Comic Store in Your Future: All It Takes Is One Employee Who Doesn’t Care

Posted by August 18, 2018 Comment

Rod Lamberti of Rodman Comics writes weekly for Bleeding Cool. Find previous columns here.

What a roller coaster ride of a month this has been so far. Thursday and Friday sales have surged ahead — not just by a few percentage points, but by multiplying the previous week’s day sales totals by a lot. Sales on Sunday beat out Wednesday, which is a weird fluke. The Iowa State Fair is in Town, which brings in new people from out of town. I have been working more here in the store and making the store more money, which makes it worth it.

People are getting excited about the Venom movie. The previews for the movie have been bringing in people looking for Venom material, from his current comic book to variants with Venom on them. Lapsed readers are even returning to check out comics thanks to the upcoming movie. We’ve sold both of our graded Secret Wars #8 with the costume that becomes Venom. Venom has replaced The Walking Dead as the comic that brings in new people to the store.

I hope that the movie will be a hit and keep bringing people in. I know Marvel will not advertise there is a Venom comic to make an effort to get actual new readers, but I always hope.

I have had a few people in asking for a current Cloak and Dagger comic — even though they have made it to TV, there is not a comic series for them currently. Only a few have asked, though that is a few more than the zero amount of people that have been in asking for the return of Unstoppable Wasp and Iceman. I fail to understand how certain titles are pushed through while others that people are interested in fail to be produced.

I did have someone slash the Rodmobile’s tires while here at work. Nothing like walking out of work and seeing flat tires. I brought an air compressor up and tried filling them back up. Then I felt air blowing on my arm as I tried airing the first tire back up, and I noticed the cut on the side of the tire. So much for wondering if I ran over something. Could have been anyone — no one saw anything. My employee who I switched hours with felt bad, but it’s not his fault.

It feels like a never-ending loop at times. I work in the store more, improve sales, then bring in new people who leave in a few months, and then I work at the store more again. Currently we have the Fantastic Four here on staff, myself included. Who else could be our Mr. Fantastic? I was all right with just keeping it the four of us. A smooth-running group, drama free, one that makes the store money.

On Mondays with school returning, we are going to be closed again. Tuesdays we will be opening at 5:30 to get the new comics ready for Wednesdays. Wednesdays, being new comic day, are the most important days of course, so no change to them. Thursdays and Fridays before 5:30 were looking very weak, then with some changes they came roaring to life, so now I am looking at hiring to fill out the hours here. This time it will either be someone I know or people I know. We’re hammering out the details now. I hope that they will survive the experience.

Why don’t I simply work in store more? Even when I am not here, odds are I am doing things for the store. Anything from picking up supplies (what, people want soap to use in the restroom? Inconceivable!) to the various paperwork that involves owning a store.

Ideally, there would be an army of dedicated highly trained people to rule the world… I mean work here.  As I have stated before, the economy has low unemployment right now — so low some businesses are letting their employees get away with things they would never have a few years ago. I know the last few times I have gone out for fast food my order has been screwed up. From a small mistake, such as I didn’t want fries, to going in and ordering for myself and instead of getting two sandwiches getting two meals just for myself. Like, I am going to get two different drinks to drink at the same time?

Employees are important. I used to think one of the vendors I deal with was great. I would get a call out of the blue checking to see if I needed anything. Ordering was fast and easy — I loved dealing with them. Then my sales rep changed, and now my emails go unanswered and I hardly order anything from them. I emailed asking about having Magic pre-releases through them and did not hear anything back, which really surprised me. That alone could have been thousands of dollars for them. One would think someone would notice the decrease of dollars not being spent with them and wonder what happened. That decrease is not just hundreds of dollars — it is thousands. I guess not, so now I simply use another vendor that is more than happy to have the increase in business. That situation I worry about here. All it takes is an employee who does not care — one who does not try to give good customer service — and then we all are blamed along with the loss of business. Paying someone to block sales seems insane, though it does happen.

This year has flown by fast. I am finally going to take a vacation this year. With the rest of Fantastic Four here while I am gone, I can breathe easy (famous last words!).

Weird fact: there have been multiple people in the store telling me they read this column, and I usually respond with an, “oh?”  They tell me they like the column. No one has ever in person said anything negative. Go figure.

I was asked recently how much work goes into owning a store. Truthfully, the answer is as much work as one wants to put into it. I have been to stores where people are watching TV or playing video games. Other store owners do far more than I do, such as working seven days a week at their store straight, going for years without taking time off. I love my store and take pride in my store, though even I am not that dedicated.

Now get out there and read some good comics!

(Last Updated August 18, 2018 11:52 am )

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