18 March 2014

To FLGS Or Not To FLGS, That Is The Question



So as I mentioned in yesterday's article, I was really hopeful to pick up an Imperial Aces box on the way home from work today and spend tonight writing something of a review on the box and it's contents and snapping a bunch of new background pictures. 

As you've likely guessed, that didn't happen. 

I needed to run by the grocery store and pick up a couple of things (Perdue Chicken Nuggets, Honest Kids juice, and Diet Dews- thanks for asking) and it just so happens one of my FLGS is like two doors down from the store, so I'm thinking this is going to be perfect. 

I get the groceries, stash them in the car, and head into my FLGS which I've been patronizing since 2004 and head to the X-Wing stuff. 

No Aces. 

There's a customer talking R/C car stuff with the owner and when he wraps up, I ask the owner about the Aces. He tells me that he couldn't get any from his distributor and doesn't plan on being able to get any for a long time. 

Sheesh. 

There's still hope though, in fact, there's hope in the form of my other FLGS which is even on my way home what with the road construction happening on the street I'd normally take home. I kinda get a bad feeling about it though and call them up before I get there (which by the way- 100% voice dialing on my Moto X? Pure awesomeness). 

Unfortunately, the bad feeling is warranted, "Uh, I think they're coming in Thursday? You're actually the second person that's called about this, but I only work here on Mondays so I don't really know." 

Now, I'm not some special and unique snowflake. I don't expect my FLGS to always stock the very thing I'm looking for, despite what you may think after reading this article. It does kind of bring up an interesting question though- 

Do you support your FLGS or do you buy online? Don't answer just yet...

I think the majority of y'all are aware of my situation- I don't get to play in my store(s) much because of my lack of free time, but I still patronize them if at all possible. Every single X-Wing item I've purchased (or my family has purchased for me, for that matter) has come from one of these two stores. One of them has never held any kind of tournament as they don't have tables to play on. The other hosted a small, unsanctioned tournament and a Kessel Run but nothing since. When I played 40k, I bought something, anything, every single time I went in to play on their tables. It might have been an actual 40k item, but then they stopped carrying GW stuff, so I'd buy a volume (yes, a volume- not an issue) of The Walking Dead, or 100 Bullets, or The Boys, or whatever. Just as a thanks for keeping the lights on for us and giving us a place to play kind of thing, y'know? I did the same thing when I'd go into play X-Wing later on. 

Now though, one of my stores can't seem to get new product for whatever reason, the other store isn't sure if they do or not, which frankly is worse in my opinion. To be fair though, it isn't just X-Wing- this store doesn't seem to be interested in supporting any games aside from Magic and Pokemon/ Yu-Gi-Oh/ whatever. Disclaimer: I'm not mad at them about this- it's their store, they can do what they want, but at the same time, I don't have to spend my money there either, which I gotta assume leads other folks into this circle of nobody plays this game- we don't support this game- so nobody plays this game, ad nauseam (which by the way is exactly what happened to their 40k scene a few years ago, and when the owners told me and my longtime opponent that he quite carrying GW because he was tired of seeing people play stuff they bought from eBay on his tables while we literally have hundreds of dollars of miniatures, books, and whatnots we bought from him in his store on the table in front of him, I gotta say it was a bit of a slap in the ol' face, but I digress). 

I've traditionally resisted buying stuff online unless I just felt like I had to. This goes for everything from gaming stuff to e-cigarette supplies to whatever else. Now, I buy a lot of stuff online, but it's usually stuff I just flat out can't get around here- a Seattle Sounders jersey, for example, or filament for the 3D printer. It isn't because of service or price usually, I just want to help keep these places open in case I really need them at some point and because I may open some business of my own someday and I hope that there are other folks like me out there who will patronize them in spite of the internet. 

Of course, this line of thinking has now left me, the guy from The Metal Bikini, Aces-less. 

I gotta tell ya, when it turned out nobody had stock today, the manufacturing engineer in my head chastised me for not deciding a month ago on pre-ordering an Aces expansion from Miniature Market and then picking up a second copy at one of my FLGS rather than just planning on hitting both local stores each for a copy like usual. 

After I got off the phone with the other FLGS that said they maybe wouldn't be in until Thursday, I got on my phone at a red light and ordered the expansion from Miniature Market. Yes, that's a plug, but look at it from my perspective- I can't get my local stores to support the game I'm playing even after spending money in them the past 10 years and now here's this internet company that's paying me to run ads on my site and selling the product I want to buy cheaper than the FLGS even including shipping. 

What's a bartender to do? Am I absolved of the cardinal gamer sin of buying from the internet instead of a FLGS? I mean in these heady days of places selling at razor-thin margins like Miniature Market and eternally stocked behemoths with shipping deals like Amazon, at some point do I get to make these purchases guilt-free from the comfort of my home, phone, or job like I do with a lot of the rest of the stuff I buy online? 

I got a couple of emails and comments from people today saying their FLGS didn't have Aces either for various reasons so I'm pretty sure it isn't just me, and this isn't an article where I'm trying to determine whether to be disappointed with my FLGS for not being on the ball or FFG for not meeting demand because that kind of thing is a complete waste of time in my opinion just like politicians trying to figure out who to blame the problems on (who cares who effed things up- I'm waaay more interested in how to fix them), I'm just curious to hear your thoughts regarding purchasing from your FLGS. Am I some kind of pre-internet relic buying stuff for more money from a local store or are some of y'all experiencing the same disappointment right now too?