My local game store is owned by a wonderful couple. They are friendly and love to game. I have a blast at the store and never have I had a problem with their prices. Sure they are usually on the high end of suggested retail pricing, but that is expected in a traditional brick and mortar shop.
That changed last night when I saw the pricing for WoW booster packs. They were charging $7.50 per pack. That is almost $4 more than what they should be selling for. It was commented that the reasoning was "Because it is the only box in town." (Please note that this is not a quote from the store owner's mouth. It was a comment that was said in store by another patron.) Sure enough every shop across town sold out in October and Upper Deck will not have any more shipping until January.
I understand the supply and demand concept and the need to make a buck, but honestly I have given my full support to this shop and I feel completely ripped off by this pricing. Instead of being rewarded for being a loyal customer (I could of eBayed remember) I get taken advantage of. This is the sort of thing that turns me off from getting excited to play "hyped" card/mini/tabletop games.
Fortunately the starter sets were priced at a cool $20 which is right on target. Funny thing is that the starter sets come with two booster packs, three over-sized rare hero cards, a solid carrying case, and a 32 card pre-made deck. Really if you break it down to price per card the store should be selling the starter sets for $30.
Looking at eBay: entire 24 pack booster boxes are going for about an average of $120. That is $5 a pack. If I didn't know my store owners so well how would I even know they weren't just buying low-ball eBay auctions and reselling for a profit? Luckily I know that isn't the case, but it probably is occurring somewhere out there right now. Brick and mortar shops have their problems, but gouging the customers is not the way to fix them.
I ended up buying a single booster (instead of the 5 I was going to buy) because in the end I still think it is a great store. The owner is away this week, but when he gets back I do have a letter typed that I will be giving him. I am a customer and this is my way of letting him know my displeasure.
Also on the good side of things the store owners stopped people from buying more than one starter set. That allowed for a lot more people to get started in the TCG and that is a good thing. Honestly I think the first guy in the store would of bought all the starter sets if they had let him!
9 Nov 2006 - Please read the store owner's response here. It was poor judgement on my part to post a gut reaction without really digging into why the booster packs were costing so much. I want to thank the store owner for explaining the situation.