How do you get treated by model shops.

I've seen some postings about the way that you are treated on this group
so I though I'd share my recent experiences with you.
Having just come back from Canada I've decided to build my loft layout
as an HO Canadian / American layout (it will also be used to give my
British outline sock a running occasionally!)
I've also decided to bite the bullet and go fully DCC. I live in
Worthing on the south coast. I phoned 4 suppliers that were not too far
for me to travel. I won't name them but it's not difficult to find out
who they are.
Tried one in Surrey, which is on my way home from work (near J9 of M25)
but I'd have to stay out later than normal because they don't open until
10 a.m. Explained what I wanted and that I was looking for Peco code 83
track and also needed info on Lenz DCC. Also wanted to buy Tortoise
point motors. "Yes, we've got some of that but you'll have to come in to
see us" - bit off hand but not too impolite
Same questions to one in Burgess Hill "We don't have Tortoise point
motors but we usually have most of the other items"
Supplier in Ford, W Sussex "We only sell our own point motors but we
usually have the track available"
Supplier in Uckfield "We've got 5 tortoise point motors in stock, got
some code 83 items. Don't sell American stock normally, but I do have
some second hand items if you want to come and have a look"
All conversations took place on Monday last.
Had found location of Surrey shop on Monday morning but not open at 5
a.m.! when I was there (fair enough with that)
Phoned Uckfield on Tuesday to confirm they were open on the Wed -
replied that they closed at 1 on Wed. No problems with that. I went
there at about 11 a.m. on the Wed. Met by pleasant man and woman
(husband and wife I think) who, although busy acknowledged me straight
away. Asked what I wanted, confirmed that he had the Tortoise motors
waiting for me, then got out every piece of code 83 point work that he
had for me to look at. He also brought out a box of second hand American
stuff for me to look through. Looked through first time didn't fancy
anything he had there. Someone else came in to shop and then I realised
how many pieces of 'container' items he had for a 5 car set. Asked
price, little bit of haggling and then bought all the containers and 2 x
5 car sets for £50. Bought all the code 83 flex track he had (12 yards)
plus 3 right and 1 left point (all he had of electrofrog) plus joiners.
Then we started talking DCC. He said that he didn't know much about DCC
but could fit chips (for a fiver plus cost of chip). What impressed me
was that he knew he had a Lenz catalogue of items, made a little effort
to find it and then SOLD it to me :-) I asked about suitable DIN
adapters, they didn't have any there, but he promised to order some as
"they would be useful for others"
Left the shop having spent about £200 and still feeling happy(ish). Got
a short distance down the road and realised I'd forgotten to get and
cork underlay. Phoned up and asked if they'd mind bringing it to the
door as by this time it was throwing it down! No problems. I had the
money, they had the cork wrapped up and straight into the cab. I was a
happy purchaser and will definitely be going back there (probably just
after Xmas - I love bargains) I think the owner(s) had recently taken
over, but I was impressed with the service they gave me and their other
Saturday morning, decided to visit shop in Surrey on my was home from
London. Arrive about 9.50. Shop not open, sign says open 10 a.m. No
problems. I catch 40 winks, wake up again at about 10.05, get in to shop
about 10.10. Two (male) people in shop. I see some code 83 Peco track on
display but it's only insulfrog. I ask if they have electrofrog. Answers
back "we don't get many people using HO track and we can't just get
small items from Peco so you're probably better going somewhere else for
it" I'd given then no indication about the amount of track I wanted. In
fact I will probably need at least 20 points or more, plus a larger
supply (total of 100 yards eventually) of plain track!
I asked for information of Lenz products. Was told that they could show
me a Lenz Compact. If I wanted to look at the decoders they were in the
display cabinet near the door. Neither of them made any effort to get up
and help me decide what to get - they were too concerned with making the
tea /
coffee. Neither made any effort to find out how many decoders I
might need in the future - I have about 30 odd locos that I will get
chipped eventually. They couldn't be bothered to help me decide what
Lenz DCC I needed. The only thing they had that I wanted was a Bachman
DCC equipped American outline loco. They didn't have the railroad
company I wanted (CN, but Burlington Northern or CPR would be suitable),
but I reluctantly parted with some money for one in UP livery. I'd also
forgotten to get some Peco track pins when I was in Uckfield and bought
2 pack of these in Surrey. Even then it was very much a case of "They're
over there on the bottom shelf if you want them". There were some lovely
looking American locos which were on sale for about £80 and I may have
bought if someone had taken any interest in me.
I was not impressed by the level of 'service' I got in Surrey.
However, there was one saving grace. They gave me the name and phone
number of the Lenz importers. I phoned them on the way home. What a
difference. The person I talked to took the time to listen to my
requirements, make suitable suggestions, gave me simple explanations of
the products, translated my non technical explanations into the correct
item for my purposes. I was so impressed that I bought 2 (not the one I
had originally intended to buy) Din / Xnet sockets and the face panels
for me to wire in to my layout prior to buying the DCC controller /
transformer, etc I will need (about £300 worth). They also promised to
give me a dedicated 'service' phone number so that I can get help when I
come to putting chips into my first loco. I'll give you one guess where
I'll be buying my Lenz from in future!
