Saturday, January 30, 2010

Greenville's Peace Center - Greedy Bastards!

Lovely Melissa was kind enough to get tickets to tonight's (1/30/2010) performance of Wicked at The Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina - it was a Christmas present for the both of us and one that I was keenly looking forward to since I had already read the book.

Well, as most people who pay any attention at all to the weather will know, the Carolinas got lambasted with snow, sleet, everything else - to the point that the roads are next to impassable. Even though we have a four wheel drive vehicle, there is no way we would go down the mountain to Greenville, SC especially since the majority of Greenville's weather the past 24 hours has been ice and lots of it.

Regardless, The Peace Center is not cancelling and/or postponing tonight's performance of Wicked saying that the show is still on due to limited ticket availability. Yep, that's right - "limited ticket availability". I think what is more obvious is that The Peace Center considers ticket receipts as more important than human lives. Even the South Carolina Department of Public Safety strongly encouraged people to stay off the roads if at all possible.

One would also think that the staff of Wicked would not want any of their fans in harm's way... I dunno - they aren't saying anything.

Regardless, We have to give Hilton Hotels a lot of props because they refunded our hotel stay and it was prepaid. We were so happy with what Hilton did for us that we are staying at one of their hotels in Orlando for Mega-Con in March 2010 and that will be a seven night stay.

The bottom line is that The Peace Center can do the right thing if they want - looks to me that they are nothing but a bunch of greedy bastards....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

eBay Just Doesn't Get It

eBay just announced their new fee structure yesterday and while there is some good news (darn little of it), the bottom line is that eBay just doesn't get it.

But first the good news...

The best thing about eBay's new fee structure - which takes effect on March 30, 2010 - is that there are NO insertion fees for auction style listings if you list your item at less than $1.00 and this is good for up to 100 auctions a month. OK, I can deal with that as I put up around 80 auctions a month give or take and start them all at 99 cents.

Also, eBay has lowered the insertion fees for all tiers $1.00 and over - this is a good thing but with the free insertion listings, there is a good chance that eBay will get gummed up with a ton of $0.99 junk listings.

Now the bad news.... (Yeah, wasn't very much good news was there?)

eBay has set a flat 9% final value fee for all auction style listings instead of the current tiered approach. Sounds simple and it is....but it means a huge fee increase for sellers.

Under the current system, eBay charges sellers 8.75% for the first $25.00 of an item that is sold. If the item sells between $25.01 to $1000.00, you get charged 8.75% of the first $25.00 and 3.50% of the remaining closing balance. Let's do an example...

Say you have an auction item that sells for $100.00

Current System

Your Final Value Fee (FVF) will be $25.00 x 8.75% + $75.00 x 3.50% = $2.19 + $2.63 = $4.82

New System

Your FVF will be $100.00 x 9.0% = $9.00

Isn't that GREAT! Your FVF almost doubles under the new system for a $100.00 item. Gotta LOVE that....NOT!

The eBay forum is already up in arms about it all and it is only the day after the announcement. A must read is the "eBay: Death By A Thousand Cuts Redux" which provides links to several of eBay's competitors as well as a link to the classic, original "Thousand Cuts" article. Look for another drove of sellers to leave eBay come April 1st.

Will Walkin' Willie continue to sell on eBay? Sure, but our main focus is to get customers to my other two websites: for trades, graphic novels and CGC books and to for discount books (and we mean LARGE discounts). In other words, we will USE eBay - we will not let eBay USE us....

We'll take a look at the changes for eBay stores next....(not good there either unless you sell a TON of stuff...and I mean a TON).

Friday, January 15, 2010

My House - i.e. My Kingdom for SALE!

1723 Overbrook Drive, Rock Hill, SC 29732 - a GREAT house for sale!The major time consumer for me in 2009 was getting my house ready for sale. It was listed once without success - a major blog entry later - and now is listed again.

There are two major problems with a single comic book dealer getting a house ready for sale. 1) There is a TON of clutter - I had comics and comic book related stuff ALL OVER THE HOUSE. 2) The house was cosmetically obsolete - i.e. there was a lot of wallpaper - great at the time but.... and paint trim (some sort of light cream color - I dunno) that just was out of date.

In fact, the second (and present) realtor wouldn't list the house until we got rid of the clutter and spruced the place up.

So we did.....(thank goodness Melissa is right brained and therefore creative...)

We had a home inspection performed and while there was nothing significant, we repaired EVERY SINGLE ITEM, nitpicky as they were, and then some. We even replaced the deck (not so nitpicky...). We painted almost the whole inside of the house with a couple of the rooms just primed - removed a ton of wallpaper. All of the trim has been painted and it really pops. Heck, I even painted the basketball goal and it really, really looks great.

