Interrogation Interview with the Warehouse Yeti
By Brendan LaSalle
Keith LaBaw is “the man behind the scenes” who handles shipping for all of our online store orders. If you’ve ordered from the Goodman Games online store, you’ve interacted with Keith or his crew, whether you know it or not. Those of you who have been to Gen Con have probably met Keith at our booth. He’s the tall one – the one taller than everyone else – hence his nickname, the Warehouse Yeti. Keith is an avid gamer and has other hobbies that any gamer can appreciate. Brendan LaSalle was recently in Tucson, AZ, where Keith resides. Here is Brendan’s on-the-ground report!
Since I was already headed out to the fabled land of Tucson for the amazing RinCon Gaming Convention, Joseph texted me and asked if I would track down everyone’s favorite Warehouse Yeti, the amazing Keith LaBaw, and interrogate him.
Looking back, I’m fairly sure that “interrogate” must have been an autocorrect problem – he must have meant “interview.”
Brendan: Okay, “Keith” – if that’s even your real name – you better start talking!
Keith LaBaw: Um…what?
BL: I see how it is. Well let’s just start with the basics: who you are, where you are from, what do you do?
KL: I’m a 40-something super tall dude, born, raised, and still living in the desert southwest, first the Mojave of California (think Death Valley) and now southern Arizona. I sling books for the Dark Master … Wait… Who are you again? How did you get in here?
BL: Oh, so you want to play cute, is that it? Well tell me this: how did you get your start in gaming?
KL: Cute? I’m not familiar with that game! A new one? Anyway, I got a very early Blue Box (Holmes) Basic D&D set as a Christmas present in…1978? Honestly, it went into the cupboard with the Monopoly and Sorry! for months, but on the fateful day that some friends and I finally opened it… I’ve been RPG gaming pretty much weekly since then. Keep making Luck checks for great gaming friends and stable gaming groups over the years.
BL: Yeah, a likely story. How did you first encounter Goodman Games?
KL: A good friend of mine was doing some writing for the Dark Master. I play-tested part of DCC #49: Palace in the Wastes and may or may not have an NPC based on me in the epic DCC #51: Castle Whiterock.
B: How did you come to work for Goodman Games?
KL: Goodman was looking for someone to do individual order fulfillment around 2008. The mutual friend introduced us since I was a fellow gamer, had years of shipping and receiving experience, and a place big enough to store some product.
KL: In the beginning it was just a single bookcase in my spare bedroom and I would hand-enter the orders from emails into a spreadsheet. Those days are long gone now, with a dedicated shipping room at my place and additional off-site warehouse storage across town. I have approximately 450 titles and well over 20,000 units here at the Tucson location. Now the web store exports order data, I print packing slips, pull each customer’s order, package and post it, and take a truckload of the orders to the post office 2 or 3 times a week… Wait… Who told you about the bodies?!?
BL: Don’t change the subject. Okay, changing the subject, I understand you have some other interesting hobbies. Care to share?
KL: I am a “costumed drinking enthusiast.” Started with the SCA (medieval re-enactment) 30 years ago and have more recently added post-apocalyptic “pre-enactment” (think Mad Max, Fallout) to that, including building and racing apocalyptic go-carts in the desert. Home brewing mead and beer is a sideline to both of those hobbies and we produce about 70 gallons a year.
BL: SO YOU ADMIT IT!
KL: Why are you yelling?
BL: (Opens a craft beer, takes a sip) I bet it’s getting hot under those lights. I bet you would love a beer right about now, wouldn’t you? Well, I can make that happen . . . after you tell me what the Worldwide Yeti Conspiracy is planning.
KL: Okay first of all that’s my beer.
BL: Don’t lie to me like I’m Montel Williams! I’M NOT MONTEL WILLIAMS!
At this point, Keith had clearly had enough. He grabbed a sword off the wall, ran me out of the house, then chased me through the desert on one of his crazy Mad Max go-carts.
I think we built a rapport.
Keith Labaw is the 6’7” Warehouse Yeti who leads the Goodman Games shipping team. Most of our online store orders are individually picked and packed by the Yeti or his crew. Large Kickstarter shipments and our distribution orders still go out of other locations, but if you order from the web site, there’s a good chance it was packed by the Yeti and his friends. We hope you’ve enjoyed this interview!
(You can see just how tall Keith is in the photo below. He’s the tall guy blocking out the gong.)