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Comic Book Horror Stories?

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1 Comic Book Horror Stories? on Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:16 pm

I've shared my tales of woe numerous times on the podcast. Apparently I have a knack for finding really crappy shops. I'm wondering if anyone else has some horror stories? Please do share.

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2 Re: Comic Book Horror Stories? on Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:46 pm

Sticking with your shop stories, one place I lived, there was a single shop. Said shop was in a strip mall type building. It took forever to find it. Why, you ask? There were some stairs leading down to a concrete service hall (electric, water, etc.). Around the corner of this dank hall is a store. Although, it didn't look like it had been in use for twenty years. So I tried the door. I was open. I opened it and went inside. Inside was the comic book shop. It was dark, dusty, and the employee wasn't very good. I started using DCBS shortly after.

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3 Re: Comic Book Horror Stories? on Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:02 pm

That's ridiculous. In order to get to the comic shop, you had to overcome fear of getting killed in the basement of a mall, lol. Location isn't everything, but sometimes it can kill it completely.

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4 Re: Comic Book Horror Stories? on Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:23 pm

Its fine. There's a really good shop near me now so I'm happy.

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5 Re: Comic Book Horror Stories? on Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:16 am

Spaceflash wrote:Sticking with your shop stories, one place I lived, there was a single shop. Said shop was in a strip mall type building. It took forever to find it. Why, you ask? There were some stairs leading down to a concrete service hall (electric, water, etc.). Around the corner of this dank hall is a store. Although, it didn't look like it had been in use for twenty years. So I tried the door. I was open. I opened it and went inside. Inside was the comic book shop. It was dark, dusty, and the employee wasn't very good. I started using DCBS shortly after.

I'm picturing the opening to Tales From the Crypt.

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6 Re: Comic Book Horror Stories? on Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:42 am

That's how I felt.

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7 Re: Comic Book Horror Stories? on Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:15 am

Just bumping this in case anyone else has stories.

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8 Re: Comic Book Horror Stories? on Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:43 am

I've shared my worst shop experience before, but not on the fancy new-ish Lanterncast Forum, so here goes:

My town had one comic shop. There were two, a really good one, and this one... but the owner of the really good one became terminally ill and sold the shop to guys that turned it into a sports card shop, which then quickly went out of business.

Anyway, the only local option was a place that was terrible. It was owned by a husband and wife team that encapsulated so much of what is wrong with the stereotypical comic shop owner.

First, the place was dank and dark and musty. The wife, I swear to you, spent three years wearing the same dirty shorts and frilly top. They let their three monsters, er, kids run wild in the shop.

Three quarters of the shop was filled with back-issue longboxes that were so untouched that dust settled on them.

And, why were they untouched? Well, because, if you ventured back into those, and came out with something to buy, the very first thing that the owners did was grab the latest Overstreet or Wizard and price it at the most expensive value, regardless of whether it was mint or not.

Plus, I recently found out from a friend that one time, they went in there to buy some back issues, specifically a first appearance of some character that was supposed to become "hot" (incidently, I have never heard of this character, so this speculation obviously went nowhere). Combing through the longboxes, the guy found eight copies of this issue and took them up to pay for them.

When he got to the register, did the owner thank his lucky stars that some speculator drone read the "buzz" about this character, fell for it, and was willing to shell out the high mint price for these books?

No. No, he did not.

The shop owner looked at the guy and said he could NOT sell him all eight of those books. Why? Because they might become more valuable.

scratch

Yep. That is what he said. He only sold him four of the books, which is more than he would have sold to be if he pulled that crap at checkout.

The 1/4 of the store that wasn't back issues was gaming and new comics. They never ordered a decent amount of new stock, and it was a constant case of me going in and them telling me they were sold out of _________, but they could order it for me. If I went that direction, I'd have to avoid talking to anyone to avoid spoilers until I finally got the books.

In desperation, I decided to try having a pull list with them. I figured I'd at least get my books that way.

That lasted one month.

When I went to pick up my books, I told them my name, and they pulled onto the counter, I kid you not, an old Chiquita banana box, with comics just laying in the bottom. Mind you, there were longboxes throughout the store for ancient, untouched stock nobody wanted, but they could not be bothered to repurpose one of those for pull lists to keep in reasonable condition.

The comics were not bagged and boarded, so they all kinda had this weird curve to them, and the corners were sometimes not great. At the time, I was far more of a collector, and this really bothered me. Actually, even now that I'm just a reader, I like to have the comics at least arrive in good condition before I read them.

And the topper? Not all of my books were there. I found out later that they tended to "raid" the pull list stack if folks came in off the street and wanted an issue that was sold out.

In the ten years or so that store existed, I remember only one "sale." It was one summer, for every $10.00 worth of stuff that you bought, they would let you pick out one comic from a longbox at the front of the store. That longbox was filled with early nineties crap they massively over-ordered and just wanted to get rid of it. It was over half-filled with X-Men #1. You remember that, right? Those multiple covers that Jim Lee did in 1991? I think it was the biggest selling comic of all time? Those books that you'll be lucky to get one or two bucks for now? Yeah, those. That shop was no doubt hugely responsible for those "sales" numbers.

Another thing - here in Michigan, comic books don't have sales tax. They, along with magazines in general, fall into the "dated material" category, and, as such, no tax. But, the entire time this store was open, they ALWAYS charged tax. The local grocery store knew not to, but these people own a specialty shop and still did it! How is it that the local supermakets knew more about the law when it came to this product than the so-called specializers?

The biggest pet peeve, for me, though, was the lack of any adherence to posted hours. I'll admit, I'm a stickler for structure and order. When a place says they will be open, I believe they should be. It is part of the social contract between customer and business. It is what keeps people from roaming the streets in packs, raping and pillaging as they go.

Okay, that last part may be overstating it a bit. Anyway...

This place would open whenever the notion struck the owners, and they seemed to close when they got bored. The posted hours were from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to five on the weekends. I never remember it opening before noon, and most of the time it was after 1 p.m. And, the only days I ever remember them staying open until 7 were on Wednesdays where their shipments of new comics were running late, and I thoroughly believe it was because the geeks that descended on the shop just wouldn't leave any earlier.

I remember a time near the end of that store (because, yeah, it is closed), I went down on a Thursday at about 5 p.m. to find the store was locke up and the lights were shut off. I came back Friday at 4:15 p.m., and, again, not kidding here, I walked up to the door, and the owner was walking out, with his coat on, all the lights in the building shut off, keys in hand to lock up. When he saw me, he stopped and told me to come on in, that I could look around.

He turned on lights in only half the store and left his coat on while I self-consciously looked around, feeling like I had to buy SOMETHING, since I was obviously inconveniencing him. I picked up a new comic, and I can't even tell you what one at this point, and went up to pay. The guy had to make change from his own pocket because he had closed up and locked the register.

And, that was my last visit to that shop. It lasted maybe a year more, switching over to gaming more and more (and the gamers hated it, because the owner, before joining in the games, would go over to his display case and stack his deck with rare/special gaming cards).

I don't miss the shop at all. Unfortuntely, the nearest LCS is now more than a 40 minute drive from my house, and that is by highway.

So, long live DCBS!

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