Buying blind

Spent much of this afternoon at the Calne Model Railway Show. My six year
old son was keen to aquire something to run on "our" model railway. As the
layout is a small dockside setting, we had established that nothing larger
than a six coupled tank engine would be apropriate, so we were down to
deciding between a Hornby BR liveried Pug or one of the new 08s. There was
only one vendor who had both of these available, so I asked, not
unreasonably I felt, if I could see the 08 taken out of it's already opened
box. The vendor declined, suggesting that the picture on the box was a good
likeness of what was inside........
Now I know what an 08 looks like. I have seen the Hornby model running along
at the back of a layout, and in a glass case at some model shops. Back then
I wasn't in the market for one, today the cash was there and ready, so I
wanted to take a good look before buying.
I didn't hand over any cash, if I want to buy unseen there are plenty of
mail order suppliers I could use. Given the benefit of time I will get out
of town and check out one of the nearest specialist shops, at least I will
then have the benefit of seeing the model runs properly before I take it
home.
I'm wondering how others consider this kind of vendor's approach? Is this
normal, or am I not taken seriously because I have my six year old in tow -
that means I CAN'T be a serious buyer? Since my return to model railways in
the past few years I have found a disturbing number of shopkeepers who hold
their customers in complete contempt. Should I just be more thick skinned
and accept that customer service is no longer part of the job?
Cheers,
Bill.
Reply to
Bill Davies
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No, you are quite correct, I would expect at the very minimum the loco (or kit) to be removed from the outer packaging - and if a RTR loco removed from all packaging and test run - as you say, there are other places were you can buy blind, his loss and your possible gain!
Was this the only 08 on the stand, if so I wonder if there really was something to hide?...
Reply to
:::Jerry::::
I hate to say it, but I've had similar experiences of *some* traders at exhibitions (and as a caveat, it's not just model rail exhibition). I just don't buy from them. One or two of them disappear, one or two change their attitude. Maybe it's because I have my three year old daughter in tow... That said, I've had the same when she wasn't there.
IMHO, some traders only offer good "service" to the customers they already know, and ignore the new customers, who are the ones they need to attract into the hobby and probably have the £££'s to spend.
In their defence, there are some excellent traders out there too, all too happy to advise, show, demonstrate their wares, and provide real advise, even if it results in a sale going else where. Now, that's customer service.
Reply to
Ian Cornish
Customer service should *always* be a part of the job. It's sad to see so many shop workers around now who really just don't have a clue. And in many cases they don't even want to be there (especially some of the younger ones). And I'm not exactly old myself, at 36, so it's not like I remember a time when customer service was much better. I just feel that it's important to do a job as well as possible, even when you don't like it (and I've had a few of those).
Mind you, it doesn't help when some of the customers can be cranky and rude, so from that point of view I feel sympathy for the shop workers.
Ian J.
Reply to
Ian J.
If a trader *has* gone to a reasonable amount of trouble then you ought to buy from that trader and *not* go else where to save a small amount. Now if there is a large difference, perhaps more than 10% it might be an idea to point out the difference & offer a lower amount in between.
Kevin Martin
Reply to
Kevin Martin
The good retailers are more than happy to for you to see them run. A small retailer may be slightly more expensive than the box shifters but they do look after their customers, especially when things go wrong. regards, Steve
Reply to
titans
You've summed it up dead right, and all the replies have elaborated on the problem.
However, I don't see any solution. Surely this is all the inevitable result of the mail-order culture. Product margins are slashed to the point that there is no surplus for the trader to invest in customer service. If the trader you mention was to spend time getting something out of the box (risking damage), and then keep an eye on you and your offspring, he couldn't keep the same eye out for another passing customer to shift a box to.
It's nothing to do with you not being a serious prospect. His loss from your not buying the 08 is how much? £20? And he's still got the 08 to make the £20 on at another time. It's only going to be worth £20 to him whenever he sells it, so he hasn't lost anything. On the other hand, if he had damaged anything in getting it out of the box, then he *would* have lost something!
Perhaps if there was any margin in a Hornby 08, he'd have been able to employ an assistant!
Cheers, Steve
Reply to
Steve W
"Bill Davies" wrote
I asked, not
Now I'm not defending this really but there is another side to this issue. The Hornby 08 (and some of their other more recent offerings) has a tremendous amount of vulnerable detail and the Hornby packaging is a nightmare. We always offer to test run a loco in the shop (and automatically do so for mail order customers) but in the environment of a show there is often nowhere to safely unpack a loco without risking damage or loss of small components.
