Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Pay Where You Play
Posted by Michael Ovsenik
This week has been slow for me; I've been assembling Beastmen for fantasy and reading Badab War books in Imperial Armour 9 and 10. I have also been taking part in a discussion on Reddit talking about FLGS's and how to spend cash there. I've always been a proponent of Pay Where You Play, which is a slogan I heard on the Heroic 28s podcast.
First I will say that I got a little passionate in the Reddit thread. I live very close to what I consider the best FLGS I've ever been to. It is staffed by people who care about the hobby and their business and it shows. The store is clean and bright and well stocked.
This is often not the case, so one has to take that into account when discussing pay where you play on the interwebs. Oftentimes people have an experience with a store that is not so great and so they don't consider it as important. Any discussion of this idea should take this into account.
Warhammer is An Expensive Hobby
No matter how much I rail on GW for raising prices unreasonably, one must always remember that this hobby is expensive. Going into it trying to cut corners at every opportunity may not be the best method of joining the hobby. I think out of our whole playgroup, most of us started 40k / Fantasy / Warmachine AFTER college!
What Does the Store Owe You?
FLGS's should be clean. They should have a nice bathroom that isn't stanked up and stainy. They should have a brightly lit playing area with a plethora of terrain and tabletops. They should stock the main merchandise lines and be open for orders if they don't have it. Staffers should be pleasant and willing to answer questions. It is reasonable to request that miniatures be sold at least at a 10% discount; this provides some incentive to purchase in store, obviously.
What Do You Owe the Store?
If you spend your time there playing games, you should purchase your hobby merchandise there. Buy your Warhammer models there at the very least. This is what the store makes money on, not so much once-a-year purchases like brushes or clippers. Justifying purchasing things online to save money that you can spend in the store every few months is just that: justifying.
If you don't purchase your stuff in store, if everyone purchased from the internets and then walked in to play, pretty soon you'd find yourself playing in someone's cat smell basement.
Obviously there are things you can't purchase in store. Bits are something that sometimes have to be found at bits retailers online. Alternative companies sometimes aren't big enough to sell wholesale to stores. Old and out of print models usually aren't available either. I can't say that I've spent all my hobby money in stores; I've purchased things here and there on eBay, but that is a small percentage of my hobby expenditures. I've also sold many models to fund other projects, so I'm not Mr. Moneybags or anything.
Why Not Shop Online?
There are quite a few full-service stores online that will sell you items for a great discount and ship it very fast and very well. These stores have no local buy-in to your area. They won't run tournaments, they won't give you advice on painting, they won't listen to your well-held opinions on the state of the hobby.
Most of all, they won't invite you into their place of business to let you play wargames on their tables with all of their terrain that they built and painted.