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When Mom & Pop Shops Do It Wrong


MotoRacer
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We all love mom and pop game stores. Sometimes the prices aren't much better than ebay, but it can be fun to shop inside an actual store, and see something you might not have even been looking for, prompting you to try something new normally not on your radar.

 

However, I wanted to make this thread about people's experiences when these stores we all love to try and support, do it WRONG.

 

I'll start things off:

 

One major thing that irks me is when stores deliberately store systems and games in the back. Now, I'm not talking about overstock, like 3rd party controllers, broken systems, manuals, etc. I've gone into stores in the past where they were SO paranoid about possibly not knowing the EXACT ebay/amazon value, they keep their trade-ins in the back room for at least 2-4 weeks straight.

 

Case in point, there was a Play N Trade back where I used to live. The owner didn't know a dang thing about business or games, but the kids who worked there were nice and knowledgeable... to a point. When it came to odd-ball systems or games, they generally didn't have much of a clue on its worth. If the system was something they weren't familiar with, or if a game was for a system with "unified priced carts (like atari 2600), they wouldn't bother doing much research and would just put them out with a guesstimate/low end price. I won't lie, I took advantage of this a few times (sue me, they set the price...). However, what followed was a head scratcher.

 

Instead of the owner instructing the workers to go online to look at the prices on things that weren't in their system, he instead instructed them to put ALL games and systems, new or old, even ones in their system, in the back until he could personally come in... sometimes not for several weeks... to evaluate them himself.

There was a time I was interested in Virtual Boy back when, and I could SEE THE DAMNED system just sitting on the table. I begged and pleaded to buy it (or at least see it), and even offered ebay prices so I wouldn't have to deal with shipping damages to the fragile system... but they couldn't sell it.

 

The store went under a couple months later.

 

 

What are your thoughts on when local shops do it wrong?

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When these kinds of stores follow the "It must be old, therefore it must be rare, therefore it must be expensive"-rules. I knew of a shop in a neigbouring town that sold old, battered and often dirty NES carts for outrageous prices (equivalent 30$ for Ice Climbers for example).

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Gotta hand it to these people with the wherewithal (they usually don't and therein lies the irony) to try to run a brick and mortar store anymore. Between all the operational costs, rent/heat/electricity, rules & regulations, taxes/fees, etc. it's just sooooo oppressive and prohibitive. BUT... if you're going to try to operate under an eBay or Amazon type of business model, then just sell your crap on eBay and forego all the hassles of trying to run a location! :ponder:

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There is a store in my area that is a disappointment factory.

 

They have no prices on any of the games. You want to know a price? Bring it up to the counter. The dude looks it up on Amazon/Ebay right in front of you and gives you a price...and then for the next item and then for the next item. That's if you're lucky. If its anything remotely obscure, he has to call up the owner and ask him.

 

It's god awful.

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There is a store in my area that is a disappointment factory.

 

They have no prices on any of the games. You want to know a price? Bring it up to the counter. The dude looks it up on Amazon/Ebay right in front of you and gives you a price...and then for the next item and then for the next item. That's if you're lucky. If its anything remotely obscure, he has to call up the owner and ask him.

 

It's god awful.

 

You know, next time you do that, try to do that if he owner is there and watching. Get a stack of 10, or 20, or games and a system. Once he's done looking for Amazon, leave it all aside and tell them that if they sell stuff at Amazon price, then you're goign to order tem on Amazon.

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shopping for retro games in a store is basically a joke where I live. All the prices are 2-3 times more than eBay and really do push the whole "if it's old, it's rare" crap.

 

That's my experience as well with stores where I live. I have to drive an hour just to get to the city large enough to have those stores, and they just carry over-priced nonsense. Unfortunately I'm in a "damned if I do, damned if I don't" situation because eBay prices have also gotten insane, partly owing to the crummy Canadian dollar right now.

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There is a store in my area that is a disappointment factory.

 

They have no prices on any of the games. You want to know a price? Bring it up to the counter. The dude looks it up on Amazon/Ebay right in front of you and gives you a price...and then for the next item and then for the next item. That's if you're lucky. If its anything remotely obscure, he has to call up the owner and ask him.

 

It's god awful.

I had the same experience at a flea market. This guy had a huge selection of games and nothing was priced. You have to go and ask. Guy looks at eBay prices instantly and doesn't look at condition or weather or not it's sealed.

 

Guy wanted 100 dollars for a copy of raiden 3 for the ps2 (which is like a 5 dollar game mind you)

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Most of the game stores around where I live are really good about pricing. They look at whatever the lowest Buy It Now price for a game or system in similar condition on eBay is then undercut it by a few bucks, and I think that's a pretty good system to make their customers feel like they're getting a good deal and bring in repeat business.

