Hobby Lobby Sale: Am I nuts or is H/L just smarter than some think?

Ok I went and shopped Hobby Lobby in 2 locations about 3 weeks before the
sale this last week. I noted that both locations had Executioners (Estes E
engine kit) in stock on a properly marked peg. One had a V-2 in stock. There
were several higher end kits at both stores. When I returned to the same two
stores Saturday (on my way home from a short hospital stay that kept me away at
the first part of the week), I found none of the high end kits. Oh well, sold
out, I thout. But then I noticed that there were NO PEG SLOTS for that stuff. I
also noticed that there were dozens of old discontinued Estes and Quest kits
that had suddenly filled the rocket section. Is this a typical strategy? It
would be smart and probably not exactly illegal They don't make the offer
specific enough to be a bait and switch, I don't believe. It is also POSSIBLE
that they sold the expensive kits early and then brought out old stock from the
back, and changed the markings UNDER the pegs to match too..... Possible, but
I also noted that the sign in the rocketry section said 1/2 off didn't
apply to kits that were already marked down. However, they had only the
newspaper ad at the register and it didn't say that, so I did get a pile of
already marked down kits at prices I couldn't pass for the parts included...
I also tried buying a pack of (non-WalMart sized) engines in both places
and they both were polite but wouldn't give me 1/2 off those.... SO I guess a
case of B6-2's and B4-2's may be in my mail order future (I like Boost
So it ended up being a bargain instead of a bonanza... But a bargain is
always welcome. Got a Big Betty for $4.25. And a neat BT-55/60 (the stuff is in
the other room) nose cone with a molded cockpit in a $2.50 box kit (forget the
name...) - this will probably end up on my clone of the Scissor Wing Transport
or the Crusader. Lots of nice big tubes and transitions as well. AT least half
off what I'd have spent for the parts alone, so I'm ready to get busy on all
those wonderful old plans so many kind folks have available on the net.
Reply to
John H. Smith
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I've noticed my local HL taking the higher priced kits off the shelves during the half off sales also. A couple of weeks after the sale, they will put them back out. I was particularly looking to get another Estes Outlander, but I guess I'll have to wait till they put them back out. I had actually gone in before the sale looking to buy one at regular price, and where there had been a few the week before, they were gone. Something in my mind told me there was a sale coming up, and I was right.
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I noticed that the 3 stores I hit had no E motors, and only one variety of D12 (don't recall which). No Eliminators, no V2s or Saturns. One store still had 3 AT starter kits. I haven't seen an AT motor at HL for some time. THey do seem to have cut back on what they stock.
I've never seen them remove merchandise before a sale before.
The newspaper ad always includes that disclaimer.
They seem to have caught on that motors are not included. If they were, I'd probably clean out a store or two.
I got an Outlander to build and a gold Chrome Dome for my wife.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
My Hobby Lobby didn't seem to do that. They don't normally have a lot, but they had three Outlanders on the peg. I didn't need any, so I passed. I did get two Shuttle Express (interesting looking gliders) an Renegade and a Baby Bertha. Half-off rockets make good prizes for my MIRV dropper.
Mark E. Hamilton NAR #48641-SR
Reply to
Mark Hamilton
I have two HL stores locally... I visited my "usual" one on Monday afternoon. Their stocking level was typical and they had everything they'd had the week before, including multiple Executioners.
On Friday, I ran over to the other HL during a long lunch, expecting them to be pretty sparse near the end of the sale, and it turned out to be _fully stocked_, which I've never seen the other HL, sale or no. It looked like either nobody had shown up for the sale, or they'd restocked that morning. Only one peg had nothing on it, and there were multiples of every model. They didn't have any Executioners (and no room for them), but they did have a few SR-71s. Only had a couple models the other store didn't have, but I expected them to have similar selections.
But you say "dozens of" discontinued kits... my HL's don't carry "dozens" of Estes or Quest kits period, let alone dozens of discontinued ones. (I wouldn't call thirty kits "dozens" myself, though it technically qualifies.)
Considering that you showed up on the last day of the sale, it's likely that the high-dollar rockets had already been sold. Is it possible that your memory is playing tricks on you concerning the rest of the selection? It seems rather odd to me that HL would be keeping "dozens" of discontinued kits in the back room... if they had old stock and needed to make room for new, they'd have marked them down and put them on an end-cap display. At least that's what other HL's do.
The ad did say "model rocket kits and starter kits".
-- Carl D Cravens ( snipped-for-privacy@phoenyx.net) Wichita, Kansas, US -- Read my model rocketry journal at
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Reply to
Carl D Cravens
I don't think that they keep them in stock as much as they keep replenishing them. Most of the discontinued stuff that my HL always seems to have on hand is old Quest stuff and recently discontinued Estes birds like the Mosquito. I think much of the Quest OOP stock is being bought at a big discount. Bill Stine's "out with the old, in with the new" policy? I did notice that there was a basket of rocket stuff on top of the shelf. I had hurt my back just before I made my trip to HL, so I didn't bother to try getting it down, but in the past I've found some cool stuff that way.
