[Musings of a Game Store Owner] The Average Customer
There are a lot of ideas about the kind of person that frequents a game store. Even with the rise of “nerd culture”, the idea that my customers live with mom in the basement, with no job and no car, spending all day on the internet is pretty prevalent. The other strong idea is that my customers are all “Sheldon”s from Big Bang Theory.
I have to tell you that nothing could be father from the truth.
As boring as it might sound, most of my customers are married with kids.
|Almost none of the spouses are this crazy.|
The vast majority of them have good jobs and are happy, productive people. I have about an even split between technical industry and service or restaurant folks. There are quite a few restaurant managers, delivery guys, cooks and servers in my regulars just as there are IT Network administrators, software development engineers, programmers and other computer-y stuff I know nothing about.
|I don’t understand how they can do this type of thing all day.|
There are very few retail industry people- most of my customers prefer to work with “stuff” and stay away from sales or selling. There are also very few tradesmen- I can only think of two right off hand.
|Brothers gotta represent|
My average customer is in their 30’s or is older than that, and is a loving, dedicated father. (Yes, most of my customers are men. I do see a large number of ladies, and the tide is changing, but my base is primarily men.) Most of my regulars bitch and moan about almost anything under the sun, except their kids. If I give them a chance to talk about their children, they light up and will brag, boast and generally marvel at length about their kids as long as I will let them. (Considering I love children, this is usually quite a while.)
Pretty much every one of them will skip a tournament, game or event in favor of their kids’ activities. Most of them BRING THEIR KIDS into the store at least once for me to meet them (especially as babies) and have their children’s pictures saved onto their phones or in their wallet. The number of “Gopher babies” I have met is pretty impressive, and tells me a lot about my customers. They gladly build things for their children, make something from scratch or otherwise provide concrete examples of their interest and dedication to their little ones. More than a couple have tattoos of or for their children.
|sort of like this|
And while my customers will spend some of their disposable income with me, if their kids need something or something at home breaks, they either come to me to sell something or drop spending with me before anything else. My customers know and understand what it means to be responsible to a family and will give up their hobby for their family obligations nearly every time. (I have helped finance more than a couple of washing machine repairs. It’s a weird business.)
Not all of my folks are married, but the vast majority are in long term relationships or have a steady girlfriend. There are a COUPLE guys that could use some setting up, but for the most part, my customers are in relationships and want to keep it that way.
The true outliers in my community are the “stereotypes”- I honestly only know of ONE customer that lives at home with a family member, with no job and no car. I also can only think of ONE guy who is truly “strange”, and he’s more like Weird Pete than he is like Sheldon.
The stereotypes just aren’t a reflection of my customer base. Not even close.