Thursday, May 31, 2007

Diamond Makes Me Angry.... You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!

We were short handed at work today so Jim took the bus down town to pick up comic books. I expected him to call me with the total but instead he called me to let me know that comics wouldn't be in until tomorrow.

Once again Diamond and UPS are conspiring to screw up my schedule! Tomorrow I already have several lunch errands to run and Jim has plans as well. How are we supposed to go pick up our books? I know it isn't the end of the world, but it sure is inconvenient as hell.

I believe this means another letter to Diamond tomorrow. I have pretty much decided that I will have to harass them until they can't stand me anymore.

Other then writing letters and sending e-mails, what would you lovely folks do to get Diamond's attention? Don't say "stop reading comics", because that one is too obvious. Weeks like this, I really contemplate it.

Let me know any ideas so I can get their attention!


John Holland said...

That sucks. The problem with Diamond is that they know you have no where else to go. They have you over a barrel. That's the problems with monopolies. Giving up comics doesn't hurt them, it would only hurt you, giving up something you enjoy. Write letters, if you call, ask to speak to the person's boss and than their boss, the higher you go, the less these people like to hear people complain.

I managed to make it to my store today and ended up only buying three books. Daredevil, The Boys and The Boys trade. Yeah! The Boys is back! (Sorry, I don't mean to rub it in, but I just couldn't help myself, this book is so good.)

Anonymous said...

I guess this would be a bad time to announce how much I enjoyed my comics this week....especially Action #850. I think I had a smile on my face the whole time.

"Your books'll be here... tomorrow" (sing to the tune of "Tomorrow" from Annie)...

Lisa said...

The Diamond Dilema strikes again. It stinks that these things keep happening to your LCS owner. See, that's the thing - it doesn't hurt the publishers or make a bit of difference to Diamond - the only one hurt financially is the LCS owner. Plus, it makes him (or her) look bad because not every customer is as understanding and knowledgable as you and James are, so they don't get WHY the store didn't get books on-time and blame the LCS.

What to do about it - that is, of course the million dollar question. You are, unfortunately, the least of Diamond's worries. If you stop buying comics it won't hurt them - it will hurt your LCS.

If you don't buy comics it won't hurt Marvel or DC - and these two publishers are the biggest reason for Diamond's monopoly - those exclusive contracts.

I was just reading a column on CBR where the writer was saying that the Direct Market is broken - and it's the LCS's fault. But I'd argue that while there are retailers to blame, Diamond is a bigger part of the problem than people seem to acknowledge.

Unfortunately, your writing letters to the fine folks in Baltimore won't do much good, I fear. You are one voice and mean very little to them. Your LCS owner might have a little more influence, but again, one store has very little impact.

I do think that your LCS owner should take the time to contact the warehouse he (or she) is serviced out of. The problems he/she is having with missing shippments is coming from the warehouse. Dealing with a Diamond CSR on the opposite end of the country will do little to fix problems out in L.A. (I assume that's the warehouse your LCS's stuff ships from) If he (or she) won't contact them, maybe you could get the ball rolling by contacting them yourself and then if you receive a response pass it along to your LCS.

If your LCS owner is a member of ComicsPRO advise him/her to write to them and see if a group of retailers can get Diamond to pay better attention to the problems. Even you could contact the ComicsPRO board and explain your case. ComicsPRO is about 100 members strong and has some of the largest and most influential retailers as members - so that group might be the best force of influence in the market.

But again - it's a monopoly. They have no competition and there is no viable way for another business to come along and compete as long as the exclusive contracts remain in place. I do think Diamond means well, and they're overall good people. But it's a large beast and difficult to control. It's also owned by a single owner, not shareholders. Plus, without competition it seems to be unable to gague it's successes and failures or any interest in growing the comics market past a point it can sustain (I'd argue the direct market is, based on the warehouse problems we already see, pushing Diamond past it's capacity now).

WHEW!! That was a book! Sorry!

Heidi Meeley said...

John, I am glad your books were there and that you got some great ones. Yay about the Boys! I am so glad!!

I agree that because of Diamond's monopoly on distribution it seems like I am stuck between a rock and a hard spot. I still want to send letters and encourage my retailer to communicate with Diamond more. Cross your fingers for me!

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, you made me smile! The comics were indeed here today so YAY!

I am glad you enjoyed Action! I will have to take a gander and see whats going on there!

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa, I love your insight! That was fantastic. It gives me more information that will help me better interact with my LCS.

I think you are right that Diamond's distribution center is overwhelmed. I also think that Diamond needs to have a conversation with UPS. My LCS has talked to the warehouse GM without much success. He is also stymied when he calls UPS. It is an awful situation.

Every time this happens, Jim and I try and tell our fellow customers to be patient and not give up even though we are upset ourselves. It isn't our LCS fault. In fact, they have been extremely upset the last two times.

With Diamond being such a monopoly it feels like we are caught between a rock and a hard spot. I wish I could find someone to bankroll me so I could start up a competitor!

Thank you again for the incredible insight, Lisa! You continue to amaze me!

Carl said...

Yeah, I bought The Boys collected and issue #7. I thought, the Heidi Force is moving me to buy these and I must comply. Everyone cheered and I was given a bouquet of roses for returning to Garth Ennis's current comic. Oh, that last bit, with the roses was a complete lie, though I am sure the thoughts were there in spirit after the cheers. I still haven't read them yet, I've been reading books in the Sharpe's Rifles series and playing The Godfather on X-Box. Both are so addictive I keep even forgetting I bought comics on Thursday...
Sorry you are having trouble with Diamond again. Perhaps you have discovered your true nemesis?

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, I think you are right- Diamond is my true nemesis! I must fight evil!

I am glad you picked up The Boys! You will have to let me know what you think!