Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Road to WPN (Part 8)

[This is part 8 in a series, and assumes that you've already read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7]

June 9, 2011: Today Patrick informed me that his account with his distributor will not be set up in time to order the product that we need for the June 18 event. Therefore I have had to activate my emergency back-up plan and order from another source I have. We'll almost certainly be paying more than we would through a distributor, but should still be able to turn a profit on the venture, and we will at least have the stuff we need! I'm ordering 3x each boxes of Scars of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Besieged and New Phyrexia, as well as 1 box each of the MBS and NPH Event Decks. That will be plenty of product to cover what we need for the sealed deck itself, as well as give Patrick some stuff to have available for sale should anyone want to purchase some extra boosters, or an Event Deck.

Unfortunately this means that we will NOT be having Commander decks for sale, which I would really have loved to have, since it's the release weekend for those. Patrick should, eventually, have those - just not on June 18. :-(

Also, he will not have sleeves ready and in stock, so I will be providing sleeves for sale at the event itself. God thing I just recently started stocking them in my own store!

June 10, 2011: Today was my scheduled meeting with John at Beyond Comics to discuss what our arrangement would be, and schedule our first event.

As I had suspected, we settled on pretty much the same relationship I'll be having with Patrick at Novel Places. I'll be able to sell my "scratch & dent" singles at events there, and I'll be able to have customers purchase from my online store and choose the free shipping option to pick up at the even. And if, for some reason, Patrick is unable to get the product that I need when a new set comes out, they'll be my secondary back-up resource for that. I will help them organize the events, scheduling them, helping with advertising, and running the WER at the event itself. I advised John on what product we'll need, and what items I recommend they start stocking (right now, for example, they do not carry card sleeves). And we scheduled our first event. So, on July 2 you can join us for our Scars of Mirrodin block sealed deck event. You can also check out the store's Facebook page on the event.

The other big news of the day is that Patrick informed me that getting the booster products into his POS (point of sale) system would be too complicated manually to bother with at this juncture, so he is letting ME be the one to sell the product at our first event. This will be a one-time only thing, as he should be all set up with an account with the distributor in time for our M12 Launch Party in July. This means I will be the one collecting the $25 entry fee, making any additional sales like extra boosters & Event Decks (and the sleeves as mentioned previously). Holy cow! My Square credit card reader in my smart phone is going to be getting a real workout that day. Yikes!

June 14, 2011: - Today the product for the June 18 event was scheduled to come in (my three favorite words "Out For Delivery" showed up on the UPS tracking page this morning!). Yesterday the UPS delivery (some more sleeves I had ordered) came around 10:30, so I had hoped that this would be the case today as well. Unfortunately, come 11:00 or so it had not yet arrived, and we had errands to run. Also, Patrick tweeted to me that he had received another WPN package, which I was pretty sure would be the Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 (D12) promo cards and decks that he will have available to hand out to people who buy the video game. So I wanted to go up to the store and break those open with him, and go through what they were so he was set for the potential onslaught. The game is released tomorrow (June 15) so it was good timing.

While we were running our errands, I wanted to be sure to get the UPS shipment if it came while we were out, so I left a note on our door with my signature, hoping that would be acceptable in lieu of me signing the little electronic pad they have. However, much to my amazement, when we stepped out of the library (one of the stops in our errands) we saw a UPS truck. The driver hopped out of the back, and happened to look over our way. I recognized him as our usual driver so I gave him a wave. I was considering letting him know about the note on our door when he suddenly said "wait a minute. I have a package for you!" He hopped back in the truck, grabbed the package & scanned it, handed me his pad for a signature, and just like that I took delivery of our SOM block product in the parking lot of our local library.

Sometimes life just works out, you know? And this is also an important lesson: it pays to be on friendly terms with your UPS (and USPS, and FedEx) delivery people. If I didn't always make sure to wave a thank-you to this guy when he dropped something off for me, I'm not sure if he would have recognized me today.

So, with product in hand, we went up to meet with Patrick. Sure enough, the package contained the D12 materials. Here's what he got:

The first photo shows the special foil Titan promos (Frost Titan, Grave Titan and Inferno Titan). These are alternate art versions of mythic rare cards from Magic 2011 (M11) (and presumably Magic 2012 [M12], although as of this writing only the Inferno Titan has really been confirmed). He received 20 copies each of these three promos.

The second photo shows the D12 sample decks, 4 copies each of the 5 different colored decks. Other stores have cracked open these decks and spoiled many cards from the M12 set, as that is at least one of the sets used to construct the decks. He got three boxes that look like this, so he has 60 decks total (12 of each of the 5 colors).

So what happens is that when a person purchases the video game (which will be available on PC via Steam, on PS3 via the PlayStation Network, or on Xbox 360 via Xbox Live), they will get a special coupon they can print out to receive one of these promo cards and a deck. The promo they get depends on which platform they buy the game through (PC/Steam gets you Frost Titan, Xbox gets you the Grave Titan, and PS3 gets you the Inferno Titan). Which deck a person gets is entirely up to the store owner. They can let you pick, or assign it randomly - it will vary from location to location. Customers find a location by putting their zip code into a web site that lists the participating WPN locations. Important to note here: a WPN location has to opt in to this program, so your LGS where you play FNM may NOT have these, if they didn't sign up.

Also worthy of note: when the WPN site signed up is important as well. If they signed up after May 25 (which is the case for my secondary site, Beyond Comics), they will not receive the sample decks, just the promo foil cards. So you may or may not get the deck when you go get your promo. Just fair warning.

  • Get sets of 2x each SOM/MBS/NPH booster packs made for easy distribution at the event;
  • Devise some sort of pricing stickers for stuff I'll have for sale that day:
    • SOM/MBS/NPH boosters
    • MBS/NPH Event Decks
    • various new card sleeves
    • used card sleeves (sets of 45 for $2)
    • "scratch & dent" cards
  • Get plenty of sleep (this may be the hardest of this list!)
I will likely not have anything else to report until after the event itself on Saturday, so I will sign off on this part for now. I hope to see many of you in Clarksburg in a few days!



pureval said...

Wow you were lucky with the UPS guy. If they are having a good day I will actually my package somewhere near my mailbox. I seriously thought someone had stolen a package from me only to discover that the driver had decided that instead of leaving it by the front door he would rather climb up our collapsing back stairs and leave it on the porch me never use. I like your guy better.

Don said...

@pureval - Yes, I have a very nice (and competent) UPS guy, and our regular USPS carrier is awesome as well (I once put in for a carrier pickup, then forgot to set the stuff outside the door. He took the time to ring the doorbell and ask for the stuff!). I don't get enough stuff via FedEx to know that person at all, however.

Don said...

Slight correction to what I wrote earlier. I have since learned that there are actually 2 different promo decks for each color, so what Patrick has would be 6 copies each of the 10 different decks, not 12 copies each of 5 different decks.