Krystallina shows you how to avoid the worst sins of shopping.
This is the season of giving, but with all the sales, the stage is set for some less-than-charitable acts. Don’t fall into these traps! Or too much anyway…
This one’s easy. Don’t get caught up in keeping up with the Joneses. Or the Tanakas or whoever. You’ll end up spending more money and may not have enough to buy something you really want. Rewatch what you already have. Buy the regular edition instead of the special edition. Borrow a volume from your local library. The anime and manga landscape has changed quite a bit over the years, and there are a lot more options to enjoy a title for little-to-no money out of pocket (Crunchyroll, free manga chapters, etc.). Someone will always have a bigger collection than you or have read/watched more. Don’t keep trying to outdo others.
You fell in love with a series. Great! Just don’t let your obsession prevent you from supporting the anime/manga/game in the proper way. Don’t watch scanlations or fansubs so you can access it early. Don’t compare every similar title to it and ruin the experience for other people. Don’t go clamoring for other versions of the story from licensors without even knowing who the original Japanese publisher is. (Stop asking for Shogakukan titles from Kodansha Comics or Broccoli games from Idea Factory! Geez.) Don’t excuse a poor product just because a company was so “kind enough” to bring it over or have it made in the first place.
50% off. 70% off. Lowest price ever. With so many sales, it’s tempting to pick up even C rated titles at such prices. Backlogs will eventually become an issue, so that $30 box set may be a great deal financially, but if it’s just sitting on your shelf, what good does it do? And who knows? Maybe that box set will drop down to $20 by the time you actually have the time and interest to watch it.
Almost every major big box chain accepts trade-ins of games. And yet, far too many deals on the Internet turn into a discussion of, “How can I make the most money?” Find a good deal? Buy a bunch to unload on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, or whoever can give me the most profit! Come on. I know you don’t need four PS4s or the same game. Anime titles are less likely to be flipped, but I’ve still seen people brag about picking up a cheap copy and sending it to Amazon or their local F.Y.E. or whatever. Sales are meant to lure customers, not resellers. Let people who want the item get it.
If you see a title you really want, make sure you keep an eye on it. Some works will go out-of-print, and the news may be sudden. Then suddenly that $10 manga volume or $60 DVD is two, three times as much. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Blu-rays were once under $24 at Amazon; now you’ll have to pay $120, $150, even $180+ for used copies in various conditions.
What also happens quite often is that so many people will go, “Eh, I’ll pick it up later…”, and then sales of the item are too low for the company to consider bringing over similar titles. A lot of people are against preordering, and they do have a point. Shoppers can, however, often get a good deal before or near release date. But more importantly, don’t go clamoring on forums and social media that you ABSOLUTELY will buy something and then drag your feet. It makes companies not want to take risks or listen to the fans, feeling as if all the requests are from a vocal minority.
Sometimes, a company will screw up. Other times, they’ll just choose to do something in a way you dislike. Pick your battles. A limited edition turns out to be not limited and available to everyone? A certain bonus was advertised but not included? A release is secretly altered? The person translating does a noticeably poor job? Fine, you have some valid complaints. You are more than welcome to be upset. But raising a racket because of the lack of honorifics or because a company did include an English dub is just stupid. If you have complaints, state them and not shout them.
Yes, I know the Internet is full of trolls and people just waiting to be outraged by the slightest grievance, but don’t join in. Stop leaving bad reviews on Amazon because you didn’t realize a visual novel requires a lot of reading or write all about how you can’t believe that years a game dropped in price just outside the return window and you’ll never shop there again. Warning other people is one thing; ruining something for others are looking forward to is another.
Bargain-shopping shouldn’t be a matter of pride. Just because you are paying MSRP doesn’t mean your favorite creators — or even favorite companies — are getting more of a profit. Don’t think you have to keep justifying you overpaying:
“I don’t have the time.”
“I would spend that much anyway.”
“There are probably no discounts anyway.”
Barnes & Noble has 15% off coupons (or better) constantly. Right Stuf rotates their studio sales on a regular basis, plus they have additional deals. Military? Get an additional 10% off at Hot Topic. A student? Get free shipping at Amazon. Best Buy gives you 20% off gaming purchases for two years for $30, in which you’ll come out ahead at three console games or four portable games. Buy a discounted gift card and use it right away. And if you’re looking for a new television to watch all your anime or tablet to read manga while on the go, don’t be afraid to try to negotiate.
Don’t be afraid to buy bargain bin titles as well. If you can’t afford the latest AAA hits, there’s nothing wrong with checking out an older classic or a hidden gem.
Also, watch what you want to watch and read what you want to read. I remember once hearing a couple of girls making fun of The Prince of Tennis, wondering who would ever buy that. Anime and manga shouldn’t be used as a tool to separate fans from the (supposed) TRUE fans.
We all break the rules now and then. I’m not saying I’m always a perfect fan or perfect shopper (heck, I probably committed one or two of these sins today!) but it’s always good to be remember to be grateful for what we have and just plain enjoy our favorite hobby.