Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolution #1: Freak Out Less

I think I make this one every year. But I'm starting early with this one, because Diamond has, with the help of UPS, managed to turn a Friday comics delivery day (already a recipe for reduced sales) into a following Monday comics delivery day (a recipe for apocalyptically bad sales).

Here's what generally happens. On a late release day, which happens seemingly every couple of months thanks to various holidays, and pushes comics to Thursday, we generally lose about a grand in sales. Where do they go? I don't know. But mostly it seems that folks who are more casual about their comics buying, or who might have picked up a few extra books, don't come in that week at all, opting for a "double helping" on the next Wednesday (which, due to budget realities, usually means more of a "helping and a half", and a bunch of add-on comics that might have sold don't sell) or they come in.

A Friday, when the next comics day is looming closer, is even worse. A Monday, when there's a new comic day two days later? I'm gonna guess that a large majority will go ahead and wait it out, and we've effectively lost a Wednesday. Worse, we get pick-up sales on those books on Thursday, Friday and the weekend. Those are now gone as well. Now it's not like we have nothing to sell... we'll still sell graphic novels, comics that had already come in, games, etc... but as with everything, the new is what drives things, and a bunch of books that would have sold on Friday may not sell at all. Crazy as it is, every day a new comic is late, it's value decreases.

Especially in a town where two other comics shops are chains, and thus get the benefit of early shipping, so they *will* have their books on Friday.

Diamond "regrets the error" but isn't offering anything to make up for this money loss, not even free shipping on the books that are now shipping out three days late.

Diamond and UPS are two of the most important parts of my business... I interact with each of them at least twice a week, and one of those times (the weekly comics drop) is literally life-and-death for the business. And if they screw up, as they do on a monthly basis (in small and sometimes big ways), my only recourse is... to get frustrated. Which earns me nothing, and hurts them not at all.

Thus the resolution to freak out less. I'm not going to let the fact that I probably just lost a couple grand in sales kill my enjoyment of my New Year's Eve party, and I'm going to try real hard not to worry about it all weekend.

But if all of you could spare a moment or two over the four-day weekend to mutter "Fucking Diamond" under your breath, you'll probably be syncing up with me at some point. ;)

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