Saturday, December 20, 2014 • Evening Edition • "The CBR of comic book journalism."

The Lateral Progress

Written by GCom on Saturday, January 20 2007 and posted in Features
By GCom Wow, it’s been a while since I wrote one of these, huh? Okay, let’s fix that. What’s been occupying me lately? CIVIL WAR: For a series that started with so much positive feeling, good publicity, support, and general happiness and cupcakes, this is falling away within my store. The sales are down across the board, including [...]

By GCom

Wow, it’s been a while since I wrote one of these, huh? Okay, let’s fix that.

What’s been occupying me lately?

CIVIL WAR: For a series that started with so much positive feeling, good publicity, support, and general happiness and cupcakes, this is falling away within my store. The sales are down across the board, including all tie-ins and one-shots.

It’s not that the quality of the stories have suffered in any way, it’s just simply a matter of lateness. If you are a comic fan who’s been following this topic, I won’t go into the minutiae of it beyond saying “It’s late.” 

Several of the one-shot tie-ins have a feeling to many customers of just being slap-dash rushed work that was thrown out to appease people who were looking for anything Civil War. A number of continuity problems have arisen, signifying that someone in editorial may not be as on top of things as they should. There’s been a slew of interviews giving explanations by a number of Marvel officers saying why things are going as they are, but it just comes off as false anymore.

The public is loosing interest is what it comes down to for me.

NEW BUSINESS: Wow. I’ve been swamped with new customers of late. I won’t get into why there’s so many new people wandering in through the door looking for their comic-fix, but there are.

This isn’t as great as it sounds. Due to certain procedural structures, orders for books are placed months in advance. In the short period that we’re seeing a great deal more traffic, I haven’t been able to satisfy all demand. We’ve been selling out of books much faster than anticipated. Often I’m able to get these customers what they want with maybe a weeks delay, but it’s still not good enough for me. I’m doing a bit too much scrambling to get things under control, and I’m fighting the inevitability of something going wrong.

SOLICITORS: Normally I love dealing with people trying to sell me something, but I had one encounter recently that I may have met my opposite number with. Most people trying to sell me services these days aren’t armed with the right information and try and get me to buy their *whatever* with sales-pitch alone. That never works (other than that one time…). This time went like this:

“Hi! I’d like to talk to you about our ISP (Internet Service Provider) business, and signing you up.” was what he attacked me with as an opening gambit.
“What’s the rates?” I countered with.
“If you let me see your current statement, we’ll guarantee a lower rate!” he side-stepped with and gave a stiff jab.
“No.” I blocked with. Hard.
“Uhh… no?” he threw out as I rocked him back on his heels with my defense.
“You tell me your lowest rate, and if it beats what I have now, I’ll strongly consider it.” I said as I pressed with a flurry of rights.
“No.” he said as he slipped the jab and gave me a counter-jab with.

Let me pause here. Most people trying to sell me something are taught to never, ever, use the word “No” when dealing with a customer. I know this. “Never be negative with a potential customer.” is what they’re told. Being confronted with “No” was a surprise for me.

“No?” I covered up with.
“I won’t do that. My company needs to know what you are paying already, as rates are set by a federal guideline, in order to establish a payscale.” He swung at me with.
I sidestepped and countered with “That makes no sense. If a federal guideline is determining what I pay, then you couldn’t be offering to beat what I’m paying now.”

“I won’t know until I see your statement.” He threw back at me after covering up and deflecting my last attack. “You could be paying too much.”

Now, I know what I’m paying for my current ISP is low. I researched it. The company is local and gives me awesome service. They’re so good, I pay ahead when I get a bill from them.

Certain of my footing, I threw a left hook with “I won’t be certain if your deal is best for my business until I know, without giving you an unfair information advantage, what your best deal is.”
He fell back covering up with “I understand that. Uhm… what speed is your connection?”
“Fast.” I put the right cross home.
“How fast is fast?” he tried to evade with.
“Real fast.” I tracked him with.
“Do you know how fast that is with numbers?” he fell away with, trying to find his footing.
“Yes. I do.” I smiled as I kept up the pressure.
He looked at me for a second, and correctly surmised that I wasn’t going to give up any information I didn’t have to.
I closed in with “Look, I want to hear your best deal. If it’s better than what I have now, then it’s just simply better for my business. That’s what it will boil down to.” That was the big overhand right coming to knock him out.

He wasn’t used to this. Most people don’t take this stance, and I’m certain I’ve made more than a few people trying to make a living curse me with all sorts of bad things. The ole’ “Bottom line or walk” tactic is largely not used in polite business. I’m used to winning with this tactic.

I stopped evading and simply caught my fist. He looked me in the eye and stated “I’m sorry. I can’t do business like this. I’m sorry to have wasted your time.”

I withdrew my attack, and simply smiled and nodded at him. With a set expressionless face, he simply left.

I wondered if he could have beaten my current deal. While on the surface it appeared I had won, what if I’d missed something? The potential was there. I was left with a sense of unease.

Then I found out the next day that his best deal was $7.05 more expensive on a monthly basis than my current one, and I felt good again.

SHOES AND JACKETS: Damnit, my favorite pair of sneakers gave up the ghost, and was swiftly followed by my favorite jacket (the jacket given to me by Mom!). I’ve got a new jacket, but it’s not the same. I’m still barefoot though.

-Gary

To discuss.


Posted originally: 2007-01-20 13:49:53

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