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I'm really surprised that Hobby Lobby is still in business! They are operating like the local craft store back in the 60s. Can any one else name a large retail store that doesn't scan bar codes at checkout, but is dependent on there being a price sticker on each item to ring up? If there is no sticker, then someone has to go back and try to find that item on the shelf. Usually there isn't one, so then they "guess" what the price is. I've had them say "well, what's the price of a Skill Level 3 kit" or a "1/24 scale plastic model" as if they are all the same. Each store has one master price book, and only the manager can get to it.
When I buy something for $7.50 they don't know if its a rocket kit, motor, train part, plastic model, or science kit. They don't know what to reorder until someone checks the shelves a week later and sees what's empty. They don't know if the D12-3s were bought, or "walked out of the store". They don't even know if the V2s and Saturns were sold at regular price or during one of the 50% off sales.
In the 80s Toys R Us implemented technology so they knew all of this for each store and for the entire chain 90 minutes after the last store closed on the west coast every day. Today every store from Albertsons to Walmart does business this way.
Except for Hobby Lobby.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
When I had to remind the checker to give me half-off on my rocket purchase, I commented to her that it suprises me that Hobby Lobby, being the big chain that it is, hasn't converted to a computerized inventory and checkout system. She just rolled her eyes and said something about the difficulty of keeping track of sale on top of sale.
They just did a major expansion and remodel of my closest HL... spent mucho dollars. And they're still dealing with long check-out lines caused by manual entry. Not to mention walking out of the store and then discovering that the cashier failed to mark down some items because she forgot the sale and you didn't catch her mistake at the time. Then you have to decide if it's worth going back in to get your $3 back.
Heh. That's why you say, "This one doesn't have a sticker, but it's $3.95," and they believe you most of the time. :) (I never lie about it, but I'm sure I could get away with it.)
Or if they were sold at regular price _during_ the sale. No way to tell how incompetent their cashiers are unless the customers complain. (But I think it's unfair to the cashier to expect them to keep track of all the discounts when a computer could do it for them and much more efficiently. I suppose I should be grateful that HL keeps more people in jobs by not computerizing.)
How can they even tell if the sale was a good deal for them or not? Unless they're doing inventory before and after the sale, they just don't know how the sale is affecting their bottom line.
Then shrinkage (industry term for loss of inventory through shoplifting) is the one thing that amazes me... they've got plenty of stuff that could be shoplifted, but their lax inventory control means they just don't know how much of their stuff is being lifted. Hard to believe they still operate like it was the 1970's.
-- Carl D Cravens ( snipped-for-privacy@phoenyx.net) Wichita, Kansas, US -- Read my model rocketry journal at
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Reply to
Carl D Cravens
Computerization is not without its own headaches. I wouldn't consider operating without them, but I really think that at some point in time, the founders of HL did a trade-off analysis, and decided that the cost of purchasing and maintaining a computerized point-of-sale system was more than the losses they would encounter without it.
That may be hard to believe, but keep in mind that all the data available (inventory, run rates, etc) is useless without the programs (or programmer) to create the reports. Frankly, you go from no info to swimming in info real fast, and for some, the best way to handle all that info is to just ignore it :)
Plus, they may be using the K-Mart model. Do everything at the corporate level and that way the local managers' IQs need be only 2 digits. If they meter everything in and out of the central warehouses, they can still get run rate and profit info. They'll just throw in fudge factors for losses. (Keep in mind what happened to K-Mart :)
I've seen lots of operations that have access to incredible info, but they don't know what to do with it. Remember, until recently, Radio Shack had been collecting customer info for years and doing nothing with it - roundfiling it. While it may seem crazy to think businesses would operate without such tight controls, it can be done. In "Ford, the Men and the Machine", they said that, after firing the entire accounting department, they began estimating accounts due by weighing the invoices.
So there are other ways of determining your balance sheet. But I still think HL should computerize.
Reply to
Doug Sams
no totaly true Bob, every store does not, most but not every. I know, generalities.
But,and get this. Some stores like Michel's Crafts have POS, yet they found out it takes an Army to keep the computers up to date.
so, when the bar code scanned krylon paint rings up $3.99 and I say , Miss, that paint is on sale for $1.99. then they look in the flya, and don't find it.
I say, look at the sign on the shelf, girl runs back, YEP $1.99.
yet thanks to all that cost of cum-pew-ta da-ta-all your base belong to us, no one is able to manage it affordably.
I go into True North (7-11 like store with shell gas stations)
I get a super sized Bud six pack scanned one day for 6.21 and the next day for 4.87. So I know that computer system is being managed real fine by someone somewhere, yea.
They get a real shock out of me when I tell the gal that the beer is 6.21 and not 4.87. Like, a get out of town look. Honest is as honest gets, run forest.
And Speedways, marking the beer $4.99 on the shelf and it rings up $6.21. I mention to them they need to change the sign. I say, I know the beer is 6 bucks, but your sign is wrong. They still don't change it.
I think I've seen at least 7 other local stores working the model HL does.
In some ways, computer pos and databases have made more work for store owners.
In the 80s I wrote a regional point of sale system. it was a boat load of work that people didn't think about at the time. in the 00s , it still is.
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