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Everything posted by lighthouse

  1. Registered Mail is slow as molasses. I've had packages take 3 days just to get out Florida leaving CGC, spending each night in a new city. But it's the most secure transport you'll get short of doing the drive yourself (which I did with a 400-book submission years and years ago). Theft from UPS and FedEx hubs happens all the time. And it's buried in the Terms and Conditions of both carriers that your package has to be able to survive a 5-foot freefall drop from one conveyor belt to another. Theft of mail (Registered or otherwise) is heavily prosecuted. And Registered Mail shipments are processed entirely by hand from start to finish. No automation. No conveyor belt drops. If I'm shipping fungible books, sure, I might drop them to Sarasota via UPS or FedEx because it's cheaper and I can deal with an insurance claim. It's not even about the money. An $18k shipment that was entirely 9.6 ASM 300s and 9.4 New Mutants 98s and whatnot? Insurance check is fine. You can replace all that with a minimum of inconvenience. If I'm shipping a likely 9.4 Amazing Spider-Man 11? Registered Mail all day every day. Because it isn't about whether I can get a claim paid, it's about not having a claim in the first place.
  2. I think a lot of organizers were holding out hope that a cure would suddenly be found and implemented, and that if they waited long enough the event could go on. But with Governor Newsom saying he doesn’t expect live sports to be played in California stadiums and arenas until October, there was zero chance SDCC was going forward without an unexpected cure. I work the NY Auto Show every year as a post-retirement part time gig. That event with its 1.4 million attendees was pushed back to August (the only empty window big enough in the Javits calendar). But that’s a coin flip at best. I personally think it gets canceled.
  3. Just got an email indicating MyComicShop is reopening April 20th. And accepting orders again starting the 17th. Good to hear!
  4. Received my loan approval today (yes on a Sunday) and signed my loan documents a few minutes ago. Had my application submitted in the first 4 hours, received approval 9 days later.
  5. Please don't misunderstand. That comment is saying that that was the first update where you were including dates in the listings. Before that you just listed names (but not the effective dates). After that date you started saying "Bugaboo (added 12/25/1973)" instead of just "Bugaboo".
  6. With Covid-19 keeping the shop closed for a couple more months, I’m tossing these (and the other publishers) up in my modern sales thread. Rather not do single issues and hundreds of posts, so they’ll be in 8-15 book lots by publisher. See if we can get them into hands that will appreciate them.
  7. Given that Covid-19 is likely to keep my store closed for another couple months, I’m gonna throw pretty much all of those newsstands from that last collection (the New Jersey dealer one) up in my modern sales thread. Probably putting them in 10-20 book lots rather than singles (don’t really want 1,000 separate posts lol). Grouped by publisher. See if I can get these into hands of folks who appreciate them.
  8. Agreed. I get that you didn't receive exactly the birthday present you would have picked out. But if you can't find use for $200k at 1% interest with a 6 month deferral and 2 year term, where you will get some part of it forgiven (whether that's all of it or 10% of it) there's something wrong. They're gonna pay around $2100 in interest if none of it was forgiven. Even if you waited and rehired all your people in the 8th week of the loan period, they would forgive $25k (one week's payroll) plus 1/3 of that amount ($8,333) spent on mortgage/lease/utilities. So you got $33k in government grant, and a $167,000 loan at 1% interest payable over 2 years starting 4 months after you rehired your people. Any way you look at it that's a massive helping hand.
  9. Interesting. Maybe they moved the goalposts after seeing they weren't getting the additional $250b.
  10. This business got $200k?
  11. The national clearance rate for property crimes has never broken 20%, and that rate is propped up by auto thefts which are easier to solve. When it comes to recovering your stolen property, if it’s not a car, you’re foolish to expect law enforcement to have success. Withholding information from this thread because it might compromise the law enforcement investigation is like waiting two weeks to turn on your sprinkler so you can give your drunk uncle’s rain dance a chance to work.
  12. It’s lost income if you can also make the valid case that you lost the opportunity to replace those comics at wholesale during the month. But if you’re just reallocating your portfolio from comics to cash there’s no income occurring at all. Capital gains, sure, but not income.
