I am a cheater, a dirty cheater.  I admit this freely and I am not proud of what I have done; but I feel it was necessary.  Let me back up a little and explain.  I had to break up with my comic book store this weekend.  It’s been a rocky relationship, friendly most of the time but frustrating.  I won’t go into the details that brought me to this decision, but now the deed is done. 

The bad thing is that I cheated.  I started the relationship with the new store before I broke up with the current store, that makes me a cheater.  Don’t fret however, I emailed the old store as soon as I got home.  Yes, I broke up via email.  Not only am I a cheater, I am also a coward.

I am sure that many of us have had to do this at one point or another.  I’ve had to do it twice over the past couple of years and in the interest of decency there are protocols to doing something like this that are important to follow.  The old saying of don’t burn any bridges applies here.  You don’t want to act like a jerk or piss anyone off over this because you never know when you might run into someone from that shop again.  You also don’t want to leave them in a bind by leaving without at least picking up any purchases or orders you’ve made. 

There was a time when I seriously considered opening my own comic book store.  I was very serious about it and I did a lot of research on the subject.  In case you weren’t aware, the comic book business is pretty cut throat even before the economy went to Hell.  Store owners have to pay for their comic orders upon delivery.  Having to eat too many books because they didn’t sell or a customer orders something and never picks it up can add up and eventually ruin the business.  Like many comic book fans out there, I have a reserve bag or pull list or whatever your local store calls it.  I automatically get the books I want reserved for me each week so I never have to worry about them selling out of an issue before I can make it to the store.

One of the most important things to remember is if you’re considering changing your comic book store or leaving for whatever reason you at least get the stuff you’ve already ordered and let the store know in enough time that you are cancelling your subscriptions.  You don’t want to risk bad blood between you and the store by stiffing them on your order.  That’s where don’t burn bridges comes into play.  You never know if you will end up back at that store for anything in the future.  Best to end things amicably and keep your reputation in tact.

Owning a comic book store is a rough endeavor with pitfalls that other types of retail stores don’t have to suffer through.  If owning a small business wasn’t rough enough, the comic book industry is a pretty unreliable one at best.  You have to cover your order on a weekly basis upon delivery, no ifs, ands or buts.  Diamond Comic Distributors is just about the only place in the US to order comics from and they are not known for their generosity.  The last thing shop owners need are “deadbeat” customers who order things they never pick up.

In the end the best advice is do the right thing.  You wouldn’t want someone stiffing you on an order if you were the shop owner.  Everyone has their reasons from time to time for having to break up with their comic book store.  Be cool and gracious about it and everyone can remain friends when the dust settles.  Seriously though, don’t be a jerk and stiff the store on your order, it’s not cool.  Whether you have bad blood with the store or not it’s not the right thing to do.

And if you’re wondering why I decided against opening my own comic book store, the answer is right here.