Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 168 of 362

It's been a good day here at the Gopher thus far. So good that I almost forgot to post this today.

I'm already catching a bit of flak (in private e-mails) for the rant of my previous post. I apologize that my opinion about Free RPG Day has upset some folks, but something strikes me as wrong about how it's been set up thus far.

I absolutely LOVE the idea behind it. What I don't like is the driving force behind the event is the only one making any direct money (and a sizable chunk) off of it, but the rest of us are supposed to do it "for the love of the hobby". I have no problem loving the hobby. I've put many hours into RPG games. Whether it's writing, running sessions, selling books, or helping organize convention events, I have devoted the bulk of my life to it, at times placing my health and marriage in jeopardy.

Our store runs runs a sizable amount of games, and I do my level best to make certain those games have their space.

I can say, without an ounce of doubt in my body, that I *LOVE* RPG'S.

What I don't love is when an industry "force" tries to use guilt and peer pressure to give them money.

-- GopherDave

Free RPG Day Isn't Free...

I am a shortsighted business owner. In many ways, I know that. I have practically ZERO formal education in retailing/marketing, yet, here I am running a game store. How’d I get here exactly? That’s a story for another time.

The last few years, there has been an “event” called “Free RPG Day” put together by Impressions Marketing. It involves RPG manufacturers providing Impressions with free “teaser-level” product, which Impressions then bundles up and ships out to retailers.

Now perhaps my understanding on how this all works is a bit off, but it seems the only people getting anything for free are Impressions and the “customers” picking up the free items from stores. It certainly costs the manufacturers money to produce this product and then ship it to Impressions. It costs the retailers eighty dollars a “kit” for said bundled product. It even costs Impressions money in labor and materials to ship the kits. However, I refuse to believe it costs Impressions eighty dollars to put together and ship each of these kits. Fifteen, twenty, even thirty-five dollars I would believe as far as actual shipping and handling costs are concerned. Not eighty… not even close.

I had a conversation with a customer about why I don’t currently participate in Free RPG Day. His whole take is that advertising costs. He’s right. It does. However, I can think of other ways to drive traffic to my store for eighty, one hundred sixty, or even two hundred and forty dollars that can drive traffic to my store that will MAKE me money on that DIRECT investment. Heck, given the weekend, if I could have gotten them, I could have bought another display of the MtG: Commander decks for what each one of the Free RPG Day kits costs. Those would have turned around almost immediately to roughly double my money. Instead, Free RPG Day would have me handing money (in a different form) to customers in hopes that they may someday hand me money back.

Giveaways suck as a marketing tool. Their investment-to-return ratio is staggeringly poor. Too often you get people you’ll never see again (except to get more free stuff) wandering in to get free stuff, all the while you are hoping that some new potentially repeat customer wanders in and discovers your establishment.

For the same money, I firmly believe a store could set up its own RPG Demo Day, give away anything it wanted to (including slower moving product), and still come out ahead monetarily, with new customers to boot.

My general thoughts are that “Free RPG Day” is an event in the same way that “Valentine’s Day” is a holiday. It’s an event manufactured by an industry designed to make someone money… …but in this case, the only someone making money is the middleman.

I could be wrong, and my understanding could be off, but my gut says that I’m not…


Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 167 of 362

It's Friday, so that means Friday Night Magic. It also means the release of the MtG Commander (EDH) decks that people have been clamoring over for the last month or so. When the boy and I rolled up to the store, there were seven folks waiting outside for us to open. Ummm... wow.

It never ceases to amaze me... the draw that this particular game has... In some ways, it's kind of scary.

Anyway... I'm off to peddle useless goods for worthless shekels... wish me luck.  =P

-- GopherDave

PS -- Green Lantern was fun. Seemingly incomplete and glossed over in places, but fun.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 166 of 362

Got an early start today, and it's a good thing I did. It's been a busy day here as shipments came in today. Normally, they'd have been here yesterday, but I had to delay them to make certain we got an item THIS week as opposed to next week. Once they got here, I was sort of amazed at the amount of stuff there was. I mean, I ordered it, but looking at it made me realize exactly how much I had ordered.

It's all put away now, in the system, and most of the special order customers have been notified. Now to run a couple of errands before the store opens.


-- GopherDave

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 165 of 362

New day... Running late. Tonight we have Jeff's Big Dungeon Thing and Warmachine. Not really involved in anything, so I can catch up on some things.

Beyond that... I got nothin' today.

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 164 of 362

It's another Tuesday here in the corn. I'm getting ready to head to the store to do orders for the week, then it's Casual MtG and KnightErrantJR's DC Adventures game, where I get to play everyone's favorite non-sleeping telekinetic cynic, Marathon.

Beyond that, not much is happening. I'm about to gear up for the next step in renovations, but I need to get ahold of a contractor friend of mine first to make certain I'm taking the correct next step.

Overall, life is being good, and I'm only slightly tired... =)

Peace... GopherDave

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 163 of 362

Hey hey... it's Monday, and this here constitutes my 200th post. I was hoping to have some meaningful and chunky content for this post, but it sort of snuck up on me. I'm currently working on something for my 250th post, though, so that should be better.

Since it's 40K night, Loquacious kicked me out of the store to spend time with the kids. Given that, I'm keeping this post short and heading off to feed them something.

Take care, folks!

-- GopherDave

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 162 of 362

It's Sunday at the ol' Gopher. We have a bunch of things on the schedule for today, but none of them really involve me. So, I will think about how I'm approaching Tai'eres a bit more, plus do a few other things that need to be done around the store.

I'll have to check, but I believe I'm somewhere near 200 posts to this blog. I'm trying to plan something more substatial than the usual for it, but if I miss the mark, I'll save it for the 250th post.

Until later...

-- GopherDave

EDIT: I just checked... It turns out my next post will be my 200th... hmmm... I'll see what I can cobble together...