Tuesday, August 09, 2005

We're cool, but we're not a movie house.

Ok, I know we have two really nice TV’s in the store. And we try to play entertaining stuff. But that doesn’t mean we’re a movie theater, or your living room for that matter. They are more for a sense of movement in the store, and background noise. I don’t even mind if someone’s eye gets caught on a scene and they watch it. But it makes me uncomfortable when people feel the need to stand at the counter for two hours watching an entire movie. And don’t get me started on how it’s even more irritating when they constantly comment on their likes/dislikes as the movie plays.

Seriously, this happens! I’ve had people stay to watch most of a movie that was one when they came in, 1.5 movies (whatever was on when they came in plus an entire second movie), and even for the whole Lord of the Rings movie. We used to have a gaming area, so we had chairs, and I could see how it might be easy to pull up a chair, sit and watch something. But we haven’t had chairs since February, yet we still have people willing to watch an entire movie standing near the front counter. If it were me, I’d rent the movie and watch it at home if I wanted to see it that bad, rather than standing on my feet for around 2 hours watching it. I don’t even watch an entire movie and I’m standing in front of the TV’s for hours and hours.

It makes me wonder, do places like Suncoast and Blockbuster have people stand and watch the TV’s in their stores, or is this just a comic book store thing? Do people go to appliance stores and watch those TV’s all day? Why rent a movie if you can stand there and watch it for free, right? I’ll tell you why—it’s a store, not a theater. You could be MUCH more comfortable watching it somewhere else, sitting down. I like that people like the shows and movies we play. It’s nice that people feel comfortable here and want to hang out a bit. But an entire movie – that might be wearing out your welcome. Sometimes I think people are in a trance or something, and I’ve thought about pausing or stopping the player, just to see what the reaction would be. Maybe if they snapped out of the trance I could say something like, “time’s up” or “show’s over” or some other witty phrase, or just “get the heck out already.”

Come in to Neptune, hang out, page through some comics, dig through our back issues, chat a bit about the current state of comics. That’s all great. Even watch a scene or two on the TV. Whatever. I want people to feel welcome here. But, maybe not two hours watching the TV welcome.


Anonymous said...

Would it be different if they had a stack full of comics under their hand that they did not pay for yet, but will before they leave?

Half of me agrees with you, Lisa, because it is not right for someone to just stop in, look at hte merchandise, and watch an entire movie. But the other half of me says that they should be able to do that. My thoughts are mixed, but my level of "anxiety" will have to depend on the customer. On average, how much does this person spend a week? or month? If the level is on average 2 doallars a week is alot different than 25 dollars a week. Or at least your opinion might be influenced.

On a different note:

I do not think this is an uncommon thing. I purposely leave my house so I can talk to people about comic books, movies, and the low down of pop culture. A comic book store is my place away from my friends/family who do not talk about comics. This is a release for us as fans. If I want to watch a movie, or get caught up in the film, I might decide to stay and watch a little bit of it. Maybe time will fly and before I know it, the movie is half over with.

When customers feel welcome in a store, they WANT to come back and spend more money and time.

Anonymous said...

Annoyed is the term I was looking for instead of anxiety.

Basic point though, is that we can get influenced by "the customer" meaning if they are just wasting time being there for a place to "hang out" or spending money buying merchandise.

Lisa said...

I always love getting feedback - lets me know people are reading. Keep it up!

I don't mind if people watch part of a movie, and I don't mind if they come in and chat. I want them to be comfortable and hang out, just like I said. I like talking with people, and I like having people come into the store. Just today I had a couple of conversations that lasted over half-an-hour, and the time flew. I wouldn't classify that as standing around though. Standing around is just that, standing in front of the counter looking up at the TV. And seriously, 1.5 movies - that's excessive, don't you think? Figure 3 hours! And it's not like a lot of people do this, really 2 people who do it, but they've done it more than once, and they rarely buy much, if anything when they're in either. They can stay, I don't kick them out, but it's kind of wierd, to me anyway. Maybe I'm still adjusting to the phenomena that is a comic book shop - I've never seen another retail store experience like it, and I've done PLENYTY of shopping.

I say anxious because while they stand there, up at the counter, staring at the TV over my head, I feel like I don't know what to do. I feel like I can't do any other work because they're standing right there. I don't want to wander off, or work on bookeeping or make phone calls. Other customers come in and this person standing up at the counter blocks them from seeing merchandise inside the counter, and makes the shopers feel like they're interrupting if they have a question, or when the bring their purchase up they look all funny like can they go ahead or is this "guy" waiting for something and they need to wait their turn. If it's just a few minutes again, I don't mind that AT ALL. It's when 2 hours have gone by and they're still standing there in a trance right in front of me staring over my head that I start to feel like a fish in a bowl or something.

Anonymous said...

YOur point taken. I think we are on the same page. Those people would creep me out as well.