 

However, there is one store around here that does kinda annoy me because they tend to price games at double whatever the average eBay Buy It Now price is then offer "Buy 1, get 1 half off" or "Buy 2, get 1 free" deals on their games. The shop is called High Score Games, but for obvious reasons all the collectors and other shops around here refer to them as High Price Games. :lol: They do offer pretty good deals on consoles sometimes, but man are their games ever overpriced.

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Yeah, I've noticed they all either use Amazon, eBay, or if you're really unlucky, both.

One local store has a bunch of rare systems and games, some of the games over 200 a piece. Now, did these sell at some point at that price? Maybe. But I guarantee you it was on the best day on eBay when someone was trying to outbid someone.

 

FYI, those systems/games have been there for the year and a half we've lived here. I mean, no offense, but wouldn't you eventually price to sell? With the overhead and the store, and with people having eBay in their pocket (cell phones), I can't understand how any of these stores think they can sell what shit goes for on eBay... where people also have to factor in shipping and fee costs.

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I have a similar experience with an electronics store that I occasionally stop into. Their prices are on the high side, I think the last thing I bought from them was a $5 Gamecube memory card. Nothing is really priced to sell. However, I would note that they sell TVs, amplifiers and lot of other stuff, so the vintage consoles are probably not their chief money maker.

 

However, more annoying is that no one seems particularly enthusiastic to sell anything, especially if it isn't on display and doesn't have a price tag. I ask if they have a NES Four Score, and they do "out back" and say if I come back in a few days they will have tested them and can sell one to me. Mind you the store was not busy at the time, so there was $10 they would not see from me. Another time I ask them if they have a Sega CD or Sega 32X for sale, and they do, but only with a Genesis 2. I could say that I prefer the original Genesis with its better sound and would bring mine in to test with their addons, but I feel my plea would be lost on them.

Edited by Great Hierophant
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At one local video game store, probably over 10 years ago, all the guy wanted to do was talk about his crappy band. It was hard to get him to sell you anything because he'd always be going on and on and on and on about his band to a couple of people in the corner. Every visit to the place seemed like a rerun of the previous visit, so I stopped going there. When I went past that area again a few years later, his store was gone. Big surprise.

 

Another local video game store used to be pretty good, then when that Magic: The Gathering card game was popular, all they seemed to want to do was play it on the far side of the counter with a few of their regular customers and it became hard to buy or rent anything. It didn't take long for that store to go out of business.

 

Your customers shouldn't have to say "sorry to bother you, but I'd like to buy something."

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Your customers shouldn't have to say "sorry to bother you, but I'd like to buy something."

 

I went to a shop a lil' ways out where that was a sort-of issue. It's not that the clerks weren't friendly (I'd go back), but they clearly were more interested in helping the people who were shopping for Nintendo stuff. I'm standing by the master system case thinking "you'd really rather focus on the lady with the $20 SNES game and ignore the one with a $70 pile of Sony/Sega stuff who wants more?"

 

Interestingly, the shop closest to me has a rep for being 'rude', in part because the owner seems to prefer Atari customers... so naturally we get along great!

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I'm the worst kind of customer for this kind of place. I like to look at the physical goods, but don't have much use for more stuff, so I don't buy anything.

 

Twenty years ago, when Saturn and PlayStation imports were in these shops for $80 each, I guess I could see how they could sell to (rich) kids who didn't have credit cards. I don't get how it's sustainable to run an indoor flea market with $20 NES cartridges that never sell, when they're all over eBay anyway.

 

I guess they're supporte by the same people buying used CDs and vinyl.

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#1 pet peeve is not pricing games. There is more than one store in my area that doesn't price anything until you ask.

 

One specific annoyance is a local game store has a colecovision with power supply and controllers behind the counter. I inquire the price and they say it's not for sale because it's missing the power supply (but I can clearly see it). I've asked about this coleco every time I go to the store for the last 3 years, and get a different response almost every time. Most recently they said it's broken, to which I reply "would you sell it broken as-is?" and they said they have too much invested, and want to repair it before selling. I can understand their point, but it's been sitting there for years with no use or enjoyment from anyone. Seems like a waste, but I suppose it's their product.

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I had the same experience at a flea market. This guy had a huge selection of games and nothing was priced. You have to go and ask. Guy looks at eBay prices instantly and doesn't look at condition or whether or not it's sealed.

 

I have seen this will all sorts of merchandise at flea markets -- not just video games. One local miscellaneous/junk vendor simply makes-up prices on the spot. I think that he looks at how the customer is dressed, etc., and then he decides how much money he can get from them.

 

For example, I wanted a specific dinner plate to replace one that had been accidentally broken (it was part of a set). He would not sell it to me unless I bought several other, random pieces of dinnerware. The following week, he was away, and his "assistant" happily sold me what I wanted -- at a fair price.

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I have seen this will all sorts of merchandise at flea markets -- not just video games. One local miscellaneous/junk vendor simply makes-up prices on the spot. I think that he looks at how the customer is dressed, etc., and then he decides how much money he can get from them.

 

For example, I wanted a specific dinner plate to replace one that had been accidentally broken (it was part of a set). He would not sell it to me unless I bought several other, random pieces of dinnerware. The following week, he was away, and his "assistant" happily sold me what I wanted -- at a fair price.

Speaking of flea market. It's funny how some vendors directly use eBay to price their stuff. Don't they understand that people go to flea markets for a bargain. If I wanted to pay the going price I would just stay at home and buy it from eBay with a warranty. At least I am somewhat protected in a sense when getting it from eBay.

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Speaking of flea market. It's funny how some vendors directly use eBay to price their stuff. Don't they understand that people go to flea markets for a bargain.

 

No shit! I've been witnessing the gradual movement toward high-end at flea markets around here for years. Albums, cassettes, furniture, glassware, misc. antiques, video games, etc. All have been steadily going up in price until now, not even worth your time (most of the time) to muddle through such dingy crap anymore. Nothing worse than sun faded, dirty, dusty overpriced junk people want a premium for! :mad:

 

Flea markets today are nothing like they were 20 years ago. Part and parcel to just how upside down the world is today. ;)

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#1 pet peeve is not pricing games. There is more than one store in my area that doesn't price anything until you ask.

 

 

DUDE I HATE THAT! It's awkward there's a store in like the Culver City, CA area called A & J games - Dude has a lot but you have to ask him for everything. Pulls out some dumb binder and gives you an overpriced answer. "Yo I could buy that NEW on amazon cheaper than what you're selling it for"

 

It causes me not to shop there and hate going there. I also have yet to find a decent retro store in the LA area - it Sucks - Chicagoland was so great

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No real game stores left in Raleigh Nc except mayne 1 playNTrade south of city. Never been to it.

 

I've given up on retro game stores many many years ago since funcoland went under.

 

Ebay and atari age are better.

 

I even go to game stop and buy a lot of modern games that are cheap. :-) a lot of 360/wii/ps3 games are cheap!!!

 

Got ps3 metal gear solid 4 for 99 cents.

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Speaking of flea market. It's funny how some vendors directly use eBay to price their stuff. Don't they understand that people go to flea markets for a bargain. If I wanted to pay the going price I would just stay at home and buy it from eBay with a warranty. At least I am somewhat protected in a sense when getting it from eBay.

 

I have seen a few like that.

A reseller, clearly, but I try anyway.

I see a boxed NES game, can't recall what (Ninja Gaiden?) and ask for the price.

20€.

Well, not a bargain, but maaybe this guy is in the "average but fair" price. But nope! I ask for Castlevania II... 120€. I looked at him funny and said "where do you get those prices from?" to which he said "These are the prices" - Well yeah, they are your prices.

I laughed when someone was looking at the comics he sold, and when he saw the prices, the guy asked him "do you come here to sell stuff, or just to display it?". (FYI, the comics were random 90's rerererererererererereprints of Franco-Belgian comics like Tintin, Asterix, Blueberry and other stuff that you coudl easily get in supermarkets now for CHEAPER, holy shit, there weren't first print at all)

 

 

One other guy played the "no price" stuff,but really.. I dunno what he was about.

There was THREE (3) games for Amstrad. I asked him "what 's the price for the Amstrad games?"

- It depends on the games!

- Just those 3 games here?

- It depends on the game you want

- ... Are you too stupid to name 3 prices, or do I not look like enough like a pigeon to you?

 

I still manage to pull out good deals from garage sales; but here the price increase mostly hit video games and some other stuff, not everything yet.

Edited by CatPix
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There is a small chain (5 stores) that has a store near me and another store on the other side of town. Their prices for newer games and systems (PS2 or newer) are always very fair. Prices for retro games can occasionally be good. I've picked up a couple of less common, CIB Intellivision games for under $10. Anything slightly uncommon always has an outrageous price. The 2600 Star Trek game was $55. The reason, "It's a rare combination of Atari and Sega". An untested Coleco Pong clone was $50. A bare Vectrex was $250. They have had a box of some rarer 2600 titles behind the counter for over a year. I don't even bother to ask about prices.

 

A local flea market has had a permanent video game dealer for about 20 years. My son and I call her The Russian Lady due to her slight European accent. She has lots of inventory, mostly loose carts for NES and newer, in glass cases with clearly visible price stickers. Again, common titles are relatively cheap. Anything slightly rare is behind the counter and grossly overpriced with big signs proclaiming rarity. The odd time that there are Atari carts they are unpriced. Any time I've asked about prices it's $10 and up - because they are old and rare. I've stopped even asking.

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