Sunday, March 18, 2012
Not so friendly local game stores
I haven't written anything here for a while. There are several reasons for that including starting a new job, starting classes again, and trying to finish quite a few other projects. I've also been spending quite a bit of time actually playing and preparing games. All that has meant significantly less time left to write posts here. That said, I've got a few things in the works that I should be posting here soon. In the meantime, though, I want to talk about game stores.
Yesterday, I stopped by Saltire Games, one of the local stores in Indianapolis, hoping to pick up some paint for a painting project I've been working on. When I went in the store, their electronic notification system dutifully announced that I entered through the front door. There were two people working in the shop. Neither of them greeted me or otherwise acknowledged my presence. I found the paint I wanted and decided to check out the used games. One of the employees was straightening them at the time. I said, "Excuse me," and waited for her to move aside so I could check the shelves. I tried saying it again when she didn't respond. Finally, I gave up and went to the counter to check out. I waited for about three minutes before anyone came to check me out. They asked if I had a loyalty card for the shop. I do, but I didn't have the card with me. They found me in their computer, but they had my old address. I was a little surprised by this, as I had given them the updated address the last time I was in the shop. They asked me to give it to them again. I was in a hurry and didn't have time to wait around anymore, so I asked if I could just do it next time. They said they couldn't do anything until I updated my address, so I decided to just leave.
Later, I went to Gamerz to see if they had the paint I needed. Turns out, they went to the same school of customer service. The person working there also did not bother to acknowledge that I was in their store until I had already walked through the entire sales area and then specifically asked if they had the paint I wanted. Instead of answering the question, he pointed me to the paint they had, which was only sold in themed boxed sets and was not even from the same company as what I asked for. I know this store used to carry what I was after, but the total lack of engagement and service caused me to leave there as well.
Finally, I went to Game Preserve. They actually had the paint I was looking for. I had to interrupt the game the employee was playing to ask him where it was, but they had it. They were also able to find my info for their loyalty program. Unfortunately, they still have it listed under a phone number I used over ten years ago, and they have no way to update it.
These were three of the five different game stores in Indianapolis on a Saturday afternoon. None had what I would call even passable customer service. If you want to know why friendly local game stores are declining, I'll hold this up as the perfect example of one of the primary reasons. The friendly local game store isn't friendly at all. They don't care if you're there. They don't care if they have or could order what you want. They don't care if what they do while you are in the store does anything to make you want to come back. Most of them don't even care if what they know about you is accurate and up to date.
In the past I was a strong proponent of supporting local game shops. Now I feel the need to qualify that. Support your local game shops, as long as they are willing to support their local gamers. Otherwise, go to an online shop that does. At least then you can get some decent prices while you're being ignored. I'll be taking my business online from now on.