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“Don’t Fuck With the POS”, and other thoughts on 6/29 by Hibbs

Brian Hibbs

Retailing story first, then into some reviews…

So, I’m in the back of the store yesterday, pulling the subs, but I can hear what’s going on the floor just fine.  I hear Matt greet someone, then, in a shockingly short time — like within a minute — something escalates to screaming. “You’re trying to rip me off!” and things like that. I give Matt a few minutes to try and sort it out, but he’s not able to calm the guy down.

So, I saunter out, “Hello, I’m the owner, what seems to be the trouble here?”

Older gentlemen, probably in his 50s, with a teenager with him. He’s gone straight to apoplectic, which is generally a sign that someone is lying to you before they even start, but let’s listen to his story.

“I was trying to explain to this guy,” the guy launches in, “that I was here a week or so ago to buy MICE TEMPLAR volume 2.1 for my son, and your store sold me THIS instead!” He thrusts a copy of MICE TEMPLAR v1 in HC in my hand. “And now he won’t exchange it!”

“Hm, I see,” I say, “do you have your receipt with you?”

“NO! I already told him, I lost the receipt. Your store sold me the wrong book!”

“Can you tell me who sold it to you, sir?”

“It was a guy with black hair, and he was wearing a hat.”

“Interesting, because me and Matt are the only two people working here in the last few weeks, and our other employees are both women.” (Matt and I are both light haired, and don’t wear hats, BTW)

“Well, it must have been that guy!” he said, pointing to Matt. I feel if you’re going to accuse someone of chicanery, you should at least have a clue as to who you are accusing.

“Hm, OK, give me a second, and let’s look at the records. We’re computerized, shouldn’t take a moment. Hm, hm, well, I have a record of someone buying a copy of v2.1 on 6/18 from Matt.”

“Yes, that was when it was, but he sold me this one instead!”

(After the guy leaves, Matt tells me that he remembers the first encounter, and how the customer and he had had a conversation about what if the man has bought the wrong copy for his son? Keep the receipt, Matt says he said, and we can exchange, of course. This is SOP at the store, and I thoroughly believe that Matt had that conversation with the guy.)

“We haven’t sold a copy of v1 in HC since… looks like 2008.”

“Anyway,” I go on, “it doesn’t seem likely that you thought you were buying a paperback of volume 2.1, but were sold a HC of v1. Didn’t you notice?”

“No! That’s what I’m saying! You’re cheating me!”

“Well, sir, that really isn’t possible. The computer reads the barcode…”

“It must have read it wrong!”

“That’s really not possible, sir…”

“Well, that’s what happened!”

“Really, sir, it couldn’t have. Look, let’s test it now.” I scan the HC he is “returning” — it scans as v1 HC. I scan a TP of 2.1, it scans as a TP of 2.1. “So, you see sir, what you’re describing really isn’t possible. Now, if you can find the receipt…”

“FINE!” he yells, throwing down the HC, “You just keep this one, and I’m NEVER SHOPPING HERE EVER AGAIN!”

“Fine by me!” I tell his back. I have little patience for liars.

What’s funny is that if someone came in, without a receipt, saying they’d bought the wrong book, I’d generally be cool enough to swap it out — there’s nothing wrong with customer service; but to try and trick us with a completely different book that we haven’t sold a copy of in THREE years? Man, I don’t think so. When someone gets THAT angry, THAT fast, it’s usually a good sign they’re lying.

The open question is what was going on here: did he somehow have a second copy of v1, and thought he could get an easy 2.2 in exchange for it? What’s weirdest is that in looking at our record for the HC of v1, it showed up on a periodic “haven’t sold in a year” report that I ran in early May. On 5/13, I wasn’t able to find the copy as I trolled the racks pulling off dead stock, so I noted that in the computer with a “Biffed out previously?” note, since, really, it should have been dealt with in 2010, at the latest (though I seldom make it all the way through the biffage list before I fill up the bins, and boxes in the back room)

ANYway, what I’m thinking NOW is that either he or his son STOLE the HC some time before 5/13/11, bought that 2.1 on 6/18, then thought they’d trade the stolen book for 2.2 yesterday. Can’t prove if that’s right or not, but it feels correct to me.

Either way, if you’re trying to take the moral high ground when you storm out, leaving the business you are storming out of the book that you claim they sold you under false pretenses? Not exactly a “punishment”, really.

