Friday, February 27, 2009
Survival is a Shrink Wrap Machine
I used to see this guy all the time at Dr. Comics and Mr. Games when I used to live in the Piedmont area of Oakland. Nice dude.
Anyway, I know this article has been spreading like wild fire all across the internet, but it made me think of the days back in high school when someone I knew used to work at a local comic book store. Let's call this guy "Bob." Bob used to tell me the craziest stories. See, this was during the late 90's when the comics industry was at it's worst. When comic shops were closing left and right. The ones that were clinging on were doing anything they could to stay open which meant opening the stores up to all kinds of things that weren't even comics-related. The one Bob worked at was no exception. I remember they were even renting out straight-up porn behind the counter at one point just to stay afloat. Incidentally, Bob told me the biggest clientele for their porn were the local cops.
Anyway, my all time favorite tactic Bob told me about was the store's video game rental system. The owner of the store would buy a video game from Toy'R'Us or some other big chain, take out the cartridge to rent, but keep the box. Then he would stuff the box with scrap paper or something of equal weight to the cartridge (a copy of Deathmate would be my guess) and using their in-store shrink wrap machine, reseal the box with clear plastic. Then he would go back to Toy'R'Us or wherever he bought it from and return it, pretending he changed his mind before opening it. Then he would rent out the game at his store cost-free! Diabolical. He was also only one of 2 comic stores in town that survived through that time.
My favorite part of this story is imagining some kid at Christmas excitedly opening his box of Mega Man III and finding a crinkled copy of Deathmate. Oh, the humanity.