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And Business is Bad

UPDATE AGAIN: I... ended up falling asleep (I tend to do that, it's weird.) Comics will probably be up early AM. Apologies. Thanks for the patience. Really got in the creative weeds with these last two comics. My sons birthday is coming up, and he's obsessed with Mario, like many of us when we were young. He still runs around with his last Halloween costume every so often. We had to eventually throw the felt facial hair away when the adhesive got gross. So anyone familiar with children who gravitate towards this franchise knows that Nintendo charges a mint for their toys. Anything hard-plastic and action figurey will give all parents flashbacks to the last time they bought Legos. So to save money, I'll pick him out a few plush toys... and to find something I know he won't see at Walmart or Toys R Us, I typically shop on eBay. The selection is a million times better. So I'm going through and looking for stuff he might want.. (hint, it's all of it.) And they have stuff you'd never see at the store. Like Chain Chomps.. chain chompThose ahole plants.. ahole plantSome kind of plush toilet.. toiletThe things that throws its illegitimate children at you the whole level... that one guy   And I'm no mustache scientist, but uh... wario   Then there's my all time favorite. This one is like gold (and priced accordingly.) sad goomba Just that face. It's so doofy I can't stop laughing. the 1up is a lie

88 thoughts on “And Business is Bad

    1. He just said he was a con man. You can’t get more honest than that. So, about that beach front bridge I have for sale…

    2. …she’s going to do it. He just hit shockingly near to her “impulse to collect strays” button, though he has no idea. The same impulse that makes her feed every animal to absurd rotundity will make her go for this concept.

      1. I could see that, though depending on the full pitch, she might feel somewhat unqualified. Remember we’re still strongly speculating that she’s never had a boyfriend, and Danny’s “cons” and trips after are probably more dating type activities than the rest of her life combined.

        Though I suppose, “learn how not to be nervous going out with this girl and train yourself to look her in the eyes and you won’t worry about it with the next one” might be a winning pitch.

        It also potentially shows how Ellie would get paid. The “training time” with her could always be a separate fee.

  1. At least he’s being relatively straightforward with his scheming & plotting here. And, with his being part of D52, I’m guessing despite his generalized anger towards Quinn/continually looking for a reason to get her kicked out, his “confidence building business” here isn’t just for the guys he’ll be throwing Ellie at.

    Something my friend did recently was procure a ginormous (like, 3 feet tall) Yoshi plush for his GF. I think it put him back $20 with shipping (eBay is truly a wonder in that regard)

  2. Confidence building business = practice dates with a girl to the point that some of these people move forward in that aspect of life and look for a decent partner?

    1. That could be part of it, however considering that “when to make a move”-type concerns would be a big area of nervousness, not sure how on-board Ellie would be there.

      On the other hand, having Ellie (and probably Nena and various other girls) do some pseudo-dates to allow the users to take a few selfies to post of “me with this girl I met on the dating site” might be a part of it.

  3. Never posted before, but the fact that you’re a dad has won you some browny points. I’ve already been reading your comics a couple years now, so no claim of “lifetime” fan coming. :p

    I buy my son Mario and Lego toys every gift giving time period. Even started a YouTube channel so he can see the games being played that he’s not see because of bed times. So, Internet dad bond complete.

    1. I can’t help but think he’s looking up at the descending boots of a plumber, and like Comic Book Guy in that Halloween special, is thinking:

      “Oh, I’ve wasted my life.”

  4. Well, he hasn’t explicitly said she would be going on dates. He could be hiring her as an image consultant foe the male users.

    1. He says “Exactly” in the first panel when she asks whether that’s the plan. Presumably, based on his later panels, the date with her is to teach the guys how to behave on future dates.

  5. I freakin’ knew it. Updated between leaving for work and arriving at work. GAH!!! I can’t even remember the last time I was close to being “first.”

    The fact that Nena apparently just sits there and reads webcomics is funny. The ancient confidence man does not amuse me. She should snip his air line and leave IMO.

    1. Still trying to wrap my head around how his response to Ellie’s accusation in Panel 1 is “exactly” but then he’s trying to sidestep it like he didn’t admit it. Is my brain too slow today? Do I need more coffee? Or is he just talking out both sides of his face?

      1. I’m wondering that too.

        I’m also wondering how much our debates and speculation in the comments are doing rather well in guessing versus how much they’re tweaking a few things Rusche has planned on this or not.

  6. In terms of Mario toys: Jakks Pacific has started a “World of Nintendo” toyline that is sneaking into stores. Toys R Us has a little section for them, and they have everything from plastic to plush. PLUS, there’s these micro sets that have a little strip of a game level and super tiny figures to use on them.

    The prices are nice enough, though, I’m a regular toy collector, so I may be thinking in terms of toys vs other toys and not “I don’t buy toys normally, why in god’s name is a piece of plastic so expensive?” And I’m not making fun – I totally understand. Price of oil goes up, plastic goes with it, toys become less and less attractive to parents (especially when a game would last longer, in the kid’s eyes).

