Last week, I listened to my friend, Dan, talk about his problems with Thor’s Hammer. He was interested in buying Pirates of the Spanish Main. He would stop by the store and ask them if they had PotSM in stock. The clerk would reply “No. Try back in a couple of weeks.” He did this a couple of times and the answer would always be the same. Well, finally, last week he went to the game store and the answer was different. The clerk told him that they had got the game a couple of days ago and it was sold out! The employee did not make the connection that a customer asking about a product would be interested in buying it and they should offer to hold it for them. That would make the customer feel special and generate future business.
Well my turn came next!
There is a local gaming store that I had felt obligated to support (albeit at a minimal level). That store is Dragon’s Lair in Round Rock.
I went to the store and asked about the Four Dragons. The clerk responds “I haven’t heard about it” and goes back to his business. I wait a few minutes and then ask “Well, are you going to look it up?” He then replies that “The Austin store has one in the inventory but I am not sure that it is in stock.”
Next week I have business near their store, so I stop there. It is a couple of minutes before opening and I wait. Twelve o’clock comes around and it does not open. I see the same clerk inside the store sitting at the register doing something. I wait some more minutes. I consider leaving. Finally, he opens the store. I ask again for FD. He replies again “Nope. We don’t have any in stock.” I leave frustrated again.
Well, they have lost my business. Is it my job to baby-sit their employees? Do I have to explain to them that when customers ask for a product that they carry but do not have, that they should offer to order one for them. At the very least, they should realize that it is popular and order one or two. They could reply “We are currently out of stock but we have X on order and would you like for us to hold one for you?” Do the employees really think that customers have nothing better to do than to walk into a store, ask for product X, and leave?
Online game stores have better inventory and they tell you immediately that they are out of stock on something. Since they have more turnover, they will order more stock when they sell out. However, the biggest benefit is that they are 20-30% cheaper than local stores (although shipping is more expensive than sales tax).