It has been four months since the last time I did one of these, so let's let 'er rip with a new assortment of customer questions where I answer under some challenging creative constraint.
In this series of articles, I endeavor to answer any customer question, as long as it is not disingenuous and does not request confidential information. Feel free to ask questions for future installments right here on this web zone. These are questions I field from all over: in-store, online, here on the blog, on social media, and so on.
For today's challenge, I will limit all answers to no more than 140 characters, as though I were doing this on Twitter (which I barely use)! Moreover, I will use normal written English and not SMS phrasing and spelling.
Q: How was business in June?
A: Worse than April or May. Better than most months in 2015 or 2016. Better than any month in 2014 or earlier. Natural growth.
Q: What was the best-selling product in June? Commander Anthology or Nicol Bolas Archenemy?
A: Warhammer 40K 8th Edition.
Q: Yeah, but after that. Commander or Archenemy?
A: The Star Wars Destiny Awakenings booster reprint.
Q: Yeah, but after that.
A: Used board games. Commander and Archenemy have both done well though. Arch has sold more units, Commander more total dollars.
Q: Are things going to get better with the Asmodee-Alliance consolidation?
A: In my opinion, mostly yes. I'll miss using my other sources for that but health within the category industrywide is important.
Q: Why aren't you price-competitive?
A: We mostly are! For TCG singles, video games, and used board games we're below market and for Warhammer we're at MAP.
Q: But there is other stuff you could be selling cheaper.
A: Someone always has it for cheaper. Rather than sell at unsustainable levels we focus on selection and reliability in those areas.
Q: Your store isn't that pretty or comfortable though.
A: Neither of the locations are right now, and I apologize for that. The move will change many things.
Q: You've been promising for a while now that the move will cure many ills.
A: Indeed I have.
Q: What if the move doesn't work out?
A: The south 202 crescent is my turf. I'm not leaving. If DSG has to make our south Chandler/Gilbert store a branch instead, we will do that.
Q: But returning board games en masse, adding minis playspace, all those grandiose plans...?
A: We can do a lot in a new location that isn't tied purely to footage. Part of Gilbert space problem is room shape and door location.
Q: So you're still going to do everything you want to do?
A: "Everything," we'll see. But we'll do a lot. Magic and minis are positioned well for us now so I'll look to expand board and video games.
Q: What is the best new board game?
A: Dice Forge. Huge hit from day one and you can tell right away it's a winner.
Q: What is the next best new board game?
A: It's anyone's guess, but IELLO's Mountains of Madness looks promising.
Q: What about comics? Things were looking pretty dire for a while there.
A: Comics are quiet but steady right now, not setting any records but we hope the trend we're seeing amounts to a recovery.
Q: What product are you looking forward to the most in 2017?
A: For the store, the next Destiny booster set. For Magic, Commander 2017. For my own enjoyment, the Xbox One X.
Q: Not Ori and the Will of the Wisps?
A: We don't know whether that will release this year. But it is surely the #1 product I want to buy, and it's not close.
Q: Are you an Xbox fanboy?
A: I don't hate PS4 if that's what you mean. I'll pick one up eventually, it has some titles I really want to play. Same with the Switch.
Q: I call shenanigans. Name three Playstation 4 games you are planning to play.
A: Journey, The Last of Us (Remastered), and Street Fighter V. Not exactly new releases, I know.
Q: Wait, you haven't played SF5? Didn't you major in Street Fighter in college?
A: I just haven't had the time. I have derped around with it at the store. I really like it, and I also liked the SF4 series.
Q: I'm 16 years old, on summer break from high school, can I have a job?
A: We don't meet the criteria in Town of Gilbert to utilize underaged employees, sorry.
Q: I'm 18 years old, on summer break before college, can I have a job?
A: You're welcome to respond if we put out a recruitment offer, but work at DSG is not entry level, so you'll need to impress us.
Q: Can I pre-order a Super Nintendo Classic Mini from you?
A: I wish I could accommodate you. We're not going to have any access to it in distribution.
Q: Can I pre-order [vintage video game] from you?
A: We'll gladly waitlist it for you; you can wishlist it on our website. But if it's out of print, we won't have it until someone trades it in.
Q: Do you think MTG Standard format is in a good place right now?
A: Doesn't matter what I think, it matters what players think. But I think it's better than most in the community believe.
Q: Do you think MTG Commander format is in a good place right now?
A: They really need to ban Sol Ring and Sensei's Divining Top, but otherwise yes I do.
Q: Are you tired of being in the Magic card business?
A: Yes, but I am still excited about future product. I'm bearish on many things due to the move going so slowly.
Q: What does your extended family think of your profession?
A: They want me to sell the store and practice law. I want to write for a living. Neither pays the bills right now as dependably as DSG can.
Q: Would you sell the store?
A: For the right number, of course I would.
Q: Would you sell just your Magic business?
A: Sure, but to whom? Nobody who needs my stock has the money, and nobody who has the money needs my stock.
Q: What do you think are the biggest question marks in your business aside from the move?
A: Crystal Commerce, the continued softness of the Magic market despite great content, and the cost of labor.
Q: If you could do any one part of DSG over from the beginning, what would it be?
A: I can't give the real answer, so let's just say I would have sought a lease that assumed much less optimistic performance.
...and that's all the time we have today! Hope you enjoyed, and join us next Tuesday for what I'm sure will be frivolity and exuberance.