A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Disappointingly Normal, Really

Can I help you...?
Quite nostalgic, really, in an off-beat kind of way. I see from this blog that the last time I dared set foot in our nearest Games Workshop was in February 2013. I have some kind of nervous illness which makes it very difficult for me to function normally in these stores, I think.

Anyway, on Wednesday of the week-before-last I was feeling a bit giddy – demob-happy? – since I had just been told I was not required after all for jury duty on what was scheduled to be a 5-day trial in the High Court. It did take them 3 days to get around to deciding this, in fact, but I now found myself with some spare time on a nice, sunny afternoon, in suitably good spirits, and within easy walking distance of the aforementioned store.

I had some misgivings, so went for a preliminary cup of coffee to settle my nerves, and there I decided that it was well within my capabilities to just walk calmly into the shop – I even took some small delight in the fact that I was wearing sports jacket, tweed cap and big knitted sweater – I might just scare the Darklings into a compliant state.


So I did it. First surprise was that it is now called Warhammer. The place was unusually quiet – there were three black-clad young men sitting around a large game in the centre of the room, and I think that they all work there – or worship there, or whatever it is. My arrival usually sparks some unrest, since the obvious conclusion is that I must be an elderly wino who has wandered in to get out of the rain. On this occasion, however, they were very polite – charming, even. The nearest young man said, “Were you looking for something?”, and I said, “I’d just like to have a look at the paint racks, if that’s OK.”

Have to admit I wasn't really looking my best
“What kind of paint?” [tricky question that – I have only an approximate idea what the various paints are called, never mind what they do – on another day I might have been unnerved enough to run out of the store]

“If I can just have a browse around….?”

No objection, so I carried on. Eventually I was asked,

“What you working on at the moment?”

Here we go. “I’m painting some units for a Spanish army – Napoleonic period – I have been building it up for a few years now.”

“Oh – right – erm, cool!” came the  answer, and that ended the discussion.

I was hip enough to know that my favoured Citadel Blood Red is now called Evil Sunz Scarlet (discuss), and I found my way around the racks without hitch, so was quite relaxed by the time I took my three chosen pots to the checkout.

Happy as a pig in wassname...
The manager (or Arch Lord, or whatever) served me at the till, and he was polite and articulate and quite a few things which took me by surprise; in particular, he was very pleasant, and not patronising at all, and his eye-contact levels were very good.

I returned to the real world with my little bag of paints, quite chuffed with my success. No complaints at all, but it is faintly disturbing to have one’s prejudices shaken like this. Is it possible that the Warhammer lot are [and I apologise for the use of the term] growing up? Are they now, in turn, threatened by some newer, younger, even spottier phenomenon? The shop was very quiet – could they have reached a point where they are forced to treat visiting winos as though they might be potential customers?

I sat on the train home, my mind filled with wondrous thoughts, and dozed off in the warm sunshine. Fortunately I live at the terminus…



18 comments:

  1. I think the clue is the 'dozed off' bit - it was all a dream!

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    1. Zzzzz - what? - I heard that (pardon?). It does seem a bit unlikely, now I think about it - you think I chickened out and just imagined it, after all?

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  2. With GW/Warhammer episode in the books, which Great Adventure awaits tackling?

    As for napping until the end of your commute, it reminds me of a colleague who commutes to work via public transit. He usually arrives in the office by 0800. One morning, no Tom by 0800 and no word. About 1000, the dept received an email from him stating he had fallen asleep on the bus and ended up one town too far and that he would be in later on the return trip.

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    1. Living at the terminus is a big advantage- when I was commuting regularly, I travelled to the terminus at the other end, so I had a lot going for me. That way you can even get a seat before the other travellers get on the train.

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  3. I've also seen that look of alarm and curiosity (what does that old git want) when I've gone into a GW franchise. Similar conversation. I mentioned that I used to play GW stuff with my son, which was true, then when he asked me what I was painting, same sort of thing. How long have you been doing that? About twenty years, or as long as you've been alive, mate. As I left, I heard the older GW fellow say to the younger one, "I love older gamers". Hmmmm.

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    1. You should maybe take along a bottle of tonic wine, and give them a song before you leave, just to share the love.

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  4. I suspect they tell scary stories about the dreaded XBox and the Komputerr Gamerrr.

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    1. I guess we all have our demons - I never thought about that - could Warhammer disciples become an oppressed minority? weird?

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  5. The reach of the Great Eye must be considerable. I do some of my discretionary spending in a local chain that is a GW stockist, but not an actual Temple of Doom (we have one but I daren't set foot there). They also make a point of asking me what I'm working on. Must be some sort of script that comes in the carton with the paints. They're very polite and engaging, but I do come away with the feeling that nice young people have been humouring me. Of course, that's very good of them as I need to be humoured and most people don't have a venal motive to bother.
    At least, given they also stock a small range of historical miniatures (Perry Miniatures, Flames of War, Plastic Soldier Co, that sort of thing) they have some idea of what I'm on about.

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    1. I was very favourably impressed, I have to say. I'll have to add them to my list of places to shop: Marks & Spencer for socks and chicken soup, Whittard's for coffee beans, PC World for ink cartridges, those nice boys at Warhammer for model paints.

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    2. A chap after my own heart. I have a person or place for everything. When I need said thing bought or done, I go to the place, it gets done, I go home. I never quite understood why people regard "shopping" as a form of recreational activity. My commitment is such that when I have to buy something, I get the thing I know I like or that works, and buy it in bulk. Why buy one black shirt when I can buy three identical black shirts? Luckily for me the Wind Beneath My Wings is of a similar bent. Going to the mall for lady's clothes is not the chore for me it is for most blokes. I love that girl.

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  6. But did you have to take out a 2nd mortgage to buy the paints, that's the real question??

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    1. They certainly don't give the stuff away - Be Nice to Pensioners Week stopped short of that.

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    2. Bloody right, Ray. Citadel paints go for $5.50 a wee pot from my local indie stockist here in Cannuckistan. Brutal. I've come to prefer Army Painter in the dropper bottles but hard to find them. And who comes up w Citadel paint names anyway?

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    3. That's interesting - imagine the job ads for positions in GW's marketing department - "the successful applicant will believe in the supreme coolness of names for paint shades which refer to primary-school jokes involving bodily fluids, or to potential characters in base-level fantasy role playing games".

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  7. They seem to be going for older managers nowadays - my local chap seems quite pleasant , Tony

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    1. Maybe that usefully bucks a trend - I find that policemen, doctors, even magistrates are getting younger by the day; if GW managers are getting older that balances things up a bit. Maybe I could apply for a job on Saturday mornings?

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