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The "Using Our Tables" Fee
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TOPIC: The "Using Our Tables" Fee
#36814
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
My FLGS just got demoted to LGS.

I haven't been there much since the games I play started using terrible, unplayable systems or moved to houses with pets, but I went to help a friend promote his new gaming system. (Alpha Chronicles, available online at CafePress, give it a look!)

After I'd been there for about ten minutes one of the clerks came over and told me they now charge a dollar a person to use the gaming tables.

So I left. And then the clerk starts trying to explain to me that they have to do it because the store isn't as profitable as it used to be and their rent hasn't changed.

Please -- they make more than that per person on soft drinks and snacks.

Anyhoo, just gently venting. Are other stores doing this?
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#36815
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
Honestly, a buck per person is not unreasonable. They do have to pay rent, and sadly, many gamers see a product on the shelf, then buy it on eBay for less. Brick and mortar stores have been facing the crunch for years.

If the store is charging for table space, they're doing it because too many people are coming in to play without buying anything.

The game store where I play doesn't charge for the tables (yet), but they're a combined video game/comic book/CCG/RPG store. Money's tight for me right now, but I always make sure to buy something when I go to play. Sometimes that means just the latest issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for my wife, but I do what I can.

Back in California, I used to write off Games Unlimited on my taxes as one of my dependents. Sad to say, it'll be a while before I can spend like that again. I hear that the store closed after I left - coincidence, surely.

My friend Gary Ray runs another game shop in California which I also frequented. Fortunately, he's still going strong, having just celebrated his fifth anniversary with the store. He has an awesome blog - you can check it out here:

blackdiamondgames.blogspot.com/
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#36816
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
I know alot of gaming stores that do this. I can understand why. The ones I used to go to would also offer memberships. You pay a fee up front, say like $50 for a year, they you don't have to pay a table fee for that year and you get like 15-20% off what you buy there. IMO good deal if you hang out there and buy from them alot.
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#36817
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
I don't have a FLGS around me (or even ANY gaming store!) but would gladly throw them a few $$$ for table space if it helped them stay in business!
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#36818
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
While not a bad idea, in theory, it poses some issues in practice :

- What happens when you pre-pay but tables are never available when you come in to play? Sure you could start to reserve them, but how do you accommodate pick-up games and how do you deal with those that reserve then no-show?

- Do you begin to charge those that just hang out and watch the games, too ? They're using your store as a club house and may not be buying anything either.

- How do you balance a fee fairly across the board (good pun, huh?) for all gamers playing all types of games ? A card game, a skirmish game, an RPG session and a 40K Apocalypse game are all vastly different and take different lengths of time and different sized tables. What if the game runs over and the table is booked ?

- What happens if the FLGS decides to book an event or a tournament that commandeers the tables away from those who have paid and reserved them for a specific date?

- How do you credit those gamers that routinely run demo games and introduce new people to new games, thus increasing store sales? What about existing gamers trying a new game? Do you charge them to play a demo ??

I'm just putting some thoughts out there for consideration and feedback. We've had these discussions at my FLGS before but, so far, they haven't started a "pay-to-play" program. I think, given all the "what ifs", it's more than they want to take on at risk of honking-off the regular gamers.
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#36819
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
We've had these discussions at my FLGS before but, so far, they haven't started a "pay-to-play" program. I think, given all the "what ifs", it's more than they want to take on at risk of honking-off the regular gamers.
Being pretyy local to you and our paths going to a few of the same stores, care to say which one it was that has thought about it.

As it stands now I can only think of two maybe three of the local stores that have dedicated space for game tables, one or two seem to have space but are much more card based stores over minis or RPG.
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#36820
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
What one of the FLGS' do around here is have free play at the gaming space; however, for groups that want to reserve space for certain things, then there is a charge. This seemed like a good solution as one doesn't have much to complain about if the area they are playing in - for free - has been reserved by a paying group. It simply requires a good calendar.

At one store, the charge is primarily for the weekly LARPs that host about 20-30 people and so take up a few of the rooms.
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#36821
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
Two or three local gaming stores?

LARP's taking up SEVERAL rooms?

Why, when I live in one of the most densely populated places in America, is there such a dearth of gaming stores near me???

:(
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#36822
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
the gaming store I frequent. used to charge for using tables but has recently (last few years) stopped that practice. to be honest. it wasn't that big a deal when they did charge to use them but some one or a group of people must have complained and they no longer charge.

I go to the store weekly for 'game night' and try and buy something while I'm there, most of the gamers understand it's a business and needs our continued support to stay in business. Every one in the group I play with make there 'tithe' buy buying a blister of minis or at least a soda.
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#36823
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
My FLGS has a policy if you are hosting a game there is a $20 deposit and that gets you 4 hour for 8 folks. If teh "table" spends a total of $50 then you get teh $20 back. It is prorated so every $10 and you get $4 back. He also hosts magic tourneys and various other tourneys for pokemon, etc. During these events it is $2 to play but the winning person gets something or other. I am ok with it if the place is clean and tidy and spacious. If there are other players haning around and they have not showered in 5 days (Why do young gamers hang out at a gaming store before taking a shower?) then I am ok with it. If the place is cruddy, close quarters, or there are a lot of hanger ons then I am not a big fan and probably will not pay. Just my thoughts.

-Shadox
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#36824
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
My only gripe about playing an RPG at a game store is unless you have a private room to play, the RPG can get drawn out by the other tables and games. IMO you need a quiet place to play table top RPGs so everyone can get into it more.
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#36825
The "Using Our Tables" Fee 5 Years, 1 Month ago  
I don't think that a buck is a big deal. They have to make their money to keep going and it doesn't matter whether they sell more pop than that dollar because they know their expenses and they need to ensure they get income to cover them.
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