Sunday, October 17, 2010

Card Shop Lesson

A smile, greeting, simple small talk, those are the key ingredients to having a successful business where you offer a service or amenity to customers. Right? Personally, I don't even care if you smile, just a hello followed with "do you need help" usually suffices.

That should be a lesson that is MANDATORY to all card shop owners or people who sell cards in a public setting. How do you expect to make sales or generate interest in what you have to offer if you're a complete jerk? You can make quick assumptions on each customer that walks in, but you might have just blown a huge sale by not talking to that 15 year old kid who wants to buy a box of 2010 Triple Threads. Instead you spent 20 minutes re-hashing the "gold old days" of the 80's with the 45 year old dude who wants to know if his cards are worth anything.

That sale you *might* have blown would have probably made your sales plan for the day, possibly even week. But chances are, you don't have any sales forecast for your store at all.

---I also realized this now, but his sign spells collectibles incorrectly. I've never caught this until now. Fantastic.---

I visited a local card shop this past weekend. Brooklyn Sportscards and Collectables. This guy has been in business for quite some time. And he's always been cold. Maybe I'm reading him wrong, but honestly he's a dick. I'm not in the minority with that sentiment. I always like to talk to card shop owners and the conversations are this:

Card Shop Owner: "Where are you from?"
Me: "Suburb of Cleveland"
CSO: "Ah, you ever go to stores around there"
Me: "Yeah not much is left, All Star and Brooklyn that's it"
CSO: "Brooklyn is still around huh"
Me: "Hah, yeah, I don't buy much from him"
CSO: "He's not the nicest guy, I'm surprised he's in business this long"

Now, I don't know how he stays in business or what he sells, but he does. I've been in there maybe 5-10 times in the past 3 years. Nothing is ever changed. Maybe 3-5 new boxes of stuff, that's it. Hell, the last thing I bought was a Jurassic Park pin for my buddy 2 years ago.

My reason for visiting this time was to see if he had any of the 1985-86 Fleer NBA set for sale. AS has the full set for $550. Unfortunately, there was no mid 80's Fleer NBA cards to be had. Zero Petrovic cards either. A lot of what is in the store has to do with our local clubs, mostly the Indians. And speaking of the Tribe, the walls are adorned with awesome mid 90's posters of former Tribers. I'm talking Lofton, Belle, Justice, Baerga, Fryman. I did ask if he was willing to sell them and I'd be willing to pay a decent amount for them. His response, "no, not for sale, what do you expect me to have a ladder to get them down." I just said, ok, shook my head and walked out. A simple, "no they aren't for sale" would have sufficed.

I urge any collector with any self respect to not visit this place. Unless you want to see an archaic shop stuck in time. Or you want to pay $5 for a base card of Brian Anderson sporting a Tribe jersey.

Having said all that, what are some experiences you've had with Card Shop or Card Dealers in the past that have made you shake your head. And what would you suggest in terms of customer service?


Captain Canuck said...

collectables is the proper english spelling.
collectables has become accepted, but is only used in the U.S.A. according to Oxford.

but yeah, I hate shops like that. and card show dealers too....

Captain Canuck said...

I mean, collectibles has become accepted, only in the U.S.

see? I can't spell it that way... too weird.

AdamE said...

I went to a LCS the other day. Well sort of it was 2 hours away but that is about as local as it gets for me. I visit the shop about 3 or 4 times per year. As soon as I got there he pointed to a box of cards for me to look through and then proceded to find another box of stuff for me search. While I was going through the 2 boxes he looked through a collection he just bought, and hadn't sorted yet, for Red Sox I may want. We talked playoffs the whole time. After pulling out a big stack of cards he shot me a price without even looking at a single card I picked out. It came out to .16 per card.

night owl said...

My LCS rant:

dfwbuck2 said...

sports card maniak on state rd is another local shop, also ohio estates and coin has a card area...

Fuji said...

Great post... I'm bummed that I'm over a week late.

I've worked at a couple of shops when I was younger... and both of them had owners who could care less about their customers.

The first shop that I worked the guys would watch Hoosiers and Weird Science over and over. Then at the other shop, the owner gave 95% of his attention to his "big spenders", but would ignore everyone else.

I guess that's why both places hired me. I love working with people... that's one of the reasons I love this hobby. It also made me realize I enjoyed working with kids... which is why I became a teacher.

It's such a shame because we need hobby shops if not for access to cards and supplies... then for interaction and camaraderie.

I know it's only a dream... but I wish we could go back to the 90's when there were several card shops in every city.