  13. Worth noting that those projections are based on social distancing continuing through at least the end of May, and that in the FAQ they define social distancing as including non-essential businesses being closed. So that’s the projection even if my shop (and the others in states that closed “early”) is closed for 75 days. The original models used on that site had non-essential businesses closed through August 4th. And that’s still the date in the FAQ. But the summary pages now say through end of May. So maybe I’m only closed 75 days? But I’m still guessing it will be 90-100.
  14. The only folks who get paid are the printers. The publishers and Diamond forgo their costs. So the “free” comics cost stores $0.25-0.30 each (plus freight charges). Everyone in the whole chain loses money on them except the printers which seems fair to me.
  15. FCBD has been a boon for us overall. It's been in the top 5 sales days each of the years we have had it. But we leverage our advertising budget around the event. And we see sales increases in the weeks leading up to the event as a result of that budget. We drop $700-800 on Facebook advertising promoting FCBD over 6 weeks leading up to the event, and that promotion gets shared and reshared to people we wouldn't otherwise reach because we aren't promoting a sale, we are promoting a future giveaway. So we get some "three degrees of separation" eyeballs that we simply wouldn't reach any other way. Folks tag their friends in late March asking if they want to go in May, that gets us extra traction with the friends of the folks doing the tagging and the people tagged. We get dozens of extra customers in each of those leadup weeks saying they saw a post on Facebook about FCBD, and the Top Of Mind Awareness that comes from that is invaluable. The actual attendees on FCBD don't do all that much. We see around $4.50 a foot in sales that day, which is great but doesn't fully cover our costs for doing the event, especially when we give away $500-1000 in prizes in our costume contest. But the extra sales leading up from FCBD re-shares is huge. And there's no way we would get that by promoting a random "hey come check out our comic shop" post the way we can by promoting a "we are giving away 10,000 comic books" post.
  16. Agreed. I can't in good conscience promote another FCBD until there is either a vaccine or unlimited antibodies testing available. I'd be fine reopening in June with a "limit 8 people in the store at one time" rule for 30 days or something similar. I get 90% of my foot traffic (and 25% of my revenue) from people leaving the adjacent movie theater, and I could do fine without that theater traffic for a month, just serving my regulars and folks who searched for me. Even on Wednesday mornings when I may check out 15 customers in an hour, they weren't all in the store at the same time. I won't see the huge masses of people until the theater is running again, which eliminates any concern for me about what the rules would say (since I don't need to receive huge crowds until they are). I'd fear the inevitable "wanting to kick out a lookiloo customer who's been milling about to make room for the good customer to come in" situation, but that would be an easier problem to have than what we all have now.
  17. I have to chuckle a little at a few of my Facebook friends acting like all these businesses needed "bailouts after just one week of being closed". My shop has been forcibly closed for 20 days and counting. I have seen no stimulus check. I have seen no SBA EIDL loan. I have seen no SBA Paycheck Protection. I fully expect that some of those funds will eventually arrive. I've still made my three weekly payrolls, still paid my utilities, still paid my insurance, still paid my rent. Diamond has stopped shipping to me but I still have other vendors shipping out stuff I ordered months ago and I'm still paying them. I'm still paying my HVAC contractor to do their scheduled maintenance. I'm still paying for my offsite storage location. My shop is small. Less than 1500sf. But business was great the four weeks before we closed. We were doing a little over $6/sf/week over the final 4 weeks of winter, a full year pace of $315/sf during the slowest quarter of the year. It's really really hard not to sit here wondering what might have been. But for now, the goal is "survive the likely 90-100 days we will be forcibly closed and be ready to serve our customers on the other side". Government stimulus may well cover some of that 90-100 day period, but it didn't cover any of the first 20. And had this closure just been 30 days? I might have taken it as a blessing that I could finally get some backlogged work done. But it was never going to just be 30 days.
