It's been four days since my Friendly Local Game Store announced the evaporation of the store bonus credit program. (Due to a technical glitch. Apparently the machine with all the inventory/sales data crashed.) I have yet to see a response from the owner regarding my question on the matter. I'm starting to get the distinct impression that perhaps e-mail with this guy is a one-way street. He sends them out but doesn't respond to incoming communiques. I thought the mailing list was a way for this FLGS to maintain an ongoing electronic dialogue with its customer base. Instead, it's starting to look like nothing more than free advertisement. I could be wrong. Maybe he answers all his email, just slowly. Slow here meaning that 8 days later he hasn't responded to the e-mail I sent him from before the computerized crisis.
I talked this whole thing out with my wife and she's of the opinion that I have no real reason to be loyal to my FLGS, other than sentimentality for the Ma-and-Pa operations in the hobby. The more I think about it the less that sentimentality gets me anywhere. After all, I have no doubt that most of the online gaming outifts I've done business with are just as small as the FLGS. Some of these ventures can't be much more than some d00d, his website, and a garage full of gaming crap. Admittedly, that d00d doesn't spend the money earned locally, nor does he support the local gaming scene with some tables in the back of his non-existant shop. Does that matter? If I hated Mac&Cheese I wouldn't buy it just because we have a Kraft plant in town.
And you could make the argument that the tables in the back of the shop are for someone else's hobby, not mine. Most of the time I see CCGs, clickies, and Warhammer being played at those tables. I don't normally like to draw divisive lines in the gaming hobby. "You're an icky LARPer, I'm a real roleplayer." "Those Magic: the Addiction tournies are full of snot-nosed punks." and all that other sort of stuff normally ain't my style. But most physical gamespace arrangements are going to be friendlier for some types of gaming and a hassle for others. Dave moved his "Avatars" campaign to the pancake joint for a practical reason: the store was too durn loud for roleplaying. IMHO, the FLGS is set-up for (logically enough) the games that should make the owner the most money, namely the higher-volume collectible type games.
I don't begrudge the owner for slanting the store towards the customers that make him the most money. But it seems that my FLGS doesn't get special orders done, is overcrowded almost to the point of it being dangerous to go in, fails to reply to emails from longterm customers, and orients its business to the kids with the cash for clickies. Why should I be loyal to that kind of store? That's not a rhetorical question. Help me out here, folks! Throw me a bone!