Also traders are vulnerable to theft at shows if they've not got eyes in the back of their heads, and unpacking a loco is a distraction from that aspect of the stand security. I've know pairs of thieves distract a show trader by asking to see a loco out of its packaging, whilst their co-operator helps themselves whilst the trader is thus distracted.
I hope this shows that there is often more than bloody-minded involved when this sort of rejection occurs.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
Kevin,
I agree with your point, but I've had cases where I was going to buy something I thought I needed, but the trader determined exactly what I needed, and recommended a better/alternative solution, which sometimes is something that trader did not stock.
Ian
Reply to
Ian Cornish
G'day, They do not not need to see the item out of the box to nick it. My wife and I lost a Boxed Flying Scotsman at a Train Show 2 years ago. We were standing about 4 feet apart when we were both asked a question. Jan had to turn to the Left and I to the Right. When we looked back ( a matter of 30 seconds or less) The Locomotive was gone. Graeme Hearn
Reply to
Graeme Hearn
John's message never made it through on my server, so I had to read it on Google - appologies for the unthreaded reply. The point about the awkward Hornby packaging was made by both the vendor and his wife, not having bought any recent Hornby product I wondered whether this was an excuse. The fact that the box had already been opened once (the end flap was pulled out and distorted) made me more reluctant to stick my hand in my pocket - how am I to know that the contents haven't already been damaged during previous handling? If distraction was their concern then they were both happy to explain the packaging problem simultaneously......... By contrast I made a very small purchase from D&P Models, a smokebox door casting for a mere £1.45. The gentleman and his wife were both charming and helpful, and I will be happy to purchase any other parts from them. Cheers, Bill.
Reply to
Bill Davies
"Bill Davies" wrote
No it's not an excuse, the Hornby packaging is a real nightmare. It's bad enough in the shop where we can unpack them carefully on a counter and catch any bits which fall off the model.
I'm not saying that I would take the same approach at a show, just that there is a genuine problem, but realistically I would expect the retailer to find a way around it.
John.
Reply to
John Turner
"how am I to know that the contents haven't already been damaged during previous handling?"
Could this be the reason why retailers don't want "potential" customers to open the box ?
the new Hornby items are scale models, and are easier to damage with scale connecting rods the tiniest of plastic bits ( like on 08`s roofs ), and bits and pieces on the models.
a guy that came into my shop yesterday wanted to look at one of the "superior model" engines with the new packaging, and compared it with a older version flying Scotsman, so I opened the new packaging with the two part polystyrene gently lifted the loco out, he took the other Scotsman out ( in the older style packaging, I noticed he pulled it out by the buffers, after comparing the two he bought the new model, but my point is if every customer pulls the new models in the same way something's going to brake.
on a similar note Charlie on DC Kits / DE Video has a problem in that people take the DVD's out to see if they are new ( which they are ), but they say that the DVD's have finger prints on them ! the answer is that people like the customer who has just taken the DVD out of the packaging has put there own finger prints on the DVD or the customer before who then buys a different DVD
kindest regards
Simon Judd
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Reply to
Simon Judd
In message , John Turner writes
To add to Johns comments:- carrying a test track and controller to exhibitions adds to the already considerable list of stuff that has to be carried. The number of people who umm and ahh about buying, who' just want to see' the fragile contents and then decide they'll buy it at the stand down the row who's charging 20p less and so on sometimes beggars belief If the trader had removed the loco and it had been damaged in the process I assume you'd have been happy to pay the requested price? Experience has led to a policy of removing the cardboard blanking so you can see the loco, but the contents don't come out at exhibitions. If you don't trust the trader to sell what it says on the box why should he trust you? As someone else said he can keep the boxed loco and sell it elsewhere.
Reply to
Ian Birchenough
That was my thought John. I supply classic car parts through mail order and a trade counter at shows, the environment is surprisingly similar to the model railway arena. We occasionally get idiots ripping packaging open to check brake components and the like. Most customers however are courteous and appreciate the way we work, a sealed package will always be opened if a customer has a reasonable query about the contents. Cheers, Bill.
Reply to
Bill Davies
Because it's the buyer who put the bread and butter on his table at the end of the day?!
Well, true, but what if he doesn't sell anything because of his 'take it or leave it' attitude just how long will the trader be a trader?...
Reply to
:::Jerry::::

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