How Can You Help Your LCS?
When I first started thinking of writing this article just before lunch, it was going to have a lot of different ideas. But as with all things related to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re all experiencing right now, things have changed quickly. The news about Diamond ceasing distribution will have been shocking for a lot of you. After this week there will be no new comics for an undetermined amount of time.
Which means now, more than ever, you need to think about your local comic shop. As with all small businesses, they’re going to be feeling the effects of the shutdown – especially now that Diamond, the sole distributor of comics, has ceased distributing comics to comic shops for the foreseeable future. We’re certainly experiencing something as a society that hasn’t happened in any of our lifetimes, and so the way we shop and support our local comic shops have to change.
(I know that there are far more businesses struggling than just our LCSs, but as a comic/nerd site I wanted to focus on comic shops).
All of the following suggestions are subject to the health rules in your area/state/province. If you’ve been told to shelter in place, or are in either quarantine or self-isolation, don’t go into your comic shop. Do what you’re told by your government (regardless of its level). However, if you can leave your house, then ask if you can pick up your comics from the side of the road, or if an employee can drop them in your trunk. If the shop can deliver or mail them to you, then do that. If you’re fiscally able to.
That said, how can you help your LCS?
Pick up your damn pull list. Look, I get that it’s hard to get in to your LCS every week. But if you’ve got months of comics to pick up, pick them the fuck up. Your shop has ordered them in for you. Letting the comics build up over months is bad form. Not picking them, especially now, is really uncool. If you’re on top of your list, and I hope most of you are, then try and stay that way this week. Your LCS is going to need your support, so the least you can do is pick up part or all of your pull list.
Fill your want list. After this week, new comics will be in short supply. But you what they will have? Potentially boxes and boxes of back issues. Send your shop a list of what you want. If you want to save them time and effort, send a priority list of the comics you want and a maximum budget that you’re able to spend. That way the staff aren’t finding your entire list for you to only buy two comics.
Buy that book you’ve been eyeing up. Most, if not all, comic shops stock soft and hardcover graphic novels of various sorts. Whether it’s the classic book you never got around to reading, or something entirely different, now is a good time to pick that up.
Bored? Games. My LCS also has a pretty robust selection of board games, which can be a great way to pass the time. Ever played Zombicide? Elder Scroll? Forbidden Island? Scotland Yard? Many carry Magic: The Gathering. This is probably going to be a good time to invest in a game you and your family can play multiple times.
Pay in advance. So you can’t go and get your books for a couple of weeks. If you can, consider paying for them anyway. Think of it like you’re buying yourself a post quarantine gift of comics, games, toys or whatever other goodies you think you’ll want when this is over.
Waive your discount. There are a lot of shops that offer a discount to certain customers. If you’re one, consider waiving part of, if not all of your discount. It could be a small gesture, but at this time every bit can help.
Don’t shop online. Unless your local shop has an online store, most of us tend to think of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online retailers. Yes, they stock comic book collections and board games. Yes, they’re probably a bit cheaper and are easier to get. But if you spend all your reading money there during the pandemic then that’s not helping your LCS.
Don’t read digital. It’s easy to say, but if you’re stuck for new comics, and publishers are still releasing them digitally… you know what I’m gonna say. Unless you’re the kind of person who will buy digital then buy the physical issues because you’re a collector, try and resist temptation. It will be hard.
This is an unprecedented time. You’ve heard that said a lot, and it’s true, and more than ever we need to find new ways to come together while also staying apart. I want my LCS to still be in operation in a year. I want yours to still be there. With all the months, years and decades of enjoyment, they’ve helped to give us, it’s time for us to help them.