Thursday, October 20, 2005

21 Questions

No such thing as a stupid question, right? Well, I don’t know about that personally, but that subject is for another day.  What about too many questions? Is there such a thing as asking too many questions?

Today has been the question day – already. It’s only 12:30!  But this does happen from time to time and I think it’s worth ranting about. There were two guys, one after the other, who had a lot of questions. But one guy hadn’t ever really bought comics much—mainly getting them second hand and as gifts, just dabbling.  So, I can understand some questions, plus he bought something when he left, which made all of the question answering worth it.  The first guy was the irritating one, we’ll call him Guy.

Guy comes in shortly after I open. He’s been in before, buys stuff from time to time, usually nothing major just a $5 ‘ish item. Nice enough guy—can’t complain about that. But he’ll ask a LOT of questions and then leave, like he did today.  First, he asks me how some different toys are selling, so I give him the lowdown. Then he wants to know what’s coming out as far as figures based on TV cartoons, so we talk about that a little bit.  He walks around some more. Then he wants to know who a bunch of the statues and busts we have in the case are supposed to be.  Then he wants to know why we don’t have any Spider-Man statues.  Then he wants to know where Deadpool comes from.  Then he wants to know why the Thor bust has him with a beard.  Now he takes a break and looks around quietly for a while.  Suddenly he spots a Star Wars item he likes.  He has a bunch of questions about it and what it’s made of, and asks me to take it out of the box. Fine, I do it and he still has more questions. Then I put it back in the box and he says “I’ll put it back for you.”  Then he’s asking be about posters – which ones are for sale, what happened to all the signed ones we have, where we got the special one signed by Joe Quesada, if the ones on the wall are for sale, and why we don’t have more signed ones.  Then, he says goodbye and walks out of the store—empty handed.  Again, he’s a nice guy and I don’t mind talking to people, nor do I mind answering questions—it’s my chance to show off my “geekness.”  But 20 minutes of questions and no purchase – I feel like a failure.  Maybe he thought I looked bored?

I always wonder about people who ask a lot of questions and seem genuinely interested in a product and then leave without getting it.  If you can’t afford it, then why ask about it, unless you think you can find it somewhere for less.  General questions or questions to help someone find something they might like I don’t mind, although I still feel hurt if they don’t buy anything when it’s all over.  We get lots of questions about games and how to play them, and its fun to answer those and show people how to play. Usually those people buy the game then, but again, not always, and then I’m hurt and figure they’re off to find it at Wal-Mart because they think it’ll be cheaper.  Craig and I both try to be knowledgeable about what we carry.  When we get questions it is kind of fun because we get to use that knowledge.  But sometimes, like with Guy, it feels like we’re just giving the knowledge to someone who is going to take it somewhere else, for someone else’s benefit.  I don’t mind questions, I don’t mind conversations, I enjoy helping and talking to people.  But I really really really don’t want them to go onto eBay and buy the things they had me show them and tell them all about when they could have bought them from me.

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