    Anyway, my point: Walkin’ in to Toys R Us and seeking out the Nintendo section might yield greater results than you think. If I may suggest something (and yeah, pimp my meager little blog), I really enjoyed this Bowser:


    It’s not plush, but it should be 15 bucks, which is a steal for the size of the figure. Fun to mess with and sturdy enough to stand up to rough play (though my nephew recently got into displaying things on shelves, so I’ve sorta lost my testing subject for action figure sturdiness).

    1. The Walmart and Toys r Us in Huntsville, AL have been frequented, and I’m trying to get him some stuff he hasn’t seen and didn’t know even existed to surprise him. Thanks for the link. I’m taking a look. :)

      1. Ah, good point! Well then, for unique items, you’re already on the right track (not that I need to tell you). Nintendo makes a MILLION plush items in Japan. My wife and I took our nephew to an anime convention last year and many booths were full of plushies he had never seen before. He went home with a whole new collection, just about.

        1. My daughter used to frequent a Japanese import store that catered to anime and manga. It had a number of Mario toys, including a plush square about a foot in diameter with a question mark on it. It made noise when you hit it (just like in the game). Unfortunately, the store closed before we could justify the $35 price tag for a stuffed toy.
          Apparently, there’s an instructable for it: http://www.instructables.com/id/Plush-Super-Mario-Block-with-Sound/ Unsurprisingly, there are other Mario instructables as well. Of course, any time you spend making that, you’re not doing comics, so forget I mentioned it.

  7. I hereby dub this plan “Operation Lady Hitch”. Honestly, my expectations of Y chromosome possessors in this comic are low enough that I give him credit for not just trying to blackmail Ellie and get her to work as an escort. A low bar to clear, but it appears he’s actually offering her a job and honestly explaining what he wants from her.

    1. I’m getting a feeling more and more that Tired Guy is going to be a fairly sophisticated antagonist.

      He has his own interests and his own games that he’s playing, and I think he’ll be relentless and relatively unscrupulous in pursuing them, but I don’t think he’s going to be acting in a particularly chaotic or arbitrarily misanthropic fashion. He seems well aware of the fact that if you make a deal to get what you want in a way that gives someone else what they want, they’ll protect your deal and it’s much more stable with less effort from you.

      Really, the biggest question is what he actually wants and what the purpose of this dating site is. It seems remotely possible, but unlikely, that the purpose is earning money. Possibly it’s something connected to Ellie or using Ellie’s connection to someone (Herb, Rosemary, & Tarra for themselves seem feasible, Quinn to get at her dad) and building trust or extracting what’s needed in a way that wouldn’t arouse suspicion (like if they needed a recording of her saying something and had her doing fake commercials and slipped sentences they needed into different commercials). Possibly they’re targeting a user of the site and the info filled out. Maybe it’s completely a front with no purpose but laundering money and/or a seemingly harmless site with potential for large encrypted data transfers (if they host video chats or something) to disguise some back channel transfers.

      1. A scam within a scam, which is it’s self a scam. All of which is a lie. And, when we pull off “Tired Guy’s” rubbery face mask, it reviles…

        Wait, wait, don’t tell me:

        Fried = Ellie
        Daphne = Quinn
        Velma = Pumpkin
        Scooby = the cat
        Shaggy = ? (we have a couple of choices)

  8. You can’t spell confidence without CON.

    Remembering how great great granddaughter/niece/cousin/whatever answered the door, I’m getting all kinda of ominous feelings about this.

      1. Blind Guy did come and try to talk him into being more civil with the two of them and then punched him in the face when he refused. To Tired Guy does have reason to feel a connection between him and one of the girls is likely.

  9. Sounds like a mixture of a few things to me. Yes, the old guy wants her to date those on the verge of getting a refund (not sure how many that would be), but after the date, she could easily tell guys “You’re not the one for me, but if you want another date, you might think about this, this and that.”

    Plus, the confidence of the guys could go up, having had a date with someone who looks like Elle (whether readers think Quinn looks better or not…I think the story goes that Elle is generally considered to be very much the hot girl), and after a little talk with her, can get out of their shells and do better themselves, and pay the site to find the one.

    1. I read your plan as what Ellie’s saying she won’t do and Tired Guy’s saying isn’t how it is, but the next comic will tell.

      People thinking Quinn is looks better don’t necessarily think Ellie isn’t “the hot girl.” I’ve always thought Quinn has a nicer face (when she can stop scowling at least), but I’ve always thought Ellie was “the hot girl” in the pair.

      1. I kind of feel that the personality is the deciding factor, what with both women being comic book characters. Ellie just has a lot less negative, bristling anger to deal with so she’s by far more approachable and likable.

      1. One of the non-Nintendo characters of the photo, the naked Cyanide & Happiness plush.

        I had actually started with just surrounding him with the yoshis and then piled on…

  10. We did this in high school. Didn’t work back then either.

    “Hey, you need some help getting a date. Let me hook you up with my girlfriend’s single friend. If anything, you’ll learn what not to do on a date.”

    Those were disasters just waiting to happen. The worst bit was we kept trying it even after a few guys imploded horribly on the launch pad. Let’s hope Tired Guy has some Sympathy Insurance to go along with all this “confidence building” because there may be some terrible backlash.

