Quit Spending Your Money with Assholes

Posted: August 6, 2010 in Buying Comics, Retailer Abuse
Tags: , , , , ,

Comic Book Guy just jizzed himself thinking about Kick Ass 2: Balls to the Wall

I’m deadly serious about this. Stop walking into “your” comic book store every week if you are buying books from somebody who could not give a RAT’S ASS about your business!

And I’m not talking about a comic book retailer refusing your friendship either. That’s completely different. Believe me, these retailers have got more than enough “friends” to keep them busy for a lifetime. (By “friends” I mean, of course, people who smile at a store owner and then expect to buy all of their collectibles priced at cost.)

Oh, you again? Just give me your fucking money and go away.

Still, you might become a retailer’s friend– or possibly a close business associate– over time. But just because you buy Marvel Variant covers at above cost– you are not automatically in the “Friendship Club”… No more than that cute lady that cuts your greasy mop at Supercuts is going to blow you. (So you can forget about that little fantasy too!) Friendship, like respect, is earned over time.

Yet, I am here to tell you that there are PLENTY of comic book retailers who simply look at the vast majority of their patrons as scum. While I don’t expect these idiots to like you (or me)– I do expect them to act like they tolerate us while we’re in their stores.

This anti-social attitude unfortunately prevails at more comic book shops than I care to mention– which is why Matt Groening’s “Comic Cook Guy” is such a spot-on Simpsons character. I’m not going to go into why such people would choose retail (of all things) as a profession– or why many comic retailers are so misanthropic… As I have already shed a lot of light on why I believe store owners can exhibit grumpy, surly behavior. Basically, the reasons are as far-ranging as an extremely poor upbringing to half the copies of this week’s Avengers comic arriving damaged.

And sometimes, you might just happen to walk in when they’re having a genuinely bad day. We all have them. Some more than others… But, still.

Often too much "ATTENTION" from your retailer SUCKS too!

So please don’t grade the retailer on just one visit… Unless you’re a woman and the owner stares at your boobs the entire time like he owns them… Then there’s very little to forgive.

We’re all human, So make your decision based on, let’s say, 3 VISITS. If the idiot (or his employees) can’t figure out a way to be solicitous to you by then– they’re hopeless and do NOT deserve your business.

I cannot begin to tell you the number of people who stick with shit retailers for years– if not decades… And everybody seems to have a different reason for doing this. Some stay because the ogre’s shop is the closest comic book outlet to their home or work. Others stay because they’re resigned to receive abuse in their daily lives.

I am here to tell you that this no longer has to happen. You do not need to feel like crap when you pay good money to a fucker who would just as soon shit on you than look at you.

Let’s examine ways comic book retailers ABUSE their customers… Just in case you may not have recognized all of them:

#1 They OVER-PRICE brand new books on the same day of release. This happens everywhere. For example, one retailer a MILE away from another one can price their books so HIGH— the amounts could labeled usurious. Do not fall for this. 99.999999% of the time there are plenty of books to go around for the entire world– as long as you jump early (in the first week or less). If you miss out, chill out. Regardless of what your brain tells you– you do not need a 1st Printing of every single book you own… And you certainly never have to submit to having your WALLET RAPED for the privilege of owning anything.

#2 They attempt to make a book seem RARER then it actually is. This could be anything from a buzzed about new Indie comic series to a year-old Venom appearance. Bottom line: if the item’s price is at an amount higher than you are willing to pay– and the retailer won’t budge– politely excuse yourself and go research the book’s “scarcity” on the internet. Unscrupulous retailers are more than willing to prey on your collector mentality. Don’t let them do it.

#3 They say “your” copy of a title didn’t come in– even though all the other stores seem to have the issue. You need to draw a fine line here. As I spotlighted in a previous post, Comic Books Release BS*, the main distributor SHORTS comic book stores on ALL KINDS of titles all the time.

Still, if you have a little known book on your Pull List— and you repeatedly don’t see it in your stack month after month… As hard as this may be for you to believe– the retailer is NOT ordering it for you! He/She/It is simply ignoring you!