Really though, the point is, don’t fuck with the POS — I can track, with a pretty insane level of accuracy, everything that I’ve EVER sold since 2007!

 

***

 

Comics you say? Sure, here’s some!

 

WALKING DEAD #86: In a weird way, WALKING DEAD has entered this strange place where since it is so consistently good month-after-month, there’s really very little need to chime in and say “Hey, another great issue!” USAGI YOJIMBO is like that, too, and I often feel bad that that book doesn’t get more attention, too.

Anyway, this blog used to tweak Robert Kirkman a LOT about timeliness, and it’s good to every once in a while jump back in and give an “attaboy!” for staying on schedule. WD isn’t *quite* clockwork-same-week-of-every month, but it HAS been no-more-than-five-weeks-between-issues for the last FIFTEEN months, which is pretty damn good, especially for an Image book.

(I HAVE to note here that IMAGE UNITED? Issue #4 is now FOURTEEN months late, as of today — and that’s after EIGHT MONTHS between issues 2 & 3)

The other thing Kirkman is doing is using the power of HIS book, to promote OTHER books, and here with #86, he hits a Grand Slam, including the entire (COLOR) 32 pages of ELEPHANTMEN #1 — which means he had to pay color prices even for his B&W WD pages… making this issue a giant 52 pages, half in color, for the same regular $2.99.

My only “negative” note on that, would be “might be a good idea to LET RETAILERS KNOW” when you do something like that, so they might have extra stock on hand to capitalize on it.” Sadly, with the way that reorders work, if I place orders for something TODAY, it won’t arrive here for thirteen more days.

Anyway, “another great issue!” VERY GOOD.

 

AVENGERS: CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #6: I’m not really sure when exactly this stopped having pretty much anything to do with YOUNG AVENGERS per se, and moved to trying to undo HOUSE OF M. I dunno, I want to like this because I really like the YA characters, and I guess seeing two of them getting back with mom is fun, and I absolutely adore Jim Cheung’s art on this… but I’m bored to tears reading about the Scarlet Witch’s “redemption”. This is one of the few cases where leaving the character in limbo might have been a better thing. Very EH.

 

THUNDER AGENTS #8: I think this book suffers pretty badly from pacing problems — just when there’s a little forward momentum in this story, the issue suddenly ends. Plus the Dan Panosian art was pretty plain.

But what really prompted me to say something was the cover blurb.

Blurbed from “weeklycomicbookreview.com” it says “”IF YOU HAVEN’T JUMPED ON YET, NOW’S THE TIME.”

Yes! Jump on now! Two Issues before the book gets Cancelled! Gooood Call!

(You know, to the best of my knowledge, after ten years of reviewing comics on the internet, Savage Critic has NEVER been cover blurbed on anything? Isn’t that weird?)

Anyway: a very EH comic.

 

 

That’s it for me this week, I think.

 

As always, what did YOU think?

 

-B

 

19 Responses to “ “Don’t Fuck With the POS”, and other thoughts on 6/29 by Hibbs ”

  1. I had a similar thing happen to me once, when I worked retail. The lady said she didn’t have the receipt and I went to look it up and she wasn’t in the computer. I told her that I couldn’t give her money back and she stormed out. We then looked at the inventory and realized that we hadn’t sold the product in over 6 months and that we should have two in stock. We looked over at the shelf it was on and there was only one. Wish we would have realized that she stole it a little sooner, so we could get the product back.

  2. Just a tiny quibble–Thunder Agents hasn’t been officially cancelled. In fact, the solicitation for August’s issue 10 explicitly states that the book isn’t ending. It’s possible that it’s just skipping the month of September to make room for the 52 number ones. It’s also possible that it’s ending and they aren’t going to pick it back up, but nothing has said that yet.

  3. Actually, if you try to reorder Walking Dead #86, you’ll get nothing, because it was going to backorder as early as yesterday. Don’t know why Kirkman can’t afford to overprint more than half a dozen copies. I would love to see second prints of 85 and 86 just for people jumping from TP to monthly, myself.

  4. according to bleeding cool, THUNDER Agents will be back – which makes me happy because I realty enjoy it.

