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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

Mar. 23rd, 2015

backroom

Competition

I'm about to write something that's probably more editorial than usual, and not intended to be a short sound byte, so, be warned. But, if you're interested in the business of business, and how it is impacting us all, it's an important read.

We just received communication from one of our suppliers today. I'm not saying which one. We weren't a target by ourselves. It's not the first of its type we've ever received. In fact, it's getting fairly common. But, getting any such things is troubling, and it seems it's how big business thinks business is done.

Normally, we "only" hear about exclusives or limited supplies or some reason the shipments going out were mishandled or delays.

The latest, though, is about a supplier telling us we're not allowed to sell their products in certain places without their prior approval. Anything. Probably including items we bought and paid for a decade or so ago. Retroactive. It isn't clear, and they don't want to clarify, so, basically, we shouldn't do it. It's a new policy, and we just happen to be one of many hearing about it. Or, so it seems, and I'm not trying to assume a motive that I just don't think is there. For the moment, we don't even sell there on that newly-restricted venue, but to increase sales, we were mulling it over. After all, business is about making money, and we're capitalists here. Just sayin'.

Still, the first thing this does is it limits, in certain venues, YOUR ABILITY AS A CUSTOMER to get a competitive price, maybe even a fair one. Why? If many aren't allowed to sell their wares in certain places, they can't compete against others who do, and that artificially keeps prices higher than they should be, since you can't get their lower prices (when they have them) on those items. If the manufacturer is choosing which sellers can and can't sell on those venues, too, it becomes fairly clear the manufacturer is getting to select whose pricing policies it wants to promote, and is controlling price. Since we pride ourselves on the value (including low prices) we offer, being told items we purchase outright from a supplier can't be sold as we choose not only interferes with how we can do business, but makes business more difficult. Instead of just worrying about selling things, (which, I promise you, is the full time job it seems to be!) we have to worry also about where and how and to whom we sell, and have to take time, energy and effort to verify we're not trampling on someone's "policy"...which, if we're being honest with the situation, is someone's attempt at ginning up higher prices and forgetting to respect the supply chain and retail customers without whom they are nothing. And, those of you who have dealt with us probably are well aware we NEVER forget to be grateful to our customers for their custom. We're nothing without our customers.

In trying to educate ourselves about this further, we found the following at http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Restraint+of+Trade discussing whether such policies are even legal:

"Restraint of Trade

Contracts or combinations that tend, or are designed, to eliminate or stifle competition, create a Monopoly, artificially maintain prices, or otherwise hamper or obstruct the course of trade as it would be carried on if it were left to the control of natural economic forces.

As used in the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (15 U.S.C.A. § 1 et seq.), unreasonable restraints of trade are illegal per se and interfere with free competition in business and commercial transactions. Such restraint tends to restrict production, affect prices, or otherwise control the market to the detriment of purchasers or consumers of goods and services. A restraint of trade that is ordinarily reasonable can be rendered unreasonable if it is accompanied by a Specific Intent to achieve the equivalent of a forbidden restraint.
"

Now, am I saying what is happening here, and in other situations we've had imposed upon us, "illegal"? I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know.

But, what I will say...as the reason for bringing this to an open forum to inform and enlighten those who would come here and read what we write...ANYTHING that restrains retailers from legal competition is likely to limit your supply and increase your price. And, with breathtaking frequency, that seems to be the goal of many manufacturers lately. Beyond that, when a supplier or manufacturer takes the step of controlling WHICH venues are allowed and to WHICH retailers, it becomes hard not to ask how price fixing isn't at play. So, legal or not, it's against our interests and yours. We'll let the lawyers figure out how to parse the exact language.

The counter-argument being used often now is "too many offerings of the same item tend to tarnish the brand." Actually, my first instinct is to think something in such demand shows signs of health, and is first and foremost showing strength, not "tarnish." But, what sometimes happens is manufacturers or suppliers cut special deals to help them sell their products. That can happen in the course of business...you sometimes cut prices or use certain venues in order to sell what you need to sell. (Which, of course, policies restraining trade are stopping the rest of us from doing freely!) Then, the business that got the special deal tries to use its lower costs to its advantage and sell at lower prices than others can...in order simply to sell what it bought and make a profit. So, for a time, price goes down. That's a good thing for retail customers, as a rule. But, if too many deals are constantly being cut, it undermines price, and makes it tough to profitably produce and resell a product line. So, it fails. The answer: stop trying to cut deals that hurt yourself and work with the market to maintain healthy business practices, without artificially suppressing sales. If you have an item people want, sell it in quantity at a value price. That's how American business has succeeded really since the invention of the assembly line, and, certainly, since World War II, through the boom times of the 1950's and beyond. When it's gone away from that, usually for corporate reasons that have nothing to do with sustained success, and everything to do with the short term, business tends to fail and fail badly.