#3A They say “your” pre-ordered toy or statue didn’t come in due to allocations– even though all the other stores seem to have it. Again, like Reason #3, this statement can often be true (depends on the store owner’s veracity)… But can also mean they are just fucking you by not ordering your stuff– or worse, have sold your prized collectible to a more favored customer. The economy sucks so hard now– and comic book retailers are so starved for business– allocations for HIGH PRICED items are currently rare… Except for the most limited of items. (That written, don’t bust a retailer’s balls if you wait months to order a limited item and then they can’t get it for you. Cool things do sell out all the time. Live with it.)

#4 Your retailer plays “favorites”. Most retailers will lie and say they don’t have favorite customers. But just like your Mom & Dad lie when they say they don’t love one of their kids more than another (I can’t believe you still fall for that bullshitif you do)… Most retailers do have favorite customers. Some retailers base this favoritism on the amount of money a person spends every week or the fact that the customer doesn’t give them shit when bad things routinely happen that are beyond their control. Other retailers play extra nice because they think it will earn them a shot at getting into your pants (this can be both a male and female problem). Still other retailers prioritize their customers because they just like playing the role of King or Queen.

Do NOT put up with ANY of this juvenile behavior! I spend HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS a week on comic books and I do it with a retailer that treats me exactly the same way they treat all their other customers. That’s why I give them my business. I’m NOT special because I have more money to spend on comics than other people… And anybody who thinks I am is an ASSHOLE. Any retailer that treats their well-heeled customers with more dignity than their other customers is somebody you need to STOP handing your money to RIGHT NOW!

You can imagine how often this happens in Hollywood. I know several retailers– one in particular– that fall all over themselves to give Actors, Writers and Film Producers preferential treatment (hard to find books, comics at cost) even though these monkeys are largely HACKS that flim-flam people for fame and don’t deserve the respect. I am a TRIFECTA in ALL 3 of those creative categories– and I will NOT drive into Hollywood and give them my business… Just on principle.


#5 Don’t fall for the “ALL or NOTHING” approach to comics retailing. If you buy a book at another comic book store and happen to mention this in your regular store one day– and your regular retailer has a conniption fit— screw them! Any retailer that thinks their shop is the only shop you should buy comics from obviously doesn’t understand the basic concept of freedom. No comic book store could ever have everything a customer desires. It is not possible… And the last time I checked, you are FREE TO SPEND YOUR MONEY WITH WHOMEVER YOU CHOOSE.

#6 You see a retailer mistreat others to their face… Or they cruelly joke around behind a customer’s back. I’m sure your Mother told you that you should treat people how they treat you— and not worry about how they treat others. That’s bullshit. You’re not in the “In Crowd” if a retailer makes fun of another customer in front of you. You were just standing there when the insecure bastard (or bastard-ette?) acted like an idiot… And if you think they don’t do the same goddamn thing behind your back— then I have an “extremely rare” Chris Claremont – Jim Lee X-Men #1 I’d like to sell you for $500!

#7 If a retailer FUCKS you ONCE, they will most assuredly FUCK you AGAIN! Nobody likes to be screwed unwillingly or unwittingly. You wouldn’t stand still and allow one of your loved ones be taken advantage of on a regular basis would you? Then why do you keep allowing your comic book retailer to do it to you? Stop it! I’m telling you this because they will continue to fuck you until you tell them to stop, make it certain you will no longer tolerate their shitty behavior… Or best case scenario– leave their store and never come back.

Why in the hell do comic book fans take this abuse? Do they do it because they think the comics are so rare that if they miss a week hunting for a new store they might also miss their most precious? Do they think it doesn’t matter because all retailers are mono-syllabic slugs? Or maybe they think that they themselves– with their “little” comic book habits– don’t matter.

Some ASSES are NICER than others

Quit deluding yourselves! Again– in this economy every comic book a retailer sells– and every comic book customer a retailer has– is important… And if your store owner doesn’t act like it… Then leave the asshole alone to manage their small, poorly lit hovel into oblivion or bankruptcy— whichever comes first.

I personally think the BIGGEST reason that comic book fans take such abuse from their retailers is because they feel landlocked. They fear the unknown and don’t understand that there are plenty of people are out there that will treat them like human beings. Please, I beg you… Do not be afraid to move on.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my father once told me a piece of wisdom that I have found to be extraordinarily true:


If the next comic book seller is a swine, then move to the next and the next after that. Decent comic book retailers do exist. I quit buying from my local comic book stores years ago. I grew tired of the store owner’s attitudes and a lot of their childish customers. I simply didn’t feel like jockeying with unwashed fat asses who were willing to pile drive me into a Magic Card display so they could be the first customer to pick out a mint copy of the current Batman.

