Off the record and very hush-hush.
Notes from the trenches...
I'm about a month into my cross country porn store tour. It's been a mixed bag of stores so far. Everyone once in a while I happen upon a thing of beauty like Smokin' Lingerie in Tempe, Arizona. Same can be said for R & R Adult in Bellevue, Washington. Those are SINGLE STORE operations. They don't have the benefit of being a big chain store, yet they have found the way to prosperity by giving the customers what they want at a great price. These places are PORNUCOPIAS man, and they will continue to thrive long after the others have gone by the wayside. While these stores have brought tears of joy to mine eyes, other stores bring a different sort of tears to my eyes.
Why is it that an abundant number of stores stopped carrying new releases and resorted to cheap comps?
I can't help but wonder where this industry would be if all porn stores were really on top of their game. You can't ignore the fact that the most successful chains of stores carrying top tier movies and offer a great shopping experience. The struggling stores still have racks and racks of VHS, cheap comps, dirty novelties, outrageous pricing, and very few shopping options for the customer.
Retail shouldn't be that hard. It's about buying and selling. The store owners buy products that they believe will be in demand enough to make a profit on. You figure out what your customers want, and you give it to them. Pretty simple eh? If your sales are going in the tank...don't blame the internet, don't blame piracy....first look at your own house. As a customer, would you shop there? Would YOU pay $70 for a run-of-the-mill porn DVD. Would YOU like to buy a cheap comp that wasn't as advertised on the box. Do YOU watch your movies on VHS still? Do YOU prefer to watch the same old titles from 10 years ago? If you answered YES to all those questions, then I offer you this tidbit of wisdom courtesy of Patrick Swayze in Road House:
"There's always barber college."
This industry needs a reality-style makeover show where porn's version of Gordon Ramsey goes into the stores and points out all the serious mistakes they are making and points them down the path of prosperity and profit. I volunteer for this role provided I get to drop ridiculous amounts of F-bombs like Chef Ramsey.
The sad thing is that as stores falter, they will eventually shut down. Those locations will get snatched up by another Starbucks or McDonalds, and the customers in that area have one less place to exchange hard-earned greenbacks for good quality smut. They'll turn to the internet, with its trusty identity thefts, shady DVD traders, 3 days waiting on shipping, and some super helpful spyware viruses. Profits will go down for everyone on the production and retail side, thus reducing the incentive to even continue to do business, and what we're left with is $0.08/minute VOD where the studio gets 15%. You think Tube Sites are prevalent now? Just wait.