So, why should you care? If those manufacturers fail and fail badly in the long term, the things we sell that you want will no longer be available. Not from us. Not from anyone.

In the same spirit, we've said for years (actually, it's decades), "exclusives exclude." Well, this is one more gimmick. This excludes, too. Making venues available only to a chosen few retailers is just as bad as making product available only to the chosen few, or limiting supplies when demand is there for far more sales.

Ultimately, we need our suppliers to supply products we can sell. How else can one have a business than to have something to sell?

But, what we're seeing more and more in the 21st Century is a corporate attempt to take over anything successful. Ok, I don't mind them making money, either...remember, I'm a capitalist. But, rather than worrying about customers, forcing higher prices that don't offer value seems to be the goal. It's a bad one. Customers tend to walk away at some point. In droves. And, if the manufacturer or supplier are complaining today about tepid sales, maybe, instead of looking at how many are competing, more attention could be paid to whether there have been too many exclusive deals, or policy set by lawyers and MBA's instead of people who have had to deal with other REAL people across a counter and know there's more to it than supply v. demand charts the classrooms tell you are all you need to know.

Now, having said all of this, it's also right and fair to point out, on some venues, there are some retailers selling just about at cost. Or, far below cost. Sometimes many of them trying to unload items they bought beyond their ability to sell profitably. That's not healthy, either. So, they try to cut a deal and sell at a lower price. Just like the manufacturer might do. And, if someone pays their money and buys recklessly, well, as much as I may not like the kind of competition that perpetually sells at unsustainable low prices, they should also have the right to deal in a healthy manner with their merchandise in order to survive. So then they can buy more from the manufacturer later...hopefully learning to moderate their purchases...rather than going bankrupt and imposing that cost on all of us. That's the natural consequence of healthy business in a healthy economy. By stopping these competitors, the manufacturer only hurts itself, even if the short-term result is a market price lower than you might want in a perfect world...as a supplier. (Actually, as a repeat customer, you want a HEALTHY price, always, as it protects you from artificially higher prices in future. You want good value, and that's a partnership between customer and business.)

What we have always tried to do for our customers is provide the best possible value. No scams. No cheats. Partnership. And that's part of our job in serving our customers.

At a point where the corporate policies of many license holders seems to be trying hard to remove the ability of retailers to give you such value, it seemed a good idea to comment, explain what we see, and also explain why we don't dive in to every possible product line anymore. Being told we're not allowed to bring you the value proposition is a bad place to start relationships. We're in our customers' corner. They're the ones we've stayed in business with...nearly 39 years, and counting...and we don't forget who got us here.

Now, having said all of that.... We have an absolute and utter monopoly on OUR web site. Instead of the corporate attitude that foists artificially high prices on customers, we intend still to remain a haven for value and customer service. If you don't see us listing on certain venues, well...visit our site. That's where value prevails. We're still beating prices from anyone dealing fairly on anything except clearances from their inventory. We hope we continue to earn your support, and we value the loyalty so many have shown for so many years. We have no desire to "go exclusive" and ignore those most deserving of our respect.

As always, thank you for your support.

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

Jan. 15th, 2015

tardis

Big Finish Audio Subscriptions

The 2014-2015 Holiday season seems to have put some things off their normal stride in some areas, and, among these things, our shipment from Big Finish for December shipped instead in early January this time.

That shipment has just arrived, and all subscription parcels were just mailed. However, as part of the somewhat late arrival this time, we were only just informed Big Finish is no longer furnishing subscriber bonuses. From Big Finish: "There was no bonus release for 2014 and there will not be any more of these going forward...."

We are told to expect yet another shipment from Big Finish next week, if all runs as they plan, and hope to have the next main series audio, and many others besides, to ship to customers then.

As always, thank you for your support.

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

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