In a related note to the last post on the merits of getting new people into comic shops, I was thinking about one of my most hated things with certain comic shops.
Why do some comic shops decide to put all the comics in a sealed comic bag?
Surely, in a medium that is a unique mix of literary and artistic, stopping the customer from browsing by sealing the comic in a bloody bag is the equivalent of HMV covering up the tracklisting of a cd or Borders covering up the back cover so a customer couldn't read the damn blurb on the back?
How stupid does an owner have to be that they honestly believe that stopping their customers from looking at the comics is going to increase sales?
Maybe they'd really like to go one step further and just lock the bloody doors and not let anyone in?
Heaven knows it can't be that the owners are concerned about the customers messing up their pristine comics, since most of these comic shops aren't exactly models of cleanliness anyway as a general rule.
To be honest I have no idea whether it's a practice that goes on much anymore. Nostalgia & Comics have never done it except with certain high price variants and very explicit stuff. Although I even take issue with the idea of bagging those to be honest. Certainly where it's explicit stuff from someone trying to make a literary point, the book certainly shouldn't be bagged. Put it on the top shelf perhaps, but don't bag it.
However, the Travelling Man shop in York (and, I assume the other shops in the chain as well) does bag all of it's new comics. It's a horrible thing to do. It's stupid, ruins the feel of the shop and spoils the atmosphere.
It took me two visits to realise what was wrong with Travelling Man. And then I realised it all comes from the stupid decision to bag the comics. There's no-one browsing the shelves, no customers dipping in and out of different issues. Because they can't open the bloody things up to look at them. And that kills the atmosphere to me.
Stupid, stupid, stupid thinking.