If you’re more of a “hands on” type who needs to be in a store to pick out your issues… Then at least find an atmosphere conducive to the way YOU want to conduct business. It’s YOUR money and you can spend it any way you see fit.

Me? I went mail order. And I didn’t choose a mail order only company either. I went with a real store that also sold through the mail. That way I knew I was supporting someone who had the same overhead and the same advantages and disadvantages of any other “brick & mortar” comic retailer. In short, I was leveling the playing field.

This was important to me because I was supporting a store without having to live near the store.

I’m truly sorry– but naivety is no longer an excuse. Between computers and the internet(s)– virtually everything you desire is at your fingertips.



If you are being taken for granted or lied to or otherwise abused by your current retailer and you don’t make plans to go to another store or mail order seller after reading this post– then I can’t help you.


Remember, there are ALL KINDS of ASSES in the comic biz!


  1. Ok, I needed to stop reading your post for a minute to say Thank You! Thank you for using the term “anti-social” correctly…not that I would think you wouldn’t. Anti-social and irony, two terms that when people use incorrectly, drive me up a fucking wall.

    Alright, back to reading the post…


  2. Stamps says:

    I like the title -to the point is a good thing. All your examples are really well thought out and VERY true.

    I’m happy to say that the shop that is closest to me is the best one for me. There are four in my town (2 close to me) and I’m lucky that the shop is only about 2 miles from me.

    People put up with crazy shit for no reason with comic book stores. You are absolutely right -people need to stop taking abuse from their retailer.

    All the shop in my town are pretty decent and wouldn’t do anything like put comics you don’t want in your pull folder or crap like that. I would god damn LOSE MY MIND.

    The only offense I’ve seen is the fact that one store seems to really be quite short with people who aren’t regular customers. There is a very unwelcoming vibe going on there. I guess that would fall under the “playing favorites” section.

    This is another great article IM. A very good critical analysis that a lot comic book buyers should read. Because from what I’ve heard from people on CCW and elsewhere online shitty retailers that take advantage/abuse their patrons are sadly more common and more brazen than I thought.

    • Insideman says:

      I put your two comments together Stamps. I don’t have enough people commenting– so I can help with typos and wrongly hit keys. It drives me INSANE at the CCW*TV Blog when I hit “send” and I CAN SEE a mistake heading out with my name on it.

      Maybe one day I’ll get too many comments to have time to edit them all… Then I can play favorites. 😉

      I agree with you. I was totally taken aback by the large number of CCW*TV people who seem to take shit from their retailers. I’ve been through at least 7 different shops over the years and 3 mail order retailers… That’s why I can so whole-heartedly recommend Dreamland… Because I have already waded through lots of shitheads.

      THAT’s why I wrote the post… Because I wanted people to know it is OK to leave retailers who abuse you… Just like it is OK to leave people close to you who abuse you mentally or physically. Most people might find it absurd for me to compare the two… But I have seen RETAILERS PULL THE SAME SORT OF MENTAL ABUSE on their customers– fake guilt and all that– that lover’s pull on their loved ones. It is obviously just a lesser version of a much BIGGER problem… But it is still the SAME TYPE of abuse. (In my mind, at least.)

      I’m also attempting to imagine what goes through a retailer’s head when he/she KNOWINGLY puts books in a customer’s Pull Pile that he/she knows they didn’t order. First off, this might have been easier to get away with when books were $1.99… but now that they are $3.99 a crack… People might just complain… But then to cop an attitude when they do?!?

      Asshole obviously OVER ORDERED on his/her books and is trying to pawn issues off on people he/she thinks they can STICK IT to… When what they should be doing is PAYING ATTENTION AND ADJUSTING THEIR ORDERS so they don’t have to pull bullshit like this.

      In short, act like a human being.

      I’ve also seen retailers be short to new customers. How do they expect to grow their business if they treat every new customer that walks through their doors like shit?

      • Stamps says:

        Thank you for combining them. Yeah I hate leaving typos and there were around a billion in there.

