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Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Escalating Levels of Annoyance
There is a flip-side to the parents I talked about here, and those are the parents who read comics themselves, but whose kids don't. So we usually end up with a kid running rampant throughout the store because the parent is too busy going through the Fantastic Four back-issues to actually exercise some control and discipline over their off-spring. What's really curious is when the kids are well-behaved, show interest in the comics, and ask their parents if they can have comics, only to have the parents refuse to buy them any. Apparently comic books are only something for mommy or daddy.
There's another group of parents whose behavior I don't get. They come into the store, bring their kids along, tell the kid repeatedly that they are not to touch anything, tell the kid that they're not going to buy anything, and wander around the store for a good half-an-hour or so complaining loudly about everything in the store and making rude comments about the merchandise and in some cases the paying customers. It's like some bizarre form of child torture...bring the kid in, tease him or her with things you're not going to buy, and make the kid think that there's something wrong with them for even wanting any comics in the first place.
And I should probably reiterate (mostly because Mike said he would if I didn't) that, in relation to the comics and parents thing, there are plenty of comics for kids, and plenty of kids who read comics. We've got a big section in the store of kid-appropriate comics and it does brisk business. And that's not even mentioning the manga. So, again, when people say that "there are no comics for kids" or "kids don't read comics" what they really mean is: "kids today don't read the kinds of comics I read when I was their age." Which is really a rather self-centered and narcisstic view, I think. There's no logical reason in the world why kids today would want the same kinds of entertainment as kids ten, twenty, thiry, forty, etc. years ago would. In fact, I can just picture some parent, twenty years from now, berating their kid: "Why do you keep reading all those African comics? Can't you read some manga like I did when I was your age? Now those were good comics!"