Archive for the Editorial Category

[Editorial] Local Game Store vs. Online Store

Posted in Editorial with tags on October 10, 2012 by Casey Hutton

So a question that seems to pop up constantly within both the gaming community and my own gaming group: Should I buy local or order online?

My thoughts are thus: Support your local gaming store when possible! What does this mean? Simple. If it doesn’t break the bank, buy it local. Joe Schmo the owner of your in-town geek haven would greatly appreciate it. But, there’s always a fine line between killing your wallet and donating to the cause.

For me, if it’s picking up something small, like say, a pack of Magic: The Gathering cards, or even a FLUXX card game, I prefer to make the trip (and for me, that’s about 30 miles or so) to my local temple of geekdom. Why? Because $3.99 or $12.99 isn’t going to make me go hungry. However, in this day and age when board games and roleplaying games are charging exuberant prices, I’m not about to dish out a wad of cash or swipe my card for something I can get online for almost 30% less.

Is that being cheap? In this day and age, so what? If a store doesn’t offer some kind of break for it’s customers to make the trip and come into their store, why should anyone bother to support them. Everyone has to make a profit. The wholesaler/distributor buys the products for about 40% and then in turn sells them for 60% of what is listed on the back of the packaging. That means, on average (and I’m talking only the big things), a store should see approximately a 40% profit when you plop down a copy of the latest RPG on their counter-top. Do I want the product for free? No, but 10-20% off the list price would be nice. Everyone has to make a profit. But, how much is too much? Should I spend that $49.99 on a core rulebook at the store, or should I smile politely, put it back on the shelf and order it from Barnes and Noble Booksellers online where it’s only $28 (with free shipping, might I add, since I’m already a member)?

Yes, large chain stores like Barnes and Noble can afford to eat a loss on said books, etc. And, as I posted above, do I feel a need for a brick and mortar store to sell me a product for 30% off? No. I would be content with 10%…heck, even 5% or even a rewards card where when you spend $100 or $200 you get so much off your next purchase. It’s about customer appreciation. If a store shows me they want my business, I’m more opt to “donate” that extra $20 to help pay their rent.