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Nov. 15th, 2018

tardis

Figures

'Tis again the season....

We're hearing there's a new 13th Doctor figure available.

We are actually aware the US distributor expects to receive such things at some point in time.

We've been given some reason to expect we will actually be receiving those figures on release, though there's nothing in writing, and, with this line of products, we continue to tell people nothing is definite until it's in our hands. (But, we're still taking Advance Orders, and any enhanced pricing discounts will go to those who get us advance orders before the figures arrive here.)

We're expecting to hear something soon. Please keep an eye on our web site, as we'll give an update there if we're aware of new items becoming available.

As always, thank you for your support.

Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com
tardis

Gremlins!

A relatively short note here to let people be aware, if you've tried us by one of our e-mail addresses in the past 44 hours or so, an apparent hacking attempt had security at our Provider for that address shut access temporarily, after 5+ failed login attempts.

So, you may have received a bounceback.

That e-mail address is expected to be back in service and available within the hour, so, after 4:20PM Eastern Time today, please feel free to re-send.

Or, better still, try the e-mail attached to our web domain, mikescomics@mikescomics.com, which doesn't appear to have any issues, and shouldn't.

We didn't go away. But, one explanation is that some special someone, needing to give special treatment nobody else wanted, tried to hack our e-mail account. (Or, the Provider's password server went down, so nothing could match a password that, for their purposes, didn't exist...and they created the issue.) Whatever it is, we're still here, as we expect to be for a long time to come.

As always, thank you for your support.

Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com
(508)756-9836

Jan. 30th, 2018

tardis

Phones & Other Stuff

Have you ever had someone tell you "You should...."? In the spirit in which that is always meant, you want to be understanding and appreciative. At the same time, after doing things for a while, you would sometimes wish the question asked instead might be "Why don't you...?"

Sometimes, there are very good reasons, and because the phone situation has long been a prickly one, this blog seems a decent place to explain a little, for those who are listening.

"You should use a cell phone." Well, we have land lines here, even if we have remotes we can carry to and from three floors of warehouse space. Why does this matter? Well, not all cell phones, and not all cells, are created equal. We often get calls where we are met with silence on the other end. We have also heard callers mad at us when we've essentially hung up on them after hearing nothing for a couple of minutes. Why do we hear nothing? Well, if you call from a cell phone within a bad cell, we mightn't hear you! But, I also hear we're blamed a lot for this issue in customer service...and I'm sure others are, too. Part of the 21st Century, I suppose. But, please be fair, we're open more hours than our specialist competitors, and we answer our phones as best as we can.

"You should answer your phones instead of sending me to an answering machine." Well, we try. But, we each only have so many hands. And, speaking as one individual to any other individual out there, when you call here and reach me, I give you my attention. I'll also give you, if needed, something I've never heard our competitors give...a LOT of time. Yes, I've had customer calls last five or six HOURS. Those of you who have spent 60-400 minutes on a call just with me, never mind Patty or our staffers, know this is true. It's not always cost-effective, either. But, it's how good business is done. Not every call needs to run hours. With the dearth of action figures and the recent gimmicks from other product producers, we haven't had as much of a need for that lately. But, if I'm on the phone with you, whether the call lasts a minute or a hundred minutes, I can't pick up another line and give another customer 100% attention. So, I stay on the line with one person at a time. Sometimes, that means you need to leave a message. Please do. Calling back 30 seconds later while I'm still on the phone with another customer isn't going to stop me giving that customer all my attention. Or, when I reach you, an incoming call typically won't stop me talking only to you. (Yes, there are rare exceptions for scheduled meetings and the like, but that hasn't yet happened a handful of times in 41+ years of business, and I think we're on safe ground in claiming it's not the way we usually do business.)

"You should filter out spam calls." How? I'd love to! But, seriously, spam callers now account for more than half the calls we receive! If you're a bot or a message and not a human, it's a pretty fair bet you're being hung up on AND REPORTED TO AUTHORITIES. If you're a service making calls for someone and have nothing to contribute to our daily business, same deal...leave us alone and let us deal with customers who deserve our attention. Still, all this wastes time. It costs money because it wastes time. We're not going to thank you, and we're not going to buy from you, if you call here when you shouldn't. That's not to say we don't want legitimate and useful products being offered to us. We're nothing without products to sell to our customers. But, we're not a restaurant, so if you call us offering vegetable oil, expect we don't need it, and will terminate discussion with extreme prejudice. But, we now waste a ton of time daily with entitled, special people who are determined to sell us something we will never, ever buy or use.

