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Behind the Counter

On A Serious Note

by Marcus King
Feb 10,2004


On A Serious Note

By: Marcus King, owner of TitanGames.com

Today, Friday, February 6th, 2004, I had just sat down to write my column when the news came over the morning TV show I watch that Carle Brucia, that cute little 11 year old girl in Florida, was found dead.

Honestly, I wonder what is going on in the world. What kind of God Damn FREAK saw that nice little girl, and just had to kill her? As I sit to write this column, I am filled with anger, sorrow and frustration. As a father of two girls, it is unacceptable to me that the United States is a place where a parent has to essentially stand guard on their kids for 18 years -- and if you asked the parents of Chandra Levy, I imagine they would tell you 18 years is not long enough.

Growing up in the 60's, I walked to school, and home from school -- about a mile each way, starting in the 1st grade (yeah, uphill both ways, as my kids would tease me). I petted every dog on the way to school, cutting through the trailer park near our house, and through the woods sometimes behind the school instead of around front, like my parents told me to go. I guess I may have grown up in an age much more innocent than we live in today. The worst thing an adult ever did to me was old man Kravinov, who spoke very poor English, took a hickory switch to me butt when he caught me in his cherry tree, snagging a hat-full of his cherries, and he'd probably still be whooping on me if I hadn't been 10, and he 70-something, and I got away from him swinging that switch for all he was worth. Not to get the wrong impression: He was a nice guy, but he had told me to stay out of his cherry trees many times. A couple years later, he pegged my buddy Lonnie with a BB gun, right in the butt -- so I guess I got off easy.

After that, I never - EVER got caught again. Eh, those were good cherries.

I wonder, has the world always been a place of danger? Has the 24-hour-a-day news companies (and there are several) just worn away the veneer of innocence, revealing to us all the danger lurking just below the surface of it all, like some twisted new-millennium version of "Something Wicked This Way Comes?" Has the world always been a dark, dangerous place, and we are just now hearing more about it?

Perhaps it is a bit of both?

Currently, the man accused of the crime against Carle Brucia, a Mr. Joseph P. Smith, has not said much, and the news is reporting nothing. But, I am sure he was abused as a child, had his lunch money taken in junior high, felt alone and just wanted company, didn't mean to hurt anyone, hopes God will forgive him, made a terrible mistake, wants a second chance, was not responsible for his actions because of alcohol, prescription drugs, the devil made him do it, or some such thing. Me, I say let Carle's dad have an hour alone with the man, and give him some pliers, a propane torch, a ball bat, a chain saw -- just anything he wants. Yeah, that seems fair to me.

So, what does this have to do with games? Nothing, I guess, except that I am going to work a lot harder to make my shop a place where kids feel welcome, accepted, valued and safe. Just before Christmas, we had a kid come running in here, with two bigger teens chasing him, calling him all kinds of names. When they saw me and my partner, they calmed down a bunch, and said they would meet him outside.

The boy, 10, was crying and upset. He said the older boys were always mean to him, and he was tired of it. I never did find out what all that was about, but I called the police -- and told them to come up and look for the boys outside (both wearing matching blue & yellow coats) and the police came, and stopped the boys and brought them in. The boy was escorted home by the police, the teenagers name and information was taken down, and the police said they would be visiting their homes, speaking to their parents.

The mother of the younger boy came in to say thanks for helping her son. Later, the tires on my Van were all slashed.

I have to say that today I am feeling pretty good about those tires.

Though I have often said that I am a retailer, not a social worker, today I think maybe I can be a little of both, and still make a profit.

Maybe a games retailer "should" try to be a community center. It is not what I want to do, not what I think is most profitable. But, perhaps there are some things more important than profits.

See you next month,

Marcus King
637 Capital Ave SW
Battle Creek, MI 49015
877-542-6377 (toll free, orders only)

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What do you think?

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All Counter Talk columns by Marcus King

  • On Discounting by Marcus King, 15dec05
  • Think Different by Marcus King, 11oct05
  • GENCON, August, and TitanGames by Marcus King, 29aug05
  • Another Month at Titan Games by Marcus King, 06jul05
  • The Past Week at TitanGames by Marcus King, 10may05
  • The GAMA Trade Show by Marcus King, 13apr05
  • Con Jobs by Marcus King, 08mar05
  • Don't Skip The Retailer by Marcus King, 11feb05
  • How To Open Your Own Game Store by Marcus King, 14jan05
  • The Christmas Crunch by Marcus King, 22dec04
  • Light at the End of the Convention Tunnel by Marcus King, 15nov04
  • What It Takes To Open a Game Store by Marcus King, 15oct04
  • The Big 3 by Marcus King, 13sep04
  • Discoveries by Marcus King, 11aug04
  • Con-Man by Marcus King, 19jul04
  • Turmoil by Marcus King, 16jun04
  • Business is Business by Marcus King, 12may04
  • GAMA On! by Marcus King, 09mar04
  • On A Serious Note by Marcus King, 10feb04
  • Predictions for 2004 by Marcus King, 20jan04
  • Game Retailer or Game Club? by Marcus King, 11dec03
  • The Weather Changes... by Marcus King, 11nov03
  • The Deluge of Dead Products by Marcus King, 14oct03
  • The Conventional by Marcus King, 11sep03
  • Solutions to Problems and Good Feelings by Marcus King, 11aug03
  • Two weeks in the life of a retailer by Marcus King, 16jul03
  • In Store Gaming, and our love-hate relationship with it by Marcus King, 12jun03
  • Raising a Good Retailer by Marcus King, 28apr03
  • The customer is always right (right?) by Marcus King, 02apr03
  • Introductions by Marcus King, 24mar03
  • Jumping the Grand Canyon with Pikachu and Friends December 20, 1999
  • GTS'99 April 20, 1999

    Other columns at RPGnet

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