Friday, August 11, 2006

I Miss The Part Where That's My Problem

OK Rant fans, here we go!

Today is Friday, which is known as “invoice day” since it is the day we get our invoice from Diamond for next week and can see what’s coming out for sure. Much to our dismay, there will NOT be any Wonder Woman #2 nor Justice League of America #1, both of which we were told from several sources would be shipping next week. DC Comics later sent us an email explaining that the JL of A #1’s got lost in shipping and didn’t arrive at Diamond’s warehouses on time, but that its been fixed and they’ll be shipping the following week. However, as of 5:20 pm central time, no reason has been given for the missing Wonder Woman #2, which is already almost three months late. You all should know by now my general opinion on lateness, so I’ll save you the time and not go on about it. But retailers from all over have been posting on forums about their anger and disappointment with this lateness thing. Even worse is that these are two books most stores ordered a lot of, so this week’s total is lower than it should be, and then next week when these books show up with all of the other books, it’s going to be a bigger invoice. Prepare yourself comic book fandom – the next couple weeks should be big.

So, that’s how our morning began. Frustrated and disappointed that a couple of our potentially strongest selling books somehow disappeared. Then Craig decided to put the mayonnaise into the oven instead of back in the refrigerator, that’s how frustrated he was. Luckily he discovered the error in time. But, the day would not continue problem free.

You might recall that we recently bought a large collection of comics and other stuff from a customer who moved away, as well has having bought some new back issue bins. So, we have been spending a lot of time sorting through these newly acquired back issues and putting them into our nice new bins. We have also been spending lots of time putting some of the other items we bought in this collection up on eBay.

Today we drive out to the locker to pick up some more stuff, and there is a bright red padlock on it that is stamped “See Manager.” The guy we bought the collection from told us he had it paid up until September 8th, so we figured maybe he really meant August 8th. So, we go to the manager’s office. He has to let us in because the door is locked. Craig tells him we have a problem, and he says, “Can you go over it quick, I’m on the phone.” Craig says, “Probably not,” but the guy gives him the signal to go ahead, while holding the phone in his hand. Craig starts to tell him how we bought the collection from this guy, and then the manager puts up his finger for Craig to wait, and the manager puts the phone to his head and says, “Dad, can you call me back.” So, I’m thinking that wasn’t a super important call he was on. Then Craig continues on with the story of how we’re now locked out of the locker. The manager says he knows the guy we bought the stuff from, but that legally he’s not supposed to admit that—privacy issues. But then later goes on to tell us his general opinions on the guy.

The manager claims that the guy we bought the collection from is not supposed to be in unit 324, he’s supposed to be in unit 322, the one right next to it. So, he was walking through and saw a lock on unit 324, which is not supposed to have anyone in it, and he padlocked it. And starts to walk with us to the locker. I ask him why his paperwork error (let me remind you again that this locker was paid in full for a year, a year that is ending September 8th 2006) is now suddenly my problem. He says he doesn’t care what my problem is, that locker is not registered to the guy we bought the stuff from, it’s supposed to be empty and technically that makes everything in the locker property of the company. He’s starting to raise his voice, so I do too. Asking again why I should have to suffer, being unable to get merchandise that I paid for, out of the locker just because he discovered his paperwork error yesterday. He says again that it isn’t that guy’s locker and that it isn’t a paperwork error. I inform him that this locker was paid for nearly a year ago, and the contents of it have been in that unit for the ENTIRE time, insisting that we needed to get in and that his screw up was not something I should have to pay for. Craig is waving for me to settle down, so the next time I go at the manager, I try to sound nicer. I tell him that I understand the whole privacy thing, and we can get a letter from the former owner for that before the lease contract ends, but that he needs to understand that I have merchandise inside that locker that I want to sell, and that it is not my fault he and the former locker’s renter were not on the same page. Well, he gets a bit nicer too, saying that he can’t take the lock off today. Explaining that we need to get a notarized letter from the former owner of the stuff saying 1. that he DID in fact, put his stuff into unit 324 and that 2. he has transferred ownership of the locker to us. Craig says he’ll try, but that it might take a while because the former owner of the stuff was going to be traveling out of the country, so it might be tough to do right away. Still, the guy does not decide to give us a break and take his damn pad lock off the unit. He just gives us a business card and says that once he gets what he needs he can let us get back in.

