HoP Idol II: Musings of an Impulse Buyer

First up this week, we’ve got the ever amazing Neil of “The Dice Gods are Hungry” dropping some knowledge upon us about his little problem in stores.  He’ll be aping Lo’s ever popular column, “Musings of a game store owner.”

Musings of an Impulse Buyer

I like reading the ‘Musings of a Game Store Owner’ articles because it’s always interesting to know what’s really going on across the counter.  Of course, Lo can’t tell us everything
that goes on because the people who read it might actually go to the
store in question and that would be baaaad (I work in the motor trade, I
serve customers and I know what gets said as soon as customers are out
of earshot!).
But what about us consumers?  Where are our musings? 

‘Our’ musings aren’t posted every week because I suspect that as consumers we are far too diverse to have a single voice.  Sorry Lo, I can’t give you a load of free market research on your entire client base.  I can however talk with extreme confidence about me and my people, also known as ‘impulse buyers’.
I like the shiny-shiny.  I like the pretty models.  I’m not afraid to ‘fess up and admit it.  Somewhere
deep inside even the most stringent planner, who organizes every step
of their army building process has some magpie tendencies in them.  If they didn’t they would never have got into war-gaming in the first place. 
My last purchase?  Fenrisian wolves.  Do I collect Space Wolves? No.  Is them big doggies pretty? Hell yes!
Before that, it was a Razorwing Jetfighter and some Scourges.  At
the time I wasn’t even considering playing Dark Eldar (I am now, but
that’s a story for another time) but I bought them because they looked
I know that I’m not the only one.  I also know that many people just don’t get
this approach to buying miniatures (my fiancé for example, although she
doesn’t mind as long as it keeps me occupied and away from where I can
do any real damage) so maybe we can explore where I’m coming from.
The myth I’ve heard a lot is that ‘I must have too much disposable income’.  The
theory obviously being that as models are in a league with uranium for
their price-to-weight ratio sensible people buy to a plan and rich,
frivolous people can spend without worrying about getting any value for
their money.  This could well be the case for some people, but they must really be in the minority.  I sell car parts for Christ’s sake, I can pay the bills and not too much else. So we can discard this notion.
A contributing factor is definitely that there isn’t much left that I want to get for my existing armies.  In
both Fantasy and 40K I have several armies built up over the past few
years to 2k plus, and plenty of variety between them so until a new
Codex/Armies Book gets released there’s no real incentive to buy to a
plan or expand on what I’ve got.
Great, you say.  Why
not just save your money then and paint the huge backlog of undercoated
models hiding in the corner of your room? Well I’m also of the opinion
that models aren’t just for the tabletop.  They are pieces
of art in their own right and deserve to be shown off, not hidden away
until games night. I’ve even managed to get three dragons onto a cabinet
in the living room where people who aren’t ‘nerds’ can see them (this
is an achievement, let me tell you!).
My local environment shapes what I do too.  If
there wasn’t a hobby store nearby I wouldn’t buy so many models, the
fact that it’s there makes it easy to acquire them. Internet purchasing
just isn’t the same, there’s no instant ‘hit’.  Similarly
my local club gets a diverse 35-odd gamers and hobbyists attending every
week, generating a ‘melting pot’ of ideas and really stimulates that
creativity-which leads me back to the local store.
The internet affects impulse purchases too.  All
of you with your blogs and your battle reports provide endless hours of
window-shopping! In the end though my brain has the biggest input, and
how I’m treated has the largest influence on actual purchases.
We are all wired differently and it would be a shit world if we weren’t.  Many
clever people have spent many years scratching the surface of why this
is and there’s bound to be reams of data available on the subject, but
I’m not too fussed about all that.  I am an impulse buyer, there’s just something in my psyche that makes me crave that ‘fix’ you get from buying plastic soldiers.  It doesn’t rule me however.  Emotion does.
I had a terrible experience not long ago at my local Games Workshop store, and after blogging about it I saw that lots of people had been in the same situation at various GW stores.  As
a result of the store managers attitude I didn’t buy what I’d gone in
for, I walked out empty handed, dejected and determined not to go back.
By contrast only last weekend I was in Manchester and chanced upon the
Arndale Centre GW.  The staff there loved me up to the point that even though I’d gone in not wanting to spend any money, I bought some Fenrisian wolves that I simply didnt need!
negativity bred negativity as a response, and stopped the intended sale
losing the store £60-£70 in a couple of minutes long conversation.  The positivity elsewhere bred such positivity that my brain triggered an impulse buy when I didn’t want to buy anything!

wrap it up then game store owners, if you spot an impulse buyer walking
into your store come over, tell us how handsome we are and compliment
our fine dress sense.  Show us some love and us impulse buyers will spend, spend, and spend.  It’s cos we’re simple, or something.  Ooo dragons!…….

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