two I worked at.

The few times I’ve been in comic book stores around here the treatment I’ve recieved has ranged from polite to very helpful. There is often the vaugely patronizing “little girl doesn’t know what she’s doing, I must guide her” to the help. But since I usually don’t know what I’m doing, or I’m going off a list my brother gave me I appreciate the help however it is given. Maybe you could try another shop? Or you caught 'em on a bad day.

Hm. That sounds like just the sort of store I’d feel right at home in. I mean, would you really trust a guy selling comic books who didn’t play RPGs?

The only time I’ve ever had any sort of problem with geek-store clerks was when I stopped into a gaming store just after this past Christmas looking for some Magic cards. I’m just returning to the game, and wanted to get the most recent cards (aesthetic reasons - I like the new design of the face much better), so I asked if an expansion was 8th edition or no.

Cue lecture about the difference between an edition and and expansion.

‘Yes, I know all that. Which edition was this expansion made during?’

Cue lecture about the difference between an edition and and expansion.

‘Yes, I know, but does it have the old face design or the new one?’

Cue lecture about the difference between an edition and and expansion.

Finally another clerk intervenes, translates for the other guy, and I leave with a set of Mirroden cards.

I think that was mostly that it was around Christmas, and they had a lot of clueless relatives buying for their geeky gift-recievers, and perhaps had one or two less well-trained clerks to pick up the slack.

Other than that, I’ve always gotten great service, at that store and the others I go to - they are quick to offer service, they know where things are, they chat if things aren’t too busy, they make reccomendations.

At the one comic-y store in that I frequent, I’m basically on a first-name basis with most of the people who work there. Unfriendly service hasn’t been my experience.

So, you’re expecting social skills and comics knowledge from gamers, are you? :dubious:

My local comic/gaming/miniatures store is very good about this; they usually have three or four people working during peak hours, and even though some of them are usually gaming (that’s their main way to make sure somebody’s back in the gaming area and not playing lightfingers with the stock in that area…), the ones behind the counter are on the job.

Only if you are “part of the tribe”. :slight_smile:

I think plenty of comic/gaming shops cultivate the “stay away from our smelly cave” mentality in their employees. The shop I worked at in Houston (where my husband works now) is the exact opposite of that, and that’s why they’re one of the most succesful shops in the entire country. It’s well-lit, has friendly, knowledgeable employees, and caters to everyone from Golden Age collectors to current comic geeks to soccer moms buying Sonic the Hedgehog comics for their kids. You could bring your mom in there and she wouldn’t think you’d dragged her to a porn shop. I would never want to shop at any of those cave-stores ever again.

We had a good comic book store. Then we moved. sigh

STRIKE ONE: No pull-list discount.

STRIKE TWO: Actually charged a fee for each issue from your pull list. (They gave you a bag and a board, though, so this wasn’t a complete rip off.)

STRIKE THREE: They failed to actually pull half the stuff for your pull list. Apparently, they’d just go through the racks when they got around to it and pull stuff. If you got there before they did it, you had to go through the racks to get your own stuff. If you go there after they did it, you’d have to go thorugh the racks to get the stuff they missed. If an issue was sold out, tough noogies.

Erm, uh, yeah, sorry, wrong answer.

We started driving an hour to get our comics.

I’m too lazy to pull up my own BBQ Pit thread about Atomic Comics in Phoenix, but let me tell you:

I’d much rather deal with a dank, unfriendly comic store than one that’s run like a Starbucks.

At very least, the nerdos at the unfriendly shop will know their own product.

I agree that clerks who know their product are preferable to those who don’t. My shop has the best of both worlds, thank goodness.

I notice that I’m ignored in comic/gaming shops when I go alone, but if Ardred is with me, we get great service.

We’ve got a shop that we frequent now that’s great. The owner knows us, knows that we’re D&D kids and gets all excited when we come in and he’s got something new.

He’s also got great hours, a computer gaming room, gaming tables for RPGs or collectible card games, hard to find board games, etc.

We don’t shop at the places that treat us like the OP described.

My experience of service has run the gamut.

In my old neighborhood, the owner was friendly, articulate, and very service oriented. His shop was open and well lit. He had comics, RPG stuff, those damn card for the kids, and he knew enough about everything to help anyone who came through the door. Plus he had the radio tuned to WCKG, Chicago’s Finest Rock. What more could you ask for.

My new neighborhood guy, I’m conflicted about. It’s a nice enough store, but there do seem to be ‘regulars’ always hanging around. The books are ordered in aplphabetical order, but running right to left, and then back again, which I find disconcerting for some reason. And occasionally the new issues are in a completely different place. The proprietor always says ‘hello, is there anything I can help you find?’ but his tone (and all the ‘no reading’ signs sticked everywhere) give me the sense it’s only to get me out the door sooner. Plus he listens to Rush Limbaugh, which is his right, and is usually fine, but I’m here for a little escape, you know, not for right wing rhetoric.

Once I went to a place looking for a very specific item. It was the scariest day in my life. The ‘store’ was a labyrinth of stacks of comics and detritus. The owner had negative social skills, and he looked a little like Alan Moore on a really off day. :eek: After my purchase, I just didn’t feel like I should turn my back on the fella, and knew I might not make it back out through the maze to the front door.

I’ve started buying TPBs from the local Barnes and Noble.

Personalized, friendly service does exist, but sadly, it doesn’t seem to be the norm. Sigh.

Illinois_Boy, care to share some recommendations as to where to shop for comics? I’m located in the NW Chicago 'burbs (near O’Hare), but at this point I’m sufficiently irritated at the behavior of the manager at my LCS to travel if I have to. The shop is clean, well-lit, stocked heavily with the stuff I like (Vertigo, Oni, and indies, primarily), and conveniently located, but I’m sick to death of being treated like an unwelcome interloper. I’ve even had “civilians” who have visited with me comment about the store manager’s behavior.

To answer the OP’s question, my experiences have been all over the map. In general, I have had more negative experiences with the customers at shops rather than the clerks/managers/owners/whatever. When I’ve traveled I’ve come across a few great shops, like a huge one in Memphis staffed by really friendly, helpful people. I’m told San Fran residents actually have CHOICES of well-stocked shops with helpful staff, but I’m doubtful. People believed in unicorns once, too.

And this is a point in its FAVOR???

I stopped collecting several years ago (my spending habits changed from comics to cigarettes and now to beer), but my little hometown had two excellent small-time comic/hobby stores. The one I liked was run by a very nice lady, a single mom who really knew her stuff. If you were short a little she would always cover you (and honest folks who paid her back always got treated a little nicer).
Incidentally, after my generation of teens grew out our comic phase, and this was in the boom of the early to mid-90’s when Night Thrasher had his own series and the Punisher had about four, both hobby shops went under. I always wondered whatever happened to the lady who owned that shop.

But there are so many good stores in Chicago that you can go to. OK, there are really only two, three if you’re adventurous and four if you count Evanston.

Sadly yes, but there are exceptions. I am in the process of working towards opening my own comic/game store sometimes in the near future which will have the good service that everyone craves. I think that in my market I could do very well with a store like that.