Wind-up and…release!

This entry will be mostly about the store, my life at the store and the presumed future of the store. So, here’s a mid (hopefully close-to-end) coronavirus update on general things during pandemic times.

Wind-up

Over the course of the coronavirus mania, I have tried to keep as cool as possible. Being promised financial help for the months that I was closed was an extremely welcome event. Although I did feel like a hamster in a box, I made the best of the situation and just continued on. Things were fine for a while, but I soon started becoming a bit more depressed than usual and also quite anxious. I put on weight instead of getting a ripped body like all the joggers I kept seeing on the daily from my window. It’s difficult to realize these things are happening until it’s already so far gone you can’t just put on the brakes and go in reverse. It’s a slow stop if a stop is going to happen at all…Well, this is what tons of people go through on the daily, so it’s nothing new. Slowly though things started winding me up and it felt more and more like a growing dark cloud always over my head was raining down anxiety and uneasiness.

Things suddenly changed when everything started opening up of course. Although I was quite unhappy with Markus leaving the store, I choose to see the bright side of it and that’s that my passion for Magic and the Arena has more than reignited: it’s in full-blown volcanic eruption mode. I want to play again. I want to let all this financial shit roll over me like new sleeves from my latest deck. I want to let go and feel a little bit less that I am a part of this capitalistic world that crunches us into small numbers and makes us feel like little cogs in a big machine that we’ll never even get to understand its purpose. So there I was, at the airport in Münich waiting for my bus to Ingolstadt from an 8-day vacation in Amsterdam to visit a friend that I haven’t seen in … I can’t even remember. Maybe it’s 10 years? Way too long.

Release

Vacations and breaks in general are underestimated. Most people I know work way too hard. I rarely hear people talk about their time at work being for themselves or for a specific project they thoroughly enjoy. The concept of going on a 2-3 week vacation once per year scares the living shit out of me more than anything else. I wouldn’t be able to function as a decent human being if I would know that there is only a one time window, mostly during summertime, when I can take off and just chill. So to you dear readers, I tell you, that if you have extra free days or the possibility to just leave for a while, you should jump on the chance. You’re not getting any younger and life has a funny way of showing you how hard you worked yourself to exhaustion by throwing various body pains at you. That’s easy mode anyway. When you actually feel mentally exhausted it’s already too late to take a short break. You need months to get back to normal, to be honest.

This is why I decided to just leave before the stress kicks in. I had a tough time during the beginning of coronavirus craze and I felt trapped for way too long. I chose Amsterdam because as I mentioned I have a friend who lives there and the flights (and prices) aligned quite nicely. It’s true that I could have just postponed everything because of the pandemic, but I did check beforehand what the situation looks like in the Netherlands. Even though the entirety of the Netherlands is less than half of Bayern, they have about 100 daily cases. Germany has about 200 but the difference in population and size is huge. Regardless of these small figures, I thought I should just go for it now.

I did relax. A lot. Leaving before the storm avoids a lot of stress. I feel refreshed and I want to play a lot too 🙂 So hopefully people will start coming to standard showdowns soon enough. Regarding my trip, I have a short story about visiting a premium store, which will remain unnamed for the sake of anonymity.

I went to this store specifically because it was advertised as being premium for Wpn. Of course, I was like „I gotta see this and cry tears of joy of how a superstore should look like“. It wasn’t close to Amsterdam so I needed to go about one hour out of my way just to see it and I was super disappointed in the end. They have a huge bar in the middle with lots of alcoholic drinks and also hundreds of board games. When it comes to board games I can’t deny that they are absolute gods. Super nice stuff all around, EXCEPT for the Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic the Gathering products. It was almost empty. There were just a few MTG boosters, 3 displays or so, a few commander boxes from the new set behind the desk and for YGO! just one sad and lonely Special Edition box from a previous set. I couldn’t believe it. I asked to see single cards and it was one 9-pocket folder half-filled with random cards basically that didn’t really go over 10€ per piece. I grabbed 2 Sylvan Libraries though (for sale at the Arena as of today 😀 ) and some other stuff I needed. They did have more folders but I was told not to look since the „good“ cards are in that specific one that I looked in. I was aiming to get a playset of each shockdual, but instead, I got only one Stomping Ground and bought a Watery Grave from a dude who said he works there but was just playing I assume. So they don’t deal with single cards. Plenty of stores that don’t. The 9-pocket folder I told you about had cards inside with prices on them so I started picking out cards from them. Suddenly a 13€ card became 20€ or „22€ if I put it back in the folder but 20€ for you“ lol 😀 Oh man. If I have cards online on MKM and people buy them from me or just say that they saw it at a specific price, I give it at that price with maybe rounding up the number with 30-50cents. But sticking a price on a card and slapping a 7€ increase because I show interest? Holy crap is that hilariously awful! I feel bad for the owner who responded to my review on Google in which I mentioned this exact exchange and he did apologize for the incident. But still…Big uff 😀

