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Monday, April 17, 2017

Bunch of Savages in This Town

Sometime in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday, this happened at my Tempe location:
I won't recount the details of the burglary, as those are in the hands of the police and insurance company and that information is of little value to anyone not involved.  What prompted me to write this article was the pervasive jadedness I found in my reaction.

Not right away, of course.  First I shook my fist and cursed the sky.  But after burning off my initial reaction, I went into administration mode, and mentally planned my due diligence.  Examine the scene for myself.  Secure the police report.  Contact our attorney.  Contact the insurance agent.  Send out word to the community.  Secure the premises.

I realized at some point during this process that the entire thing had become, to use a word that isn't precisely right, routine.  Break-ins happen to retail stores.  They just do.  Statistically speaking, it's kind of unusual that it took until five years in for one of my locations to get hit.  And this is just what happens these days.  As the officer on the scene observed, one day it's our store, the next day it's the one across the plaza.  So we go through the motions and check all the boxes and file the insurance claim and hope we don't end up losing too much money, labor, and time, by the end of it all.  And there's just nothing anyone can do about it.

I am told that Griffin had even more adrenaline spikes and dumps than I did throughout the day, and understandably so as a burglary is an invasive, violative discovery and he didn't already endure this in 2000, 2001, 2005, and 2009 like I did.  I burned the fuse all the same.  By late afternoon I sat at my workstation in Gilbert, making the necessary calls and emails, and found I could barely keep from nodding.  Deep exhaustion set in.  Fight-or-flight dissipated.  A wave of indifference washed over, or perhaps it was futility, or even chagrin.  More accurately?  Disenchantment.

Why bother, after all.  It's just going to get you a brick through your window.  Why build a business when I can have the ease of an assured paycheck working for the man?  How many times am I going to miss my children hunting for Easter eggs, or opening birthday presents, or trick-or-treating, because some damned thing went wrong at work and I have to head in unscheduled?  And for that effort I get to have some try-hard tell me the best stuff on the shelf has "no value" and would I "do" 70% of market on some Legacy staple that's never going to drop in price for as long as TCGs exist?  Or field a damage swap from some eBay buyer whose kid stepped on the jewel case of his Magical Fantasy Adventure CIB, my eBay metrics now hostage to his apparently sacrosanct desire for a free replacement at my expense?

This is all in the moment, however, and some other thing will happen that will make the notion pass.  I actually had a monstrous weekend of TCGPlayer sales; until Sunday morning I was flying high, mentally banking that extra revenue already toward our upcoming move.  I have friends in town for some special Warhammer events.  We've got a vendor table in two weeks at Zapcon, the arcade convention where I've wanted to exhibit since it began in 2013.  The Magic Amonkhet prerelease is coming up this weekend, and that's always a get-healthy store event, and one the players love every time.  That will be followed by a full release for Amonkhet, a full release for the new Star Wars Destiny set, a reprint of the first and most demanded Final Fantasy booster set, and then apparently a new edition of Warhammer 40k.  One top title after another, and plenty of chances for nourishment.

Decisions made in heightened moments of distress rarely stand up to scrutiny later.  It's critical to allow time for assessment and to let events play out a little further.  In essence, no matter what the disaster at hand, it's best to keep an even keel.  It's best to think of it as... routine.

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