Silver Bullet Comics Dead?

Silver Bullet Comics used to be a comic book retailer in North Carolina. (Please note that they are not the same as Silver Bullet Comic Books, a more active online site, about which more later.)

First, in August, SBC closed their physical store in Winston-Salem, deciding to focus on online sales. Comments at the Newsarama Blog post (links no longer available) reporting the change were quite critical of the site’s customer service, complaining of unreceived orders.

After publicizing that problem, which drew more complaints from unhappy customers, the Newsarama Blog received a response from SBC’s owner. I found it whiny, myself, full of “this is why this isn’t my fault” rationalizations and ignorance of good customer service.

Good customer service should start with an apology, whether or not you really think it’s your fault. You have to put yourself in the customer’s position and understand what they want to hear. Which usually consists of some combination of “here’s how I can make this up to you” and “here’s why it won’t happen again”. Since online comic stores rely on repeat business (subscriptions) to succeed, it’s particularly important to reassure and convince unhappy customers that things have changed.

Unfortunately, they hadn’t. The latest news is that all of the Silver Bullet assets were seized for nonpayment of state taxes and sold at auction earlier this month. So if you’re still waiting on an order that never arrived, contact your credit card company now.

Silver Bullet Comics had pressured Silver Bullet Comic Books to change their name, since SBC had a US trademark registration. SBCB had recently announced that they were becoming Comics Bulletin. I wonder if that will still happen?

Update: Someone claiming to know the SBC owners shows up in the comments to claim that the sale was a planned deal with the state, not a forfeiture. The immediate response is “so why are they still not shipping orders or answering emails?”


15 Responses to “Silver Bullet Comics Dead?”

  1. Ssalefish Says:

    The sale is was planned. It was forced by the government.

    Lies til the end.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I’ve deleted some back-and-forth name-calling. Stop it.

  3. Rapture Says:

    Sorry , Johanna.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for understanding. You’re welcome to express a different opinion in a less vehement fashion.

  5. Ssalefish Says:

    No problem, I shouldn’t have responded to jealous trite, no offense meant- please excuse my childish posts.

    Keep up the good work with the coverage and site in general!

  6. Rapture Says:

    Had nothing to do with jealously. If your shop closed down you would be spinning this same thing. You wouldn’t want people knowing about personal business. This is about you opening your mouth when it’s not needed.

  7. Ssalefish Says:

    Not true at all. I don’t lie about my success and I wouldn’t lie about my failure (past, present, or futre).

    What’s your stake in this? How much do they owe you?

  8. Rapture Says:

    Nothing I have no stake at all. Just tired of seeing your name all over the net on this.

  9. Johanna Says:

    Let’s get at the meat of the questions: Ssalefish, you’re a competitor, so you might be thought to have a motive for kicking dirt when they’re down. And yeah, Rapture has a point, that someone caught up in such a situation would usually have some kind of justification for why they didn’t do anything wrong (whether outsiders agreed or not). But I have to disagree that this is “personal business” — when the state tax agency gets involved, that’s no longer personal.

    And Ssalefish, if you’ve never lied, you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din. :) But there are a lot more than a couple of ways to run a comic retail business, and I hope that you have chosen another way, so you can avoid having these kinds of problems.

    Rapture, anyone hanging out making comments on the internet falls in the category of opening their mouth, so that part of your comment is kind of pointless. :)

  10. Ssalefish Says:

    Thanks for adding some sense to this. I honestly don’t have a strong opinon about this- more of a “can’t turn away from a train wreck” outlook on the topic at hand.

    As for NEVER telling a lie, please know that I said I never lied about my sucess, etc. I’m far from perfect, but my business is healthy. I don’t think anyone opens a comic book store in hopes of getting rich, I just love what I do and I hate to see stores like the former SBC tarnish the names of the industry that I participate in so that I can make a living.

    I know that tone does not always translate well on internet forums. I have very dry and smart-mouthed sense of humor.

  11. Johanna Says:

    Yeah, it’s an unfortunate side effect of human nature that the worst stories are the most memorable, while the sensible, good businesses can be overlooked.

  12. Silver Bullet Comics Update » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] week after the news broke of Silver Bullet Comics’ tax sale, the owner has posted a response to much of the gossip. (I’m too tacky to resist making a [...]

  13. Ariel Says:

    I received excuses from the store for 90 days and they never shipped it to me. I live in Argentina and the order was for more than 350 dollars. Visa only gives money back if the claim is made within 90 days since the cc is charged.

    So yes…I lost a big ammount.

    If I ever see the owner of the store, I’ll break his nose.

  14. Dr Panda Says:

    I worked at Silver Bullet for more than a year and was fortunate enough to quit before all this shady hubub started. Great place to work, and we even got paid on time, sometimes. Fellow staff were the craziest folks I’ve ever met, and I more than empathize with the poor souls whose money was taken and never got their product. Heck, I used to ship most of the international orders. I came back into town and found out the store was closed and the state had seized what was left. Glad I got out when I did…

  15. Alex Chism Says:

    Wow. I didn’t know any of this when I placed an order in December of 2007. Again, wow.

    I ordered four comics that December, and after not receiving them for three weeks, decided I’d finally contact them. No one answered their phone (which makes sense to me now), and no one replied to my several emails. I didn’t even receive one of those emails you described that contained excuses and the like. Just nothing.

    However, I was actually quite surprised when I got my comics in the mail THREE MONTHS LATER. And even though I did get them, and it was a surprise, it wasn’t really pleasant. I still feel bitter about the whole thing. Now that I know the truth behind the very lengthy delay, I can rest easy (somewhat).

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