I can’t compare my chapter 5 to their chapter 1 in regards to single cards and to be honest I do hope that they get their shit together if they want to do singles in the future because the owner seemed really nice when I met him at the store although he left quickly after that. That Dutch shop seemed like I would 100% join their legacy tournaments on a weekly basis if I lived around that area. I really liked how it looked from a general perspective.

Half-part-time Job

I know how this sounds 🙂 It’s a bit funny, but I did get super inspired by what I saw in the Netherlands at the game store. The boardgame thing is just too big of a factor to continue being more or less only a TCG store here. I have a deep love for MtG and YGO! as well, true. However, there are so many board games who need love and I used to play them much more often than I am now. The problem is that I don’t want to focus on boardgames when I am trying to keep everything fresh for MtG at all times. I need a person for a few hours per week (most likely Friday and Saturday) to be at the store to explain boardgames to people coming in and also helping them decide which one they should purchase. This means that a person like this would need to know a lot about board games and also have some sort of selling experience. Nothing fancy, but enough to make a small sale and be a friendly person to customers. If you or anyone you know might be interested, shoot me a message on Whatsapp, Facebook or Email. Either way to contact me is fine 🙂

The return of Standard Showdown

I recently built 2 standard decks that I want to pound people with into nothingness 😀 Of course I live off playing competitively even if I lose. I get salty af but it doesn’t matter cause afterward I just accept and move on…eventually 😀 But jokes out the day, I would very much like to get people together for this format on a weekly basis. Let’s grow the Standard community together though. I know I am the owner and I should promote as much as possible, but there is a limit to the number of people I can reach and also convince to start playing Standard. The same goes for Legacy and for basically every other format. It might sound like a pyramid scheme, but the honest truth is that current players would need to recruit new players otherwise there will always be this lack of players hitting us hard when we don’t have enough people for our events. It just sucks so much to not be able to start an event because we are only 6…It’s disappointing and frustrating at the same time. I dislike it a lot. It’s actually the most frustrating part of working at the shop: when events don’t fire because of lack of participants. I don’t care about how much I sell on MKM if I don’t have people to share my passion with face to face in-store. I didn’t open this store to sell stuff online…As the local influencer Viet Le says in his slogan: “Let’s grow together”. Let’s do that and have a great time playing our favorite game 🙂

Re-wind-up?

It usually takes time to get back into a blah mood at work for everyone after returning from a vacation. I rarely have those moments at the store, but I do have them and they are a very clear signal of me getting fed up with working 8-10 hours per day for 5 days a week. I realized this quite late perhaps, but at least I got it now. Better late than never. I will most likely do more of these short „detours“ from the shop to always be in a better mood at the store even though sometimes it feels like I have a literal mountain to climb with all the single cards overflowing me from each and every direction 😀 It’s fine though. I feel good about the future and with this new vaccine for this fucking Coronagarbage being announced today I think most things will return to a different normal sooner rather than later. Stress and frustration creep up on you unknowingly like sneaky mosquitos during the night. Maybe you hear them coming but you already know it’s inevitable that you’ll get bitten. Being prepared though and acting beforehand will make things a lot more comfortable for you if you know what’s coming.

In this new normal, I’ll try to take more care of myself and so should you.

See you in the Arena!