Luckily for us, the guy who we bought the stuff from just got back into town from London (I’ll bet THAT was a fun security check). He said he’d call the manager and get it all squared away. Then he called us a short time later and said he was going to get the manager what he needed later that day and that hopefully by tomorrow we’d be able to get back into the darn thing.

This whole property rights issue had us so irritated that we’re thinking of looking for warehouse space to rent instead of this darn storage locker thing. I mean seriously. First, we have these stupid hours to abide by at the locker – we can’t get in before 7 am (no problem there) or after 7 pm (BIG pain in the butt there). Then, there are only lights in the hall, not in the storage unit area, so we can hardly see anything. The lights are on timers too, so after about 10 minutes, if we don’t go back into the hallway, the whole thing shuts down and we are left in total darkness, trying to carefully get out without knocking anything down, to move about in the hall and get the lights back on.

You might think I’m done ranting now, but no, there is more.

Last week (I’ve been too busy to write about this until now) we had this guy come in. It was his first time here. He opens up and reads a couple comics, and then asks if it’s ok to page through stuff, or if he’s not supposed to touch them. Well, I’m thinking “you’ve already touched stuff, didn’t you.” But, I say, “Sure, go ahead and browse. Let me know if you have any questions.” So, he picks up another comic and reads the whole thing…and another and another. Some customers come in, talk a bit, shop a bit and go. An hour goes by. This guy is still reading comics. Craig goes out to make a quick run to the storage locker (since we can only get in until 7 pm he has to make a special trip instead of just going there on our way home). I have a few more customers come in and shop. This guy has now read just about every issue on the top shelf of our comic racks. Now he’s moved on to the trade paperbacks. I ask him if he has questions, and he says, “How late are you open?” I inform him we’re open until 8 pm, and he promises that he won’t be there all night. Did I mention he got there around 3:30 pm? ANOTHER hour has now gone by, and he continues to read. More customers have come and gone, Craig has returned from the storage locker and the guy is still there. Craig whispers to me that we’ve got to tell the guy to leave. I agree, but suggest we wait until the actual customer whose browsing makes his purchase and leaves. Well, it’s around 5:30 pm and we’re getting hungry. Craig goes into the back room and has his sandwich and salad. Then I go and eat mine. I figure that Craig will be too nice and won’t kick the guy out, so I practice my speech while eating my dinner. When I come out the guy is gone. Craig did finally tell him that he’d been there for nearly 3 hours, and that if he wasn’t going to buy anything he really needed to get going. He apologized and left, promising that next time he WOULD buy something. Craig asked that he not bother coming back.

We probably should have kicked him out sooner, but we hate doing that. Then people go to other stores and say “yeah, those people at Neptune Comics are mean, they kicked me out of their store.” Of course they don’t ad how they were planning to spend the entire night reading comics and graphic novels for free, somehow mistaking a STORE with a library.

There are more stories I could tell, since it’s been a while since I posted many of them, but I’m tired of typing now, between this and my column I hammered out today. So, you’ll have to wait until next time.

1 comment:

Scott King said...

I got locked out of my storage bin. The storage place I've been using this past year switched owners and the checks I had been sending were in the name of the "old" owner. So they said I owed 8 months of rent. ...I told them to bite me becuase the checks had been cashed and get a lawyer. I then got... i don't know what its called. It was like a giant metal scicor thing. I went at night. i cut thier lock off. I moved my stuff out. Then i called the next day and said i no longer needed to rent the locker. ...point of the story is, if you need to borrow the scisor metal thing let me know. I got it from my uncle who does construction so I can get it back again.