  18. What people picture in their heads when they hear "small business" and what the definitions actually are... two different things. A roofing contractor with $16.2 million in annual revenue? Small business. A sawmill with 450 employees? Small business. A toy and hobby goods wholesaler with 155 employees? Not a small business. A new car dealer with 180 employees? Small business. A meat market with $9.0m in annual revenue? Not a small business. A hobby, toy and game store with $28.0m in annual revenue? Small business. The definitions depend on the industry. Some tied to revenue. Some tied to employee count. (Some industries are still considered "small business" with 1200 employees though they obviously wouldn't qualify for this specific program). Here's the lastest (2019) definitions by industry: Table of Size Standards_Effective Aug 19%2C 2019_Rev.pdf But if you had to guess who is going to get a SBA Paycheck Protection loan between a local restaurant chain with 4 locations and 300 employees, or comic shop with 4 employees? Best believe the restaurant chain is the favorite. Far more likely to already have a relationship with their bank, have bookkeeping and accounting folks at the ready to provide proper documents in minutes, and have advocates on their behalf at every step of the process if there is a hiccup. I filed as early as I could. I certainly hope I get approved. But I think it's likely few "under 10 employee" businesses will see any of this money, as it's gobbled up quickly by the folks who qualify for 7-digit sums.
  19. I have not yet heard a response on my own application, but my bank has already stopped accepting new applications for the time being, due to "unprecedented demand". Their website indicates they are still processing the applications already submitted, but that no new applications (even from existing banking customers) will be accepted. So the first wave of openings didn't last even one business day (Friday morning to Monday morning).
  20. Has someone thoroughly researched the graemlin timeline? When did Greggy transition from words to graemlins?* When did he eschew nearly all graemlins in favor of his first love, the ubiquitous sumo? When did he move on from sumo adoration and how has his path progressed in the years since? * Yes, boardies. There was indeed a time before the Graemlin-Greggy we all know and love.
  21. I’d like fewer titles from Marvel and DC. But not fewer monthlies. I just want fewer mini-series and “stealth miniseries” (the titles they solicit as monthly knowing full well they will only do one story arc). DC is running around 29 main universe monthlies right now plus the Joe Hill stuff and the Sandman Universe stuff. I can manage my orders just fine on all of that and maintain a profitable sell-through on all of them. What I can’t maintain a profitable sell-through on is the additional 20-30 miniseries coming out at any given time. The magazine size Black Labels are easier. And I’ll happily take a chance on Tom King dragging some C-List character off the pile for 12 months. But trying to guess at buyer interest in Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Metal Men, etc etc etc is a nightmare. Marvel has around 38 true monthlies right now. And another 35 miniseries. Again, the monthlies I can manage my orders just fine, and consistently run 92+% effective sell through. (I say effective sell through because a title where I ordered 100 copies and sold the 1:100, two 1:50, and four 1:25 incentives plus 41 of the 100 regular covers gives me a perfectly fine result compared to selling 100 out of 100 regular copies with no incentives, even if I throw away the 59 excess copies). But the Marvel minis? Nightmare. Absolute nightmare.
  22. Bookery, they only ask for payroll because that’s the metric they are using to determine the size of loan you qualify for. $4000 a month payroll you can apply for $10,000. $200k a month payroll you can apply for $500k. You can still USE the money for payroll, rent/mortgage, and utilities. But they will only forgive up to 25% of the total for things other than payroll. If you borrowed $100k and used $40k on non-payroll, the remaining $15k (excess beyond 25% of the total) becomes a 24-month loan at 0.5% interest. When it comes time for forgiveness, they’ll need records for the non-payroll stuff (copy of your lease etc). But everyone’s qualification number comes just from the payroll calculation.
  23. The two board members who purchased the bulk of my remaining collection in 2008 did so in person in San Antonio where the books were stored in my ex-wife’s garage (I was already living in San Diego by then). The vast majority of it was purchased by @MYNAMEISLEGION, who I went to college with three decades ago. It wasn’t a “board transaction”. It was a transaction with a friend from college who also happened to be a member of these boards. I apologize for the confusion. I definitely see how that wasn’t clear. But I contacted Sean directly to sell him my old inventory in person. It wasn’t me soliciting business through the boards. The small remainder was purchased by @bubbagump who is also a very old friend who picked up a few things in person as well. I count both Sean and Rick among my close friends. And while it was accurate to say I sold the inventory to board members, I should have made that more clear. It was a long post with lots of links to pull together. I should have expounded on that paragraph more. Thanks for giving me a chance to clarify that.
  24. The Hall of Shame existed long before that. If you click the link above to Divad’s post from July 6, 2007 you will see that Herald2Galactus was already the inaugural member at that point.
