So, after converting two more members of The Forgotten Chapter to loyal supporters of our new favorite store (which is Black Knight 2 in Littleton, CO), one chapter member said something that stuck with me. He said that the new place was awesome and that he would totally buy a lot of stuff from there, but he would still try to buy specific things online. I soon had an epiphany ( or the hamster fell off the wheel in my brain) why do we love checking out new stores but still buy stuff online? No great fasting or mythical search across frozen landscapes and over open deserts was needed, as the answer to my question soon came to me in multiple parts. It just so happens that we all like to buy from stores and online, so which one is better? Are there certain things that are better to get in the store than online? Does the difference in price really matter?
First off, the best answers to those aformentioned questions are...... well kinda not really but maybe. Sadly, we all love a hobby that is probably way overpriced, and those of us that really get into it would cry if we ever sat down and totalled up all of the money we had spent on 40k alone. Some of us might of been able to buy a small country or loan Greece enough money to stay afloat had we not spent it on Warhammer, but I'm happy with where my dollars went. With having an expensive hobby, the biggest priority is always the money. We want to try and stretch it as far as possible, and we know that saved money means more 40k!! But a common misconception is that online is always cheaper, which it is not. Ebay is such a place where many of us try and find hidden deals and treasures for way less than any store would ever sell. Sometimes we find them, and other times the shipping and handling on the "cheap" item brings it back up to msrp or maybe even more. Beware of the shipping costs when your pricing your ebay purchases. With that being said, ebay buying also has some other disadvantages. While some items have amazing pictures that detail exactly what you are going to receive, sometimes what you see is NOT what you get. The quality of the pieces sometimes does not match the pictures and disappointment is as rampant as the curse words coming out of your mouth.
Another factor is the shipping time. I have had multiple sellers take FOREVER to ship stuff, and sometimes by the time you get the item you would rather take a crap in the box and mark it RETURN TO SENDER than enjoy the item you have waited forever for. Now, dont think that I hate online buying or buying through ebay. I have saved a ton of money by buying off of ebay and have never had any problems with the sellers. You just have to remember that "you get what you pay for." There are certain times when I would push someone to look online. One such instance would be buying certain items in bulk. I have a IG list and would have never of bought all 4 of my leman russes or my loads of guardsmen off of Games Workshop or even out of a store. A lot of sellers online will sell in bulk and tend to pass a pretty good savings onto the consumer. Just remember to watch out for the shipping and handling.
Sometimes, it is impossible to find rare models or out of print items in a store, and online buying is the way to go. Dont neglect ebay for any reason, but lets not forget our friends down at the local gaming store. Yes, they may sell stuff for MSRP, but think about what else your getting when you go into a hobby shop. A lot of those guys participate in the hobby, and will share tips and rumors with you. Its also a great place to get a game in as well, or just walk around and dream about new models and armies that you want to buy. Many game stores will even order specific items for you and may even comp the shipping and handling. The experience of going down to the store and hanging out with the staff (IF THE STAFF IS COOL!!) is usually worth paying full price for your stuff. Hobby networking is also great, especially when it comes to getting a game in outside of the gaming group or just figuring out some new ideas for your army. While there are some gaming stores that have annoying people and staff, occasionally you can find a store that has awesome staff that are willing to help you find something, or just stand around and talk about anything 40k related.
Black Knight 2 is one of those places, and beleive me, you can talk about all kinds of stuff with their knowledgable staff. Its also a lot better to see your item you intend to buy before you actually purchase it, instead of "trusting" your ebay seller that what your seeing in the grainy black and white pictures are actually what your going to get. I think the key here is balance. I would tell anyone in the hobby that many things, especially if your buying a bulk supply of something, is better to get online, but dont neglect your hobby store. You may not be saving 10-20% on your purchases, but your paying to keep those cool guys in business. Consider the MSRP cost as not just buying the item, but a donation to the hobby store to keep those guys in business so that they can continue to help you out when you come in needing help or want to know what the newest 40k rumors are. Also remember that the full MSRP is also going to pay for the tables and terrain that many hobby shopes have, and that paying full price is actually helping to pay for all the free things you use in the store. So, remember, find a balance between the both and always, ALWAYS, have fun playing the game whether it be at home or at your local gaming store.