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07 February 2007 @ 05:00 pm
PLEASE READ: Pandemonium Books & Games In Danger Of Going Under!  

 So a few months ago I sent out an email to the entire membership in which I said:

 
1) No, the store is not dead, though it may have appeared so.  Pandemonium has in fact moved to Central Square, Cambridge, and now is open for business.

2) The move was unexpectedly traumatic, owing to the fact that we were closed for over three months. 

3) While we had kept our core customers, the store had taken on a lot more debt than was really healthy for it, but we would persevere.

 
As it turns out, I was overly optimistic. 

There were more grinding noises from with the store over the last few months, and so I had to severely lighten our overhead by letting most of our people go.  The good news is that the store is now operationally in the black.  The bad news is that the amount of debt the store has is rather staggering.  Not only is interest a problem, but all my creditors are (very politely but very insistently) asking for their money all at the same time.   Lastly, there is the large amount of back taxes that Pandemonium owes on a State and Federal level.  So, ouch.

I have been in contact with Pandemonium’s vendors, and have been able to work out repayment plans that should work assuming I can keep store revenues up during the winter months.  In that regard, I will be putting into play a number of new things that will, I hope, get us through the winter. 

However, the owed back taxes are a major problem.  If the store can’t get those paid off Very Soon, I don’t see how it can survive.  Tomorrow, a gentleman from the IRS will be coming by the store.  I am going to need to convince him that Pandemonium will be able to pay the taxes it currently owes.  Otherwise, things will get very sticky very quickly. 

And so I have a cunning, if desperate, Plan.

As was announced yesterday on Pandemonium’s LJ blog,

 (http://community.livejournal.com/pandemonium_bks/78457.html?style=mine#cutid1), the store is going to be putting out a line of new t-shirts at a rate of one/month.  Not all of them are going to be “store shirts”; we plan on doing just plain fun and arty shirts as well.    

I have put together a t-shirt pre-ordering site here for our January and February shirts: 

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=572903264719

If 1000 customers pre-order and buy a store shirt, the proceeds will be enough to pay my Federal (and hopefully my State) back taxes.  

If 1000 customers don’t pre-order the shirts, I’ll probably start looking to roll up the business.  I’ll consider every available option, but it’s unlikely I will be able to keep the store afloat.  

I realize that this sounds like sounds like the worst type of emotional blackmail: “Buy a shirt, or the store gets it!”  But there is more to this than money.  Note that I am asking for one thousand PEOPLE to buy at least one store shirt, not for a thousand shirts to be sold.  I need a thousand people to take part in this. 

The reason why is that I am now working 11-12 hours a day, six to seven days a week, for a salary that is not currently sufficient to meet my needs (stupid, stupid, student loans).  I have fought to keep my little store alive for seventeen years, and I am prepared to fight for another seventeen years, as long as I know that Pandemonium is appreciated.  I need, need! to know that at least one thousand people give a damn about the store. 

Maybe this is how booksellers have their mid-life crisis. Maybe it’s these frigid February days that keep the store empty for hours at a time. All I know is that I’m 40 years old, the store is in serious trouble, and maybe this is the time to wrap up things and get a 9-to-5 job with weekends off, vacations and health plans.  

But the thing is, I do love my store.  I love this life, these people!  I just need to know other people appreciate Pandemonium, at least a little.  The store has been the center of my life for seventeen years,  so obviously it’s important to me.   I just need to know that it’s important to you. 

With one thousand people, I can pay off Pandemonium’s back taxes.

With one thousand people care, we have a real chance of getting through this.

With one thousand people, Key will become human.

With one thousand people, an angel gets its wings.

With one thousand people, Tinkerbell doesn’t die.

With one thousand people, a thousand cats will wake up tomorrow morning, look around and realize that they are not supreme overlords of the world…yet.
 

Whatever happens, it has been a magnificent seventeen years, and I would like to thank all Pandemonium’s employees and customers, past, present and future, for a wonderful ride.  I simply pray that it’s not over yet.  

Thanks so much,

Tyler Stewart

Owner & President, Pandemonium Books & Games Inc.