  25. seanfingh made a legitimate request So I spent the last four hours doing exactly what he requested, including reading 138 pages of this thread. Here's the history: I got way behind on a bunch of shipments in the spring of 2007. Most were made up well before they reached a 30-day mark, but some did go past that. The most egregious of that group was an order from AlexH that included a copy of Flash 123 that he intended to get double-signed at a rare opportunity to do so. I didn't get the book to him in time for his signing, and that pain was far worse than the money related to the transaction. I gave him a full refund AND sent the books he ordered for free, but thirteen years later I am still mad for letting him down. He put my name up for the Probation List in this post, on June 13, 2007: In response to AlexH's post, there were multiple replies indicating that folks had received their packages from me as promised, and that I was clearly losing money on the shipments as the postage was astronomical compared to what I was charging for comic bags. There were no replies indicating that anyone else had any active issues with me that would warrant them adding to AlexH's nomination (unlike many of the ongoing conversations around that time where one member would complain and several others would chime in that they were also waiting). Within 10 days of that post, I had given him a full refund, and had the books waiting for him to pick up at the post office. Damage was already done for the delay. But I at least satisfied the deal itself. AlexH never responded to any of my PMs, and I don't blame him for being upset. But when he returned from vacation and picked up the books, he did reach out to Divad (who was administrating the Probation List at the time) and let him know that he had received them. When the next round of the Probation List was released later that day, my name was no longer on it. My name does not appear on the Probation List for any of the updates the rest of July or August and into September, as my nomination from AlexH had been "resolved" and there were no other outstanding complaints. Through a dozen updates over several weeks, I am not on the list. The next time I am nominated is on September 30th, by TheWatcher: When Angelo nominated me, there was no discussion of me already being on the list in the replies. Because I hadn't been. I had been removed back in early July. Angelo's nomination was completely valid. He had sent me a box of trade paperbacks in response to a post where I had indicated I was looking to buy them. I received the trades, and I didn't pay him in a timely manner. After some admittedly humorous threats of roadtrip violence for my transgression, I returned to the Probation List at the update later that day: I am again on the list for the updates on October 5, 2007 and October 13, 2007. The update made on October 18, 2007 was the debut of Divad adding dates to the Probation List. When he did his search, he just pulled the first date found for a nomination of a member, which resulted in my status being listed with a June 13, 2007 rather than the correct date of September 30, 2007. That date error was carried forward in every update since, which results in the list appearing to indicate I have been on the PL since June 13, 2007. After TheWatcher's nomination, there are no additional complaints regarding board transactions with me. No other outstanding transactions had been pending. I had stopped making any transactions with board members well before that. In the spring of 2008, I set about making amends for any remaining harm I had caused. That led me to make the previously discussed donation of 50,000 comic books to Operation Gratitude. And it led me to go back through my board history where I discovered I had never made good with Angelo. A year after the original transaction I did exactly that. I didn't do it because I was getting ready to start selling again, I did it because I wanted to make sure that 2008-Lighthouse had made everyone whole from what 2007-Lighthouse had done. Throughout 2007 there were only two complaints registered to the Probation Discussion forum regarding board dealings with me. The one with AlexH and the one with TheWatcher. There were several other buyers who got packages later than they should, but no one else who felt I had gone beyond "understandable" delays. On June 5, 2008, TheWatcher posted to the board requesting my removal from the Probation List: Replies were mixed. Some folks agreed with Angelo. Some suggested my name should stay on. As I hadn't made good with Angelo with the intention of restarting board sales (but rather just because doing it was right), I posted that I was fine with being left on the list for the time being. I sold off the bulk of my remaining collection/inventory to a couple board members later that year, and with the exception of buying the first copy ever sold of Terry Moore's SIP Omnibus (at SDCC during move in one year while I was working the event from the management side), I didn't make a single comic purchase or sale for roughly 8 years from 2008-2016. A streak that didn't end until I started getting ready to open this shop a few years ago. In reading over the intent of the Probation List, I've been nominated by a total of 2 board members. Both of those board members informed Divad that their transactions had been resolved. I was removed from the list for 3 months after the first one. And I have remained on the list for nearly 12 years after the second nomination was resolved and the other party requested I be removed. Several times in the early stages of the list folks suggested that perhaps names should stay on the list for 30 days or 60 days or 90 days after resolution. But @divad , who was administering the list in those days, had this to say: I would ask that I be removed.