Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Brand New Day
So, I went to my Local Comic Shop to see if I could get a copy of the Spider-Man/Barack Obama comic.
I get to the store at about 1:05. The store is supposed to open at 1:00, but it's dark inside and the door is locked. About half a dozen cars are in the parking lot waiting for the place to open.
The guy finally shows up about 10 minutes later and opens the door. Most of the people coming in are not regular customers, but are there for the Obama comic. For the next ten minutes, a steady stream of customers comes in asking specifically for the comic. The store has about 35 copies of the regular issue and 3 copies of the Obama cover, which have been marked up to $25.00.
Of course, customers are confused. They want the Obama cover, which they've seen on the news with a price of $3.99. The clerk tries to explain the concept of variant covers, but this doesn't seem to make sense to nonregular customers. After all, they wouldn't expect to walk into Best Buy to purchase a Wii for the regular price of $250, only to find that the store is charging $1000 because it is a rare item.
A little bit later, the clerk gets a phone call from an irate customer whose daughter came in to buy the Obama cover but refused to pay the jacked up price. He again tries to explain the concept of variant covers, but it becomes clear that even he doesn't understand how the ordering worked on this variant, because he seems to think that it's a one-for-ten variant, rather than the more complicated situation it actually was. He gives the customer the phone number of the store owner and hangs up.
This turned out to be the tipping point that had been building for the last 15 minutes.
The clerk lets off a tirade for any of the six or seven customers currently in the store. "Don't complain to me about the price--I didn't set it. I'd just as soon give the fucking thing away so I don't have to look at it for the rest of the day. I'd rather wipe my ass with it than sell it. And I'm going to have to deal with this shit all day."
A couple of people in the store respond about the demand for the book and the news coverage, which is the first the clerk has heard of it. The fact that he was not aware of the media attention this book was getting says volumes. And this just gets him going more:
"You know, I do want things to get better, but a big part of me hopes that it gets worse and this guy really fucks this country up. Because then all the people with their DVDs and magazine covers and shit will shut the fuck up. Because I'm sick of hearing this shit. I really hope he fucks this country up even more. And Joe Quesada has probably been whoring himself out on television rather than doing his job. He should get back to telling stories rather than this propaganda cashing in on this shit. I'm just fucking sick of it."
A customer then walks up to the counter to make his purchase and engages the clerk in further conversation. The clerk then mutters, at a lower volume than his tirade, a completely despicable racial epithet. I set down my comic and left. I won't be supporting this store anymore.
And I'd rather be out this particular comic than give that store any of my money.