A few days ago, I had a gentleman come in with a box of comics that he wanted to sell…there weren’t that many, and they were mostly ’90s Image books. I went through them fairly quickly, as they were all 1) in fairly worn condition, and 2) these were books I’d seen a million times that I knew full well we had in stock and didn’t need any more copies of, even if they had been in mint shape. So I made a pass through the stack, told him sorry, but there wasn’t really anything here we could use right now (giving him the two reasons I just related, in as politic a way as I could), and thanked him for bringing them by.
Now, he’d been in the shop earlier in the day, asking the employee at the register if we bought comics. I couldn’t get over to the counter to help, as I was busy elsewhere in the store, but I heard her give the correct reply that we bought comics we could use, if they were in sellable shape, but we’d have to see them and see if it was stuff we needed. She also asked what comics he had, and he never really replied that I could hear, so it’s not like we could have saved him the trip when he told us that it was all stuff from the ’90s.
But anyway, the dude ended up getting pretty steamed at me, since he apparently wasted a trip to the shop after, he said, “she told me you’d buy everything!” which of course isn’t what he was told. And he didn’t like the fact that I spent “three whole seconds” looking at his comics and sarcastically thanked me for “spending all that time” on his collection.
I did attempt to explain, again, that they were all comics we had plenty of in the backroom, and that we simply couldn’t use them, but of course by that time he decided he’d been wronged and there was no reasoning with him.
For the record, I spent a bit more time than “three seconds” looking at the comics. But I know our stock, and what sells, and what doesn’t, and frankly, I have lots of things to do at the store, so if I’m going through a collection and it’s comic after comic we can’t use, I can’t spend more time looking at each comic beyond that which I need to decide “the store doesn’t need this.” I’m not going to pour over each low-grade Youngblood Strike File for two or three minutes apiece before deciding, alas, the store doesn’t need it. I try to be friendly about it, I try to be apologetic about it if we can’t use anything…I try to not be a jerk, is what it comes down to. If you’re selling something, but I can’t use what you’re selling…well, that’s that, really. And I know my job well enough that it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to process collections like these.
Of course, any very minor level of guilt I felt about this situation dissipated the moment he threw a tantrum and lied to my face about the other employee telling him we’d buy it all. I don’t need people like that in the shop. Plus, from the get-go he was pretty pushy and telling me that these were all valuable and nagging me about being careful about how I handle them (because God forbid these VG Brigades drop down to a VG-, since obviously I’ve never handled comics before), so, you know, not really worth the trouble.
But ultimately this did still have a small effect on me, as Thursday two more collections popped by the shop, and I caught myself lingering over some of the books a little longer than normal, so as not to give the false impression that I was simply brushing these folks off. Then I realized “man, I’ve got to finish the monthly Diamond order, I’ve got mail order to do, I’ve got a lady from the local library coming in to get a several hundred dollar order…I GOTS TO BE ME” so I processed the collections at a more efficient speed. One collection netted a pretty good stack of stuff we could use (some Silver Age Daredevil, a lot of THBs, and some other oddball stuff), and the other collection was a bunch of early ’90s Spider-Man books that we had plenty of. The fellow with the second collection got the explanation as to why we couldn’t use them, and this time it went over well. He understood, thanked me for my time, and I thanked him for his…transaction concluded, with nary a hard feeling in sight.
That other fellow who came in yesterday, the one that I did buy a lot of books from…as I was zipping through his boxes, I felt the need to let him know that I was only going so quickly through some of the books because it was stuff I instantly recognized as not being needed, or in low condition, or…and he stopped me, and said “it’s okay, man…you know your business. I trust you.” And that was good to hear.