"You should take payment on-line." Well, seeing how often attempts are made to hack our site, quietly and not-so-quietly, no, we shouldn't. We take payment info as we state on our web site, and we do take credit cards. We're different. We've NEVER had an issue with stolen credit card info as a result of our methods. It's a reason to trust us over those who don't get it, and have often exposed a lot of customers to a bad situation at what is never a good time for that to happen. Credit cards, checks, money orders, and in person we'll take cash. We've also now got a sister store (anniesbooksworcester.com) we highly recommend, and can have local customers come in and pick up their purchases, too! The other side of this, as I've said in this blog oftentimes in the past, is doing business the way we do allows us to put our hands on an item before running a payment. Unlike others, almost all others, we won't try to collect payment without something actually to sell you. Profound, huh? We're often faster than others, too. Just not the same. Our willingness to consider customers first and be a little different is a reason you should buy from us.

"You should have call waiting." Why? When I'm on the line with a customer, that customer deserves ALL my attention. When you call me, don't you enjoy that I don't have to put you on Hold?

"You should use the latest and greatest..." well, whatever it's the latest and greatest of, we charge less, we get to know our customers as people, we do a lot right, we take time to advocate both for our needs and the needs of our customers with our suppliers, and we think we have a lot right. Why change something not broken when others are broken and struggling as a result?

We do still invite comments and questions. Always! However, there are some things we've thought through a bit. We love discussion. So, if you have an idea or a comment for us, please don't hesitate to let us hear it...but, do understand if we might want to discuss it a bit to understand it well, or to give you an idea of why it may not work the same for us as for other businesses. After all, a lot of technological advance (like an inventory control system built into a web site to sell on line) removes control and responsibility from people...people who really NEED to know what they're doing before your money is paid. So, rather than take money for things we don't have, then have to go "oops, shouldn't have touched your money and your credit card, we don't have this in stock," we, instead, put our hands on items, and tell you in person (or on the phone or in e-mail) we do, indeed, have the item to sell. It's one aspect of real customer service. From real people. Gosh, who'd have thought you could deal with real people still in the Internet Age?

As always, thank you for your support.

Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com
tardis

Technical Difficulties

I'm going to leave the bit about phones for another post I'm about to make.

But, we'd had some web site issues, which stemmed, we feel certain, from an update from the company that made our computer package. When you re-install Windows, software loaded on your machine is wiped. Sometimes, it's not as easy to put back on the second time as it was the first, especially when other things are differently-abled than in the past.

Still, much is fixed, and we're hoping to get back on track with daily updates as needed on the site. There's a lot of development we also need to get working on again...with deliberate speed.

As always, thank you for your support.

Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com
tardis

5" Figures - Nothing

Sort of a non-update.

With news of the 13th Doctor, you should assume we've been asking about new 5" figures. So far, there is no word.

And, there's no real word on much of anything from the former Underground Toys regarding this line for the US market. One wonders if they're actually handling it from here....

We've no outside information on this right now, either. As many are asking, it seemed best to add it here.

As always, thank you for your support.

Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

Jan. 17th, 2017

tardis

5" Figures Delayed

We received word late yesterday, and got confirmation today, there are factory issues involving the production of the 5" (5.5") scale Doctor Who figures originally estimated to get January and February release this year, the Doctor Who playset, and any other figures that might have been scheduled for US release. The entire schedule, for now, is canceled.

What little we hear is to expect some update in the Second Quarter of 2017 regarding this line.

For now, that's all that's been said that we've been told from official sources.

As always, thank you for your support.

Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

Oct. 14th, 2016

tardis

Missy In Black

An update on this long-overdue action figure....

Missy In Black was originally discussed in late 2015 as an item we expected to arrive in the first half of 2016.

In May, we literally had our order with shipping labels on it, ready to ship, when we were told there was a sudden "first-to-market" (FTM) deal struck, and we'd have to wait until September 1, 2016.

