Each hobby seems to have a short list of preferred mail order hobbly
sellers. What are the best ones as far as reliability, service,
prices, and availbility? Mainly I'm looking at all items for N Scale
including track, locomotives, and rolling stock.
I prefer new over used stuff on eBay.
My favorite is Brooklyn Locomotive Works:
I have dealt with BLW many times over the past 15+ years and have
always been pleased.
Bill's Railroad Empire
Al let's you know if an item is new or not. Most are new,90%. Now and then
he sells something that was damaged in shipping or the like but he tells you
in the discription. I've made several good deals that way.
I'm kinda new at online model railroad sources myself, but have been
around eBay for awhile: Do keep in mind many things on eBay are brand
new and many small shops sell new items via auctions or eBay stores
including model trains and accessories. The description sections will
let you know if it's new or used (and make sure you buy from someone
with a high feedback rating which indicates good service and products).
You might not find everything there, but it's worth a look sometimes. :)
While I agree that these "eBay stores" sell new merchandise, by the time you
add the high postage rates these guys want, it's usually cheaper to go to
the hobby shop or mail order. really irks me to pay 4.95 postage and get a
box with a 2.00 stamp on it. Say what they want about handling costs, etc,
that's the price of doing business...
"Handling charges" are BULLSHIT. Period. If they want a couple bucks
more, just should just increase the starting bid price instead of
nickel-and-diming the buyer with bogus charges.
(And I'm an eBay seller, not just a buyer.)
Well I get irked the same way, but when you consider the cost of
postage, cost of envelopes and containers, a trip to the post office
with gas at 3 bucks a gallon, not to mention time, sometimes the
postage and handling is worth more than the merchandise. What
stupifies me most is that sometimes the bid price is much higher than
the "buy now" price.
I prefer dealers with a phone number and good service. Usually their
shipping rates are reasonable and they make good on problems.
I have bought and sold through eBay, but am not impressed either as a
buyer or a seller.
On the eBay subject; I didn't mean to suggest everyone in there has good
deals. Just like online stores or even walk-in stores, it's a place to
shop for things and there will be good and bad to watch out for. And of
course the maximum bid, shipping, and feedback rating should all be
taken into consideration as to whether or not an item is a good, safe
I've done a lot of buying and selling for 5 years now with a lot of good
results (and honestly only a handful of disappointments). Obviously way
too high shipping charges by some (but not all) sellers are annoying but
only if the item price is near what you could get it somewhere else. For
example if an HO boxcar was worth $30, final bid was $10, but shipping
was set even at a high $10, you've still saved $10.
I haven't checked for awhile, but one reason some (but not all) sellers
set a high shipping charge is to offset a low starting bid. If it's
still like it was, the higher the starting bid, the higher your
insertion fee. But if you keep your starting bid low and raise the
shipping cost you still keep the fee low while covering yourself a
little from actually losing money on an auction if the starting bid is
all you get out of it. EBay still gets a percentage out of the final bid
so I don't know why they charge extra for higher starting bids and leave
a loophole with the shipping.
Having said all that, I don't see myself buying anything expensive like
a current locomotive, but accessories wouldn't be out of the question.
Even then I'd rather go through my local hobby shop if possible. The one
here sells at a discount anyway (got the 0-4-0 Porter for $49 which I
thought was pretty good).
Anyway, I just wanted to put a couple more positive cents in about eBay.
I know it can be a pain at times but if you can navigate through the bad
stuff, there's treasure to be found there. :)
I am amazed that what seem to be intelligent people don't
think a dealer should charge handling.The dealer has to pay for the
box, the packing materials, tape, labels, tracking number, gas to
and from the post office and their time. Yes, their time. Why
shouldn't they be compensated for their labour in packing your item?
Would you do your job with no pay? Then why expect them to do the
Handling is a cost a dealer incurs and should pass along to
the buyer. In a storefront shop the rent, utilities, advertising and
time are all factored into their price, you just don't se them
enumerated like you do the handling fees, so why gripe when
the"hidden" costs are out in the open?
