'Friendly Local Game Store.' Like your local game store is Spider-Man. Man, I get sick of hearing that. And abbreviating it 'FLGS', like that will make it all cute, is even worse.
I've been in some game stores that I really loved. There was one in Orlando called Enterprise 1701, and they had old D&D books out the wazoo. This was back when I played D&D with my wife on a near-daily basis, after we had our first kid but before he got old enough to be a pain in the ass. I freaking loved that store. They've moved, and now they're called Sci-Fi City. If I'm ever in Orlando again, I will definitely be dropping some coin in that treasure trove.
But I don't live in Orlando any more, and my local game store is not all that friendly. Sure, the staff is polite, well-groomed and affable, but most of them don't know anything about board games. And the ones that do know something loom over me while I shop like I was about to shove a coffin-sized box down the front of my khakis and try to walk out of the store. I know, they're probably just trying to help - but they don't know enough to be more than irritating, and I know enough myself not to need a pimpled college kid for an escort.
Why do we feel a need to support local game stores, anyway? I've been in dozens of game stores nationwide, and at least half were dank, miserable pits of despair. Why would anyone support a store that smells like a bum's armpit? When the guy who is going to take your money sneers at you for buying inferior miniatures, because he's a Warhammer snob and you're buying pre-painted plastic, that chump doesn't deserve my business. For that matter, he doesn't deserve anyone's business. Just let him drag his ugly neck-beard back under his bridge, and I'll pick up what I need at a discount when I get it from Coolstuff.
And let's say your local game store is clean, and let's further say it's not staffed by social misfits and walking genital warts. Do they deserve my business just because they happen to be there? I will answer my own question with a resounding, 'Hell no.' You want my green dollars, you frikkin' earn 'em. Have a selection that rivals Thoughthammer, and prices that make me reconsider paying shipping, and you can have my money.
This 'support your local game store' reminds me of the bull-pap propaganda of the music industry, when they tried to keep everyone from getting their music digitally. They were so out of touch with the modern economy that they thought pushing some laws would stop the digital revolution. But those laws didn't stop music piracy. What stopped music piracy (or at least made it slow way down) was when they made it easier to buy your music online than it was to steal it.
The world has evolved. It's not 1985. I don't need my local store to order a game for me, because I can order the damned thing myself, have it in my hands faster, and save a bundle on it, to boot. Retailers who can't give me a reason to shop in their stores will simply not earn my money. I'm not going to shop out of a misguided sense of loyalty. I'll shop with the people who earn my business - and Noble Knight Games earns my business with decent discounts and amazing customer service.
Which is not to say that there's no place for your local game store. If they really are friendly, and they offer something I can't get online, I'll happily spend my money there. Give me good game nights. Give me some place to buy snacks that haven't been sitting in a vending machine for six months. Give me a loyal buyer discount program. Give me some reason to come into your store, and by God, I will. I will be in your store so often you'll have to throw me out, but you won't because of how much money I will be spending in your store.
It would be asinine to say I never spend money in the local store. Less than a month ago, I spent over $150 on paint, because I could spend forty-five minutes looking over the racks and picking exactly the colors I wanted. I've spent money on last-minute gifts, emergency card sleeves, and the odd box of dice. I don't buy games there because I'm not impatient enough to drop an extra 30 bucks just to have it that day, but I do spend some money there.
You know, when they earn it.