Friday, September 16, 2005

Game Store Confidential: The Other Side of the Counter

Larry is the clerk at my FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store), but every game store has a Larry (or possibly a Moe) behind the counter.

Larry talks to the cash register with a gleam in his eye, "Damn you cursed, contraption! Take that!!!!", he says punching a series of buttons. "My evil nemesis, why won't you void? Void, I say void, ye spawn of the damned." He then resorts to punching the same button repeatedly, pausing briefly between punches to see if there is a new result.

When he finally happens upon the right combination of buttons, "Ahhhhhh haaaaaaaa. I am victor-r-r-rious again!"

Larry knows more about Professional Wrestling than anyone I have ever met. He can, and does, find excuses to discuss the Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant match from Wrestle-Mania III in 1987.

Larry was born in 1985.

Larry thinks Munchkin is the bomb.

Larry is well read. He can discuss Wolverine and Dogbert with equal fervor.

Larry doesn't limit his appreciation for the arts to the printed word. Larry can (and frequently does) quote such noted thinkers as Principle Skinner, Cartman and Yoda.

Larry isn't a bad guy, he has just climbed the corporate ladder as high as he ever will.

Larry is not alone in the game store. No, far from it. Curly owns the store. Curly is a balding (he might prefer the term "thinning"), middle aged man with a goatee.

Curly's father has been the successful owner of the local Ford dealership since 1961. Curly's father fronted him the start-up money to open the store. His father gave up hope of ever getting his money back, and wrote-off that loan 10 years ago.

Curly knows the comic book and miniature sides of the business inside and out, which is good because most of his customers are either 40k fanatics or comic book geeks.

Curly is frequently involved in miniature campaigns in the back of the store. In his free time Curly is parked at the game table painting 40k miniatures.

Curly has a lot of free time.

Curly lets Larry handle the game orders. Curly hasn't played a board game since he went through his "Axis and Allies" phase in college.

Curly thinks "Texas Hold 'em" poker is the bomb.

Other employees come and go. There was the guy who stood 6 foot 8, the college girl who showed a lot of cleavage, and Mikey the man with monster breath. Curly and various Larrys have been there year after year.

Other game/comic book/miniature stores have come and gone in the last 20 years. All of their employees were normal. It takes a Larry and a Curly to run a game/comic book/miniature store. If they aren't there the place just doesn't feel right. Walking into a game store without a Curly or Larry (or possibly a Moe) feels like walking into a bar without cigarette smoke, or a Dairy Queen that doesn't serve ice cream.

As much as we like to have fun at their expense, the game world needs Curlys and Larrys. They are the only ones who can put up with us.

I wish them the best of luck.

4 comments:

DWTripp said...

Hmmm... you have some weird people up there in Alaska. Every game store owner and employee down here in the lower 48 is completely normal.

Jon said...

Whatever, Curly.

:)

dangerbob said...

Sure they are normal ;]...Here where I live in Tecas our game store has a Larry and a Shemp

Todd D. said...

Those people, and the horrible customers they tolerate, ruin it for everybody.

See also:

http://www.savantmag.com/16/retail16.html

(Contains language, also tacitly encourages blanket parties.)

There's a second column somewhere in the Savant archives where one retailer reveals the secret of his success: Think of what Comic Book Guy would do, then do the opposite.