Our hobby is expensive, sometimes rare, sometimes difficult to understand and for some simply difficult to obtain. With that stated there are nominally three options with which to acquire GW materials; GW stores (online, and brick and mortar), friendly local gaming stores and of course online (ebay included).
I think it is safe to suggest three statements when investing in GW’s wares:
- Regardless of feelings towards GW at both store and corporate level, we want and need them to succeed in order to develop these shiny toys and books.
- The Friendly Local Gaming Stores are often the crux and heart of the community, plus with variety!
- Online options often provide that opportunity to save money of core product lines, track down rare product lines or even venture into the Grey (Resin) markets of Russia and China.
To make it simple and because GW stores will one day no doubt receive a musing dedicated to them alone, I will only suggest this thought. The survival and efficacy of the local stores would be better ensured if GW just up and scuttled their stores. Again a subject for another day.
At the Local Stores, chances are they have and/or can order what you need, invariably for less then what GW would charge directly. I want Friendly Local Gaming Stores to succeed above all else. Not because they are FLGS but because they are small businesses and because they offer shopping variety much like the fabled comic, video and books stores of old. At the same time they often provide that physical nexus of a location for a pickup game, planned events and even tournaments. Thusly they are as suggested above, the cultural heart of the community. Plus with variety! By variety I include all of the things you will not find in GW stores, their competitors.
As aforementioned, I wand the FLGS not simply to survive but to also thrive. I want small businesses to succeed. They bring character to the greater retail community. I believe many feel similarly to me with this sentiment. The flip side of the coin however returns to my first statement; this hobby is expensive.
Enter the online sales business, cheaper, more accessible and for some unluckily geographically challenged enthusiasts, the only method available. A smart buyer can locate and sorts of great deals on new, used and even knock off wares. Granted their is no personality, no interaction, just a few clicks and virtual currencies fly through the interwebs. Just as intended. I think you would be hard pressed to suggest that e-commerce is not growing in popularity and access year over year. Potentially in my lifetime it will in fact become the norm.
I believe this may be the crux of my musing. The loyal purchaser exists, but the smart purchaser has long ago overtaken with the better deals to be had online. There are of course exceptions.
When it comes to my own personal shopping habits, I am first a smart purchaser and second a loyal purchaser. I scour the internet for deals, I make a habit of visiting all manner of FLGS stores near and far. However, no matter how nice the store, no matter how engaged the staff, their pricing is foremost on my mind.
I have been very lucky in some regards that I have found a FLGS within a forty five minute drive that offers a great selection, can order the rest, possesses an engaged staff and most importantly the consistently best prices I have ever seen. They have no gaming tables but that poses little problem to me. They have allowed me that rare chance to be both a loyal and smart buyer.
These days, my online purchases are limited to the rare and to the too great of a deal to pass up varieties.
Where do you fall? Smart? Loyal? Both? Perhaps you were or are as a I was, intending to be loyal, but buying smart.
Perhaps the next Musing will after all tackle the GW store problem.
Until then, thanks for reading.