September 1 came and went. So did October 1. We had been trying to figure this one out. Today, we got word that our orders and our shipping labels kept getting made to ship to a seller with a similar name. Not the first time. Not something that seems to be fixed, though one would really want to think it would have been an easy mistake NOT to repeat when the supplier had this happen several times in the past.

So, finally, we think there's a light at the end of this tunnel. We've got an initial order supposedly in transit to us now. Hoping to see it arrive about October 24, 2016, about 11 months after it was first discussed.

Yes, we are completely aware how long customers are waiting on this. We're not exactly thrilled at this latest issue, and the point has been made that all but one order we've placed with this supplier in the past two years has had "issues" in simply filling what we order.

Still, we are also aware some "cleaning house" has finally started there. We're hoping they are moving forward, and will, for a change, fix what ails them...because it's stopping everyone getting what they need and making customers happy. Without good products, we don't have a business. It seems simple enough....

As always, thank you for your support.

Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

May. 30th, 2016

tardis

E-Mail ... Backup Contact Info

Every now and again, the issue with using a legacy e-mail domain comes and bites us. We've had the address (salvom@prodigy.net) associated here for over a quarter century, so it's difficult to quickly divorce ourselves from it, but there are times it comes with a penalty. Today, something seems to have broken the e-mail and password server for the domain, on a holiday when nobody is around to address the issue. So, we have to wait until the service is back on to handle the issue.

For now, I'd kindly suggest you take note of our general e-mail address, mikescomics@mikescomics.com. We own the domain, and that e-mail has been reliable for a decade or more on its own. And, when all is well in e-mail for us, this address will forward to the one most of you use, and have used in reaching us sometimes for more than 25 years, and we'd then answer from that one. But, for now, please understand it's best to use the mikescomics.com address, or simply to call us at (508)756-9836.

We're here. We're not going away. We're happy to help you, always. And, I'll hope this helps you find your way if you need to be in touch.

Thank you, as always, for your support!

Michael Salvo

===========
Update, May 31, 2016

Seems we've fixed this e-mail issue, and things should be back to working and normal again.

Thanks for your patience as we approached this issue.

Michael Salvo

May. 13th, 2016

tardis

Missy In Black, and related stuff....

Some months ago, we contacted our supplier for Doctor Who action figures regarding the Missy in Black action figure. You can imagine, having dealt with them since 2006, we try to get reasonable, reliable, advance information about releases. Then, we try to give reasonable, reliable, advance information to our customers. To the best of our ability.

Now, understanding things do change, it's also certainly understandable their advice, late in 2015, of an expected late-May, 2016, ship date, might also be a bit...shall we say, flexible. Personally, I think that's fair, too. If an item is imported, and is held up in Customs for some reason, it's hard to plan on exactly what consequences that may have.

But, until yesterday, there wasn't any official solicitation for Missy In Black, and as the company's history hasn't been so robust with examples of reasonable, reliable, advance information, it would have been foolish and inconsiderate of us to publish a mid-May, 2016, release date on our web site, even if that's the date we had. Why? Because, frankly, on average, especially with this line, business is an imperfect science, to date. In fact, allowing for some level of variance, we listed an estimated date for June, 2016. Not "Expected," as with some more reliable lines, but "estimated," because, honestly, it's too strong a word to say we really expect a date to be met at this point, when there have been delays none of us could have forseen or prevented.

So, people often look at those dates we give and go, "How come you're getting yours in June, when everyone else says they'll arrive in May." We're getting them shipped to us, from the direct and licensed source at the same time as everyone else. We're just honest about potential issues. If it comes in May, great. In June, that's more what we estimate. In August, or October, or 2017, or later,...that's possible, too. It's not always bad news. But, yet again, the last 48 hours or so again provided the unfortunate answer to that question of why we'd post a later date. To give you some of what went on behind the scenes, let me explain.