 
 
 
charlwoocharlwoo on February 7th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
If you haven't already, have you considered putting your used book inventory on half.com? You're right down the street from the post office. Not that doing so will make a large immediate difference at this stage of the game, but if you have a few months reprieve, it might be an avenue worth exploring. It sounds like you have a significant amount of downtime during the day... I average about $30-$50/month profit after costs are accounted for per 200 books in my inventory, and it takes about 30-45 seconds per book to enter the book into half.com if you have a bar code reader.
smoagendashsmoagendash on February 7th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
I have been looking into half.com and similar online companies. the problem right now is manpower. Not just data entry, but also waiting-in-line time at the PO. I'd have to work longer hours than I do not, and that would be hard for me.

Still, i have been considering this...
(no subject) - mamajoan on February 7th, 2007 11:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pezstar on February 8th, 2007 01:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ex_a517dogg70 on February 8th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - roguerider on February 8th, 2007 02:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cdozo on February 8th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - smoagendash on February 8th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - chenoameg on February 8th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cdozo on February 8th, 2007 11:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - chenoameg on February 9th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - chenoameg on February 8th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zandperl on February 20th, 2007 01:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai on February 9th, 2007 06:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - insanityspeaks on February 16th, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nightshadowwolf on February 19th, 2007 12:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
Nick Mamatasnihilistic_kid on February 7th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
Pre-ordered.
smoagendashsmoagendash on February 7th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Rusalka: HP: knowledge is powermarinarusalka on February 7th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
Pre-ordered mine. :-)
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on February 7th, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
I've preordered tshirts, but you should charge actual shipping costs. Srsly. I won't mind paying the extra 2 bucks for the shipping.
metafrantic: ninjakittymetafrantic on February 7th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
I've pre-ordered three shirts, for me, my wife and my sister. I'm going to try to spread the word too - here's hoping geeks can help.
aseop_aseop_ on February 7th, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
This scares me, because Pandemonium was one of my favorite stores in Harvard Square all the time I lived in Boston. When I left in June the move was advertised as being all about expanding space and sales. Were you being forced out of the Galleria becuase of increasing rents? I suppose this goes to show that many stores are running on a very thin margin for error. It's just scary to think that store could go from being in one place for so long to closing so suddenly.

I wish you the best of luck. You should set up a paypal account so people can make donations as well. I bet a lot of people who don't need more t-shirts would be happy to donate money to a good cause.
dylanesque29dylanesque29 on February 8th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
I sure would donate money to a PayPal account, once set up.......
(no subject) - lizzielizzie on February 8th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mindways on February 8th, 2007 05:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - smoagendash on February 8th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tirianmal on February 8th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Taxes - baronet on February 9th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Taxes - beholdsa on February 19th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
dylanesque29dylanesque29 on February 8th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
#$%*ing OUCH. Preordering my shirt tomorrow.
blue shark of friendlinessckd on February 8th, 2007 12:22 am (UTC)
Pre-ordered and linked to.
arouraleona: Purplearouraleona on February 8th, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
Hi, I've never been to your store, but I adore books... maybe I missed it, but you let me know what the sizes mean in terms of like inches? I'd like to get on for myself and my boyfriend (and maybe my mother who also loves books and has a birthday coming up) but I'm not sure what would fit who...
jonfmerzjonfmerz on February 8th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
re:
I just pre-ordered mine. Hopefully, this initiative helps save the store. I haven't had a chance to get to the new location yet!
felis_sidusfelis_sidus on February 8th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
pre-ordered!
agharta75agharta75 on February 8th, 2007 01:13 am (UTC)
I don't need any more T-shirts ... would buying more books help?

smoagendashsmoagendash on February 8th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
always :)
Cidoration on February 8th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)
Hey, being a poor college student myself, I plan on pre-ordering when I get the cash-- but I was actually in the store last week and had no idea! I'd be glad to volunteer if you need any help with anything.
Katejuliansinger on February 8th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
Am I correct that the total profit on T-shirts is higher than it is on books, hence the t-shirt emphasis? Because I'd rather just spend that amount on books, but if it helps you more for me/us to buy T-shirts, then I will.
stephanie m. clarksonthespian on February 8th, 2007 01:45 am (UTC)
You are correct. In addition, you sitting at home (or even on the T, or in a cafe) reading a book doesn't tell anyone about us, while you wearing a t-shirt that tells people about us does. This is likely not what Tyler is thinking of, entirely, but as the marketing type around here, I really do think wearing the shirts will help a lot right now in spreading the word.
(no subject) - juliansinger on February 8th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
metafrantic: snitchmetafrantic on February 8th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC)
Re: Buy some t-shirt
Spreading the word online also saved Connecticon. $35,000 in 9 days. It can be done.