        I really can’t wrap my head around the mental state a retailer who puts unwanted books in someone’s folder is in.

  3. TheMSpot says:

    Great article as usual Insideman. I think you hit the nail on the head. That is why I drive 25 to 30 minutes to my LCS (if you can still call that local) so I don’t have to deal with dick head retailers. I use to go to one retailer that didn’t even have a fucking register the owner use to write down all the purchases made, and gave you the change out of his pocket. Anyway, great article on avoiding the shitty retailers and supporting the good ones like Dreamland.

    • TheMSpot says:

      retailers are like comic books choose wisely.

    • Insideman says:

      MSpot, the stories we could share. I mentioned in another post about a retailer that used to have his “store” in a very small space behind a building. The retailer rarely kept his posted hours and NEVER opened up on time on Wednesdays (or ANY “new comic release day”). I used to drive buy there after getting my stuff just to watch the customers milling around aimlessly in the parking lot– LIKE ZOMBIES– with nothing to do until the prick opened up.

      I used to stop sometimes and offer to drive them down the street to my retailer. 🙂

      But you’re doing the right thing man. If they ever start really abusing you past the breaking point– then go to Dreamlandcomics.com. It’s where Jose works and I know they’ll take care of you.

      • TheMSpot says:

        The one I frequent now, has friendly service, a really good selection (almost everything under the sun, if they don’t, and can put in a order for it they’ll do it and notify you when it comes in.) and I think a pretty welcoming atmosphere, I mean they even have a weekend book club. I was half tempted to attend their Blankets discussion. Anyway, I don’t think that this one is folding anytime soon, but if it does, Dreamland here I come.

  4. Locusmortis says:

    Another reason to go mail order is you know that that some sweaty bastard hasn’t mauled the comic on the racks, I’ll take my stuff pristine that you very much. That goes expecially for Hardcovers which I expect to be in the original shrinkwrap when I get them.

    I’ve used a few different online places over the last couple of years, I used to get stuff from a place called Fantastic Realm but they closed down suddenly in Oct 2009 and I got stiffed for what was luckily a small amount of money.

    I got stuff from another online shop called Mega City Comics which was fine, I had no real complaints but I felt there was no real passion for retail let alone passion for comics. I never got offered a discount despite being a customer for a long time plus despite my last order being over 6 months ago they haven’t once tried to make me an offer or ask me why I stopped buying from them despite being a former long term customer. That all indicates to me that my custom must not matter a great deal to them.

    I’ve become used to online booksellers that actively try and sell you stuff, that advertise product and make offers to entice you to buy. I think a lot of retailers need to step it up and be professional about selling comics and merchandise. A lot of what I hear about the bad stores is that they are amateurish and run by people who don’t know much about how to actually sell product without alienating customers let alone being able to tempt potential customers.

    • Insideman says:

      I agree LM… A store that would let a LONG TERM customer go away without even a “Hi, is everything OK? How can we win you back?” letter doesn’t deserve your business… and most likely doesn’t care about it.

  5. pilkk90 says:

    i’ve never had any problems at the comic shops i go to everyone is really freindly

  6. phil says:

    I think someone; perhaps Jose posted that Vault of Midnight in AnnArbor Michigan won some sorta Eisner or Harvey or whathavya on the retailing side of things I bellieve. I guess in and of itself that I don’t have a problem with that, but the folks there are not the most warm people. They didn’t seem to be mean spirited or pricks or anything, its just that their bed side manner was lacking a bit.

    But again, they weren’t voted friendliest. For me that distinction would go to Green Brain comics in Dearborn or Detroit Comics in Ferndale. Friendly atmosphere, good customer service and nice looking shops to boot.

  7. I never really run into many problems when it comes to buying new comics. Then again, my dad picks up the books for me on his way from work, so I don’t really know when something goes wrong unless something REALLY goes wrong (like if the retailers didn’t pay their bill on time). I think since Minnesota is such a writer/reading state (since we get trapped in our houses because of all the snow) I believe we have a respect and deep passion for books. Because when we’re trapped all we really have is our books, dark thoughts, and our computers!

    As usual, great post Insideman! I want to work at a comic book store someday to get money for college, etc. so after reading people’s problems with their LCS I have a good understanding of what I should do and how I should act towards customers.

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