An unfortunate member of their sales team was (apparently) not told they had decided on an "exclusive window" of 90 days for the Missy In Black USA release. Along with an actual solicitation, he sent out a note to the retail community saying the figures were available now. Immediately. In May. And, as you may imagine, we followed up to see our order was being filled, that everything was on track, and so on. After all, this pretty much met with his own expectations some months ago of availability, and I was happy to receive the news. From what I gather, after a couple of other exchanges, they were basically about to invoice, pack, and ship the order, and he had his hands on it trying very hard to help us, when he was finally told he couldn't ship except to one exclusivee. As you may imagine, that's not us. And, he wasn't even told after the solicitation went out (probably six months later than good and prudent business practice would have had it go out); even after he was discussing with us getting the order shipped to us that day, yesterday. Not a detail that should wait until a shipment is about to be put in transit.

So, for those who Advance Ordered Missy In Black, you're going to have to pardon us. Including shipping time from California from that warehouse to us, we're about 100 days away from receiving it in stock, if nothing else changes. Friday the 13th, so I guess I should have expected something.You're at the mercy of another exclusive, even if it's just an "exclusive window." It'll take us beyond August, I believe....with shipping time, perhaps into the Fall before we see it. (As of 3:30 PM Eastern Time today, the estimated date we'll receive it here, including time in transit to us, is now something like September 10, 2016, with the hope it will actually ship from the CA warehouse early in September. We'll see if that holds.) When they ask us why we're not selling more, this game with exclusives is at the top of that list. We're more concerned with our customers than with some game with exclusives that just makes some stockholders rich on the back of your wallets. Other businesses show their colors by continuing to drive a parade of exclusives. We all make our choices. Ours stand with our customers, and a long-term commitment to give you value.

But, what's so breathtaking about this...they don't even communicate within their own business structure. They'll let us retailers pay a penalty. And, their own employees who need to know things aren't told, so get to look awful in telling us to place an order for items supposed to be available immediately...that aren't! It's not the first time this has happened. But, their license is so strong (here in the case of a Doctor Who action figure), they don't even understand they could be doing better, because we really do want this stuff. All of us do, else we wouldn't carry it, and you wouldn't be buying so much of it. They don't tell their own sales staff what's happening, so, instead, a letter goes out telling us to take the time to consider what we need, do it now, and commit the money to place an order. Now. So, we have to stop what we're doing with the little emergency they've sent to all of us, make sure money is there for them, and so on. Then, they have to do the equivalent of printing a retraction. And we've all wasted time, disappointed customers (some of whom we've already talked to or e-mailed, quite correctly trying to hawk our wares because retailers do buy merchandise to resell it), and someone else somewhere believes it drives goodwill and sales while he laughs all the way to the bank because exclusives work for his bottom line...or so he thinks. Seriously. As much as that ultimately turns off customers and helps kill future sales, they have the idea this helps them (else they wouldn't do it). Go figure.

Many customers continue to give us the great good trust of placing Advance Orders here. We're still going to deliver on those when Missy In Black arrives. And, you also know, we care enough about our customers, and want them to return in the future, that we're going to give the best price available when time comes to sell this figure.

However, for all you others, VOTE WITH YOUR WALLETS. Be informed. If you see the exclusive out there and want to buy it, understand that buying it elsewhere right now means, by definition, you're paying more. For nothing. To give a gift to a corporation that deserves scorn instead of custom is not a reason. After all, the rights to exclusive windows, almost every time, are bought, and those costs passed along. The figure was coming out regardless of that window, when last I'd discussed it with the company prior to this week. And, it's done to enhance "margins," which also give you a higher price. For these action figures, it's healthy for you to ask if something is an exclusive, and if you're paying for that exclusivity. You don't need to. BE PATIENT! Let a more reasonable price prevail before sticking yourself with that enhanced cost. Stop buying something that basically insures you're buying the higher future price, too...yes, YOU are paying to increase your own future price! That's how your wallets vote. As long as exclusives succeed to drive more money into the hands that run them, the more they'll be done. The more you'll pay. Forever. And, you're smarter than that. You can do better.

We're still capitalists here. We honor the profit motive in what we do. But, the value proposition is behind healthy business. It's behind building a clientele that looks forward to coming back to us. Wanting customers to come back time and again, keeping us prospering for what, in July, will be 40 years in business, we actually have this quaint old belief in trying hard to give you value for your money. Omigosh! Would you believe a business that actually wants to keep customers happy enough to come back? Well, that's us.

