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 customers.
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!
--
Mike Hughes
A Taxi driver licensed for London and Brighton
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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

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I couldn't agree more. The guy in Uckfield will be getting more business from me!
--
Mike Hughes
A Taxi driver licensed for London and Brighton
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writes

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.
--

Regards

John



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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.
ROB
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On Wed, 31 Aug 2005 10:39:42 +0100, Robert Flint wrote:

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.
Ken.
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Ken Parkes wrote:

And hence the reason I have not joined a club as yet.
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Ian Cornish wrote:

And me. "Junior" membership at my local club starts at age 14.
MBQ
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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.
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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On Thu, 01 Sep 2005 16:07:03 +0100, Ian Cornish wrote:

Well I'm over twice your age but I wouldn't hold that against you. Bet you haven't got a big enough beer gut....or perhaps you like diesels.
Ken.
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Ken Parkes wrote:

Don't drink beer (perhaps my big failing!), and like Diesels, Electrics though prefer Steam.
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On Sat, 03 Sep 2005 06:46:06 +0100, Ian Cornish wrote:

Obviously the club is at fault. Their loss. Start your own for 14+.
Ken.
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Might this be due to the need to comply with the requirements of the Child Protection Act if they admitted under-18's?
Regards,
Dave Searle http://www.lbscr.org.uk
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writes

is
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.
--

All the best,

Chris Wilson
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On Wed, 31 Aug 2005 23:59:28 +0100, "Chris Wilson"

Being a bit pedantic aren't you How about <http://www.crb.gov.uk/downloads/childprotect.pdf or http://www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/c-05_1.pdf or http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/C/ChildProtectA99.pdf
just for starters. Keith
Make friends in the hobby. Visit <http://www.grovenor.dsl.pipex.com/ Garratt photos for the big steam lovers.
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wrote:

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.
--

All the best,

Chris Wilson
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"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.
John.
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John Turner wrote:

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.
R.
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wrote in message

at
was
because he

unaccompanied,
any
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.
--

All the best,

Chris Wilson
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His union are officially in favour of child-safety policies and so are the press. And the council are legally obligated to protect themselves from risks of litigation. So what do you think the press are going to do? I suppose they could run a story that plays up the chap as a potential molester and shows the council taking firm action. No harm in that.
No, the incident will be logged in the poor fellow's file, and if he ever does anything like it again, then he'll be heading straight for List 99.
Cheers, Steve
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