- Posted by Johanna on August 13, 2008 at 1:07 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
Kevin calls it the “stupidest g**damn thing I’ve seen lately”, lacking in basic salesmanship. Commenters predict doom for the store and share their own negative or uncomfortable shopping experiences. Dustin Harbin of Charlotte’s Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find chain disagrees, saying
occasionally myself or our staff will feel compelled to point out that something is stinky. We’re pretty hands-on with our customers, and take pride in having our opinions and recommendations trusted by them. I only very rarely would EVER tell a customer not to buy something already in their hands, but I agree that the occasional negative review builds credibility.
A quick search reveals that, according to this Comicon.com post (link no longer available), it’s from Larry’s Comics in Lowell, Massachusetts. At that thread, there’s a lot less condemnation, with some posters respecting the honesty and credibility and others saying they’d like to shop there.
I agree that a blanket “don’t buy this” is a bit much from a retailer and probably shouldn’t be done1. However, I think the discussion is touching on some other areas without really acknowledging them, so now I’m going to “yes, but…”
A lot of newsletters offer reviews or other original content in order to entice people to sign up for what would otherwise be nothing but a regular ad. And once you start reviewing, you can’t praise everything to the skies, or no one will listen to you, because you have demonstrated that you are unable to discriminate and have no taste.
Now, the smart thing to do, in my opinion, would be to only choose to talk about the things you can praise or recommend. (That’s the approach we agreed upon for my column for internet retailer Comics Unlimited, which is why it’s called “Graphic Novels Worth Owning”.) There are so many comics out there that if you only want to be positive, you can keep finding books to be positive about.
Then again, this retailer might be smarter than we think. If he builds traffic based on more people wanting to come in and disagree with him, then it’s not a bad idea to take a strong position, so long as you do it in a friendly fashion. And while some commenters saw, “Don’t buy this, and if you do, you’re an idiot,” I think that’s reading into what was there with the traditional low self-esteem of the superhero comic fan. (Do I need to say that’s a joking over-generalization and not actually true?)
Anyway, negative recommendations are more safely made in person because then you can more accurately target them to the particular customer and replace them with something they will like more, thus making everyone happy. And not creating more internet hoo-hah.
1 Although KC got a tremendous positive response from Westfield mail-order customers back when he wrote their ordering newsletter when he pointed out to potential buyers that DC doing a Lobo slipcase with an extra bonus volume of “Lobo’s Wit and Wisdom” was something of a scam. The book was blank, you see, and DC wasn’t being particuarly open about that fact in the hopes of reselling the package to Lobo fans. KC wanted people to know what they were ordering before they bought it, even if it meant fewer orders.