As we near the end holidays, I’m sure most people have spent more time shopping during the last 6 weeks than they have in the 6 months prior. I’m not a big fan of shopping. I love to be out and about during the holiday season, and be out in the bustle of people running around and looking for those last second gifts. There’s just something fun about being in a shopping center around Christmas, especially when there isn’t anything you need to get. It’s one of my favorite things about this time of year.
Before you think I’ve gone down the rabbit hole, hold on. So far I’ve written a lot about shopping, and there’s a reason. That’s what I want to talk about today. As we near the holidays, I’m sure most people reading this have a laundry list of games on their Christmas lists. I know that I had a big list and I was given the go-ahead from my wonderful wife to put in a big order from Cool Stuff Inc. And when buying a whole pile of games, it’s so much more affordable to buy from one of the big online retailers that provide healthy discounts and quick shipping. Even Amazon, who doesn’t specialize in board games, will still have pretty nice discounts on gaming merchandise, if you keep an eye out. And like I mentioned, when buying in bulk, stacking those discounts can save a whole pile of cash.
This year’s Christmas haul
However, as you continue through the year and look ahead to future board game purchases, don’t forget about your FLGS (friendly local game store, for those who don’t know all the gaming lingo). Like any other business, the little guys take a hit with every purchase that’s made online. Now, I don’t want to get preachy. It you read this and you don’t have a game store that you regularly go to, then this may not apply to you as much. I like my money. I like things that allow me to keep my hands on it. That being said, think about what your game store provides for you. Most game stores have table/gaming space. That increases their overhead. I know that a majority of gaming events I go to are held in game stores. While we travel, we don’t always have access to tables that are big enough to play games. Game stores give us a place to enjoy our hobby while we run around the country. A lot of game stores have some form of game library. You may not always be able to check them out and take them home, but there are games available for you to play. That’s another cost that they eat, to provide a service to you. And I may be off base, because I haven’t been to every game store across the globe, but very few that I’ve seen have a cover charge to play. You can walk through the front door, sit down for a few hours in their building, play some games, and walk back out without spending a dime. Some will even offer some form of discount if you’re a regular attendee or game group member.
There are so many entertainment options in today’s society, and game stores provide a service without asking for anything other than your patronage. There needs to be value in that. I’m not saying that every time you buy a game, you need to buy it at a game store, but I really think they deserve some of your money. My wife and I always try to buy some form of soda or snack every time we go to a game store. It’s small, but it’s a way for us to show a little support frequently. We also try to make all game purchases under 15 dollars at game stores. Typical your online discounters aren’t going to give you more than 5 bucks off a $15 game. The last sort of “rule of thumb” we follow, is that we try to make a purchase of a large game in a FLGS at least once every 3-4 months. Sure, we may be able to buy it for $15-$30 cheaper online, but I think local stores are deserving of the money.
Don’t take this as rules that I think everyone should follow. These are just some decisions my wife and I have made. If they inspire you to spend a little more money at your local game store, then I’m glad you took the time to read this. We need to make sure our friendly local game stores feel appreciated. Most of us wouldn’t have the great friends we have if we didn’t have these open places to play games and meet new gamers.
Have an awesome holiday season and enjoy the last week of shopping!!