Melissa did a great job in staging the house - not too much, not too little - and CREATIVE! (I really admire creative people if you didn't already know...)

Now THAT is a garage!One of the highlights for the guys out there (and some girls too) is that we epoxy coated the double car garage floor - you know with the speckled bits and all that - it's there on the left. Don't worry, a professional painter did the work so it is top rate - you could eat off that garage floor now. The exterior paint is still within warranty and it looks good. Not only that but the house has professionally installed Gutter Guards (the real thing, not an imitation...)

You want storage? This house has a TON of storage - walk-in closets out the wazoo, walk-in attic...the whole she-bang!

Another guy thing: The whole HVAC for the downstairs was replaced - new high efficiency gas furnace and new heat pump. The evaporator coil was replaced in the upstairs air handling unit so it is - for all intents and purposes - brand new as well. Other than routine preventative maintenance, it's nice to have a house where you don't have to worry about HVAC for a long, long time....

Finally the location, the lot is 1.18 acres - which is big for a city lot and it is conveniently (i.e. within easy walking distance) located to shopping, banking and the interstate (I-77). The traffic is minimal as someone needs to have a reason to go down Overbrook Drive. Rock Hill, South Carolina is just 20 minutes from Charlotte, North Carolina so you have that going for you too.

Once this palace is sold, I will write a blog entry - or three - about the whole experience. I know more about getting a house ready for sale than I EVER did - it was a hard knocks education for sure. Believe me, it is worth the words....

OK, time to get back to comics....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Follow Walkin' Willie's Comix on Twitter!!!

Yes, kicking and screaming, this old comic dealer is getting "with it" and doing stuff on Twitter. Here is the link:

We'll use Twitter for announcements or just anything we find on the internet you might find interesting. One of the primary uses will be to let you - our customers - know about new products, particularly items in short supply that we sell on eBay. We have to be careful - no more than three or four "tweets" a day.

Internet Marketing....we love it...we don't know much about it.....but we love it!

Monday, January 4, 2010


We at Walkin' Willie's Comix would like to thank everyone for support as well as sending out our best wishes for a great 2010!

Change is constant. You either manage change by first embracing it or you get run over by it. We choose the former rather than the latter.

A short review of where we were at the beginning of 2009 and where we are now. At the beginning of 2009, the company car was a 1998 Toyota Camry and the sole website we had was one that dealt only in modern back issues. Not good.

Things have changed. Now the company car is a 2007 Ford Expedition bought to transport the lovely Melissa and myself to comic conventions as well as provide the engine for moving our goods around the country. Secondly, the old Walkin' Willie's Comix was given a total makeover and now sells trade paperbacks, graphic novels and CGC graded books.

Finally, we launched our Walkin' Willie's Comix Discount Comic Books website in mid-September and it is growing on a weekly if not daily basis. The sole purpose of this new website is to put up - as fast we can - our inventory of Golden Age through Modern books. All it takes is a cursory glance for one to realize that some of the best comic book deals on the Internet are found right on this website. Books are anywhere from 20% to 90% off of graded guide! This is a no-frills site as its only purpose is to sell as many comic books for as low a discount price as possible.

That is 2009 in review - except for the comic conventions which we talked about in other blog posts. A lot of change...

Now to 2010 and what you can expect...

First, we plan on launching around 20 eBay auctions a week. Yes, it would be nice to make a buck or two off of these auctions but the main purpose is to move traffic to our websites. We have a bunch up there now and more going up every week.

Secondly, we will hit the road for a modest convention schedule. While it is a bit stark, it allows us to pay our complete attention to the websites while still getting out a meeting the comic book fans. Nonetheless, we will start out the year on 3/12/2010 in Orlando for three days at Mega-Con, then go to Heroes-Con in Charlotte, NC on June 4th through 6th and finally end up the year for the four-day-you-gotta-go-once-before-you-die Dragon*Con over Labor Day weekend (September 3-6, 2010). We will also do one or two one-day shows in the Southeast - mostly North Carolina and Virginia.

Now that we're firmly settled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, we can give our complete and full attention to the business of Walkin' Willie's Comix. What that means is that you - our customers - can count on regular updates to our websites if not a little more regular blog content - we are looking at what we can do on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Finally, we have another announcement to make later this quarter - more on that later - but the bottom line is that we are poised and ready to make 2010 the best Walkin' Willie's Comix year yet! We sincerely hope 2010 is your best year too!