Pay Where You Play? Backstory

Pay Where You Play? will always exist vibrantly in my mind. It prompted a lot of firsts including one of the highest comment totals on a post and the first time I had to edit/remove a user’s comment. Because of the history the article has made on this blog and because I always intended to, I am revealing the back story to the article.

Let me get the first bombshell out of the way. Pay Where You Play? does not accurately represent my views, the views of this blog, nor the views of the podcast.

My friend, Drew, wrote a brilliant article eloquently citing important reasons to support your local gaming community and local game store. I thought he was on to something. So, I came up with the idea to write my own article on the issue.

The purpose of the article would be twofold. First, it needed to provoke readers to post comments on the blog. Second, it needed to awaken gamers as to the importance of supporting their local gaming community and local game store.

The blog is read by over 4,000 visitors per month. Despite that loyal readership there is a paltry quantity of feedback. The easiest way to provide feedback is to comment on blog articles. For a very long time, years in fact, I have been begging and pleading readers (and podcast listeners) to get in touch. We want your constructive criticism, your happy thoughts, and your desires for new content. Writing about a topic as divisive, and as important, as “pay where you play” fell into my lap. It seemed like the perfect topic to prompt readers to post comments!

Gamers as a group are told, such as by Mr. Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games, how important it is to support their local game stores. This message comes at us from store owners, from industry personnel, and from other gamers. This information overload uses similar phrasing. I deduced that, by now, a lot of this becomes white noise. How could I break free from producing white noise and still get my point across? I decided to use “reverse psychology.” Instead of saying that I believe it is important to support the local game store I would say to buy online. This would prompt readers to post comments while also, hopefully, causing them to realize all the benefits of buying locally. Perhaps readers would become enraged. Perhaps they would make some purchases online. But, perhaps something would unlock in their heads and they’d think twice before ignoring the friendly local game store.

In writing the article I used inflammatory language of my own to prod responses and reactions. I wrote the article with a position contrary to my own. What I did worked! In fact, it worked too well. So well that it blew up in my face.

Readers, falsely, believed the position in the article was my own. Some were incredibly angry with me. Some hurled insults. Some made remarks on Facebook and elsewhere.

The article was used by some as support for why they should shop outside of their FLGS instead of checking with their FLGS first. I failed to convey the true purpose of the article. That purpose was so deeply buried as to be nonexistent.

I must deeply, and sincerely, apologize to everyone for the confusion, the harm, and the drama I caused with that article. It was never my intent to cause any of those things but cause them I did.

For the record I do believe in “Pay Where You Play” with some minor adjustments, which I won’t enumerate here. I hope it suffices to say that I know how important it is to support, fiscally and otherwise, your local gaming community and local game store. I don’t want mine to go away, or dwindle, and I’m sure gamers elsewhere feel the same.

Often the local game store is the heart of the local gaming community. Store owners provide many services, often with no direct monetary profit and sometimes with a financial loss, because they love gaming and they want to support the gaming community. Many bend over backwards to stock products their customers want, track down special orders of just the right gaming item, and create and promote events their local gamers want to participate in.

In New England we are lucky to have a vibrant gaming community spread amongst strong game stores. Each nourishes the community and in so doing each forms friendships. Almost all of my friends are my friends as a direct result of gaming at the local game store. I am honored to include store owners, manager(s), and staff on that list.

All I can do now is apologize and make up for the problems my article caused. Maybe there is a reason why the same words and phrasing are used time and time again when it comes to “pay where you play”. Maybe they are constantly used because they work. If something isn’t broke, then it doesn’t need to be fixed. If only I came to that conclusion prior to writing the article the entire situation could have been avoided.

Don’t forget what Steve Jackson once said, “Remember, gang: support your local retailer or he’ll close his doors. (November 28, 2000)”

1 Comment on “Pay Where You Play? Backstory”

  1. Drew


    I know you and I had spoken of this after you posted your original article, and I appreciate what you did as well as why you did it. Pay Where You Play is an extremely important concept within our community, and more people should show proper respect and loyalty to those who are willing to establish a store, and go about building a community for all of us.

    Thanks again for your contributions to the gaming community, keep up the good work.