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/06/18/the-first-dc-comics-retailer-roadshow-–-and-a-return-for-thunder-agents/

  5. I don’t think the Scarlet Witch should be active in the Marvel Universe as long as Brian Bendis is still working for Marvel. Of course, now that she’s going through such a rough patch, maybe he’s not afraid of her anymore. Ha!

  6. I love that story…it’s almost like the retail equivalent of the scene in Annie Hall where Alvy drags out Marshall McLuhan to shut the guy up in the movie line. I’m digging your POS!!!

  7. The most disturbing thing about that story is that you haven’t sold a copy of Mice Templar Vol. 1 since 2008. It’s the best series currently being published. Why is no one reading it? It deserves a huge audience.

  8. “The most disturbing thing about that story is that you haven’t sold a copy of Mice Templar Vol. 1 since 2008.”

    I believe Hibbs does more trade business than your run of the mill comic shop, but I think even he’s acknowledged that the idea of continual sales of trades or OGNs is as much myth as fact. Most books sell most of their copies when they first come out or when something like a movie draws attention to them. Sales then trickle off to next to nothing, with only a small number of books continuing to sell consistently over the years, a paradigm probably made worse by the constant introduction of new product into the trade/OGM marketplace.

    Mike

  9. It’s sad because Mice Templar is a *very* good book, but I think it’s reached the audience it’s going to reach. I think that’s true of most comics. I’m always amazed how Los Bros Hernandez are currently putting out some of the best comics ever made and they’re essentially ignored.

  10. Didn’t Joyous Jeff Lester get a blurb on the back of the Bulletproof Coffin TPB credited to Savage Critic? Damn, I enjoyed that book in a “I’m gonna be meta’d to death” way. Clever chaps those Hine n Kane folks.

  11. @cornishB: Actually, I’m 90% sure it was Jog’s review, not mine. (Though my memory is so bad, I can’t say for sure.)

    I also seem to remember Rich Starkings saying he was going to use part of my Elephantmen review on the back of a trade (which was a lovely bit of criticism jujitsu since most of my review was kvetching), but, again, I can’t recall for sure if it happened or not.

  12. Same reaction to Thunder Agents, which is why the DC not-a-reboot reboot is the perfect jumping off point since I’ll be adding a few extra titles. Eight issues in and I have no equity built with these characters, which is sad since I did like them back in the day. It’s trying to cram fifty years of backstory when it hasn’t bothered to establish why you should care about the characters in the first place. Either jettison any real need for continuity like Ellis did in Authority or build some equity in your characters before bogging things down with flashbacks. Scalped does plenty of interesting flashbacks precisely because you were made to care about the characters and the entire res first. Everytime I buy Thunder Agents I get that trade dress with the rave reviews and wonder when I’ll get why this is a great book. Officially dropped this week. Although I did think the art was an improvement over Cafu.

  13. “(You know, to the best of my knowledge, after ten years of reviewing comics on the internet, Savage Critic has NEVER been cover blurbed on anything? Isn’t that weird?)”

    I’m not sure it is. More than just having a pretty high EH/CRAP/AWFUL/ASS – to – GOOD/VERY GOOD/EXCELLENT ratio, this site’s always felt less like a “real” review site to me than a personal outlet for a particular group of comics industry writers. Which ain’t no jibe; I still come here, obviously.

    But I don’t think I’d troll it for blurbs.

  14. Walking Dead is like Fringe.

    ‘Astonishingly, still failing to be bad.’

  15. Do you back up your POS data?

  16. I am now imagining POS as a kind of Brother Eye and Mr. Brian Hibbs as a Retailing OMAC!

    He is special! He is ready! “My body is rejecting your demands for a replacement item of equal or lesser worth!”

  17. “The most disturbing thing about that story is that you haven’t sold a copy of Mice Templar Vol. 1 since 2008. It’s the best series currently being published. Why is no one reading it? It deserves a huge audience.”

    Not to speak for Brian, but this was the HC version. I’d venture to guess that he has sold the SC version since then. Hardcovers are a tough sell once the SC comes out, especially when there is a $12 price difference, like there is here.

  18. THE WALKING DEAD is ALWAYS printed on a colour press these days — I guessed as much and asked Robert if this was the case. Sure enough, it’s cheaper to print on a colour press than a black and white one!

  19. That’s FASCINATING, Richard, and, actually, probably explains those gray half-tones over the last few months…. but I almost wish I didn’t know that, since I was handing out praise that is now diminished!

    -B

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