Reply to
Mike Hughes
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One way I have used to assess the "friendliness" of shop staff is to make sure I always want to buy two items (at least) - one inexpensive and the other more costly. If the shop staff can be bothered to look for/order the sprung buffers/vaccuum pipes etc they will probably be asked to sell a locomotive. If they can't be bothered, somebody else will get the order. Once I have found a dealer who will take the trouble with the small things he will usually get the majority of future orders, big and small.
David Costigan
Reply to
David Costigan
In message , David Costigan writes
I couldn't agree more. The guy in Uckfield will be getting more business from me!
Reply to
Mike Hughes
Following Keith Nock's retirement, it sounds as though the new owners of the Hobby Box (no need to be coy, there's only one model shop in Uckfield!) are doing a good job.
Reply to
John Nuttall
Went into John Turner's shop a couple of weeks ago with the family as we were on our way for a weekend in Scarborough (from Nottingham) and I needed some DCC decoders.
I was served (I assume) by John's wife and she couldn't be faulted. I had promised my 4 year old that he could choose an item of rolling stock to run behind his James loco and he selected a 'James coach' from the Hornby Thomas range. Mrs Turner informed me that we could have it significantly cheaper if I had one that had been split from a set that didn't have a box. This had been on the shelf but I hadn't noticed it. Also, she was very welcoming to the children, in some model shops they seem to be viewed with a large amount of suspicion.
All in all an excellent experience.
Reply to
Robert Flint
At a model railway exhibition once, I selected an item from one of the traders and went to pay for it. I was greeted with the words "you're not one of my regular customers". I will admit replying "let's keep it that way", I left the item and continued around the exhibition.
There were plenty of other traders who took the stance "how may I help you, sir?". It's clear where my money ended up!
Reply to
"PhilD" wrote
. I was greeted with the words "you're not one of my regular customers".
I take it the tone didn't suggest that he wanted you to be then, if you went else where?
I do wonder about some folk in this trade what they really are here for? :-)
Reply to
Andy Sollis- Churnet Valley model Railway Dept.
Quite. I walked into one model shop and approached the counter to ask if they had a particular item. I was told by way of answer, "No. We close in two minutes." I took the 'hint' and left, along with my custom.
OTOH in another shop, which I have no hesitation in naming as Sheffield Transport Models, I have often asked for obscure items and each time I'm told that it can be ordered for me, and very promptly it turns up too. Which is part of the reason I keep going back.
Reply to
There was a model shop in York which didn't seem to want customers. If you were lucky the staff might simply ignore you, but I sometimes wondered if I was going to get thrown out for asking if they had something I needed. They really didn't like people going to the upstairs bit of the shop, where the interesting bits and pieces were. I've spoken to other people who had problems there, so it wasn't just me!
There was another model shop (not trains) I used to go to which I was half-convinced was a front for something. They would sell stuff if they had it on the shelf, but didn't have the 'enthusiasm' for the products most specialist model shops do, and weren't keen on browsers or questions. The owner once told me off for buying a tin of paint which wasn't listed on the kit box, as I "should" paint the plane as the instructions say, not in a more recent livery!
Reply to
Arthur Figgis
Not only model shops. I have in front of me a leaflet from the North British Railway Study Group which I picked up on Saturday. "Membership is open to any person, over 18 years of age......" Not surprising the chaps on the stand were pensioners. If people in their early and mid-teens are not welcome this hobby will gradually rot. The group will be getting the thick end of my tongue shortly, rather than my money.
Reply to
Ken Parkes
And hence the reason I have not joined a club as yet.
Reply to
Ian Cornish
In article , Ken Parkes writes
Might this be due to the need to comply with the requirements of the Child Protection Act if they admitted under-18's?
Dave Searle
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Reply to
Dave Searle
There's no such Act.
From a child protection viewpoint having "junior" members does not add any particularly onerous duties "on t'commitee" of any reputable organisation.
Reply to
Chris Wilson
Being a bit pedantic aren't you How about or
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just for starters. Keith
Make friends in the hobby. Visit Garratt photos for the big steam lovers.
Reply to
Keith Norgrove
And me. "Junior" membership at my local club starts at age 14.
Reply to
No I don't think so, there's a lot of press fostered hysteria in the air at the moment, in fact there has been for a while and I regard it as being just a tad unhealthy. Simple straightforward approach to the whole question is far better than the over sensitive approach we appear to have at the moment.
Reply to
Chris Wilson
I'm in my early 30's. Whilst I qualify for membership, most of the members I've met at their exhibition are nearly twice my age, and a few hinted I would not be welcome. wrote:
Reply to
Ian Cornish
"Chris Wilson" wrote
It's not just press fostered either. A friend who works as a life guard at a local authority swimming pool was reprimanded for pulling a kid (who was in difficulty) from another pool operated from the same authority because he did work in close-proximity with a (near naked) child whilst unaccompanied, and (because he was not actually at work at the time and therefore uninsured) the authority was fearful of legal action if there has been any accusation of wrong-doing.
Reply to
John Turner
I suspect the LA is running feared of the press-fostered hype :-/
If this was an official reprimand I would expect that his union would have something to say about it.
Reply to
That would be my view as well.
... more than likely he wouldn't be in a union, however if I was him I'd be tempted to talk to the local press.
Reply to
Chris Wilson

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