  11. “I’m in the confidence-building business.”

    Why do I suspect that this is technically true? Something about what the “con” in “con game” really stands for…

    But if this story given to Ellie is the cover story, how bad is the real goal?

  12. Looking at the patrion links make me thing that Quinn asked fir Ellie’s hand in marriage XD.

    Also, I got a ds xl that just laying around. If you want it would not mind sending it with a Mario game too.

      1. Well the offer is real. Would get like only $10 at the game store. Good condition with original box and all the stuff.

  13. I may get flack for this (because the old guy IS creepy) but this actually could be a good thing for Ellie. Set aside the idea that she “has” to sleep with/hook up/become committed to the people she “dates.” If it IS essentially a dating service that offers consultation, I actually think Ellie would be incredibly good at the job. Sit down (in a public place) with a stranger and hash out what they do right and what they do wrong? She’s pretty blunt and very smart. Assuming she prioritizes her safety and her privacy, it could be a good career for her considering her personality.

    1. I don’t know about career, but it could be a viable stop-gap.

      The main question for how good or bad what Tired Guy proposes here is the question of what he’s really doing. Making her a good/helpful offer to get her agree to something nominally good for her while using her for some other ends makes that question debatable. If he really wants something nefarious from her, he seems sharp enough to offer her something seemingly of mutual benefit to get her cooperation.

  14. Hey hey people. Mr. Blue here with the Top Web Comic (TWC) breakdown. At this time, we have 121 total votes with three days so far this month. This translates to an easy 40 people voting per day so far.

    The link location is http://www.topwebcomics.com/vote/14850/default.aspx or you can scroll up to the black box with the white numbers above the Patreon Peeks. On 8/24 we were doing #59 with 37 votes per day. 8/16 #57 with 38 votes per day. 8/10 #50 with 41 votes per day.

    We may be able to climb back near the 50s with 40 votes per day, but in order to show people the awesomey sauciness of SHOTGUN SHUFFLE, we’re going to need somewhere near 60 votes per day to break into the top thirties.

  15. I think I know where this is going. You can’t spell confidence without “IDE” which, as we all know, is “Integrated Development Environment.” They’re going to base their website’s version of Clippy on Ellie! >:O
    “You appear to be writing a desperate plea for attention. Would you like some masculine clipquotes to balance it out?”
    “After a quick scan, this message makes you look like an insane stalker. Press Ctrl + F3 to find the disturbing statements, and use F4 to autoreplace them with contextual sonnets.”
    “What kind of booty call were you planning to send? Click a template: Blank Booty CallGirl You So Fine…You’ve Invaded My Every Thought…

    1. You’ve just been typing a message for 90 minutes straight to the only person that replied to you in the last three months. That never goes well. Let me point out the Cancel button for this message, the Log Out link, and the close button for your browser. Sleep on it and come back tomorrow.

      1. I kinda did that recently. I emailed an old friend I hadn’t heard from in years, got a response with a question, and over an hour later, I was still answering the question (some of it was spent editing/rewriting). I haven’t heard back from her. I think I scared her off. Oops.

        1. As the length of some of my comments here might suggest, typing too long of messages in any and all circumstances, is a common mistake for me, as well.

      1. (I’m also always pleasantly surprised to be reminded that I set my browser to replace the word “senator” with the word “elf-lord” a few years ago. It’s just uncommon enough that I almost forget by the time I see it next.)

  16. With a sewing machine and a smidgen of creativity you can produce your own Mario goods. I’ve done things with other IP. I can’t sell anything like that, but they make fun gifts.

    1. But have you read the book that started it all? Written by a chap who could give Dick there a run for his money on his name? Richard Hooker. If ever there was a need for a non de plume …

      1. Actually a whole series of books,by Richard Hooker
        MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (1968)
        M*A*S*H Goes to Maine (1972)
        M*A*S*H Mania (1977)

        And after the TV show went big some allegedly written by Richard Hooker, but from my read mostly by William E. Butterworth, a ghostwriter. Get the three above and you’ll be true to the series, the later ones were more focused on the funny, not necessarily the core of the story:
        M*A*S*H Goes to New Orleans (1974)
        M*A*S*H Goes to Paris (1974)
        M*A*S*H Goes to London (1975)
        M*A*S*H Goes to Vienna (1976)
        M*A*S*H Goes to San Francisco (1976)
        M*A*S*H Goes to Morocco (1976)
        M*A*S*H Goes to Miami (1976)
        M*A*S*H Goes to Las Vegas (1976)
        M*A*S*H Goes to Hollywood (1976)
        M*A*S*H Goes to Texas (1977)
        M*A*S*H Goes to Moscow (1977)
        M*A*S*H Goes to Montreal (1977)

        And I may have missed some of the later books, these are just the ones in easy reach on my bookshelf.

        1. If I recall correctly, the original book was a fictionalized version (the names were changed to protect the guilty) of the authors experiences in Korea. And, the pen name was to protect both the author, and those he served with.

          Who else remembers watching Trapper John, M.D.?

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