Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Holy Boxes, Batman!

Where is Batman when you need him? Seriously? We could use a hand tomorrow, and possibly the Batmobile's trunk.

We have 15 boxes coming tomorrow from Diamond, and that's not counting the ones that will be delivered in the afternoon, these are just the ones we pick up in the morning. 15 boxes could, quite possibly, be our all-time high, even from when we opened. Usually we average 5-6 boxes that we pick up every week. I'm not sure how we're even going to fit all of them into the Blazer we've got.

There aren't any Free Comic Book Day books in the batch - those came last Friday. There aren't any games in there - we get those delivered in the afternoon, and we're not really getting much of them this week anyway. There isn't a big statue taking up one box.

I figure that 6 of the boxes are action figures we got at a good price from Diamond's Summer Sizzler sale. Then there will be a box for the Final Fantasy figures, and for the Harry Potter figures. So that's 8 boxes right there. Although 4 of the 8 might be bundled up into a pack of two, which would bring it back down to 6 boxes, but we'll just say they didn't bundle them together because I can't begin to figure out why there are so many boxes if there were any bundled together.

Diamond's Previews catalog ships this week, and we usually have one box of those. So now we've accounted for 9 of the 15 boxes, bringing us to the high end of the 5-6 we usually get. So these other 6 boxes are all new comics and graphic novels. (Most of our restock merchandise is delivered in the afternoon and most of what we pick up in the AM are new items.)

That's a LOT of boxes for us to wrestle with on a Wednesday morning! See, we open at 11 am and one of the things that is important to our store is to have the new merchandise out and available for sale when we open. To do that we have to get up around 6 am, then we get to the UPS pick-up hub at slightly before 8 am and wait in line. Hopefully we're in and out of there in no more than 10 minutes. (Not like last week when they couldn't find a box and we were stuck there for 45 minutes until they finally stumbled across it.) Then we drive about 20 minutes to get to the store from the UPS hub. We bring all of the boxes in and begin the process of receiving the merchandise. We have to count every item to make sure Diamond didn't short us on anything, and make sure that we've received the right stuff. We pull out all of the comic books that have been pre-ordered and then put the rest in their designated spots on the comic racks. Toys have to be priced out and graphic novels have to have the right barcodes entered into the computer program and then be put onto the correct shelves. Then, once we get the stuff put away, we have to go through the stack of comics for people who have subscriptions and pull the right books for the right people and file them away. We're usually happy if we've got 20 minutes to spare after this is done to break down boxes and vacuum before 11 am when we open. Often we do, but not always. Tomorrow I fear we won't even get to the action figures until the afternoon or else we'll never have the comics ready in time, and if the store keeps busy throughout the day, we might not get to those figures until Thursday morning.

So, if you ever wondered what Wednesday is like for a comic book retailer, now you've got an idea. We'd love to have Diamond let us get our stuff on Tuesday - we could close early and put the items out for sale on Wednesday. However, the folks at Diamond seem to feel that we comic book store owners are an untrustworthy lot and can't possibly be relied on to get our stuff the night before and not sell it until the legal shelf date. (There are big stores that can get their shipments a day early, but it's a pretty big number of boxes you've got to get for this to happen - usually pallets worth of stuff for multiple locations.)

No comments: