Saturday, June 11, 2005


"No. I'm Just Browsing."

A "Browser"
Originally uploaded by Devon Sanders.
I've had it. Absolutely HAD it. In the past few months, I've had things thrown at me, someone's even threatened to kick me in the head and teenagers f*ckin' suck their teeth at me.


Because, I've asked them nicely not to read the comics, in-store.

Before anyone starts going on about how "browsing" in-store helps inform their future "purchases," just let me say...

"No. There's a difference between browsing and reading. "

"Browsers" continuously try and take more money from my hand than any shoplifter would ever dare hope to.

To some, they see a comic book. To me, I see the means to put food on my table and clothes on my back. When a writer writes a comic, he does so with the knowledge that, if purchased, the comic can generate orders which in turn, generates income. He takes into account that, on the retailer's end, we will display the books in the best condition possible in the hopes that a PAYING customer will find the book and purchase it. We, the retailers, have to pay for those books and GOOD PAYING CUSTOMERS make this happen.

Not people hanging out for an hour, reading the comics, creasing the pages, smudging the ink and keeping them out of the hands of our PAYING customers. We are entrusted by paying customers to provide them a salable product. Comics are a product VERY attuned to availability and condition. I have problems selling a comic that appears to have been already used.

In a Barnes and Noble-type environment, you can do this. Huge corporations factors in the costs of such actions. Most comics shops are SMALL BUSINESSES with a small margin allowed for these actions.

Yes, the consumer DOES have a right to browse, browsing is a necessary component in choice. It helps steer one towards likes and dislikes. I encourage it. Just not leaned up against my store's walls or sitting on my store's floor, reading my product from cover to cover. When you do that you take money from my hands. Browsing infers looking through. Reading IS simply f*cking reading.

Another pet peeve of mine is the customer who buys 20 bucks worth of comics every other week and tries to read $200 worth in the store.

You have NO right to do so. See how far you'll get going into a McDonald's, walking behind the counter, picking up a $3 sandwhich and then nibbling off 60 cents worth because all you brought was the change you wanted to spend. No self-respecting business would allow for this behavior. Comics shops shouldn't.

All I ask is that when someone walks into a comic shop that they remember that IT IS A BUSINESS. Not a clubhouse. A business that feeds the person(s) put there to service the consumer. At the end of the day, I want what anyone else wants: understanding, respect and the ability to earn my keep. At the end of the day, I think that's all anyone should hope for. I will continue to ask for this and I will continue to ask for understanding in this.

I'm with you, friend. I've been in the funnybook sellin' business for more years than I care to think about, and the battle between "browsing" and "reading for free" is never ending.

I've got a fellow right now who pops in every Wednesday and tries to read all the new books. He's never spent a cent in the store, near as any of us can remember. And yes, he gets pissy when we tell him not to stand there and read the books cover to cover.

I really should just give him the boot.
If he's established a pattern of not buying ANYTHING, then I'd say you're well within your rights to ask him to leave.
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