Admittedly some merchants charge exorbitant fees (like$20 on a
few ounce item) but they are like those overpriced stores you find
anywhere. the solution is simply do not buy from them. In fact on eBay
you can contact them and see if a more rational fee can be arranged.
Overall I have had very few problems on eBay as dealer or
buyer (I have even bought 3 cars on eBay and am delighted with them)
Like any shopping experience, eBay is what you make it.
What part of this don't you understand:
The Post office will pick up packages at your door, whether a residence or
commercial location. No extra chrge.
Postage and shipping labels
can be obtained from the PO on line at your location, again, no extra charge
by the PO.
Package tracking can be set up from your site, you don't need to go to the
PO to do it.
If the shipment is a Priority Mail shipment, the PO will even supply,
charge, both the boxes and the sealing tape, though you have to pick those
at the PO unless you are getting quantities in excess of 500 boxes. For
that, the PO will deliver to your location.
Handling charges are ok. Packing peanuts, if lou have to buy them, and
time might be the only real costs that should go into "handling charges" if
one is shupping through the PO.
And if you are smart, you can rdce the "packing peanuts" costs to almost
zero by using shredded newspaper. Newspaper / newsprint is a trash item in
almost any hoe or business. The time to shred it is the only cost.
But far too many vendors over charge on "handling" to pad trheir oer item
You're right , the prioroty mail tape is free , but it's pita to use.
I've used it , but I buy the shipping tape in a dispenser at Office
Depot or Staples. Takes too much time to wrestle with the free stuff.
You can order them online by the case and now they will actually ship
as few as 25 , which is the number of boxes in a case , right to your
door..... at no charge.
Time is the biggest cost of all.
Time again.....thats a very big cost. And I have never been able to
get enough packing material from the trash.
I agree , some do.
As a matter of curiousity , how many here are in a retail business
or have ever been ? Anyone here in the hobby business ?
I was/am a partner in a retail store which specialized in
imported models, etc. Like many small hobby dealers high costs and all
too few customers made the business impractical so we closed. However
we are now doing better selling our stuff on eBay. I have to admit
having a whole world as potential customers beats hoping for a few
clients from a few towns.
Like I said they do NOT pick up outside their business hours.
If you are working then, tough, no pick up so you have to go to the
Only in some cases. Not all merchants have systems which can
use this and this does NOT work with foreign orders (the bulk on my
customers are not in the US)
Paper is VERY inferior protection for delicate items. as a
legitimate dealer I want the buyer to receive their items intact and
that means proper packing using styrofoam packing at the minimum.
That is true but a legitimate handling charge is appropriate.
Those with insane shipping are simply ripping people off. It is
clearly against eBay's rules but even with complaints they do nothing
about those with the exorbitant shipping. this makes it tougher for
legit dealers to cover their actual expenses without being lumped in
with the crooks.
I suppose you have a point, in that it costs the seller something to
ship a package above and beyond the actual shipping charge. But there's
at least one other way to look at this, which is to say that those
expenses can and should simply come out of the profit made by the
seller. That's the way I look at it, anyhow. I think I'm not unlike a
lot of eBay sellers in that I'm not really running a business: I don't
keep books, pay employees, and perhaps most importantly of all, *I don't
pay taxes*--something any real business would have to do. So instead of
looking at it as if I were being cheated by not explicitly charging for
all that you mentioned (including the one thing you're supposed to
charge for in any business: your time), I just see it as being covered
(one hopes, anyhow) by my profit.
That's true, and I've done just that and gotten excessively high
shipping costs reduced. (One seller even thanked me for pointing out the
actual cost to them.)
Well, yes and no: I suppose if you're a diehard libertarian, then to you
eBay is just one more shining example of the "magic of the marketplace"
at work. I don't see it quite that way: in fact, eBay is a disruptive
economic influence on many other businesses because of its size and
power. Try telling that to the thousands of collectors, for instance,
who have gone out of business thanks to eBay. (I know one around here
who now sells on eBay, but no longer has a store, which is a loss both
for him and for me.)
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