I've managed to recruit a group of local gamers to help me playtest the Thieves' World scenario I'm going to be running at Gen Con this summer. I'd planned to run the game at a local shop, Game Empire, which is more or less central to the folks who will be playing.
Unfortunately, it appears as if weekends are the time of tournies at the game store, and the management won't allow me to reserve a table for the four-hour event. I was told to call in the afternoon so see if tables were available; this doesn't do me much good, because it means that any manner of planning with a coherent schedule is impossible. The other option, I was told, is to run the game during the week. Fat chance, considering work schedules.
The manager of the store (I reckon; if not a manager, he was still someone in authority) was playing a computer game in the back, and seemed somewhat annoyed that the employee who was helping me would be bothering him about this. Wonderful customer service, that. I've got no problem with the fellow who took time to help me out, but the manager's obvious unwillingness to help -- or, at the least, to be congenial about the question -- was all too obvious. Color me unimpressed.
If I needed another reason to shop for my game books on Amazon, Game Empire's management has handed it to me. Let's see what Amazon has going for it.
Reduced pricing? Check.
Large selection? Check.
No need to drive thirty miles to browse the shelves? Check.
Oh, and no need to deal with owners/managers who would rather play video games than help a long-time customer out? Check!
Allow me to be somewhat annoyed. I understand that these miniatures and Pokemon tournaments bring the store money, but at the price of alienating patrons who don't play those types of games. The store has a pretty large room set aside, but it's not big enough, I guess.
There are few enough game stores of quality in the area these days. The one most local to myself, Pair A Dice Games, is geared heavily towards CCGs. Game Empire, obviously, is more worried about customers who play minis and Pokemon. Game Towne, my former employer (in the distant mists of time), has recently closed down its tiny little game room (according to the rumors I'm hearing). Not many other options remain to me.