Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Tale of a Company that used to care...

This month the world ended.  Well that's what its looking like after the rash of wonderful new changes coming out of the fantasy world where the GW execs must live.  Here in reality it seems like they've taken the next step toward ailenating their fanbase and further angering the independent stores that in the vast majority of the country are their only explosure to the public.  Believe it or not, this was not always the case.

I may have mentioned here once or twice that I used to own a game store that among other things sold GW products.  I was an authorized retailer working with them directly.  I also sold video games.

My video game suppliers were notoriously difficult.  Because I was a single store (and my franchise never did anything to try and increase our buying power, but that's another story and a lot of therapy).  We were too small to deal directly with the game companies so we worked through a distributor.  Oh and if the big boys up their order 48 hours before a release, I'll get my 3 pre-orders in a week.  Sorry customer who'll have to wait.

Then on the other end of the spectrum...we had Games Workshop.  I was considering adding their products so I gave them a call.  They said they'd send me some information.  A few days later I had a pamphlet and a box containing all 3 starter kits.  I did not order or pay for this.  They sent it to get me interested in carrying the game.  So I signed on.  I started with what was their base selection and as business picked up, I added a paint rack.  This was just before they phased out inks for washes and they had just redesigned their paint rack.  They were out of the new one...but they sent me the old one for free.  We were open for Fantasy's 25th anniversary.  A few weeks before it, I got a random box from GW.  Inside was a box of pins, temporary tattoos and all sorts of stuff to put up around the store to celebrate.  I made my orders every Monday and almost always had them the following Thursday in time for my Friday night regulars to pick them up.  I generally knew within a week of one new launch what was coming out next and could start getting people excited.  For the 5th Edition 40k launch I had all the pre-ordered rulebooks, including my collector's edition 3 days before the launch so I could have a midnight release party.  When i held a tournamentThis is how a company should treat the retailers that drive their business.  I was making money...(well I wasn't but my GW stuff was the only line that did turn a profit) they were making money and all was right with the world.

Fast forward a few years... Wasn't it great that they sent out all that stuff for the 40K 25th anniversary...oh wait they did basically nothing but release an expensive model and have a 6 page write up in White Dwarf.  And aren't tey just being great to the indepedent stockists to supply the wit all the new stuff...except the ever growing list that's direct only.

I'm not going to include the "recent" restrictions to selling online, because that policy was there when I was selling, too but I will mention them cracking down on bits sellers.  They bought your product...who cares if they open it up to sell the models piecemeal?  GW decided to get out of the bits market years ago and frankly it's a valuable aspect of the trade for hobbyists.  Honestly I don't want you back in the market because considering the insane prices you've been charging lately I don't want to spend $20 on a single storm bolter.

As usual with articles of this nature, I don't have an answer.  GW doesn't care one bit about their fanbase.  We know that and have known that for years.  They only care about making money...which isn't a  bad thing and as a publicly traded company they owe it to their shareholders to turn a profit.  I also know that as with ever other outrage they've pulled in recent years, we'll still pay.  We still love the game, warts and all.  It's just sad that once upon a time GW still turned a profiit without the evil we now expect from them.

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