If you’re lucky, your local comics shop (LCS) has a great selection of books AND an owner who’s knowledgeable and fun to talk to. When collecting my Wednesday haul, I always enjoy gabbing with my LCS owner, Brian, about everything from the future of Teen Titans to The Great Ten ending at issue #9. V. goes to a different shop, but I know she looks forward to her weekly visits as much as I do.

Brian is much friendlier than this guy.

Brian has tweeted regularly about a subject that should matter to all comic book geeks: LCS etiquette. It’s easy to forget that comic shops are not just fun places to hang out, but also businesses. Assuming that you genuinely like your LCS and want the place to thrive (cliché alert), especially in these difficult times, there are a few ways you can help. I can’t take credit for these tips, which are Brian’s, but I have added my two cents here and there.

Brian’s guide to staying classy at your LCS

  • If you’re going to move, let your shop know beforehand so your store doesn’t order stuff you can’t buy.
  • If you have “financial difficulties,”close your file so the store you liked doesn’t order stuff you can’t buy.
  • If you call on Thursday, and your shop has something for you, you don’t need to call on Friday to ask again.
  • It’s not really a big deal that there’s a female in the shop. Leave her alone, and don’t stare. (And if we interrupt your esoteric monologue about Grant Morrison’s Batman work with relevant and/or useful information, don’t look at us like we have three heads. We DO know what we’re talking about. — E.P.)
  • If there are only a few left, ask before you grab more than one of something. Sharing is a basic skill.
  • Use only the kind of language that you would use in a job interview. Foul language is not necessary, and bothers some other people. (Even when discussing The Rise of Arsenal? Sheesh.— E.P.)
  • If you hate the latest issue of something and want to drop it, let your shop know RIGHT AWAY.
  • If you love the latest issue of something and want to add it, let your shop know RIGHT AWAY.
  • You may love talking to your shop owner/employees, and they to you, but if there’s a line behind you, walk away. (Especially if someone in that line has a job they need to get back to, eventually. — E.P.)
  • All discussions about who will beat who in a fight have one answer: Whomever the writer wants to win.
  • Don’t put items from your hold file back on the shelf. Hand them to the employees and have them take it off your file.
  • Cash is better than debit or credit. If you write a check, make sure it’s good before you write it. (I am the debit card queen. Bygones. — E.P.)
  • Don’t haggle. Stores can’t haggle with the landlord or the utilities companies or the IRS.

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Do you have a good relationship with your LCS owner(s)? What should they do to keep you coming back?

11 thoughts on “Showing Your LCS Some Love

  1. Quick comments:

    1) They can either tell you at the register or post a sign if there’s a limit to the number of additional copies a customer may purchase. It isn’t the customer’s job to ask about such things, but the retailers’ to inform. If it’s such a problem, ration your supply from behind the counter and keep up with your stock.

    2) Colorful language is acceptable depending on the shop. Posted rules at each shop are better than blanket statements about all shops.

    3) Cash is king, followed by debit. Credit costs merchants a percentage off the top of the total order, charged by the card companies. Check writers should join us in the 21st century. Anything but cash leaves a paper trail, which less forthright retailers also dislike.

    4) Haggle. Retailers would always like to make $12 instead of ten, but if they paid $3 and are only looking to make up ground lost on unsold product, they’ll often take your offer. However, if you have to haggle to get a decent price, your shop probably sucks to begin with. Also, if you always haggle, maybe it’s just you that sucks. Pick your battles, and know when haggling is appropriate, as opposed to being a badgering cheapskate.


    1. “2) Colorful language is acceptable depending on the shop.”

      Sure, as long as you never want a parent to bring a child there ever again. Look, as a dad of a 6-year-old girl, if I go into a shop (of any kind) and the customers are spouting the f-word and talking about how they nailed some “chick”/”dude” last night, and the employees are not asking them to tone it down, I’m not bringing her back there, ever.

      The last thing this industry needs is reasons to keep kids away. Kids are the largest source of potential new readers. Without new readers, comics will die.

      “Posted rules at each shop are better than blanket statements about all shops.”

      Heh. After 20+ years in retail, I can assure you that no one reads signs in stores. (See: Clerks.)


      1. See comment below! That’s a good point about how kid-unfriendly most shops are, as the industry has become mostly about adults with disposable income who can drive. In MY day (waves cane), an 8-year-old could walk to the corner store by herself and buy comics. These days, I have to drive my kids to a specialty shop with me, because there’s nowhere nearby — even Publix — to get ’em. Not everything has to cater to children, but they’re definitely the industry’s last hope for survival once we’re all downloading classic X-Men volumes in our retirement condos.


  2. That’s so interesting. Being from a big city and shopping at a comic book store visited by thousands, I never thought to do any of this – the etiquette is one thing but they always have tons of copies in stock it seems. I hope I haven’t been offensive in my behavior.

    Definitely good to know however and I’ll pass this along from now on.


  3. I definitely try to read the vibe of a shop before I proceed. I’m pretty low-key in general, but since my shop is very kid-friendly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable dropping f-bombs there. It’s just like anything else — take the temperature of the room and decide what’s appropriate. I spent most of my career being around people who would make sailors clutch their pearls, so I’m probably WAY more difficult to offend than most. That said, if someone doesn’t like profanity, it’s not a big deal to me to respect that. @Antagonist: If I’m ever in town, I will check that place out!


  4. Sometimes I think haggling is necessary on those 70s-90s back issues that should really be less than $3 and the recent (aka 3 week old) back issues that stores want to hike a price up from $3.99 to $7.
    Everything else I pretty much agree with.


  5. Brian, I think you’re reaching for the extreme example. In my dealer days, I had customers who sometimes caused problems with their language, and I politely asked them to tone it down in mixed company. However, most were mature enough to regulate themselves without my imposing an outright ban. I had a friendly shop that drew about a 35-40% female clientele, so folks could feel comfortable dropping f-bombs when appropriate without my alienating anyone, saints or sinners. I was their dealer, not their daddy.

    Truth to tell though, eight years in the business cured me of comic shops. I visit one once a month for my Previews, and get my comics in the mail. My argument is more anecdotal and conceptual than personally relevant.

    As for children being the hope for our future, I believe that ship has sailed. I wonder if we’ll even have print comics in twenty years.


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