For now, we continue to say "Exclusives exclude." We've no choice but to wait for that exclusive window on Missy In Black to close, since the business involved simply isn't shipping to us sooner. Anyone who has them aside from that one business, before that time, has them in violation of the license. And, it's a fair bet to say it's possible some WILL have them early when they shouldn't. It's happened before.

But, this time, instead of just telling some about a schedule slip (which, honestly, wasn't a slip but an exclusive window...we could have received these figures next week if the company didn't decide on certain business practices), it seemed fair to answer some of the questions we're already handling, and give you an idea we're not to blame that you need to wait longer to get these orders filled.

Considering the way things were communicated, this is also breaking news, and, possibly, some poor retailers out there still expect the "available now" Missy In Black will reach their doors in May, 2016, when it won't. They'll be surprised. Sadly.

We thought you ought to know, and, this time, to know more than the usual "it's going to be late." We're all stuck with it here.

As always, thank you for your support.

Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

Dec. 4th, 2015

tardis

Price Gouging ... 'Tis The Season

The year 2015 has been a busy one for us. We've had to leave this blog to lie fallow longer than we'd have liked, but chose the priority of fighting to get more of the right products in our hands, and to keep our prices fiercely competitive. That competitive pricing of ours doesn't take a holiday during the Holidays, either!


But, of course, some of the corporate...and some of the not-so-corporate interests out there seem to think their customers become fish in a barrel to be shot at during this time of year.


Exclusives abound. Which, I suppose, works out to be good news for us, because, the exclusives being offered are now time-limited, and we tend to get things being called "exclusives" a little later, and save our customers a lot of money for their patience. Those foisting exclusives on their customers are paying for the privilege, and, in turn, pass along a healthy (or is that unhealthy?) price premium to their clientele. I suspect it's a mixed metaphor to say fish are paying through the nose.


There are also one or two competitors who are importing around the licenses...or so it would seem. They don't want to wait, think they're special, and think their customers are fish in their barrel. By doing so, they seem to feel their best customers are pretty happy to pay inflated prices. For example, we've received (and twice sold through supplies, and have more supplies already in transit) the Night Of The Doctor 8th Doctor figure, which we priced to everyone at $16.99. We can still get them to your door (as of the time I'm writing this) in time for Christmas. After seeing other prices out there, even dealers are flocking to buy at our prices...tells me we're doing something right. But, I'm not finding another seller with licensed product selling theirs within $5 of our price. On that item, so far, not one. Why? It's Christmas. And it's a time for...wait, don't tell me...fatter profits. No, no, that's not it, is it?


Seriously, if you like what we do and how we do it, support us by simply continuing to buy from us. That's not charity. It's custom. It's what we're supposed to be here to do. Every day of the year. Our prices don't change because the wind blows, or blows harder in some areas of the world this time of year. (If anything, in gratitude to our customers, we really have tried harder to sharpen our pencils and come up with lower prices for the Holiday season.) Just keep coming by. Buy when it's right, and tell others about us. We're about halfway through our 40th year in business, and we don't exist because we drove folks away. We're here because the value proposition, respecting our customers, is what's right.


Seeing a host of competitors out there now, though...sheesh! Guys, if you're going to price as high as you have on some of these figures, at least give your own customers free shipping. We're still going to cost less for most after we add in appropriate shipping charges (which are free on some media orders from us, too!), but at least when you shoot yourselves in the foot this Holiday season, and make these the last purchases those customers will ever want to make with you, it'll look less like you used military hardware to do it! Buyer's remorse usually goes with long memories. For the corporate giants who are offering free shipping...catch your breath and ask what that means about their price if they can afford to do that. You're still paying for the shipping charges somewhere, and just because they bundled it into the price of the item doesn't guarantee a good value.


So, the Holiday season is upon us. We're going to prove we want your business, today, this year, and forever into the future, by NOT trying to take advantage unfairly. Remember us when you're looking for the kinds of merchandise we sell, and your wallet will thank you for it into the coming year.


As always, thank you for your support.

Michael Salvo & Patty Cryan
Mike's Comics
http://www.mikescomics.com

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