Are all shows/swap meets alike?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by ezdays, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The vendor above mentioned that most sales went to club members with display layouts at the show. Most attendees were lookers rather than buyers. I think that would be accurate. I think one of the most valuable things a show does is to introduce the hobby to the general public, but the general public is probably going to go to a couple of shows or perhaps to one show and then visit a local hobby shop before committing the resources to start in the hobby. One of the great things about the shows is the "junk". You can buy shells, and used locomotives cheap, if you know what you are doing. It is a great place to find kit bash material, but anyone who thinks they are going to buy a $5.00 "junk box" take it home and find a new Kato locomotive unopened in the box is kidding themselves.
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    I can't agree more, but if I buy a bunch of stuff and the seller tells me it's all good and I pay the price of good equipment, and get it home and it turns out to be junk that I should have paid a fraction of what I did for it, then I can be rightfully upset because he was not truthful. If it was being sold as junk, and I paid junk prices for it, than I would have no cause to be upset.

    At the start of this thread, I said that there were people selling new stuff and higher than list price, selling used equipment at new prices and pretending that junk stuff was perfectly good and pricing their goods accordingly. Not all vendors are that way, but it doesn't take many to make one suspicious. the fact that vendors are one of the biggest buyers from other vendors indicates to me that all the bargins are gone by the time the doors open to the general public. Why else would one vendor buy from another other than to mark it up and re-sell it?

    I hope my points are taken in the context that they are intended. I am not bashing all sellers or shows, and I'm not naive and think I'm going to get something for nothing or can take advantage of these sellers. I just don't thing they should take advantage of us either.

  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You definately have to excercise caution. Most vendors, other than hobby shops that set up a table, don't figure you'll be back. The GAT Shows have a test track set up to test any engines on site, and I think dealers are expected to give you an opportunity to test used locomotives before you buy as well as refund your money if you find problems while on site after your purchase. I know that our club has allowed individuals to run a new purchase on the modular layout to test it even when the individual isn't a club member. On the other hand, I've heard stories from my friends at my local hobby shop of people bringing in a poor quality toy train locomotive in an Atlas box to see if they can get their new "Atlas" model to run better! When questioned inevitably they respond that they bought the model at a G.A.T. Show. Needless to say the local hobby shops are not happy to be asked to straighten out problems created by unscrupulous show vendors. The bottom line is that you need to know what your looking at. It is one of the great things aout being in a club as far as I'm concerned. When I first joined the club, I was new to the hobby. If I saw something I thought I wanted, the more experienced club members were a great help in advising me.
  4. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    I'll try to be brief with a couple of clarifications:
    When I said 75-80% of sales are to other vendors or to show-layout exhibitors, that means the value for $ of my product is good, as these are the most discerning of customers.
    I DO NOT sell to other vendors before the show starts, as I believe that would be unethical. I DO sell to them after 2 pm. on Saturdays, however.
    The fact that they buy, means my price\ value ratio is excellent, and the general public at that show, has failed to understand that value.

    I DO sell to show exhibitors, the layout/club folks, before the show starts,if they want, because that is simply good business, and these folks buy from me all year 'round, at all the shows.
    They buy from me because the price IS right, and the value\quality is there...(for instance, I supply a business card with any locomotive over $60, with a promise to refund the money if it doesn't run as promised**...never had one returned...I test every one before selling.)

    (**BTW, that "as promised" means that if you ask about the running qualities of a 1968 Rivarossi engine, I will tell you I tested it, and it runs like ALL 1968 Rivarossi engines"...I explain what that means, and then you doesn't mean it runs like a 2003 BLI, so suck it up and don't waste your time or mine.)

    Not previously addressed, the other 20% of people who buy stuff at shows ( at least from me ):
    Most of them are "regulars" , habitual show attendees, NOT beginners, or any other form of neophytes..I see the SAME faces, over and over, at virtually EVERY single show, in about a 150-200 mile radius...they are mostly quite experienced modelers looking for really cheap good stuff...and I don't blame them...they are looking for "pricing mistakes" or whatever it takes to get something pretty good, for a price that's below belief....God bless 'em all...there's nothing wrong with that....but they usually can't get much from me.
    Beginners ?...they are easy to spot, by their questions. Most real beginners get an unexpected cash discount from me, when they get their change....most "experienced hagglers" do not.

    Yes, there are some bad vendors out there, but there are some pretty good vendors, too....and there's two sides to those show tables all around the room at a train show.
    best regards,
    Mike;) ;)
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    It is pleasing to see that you treat people at these meets as well as you do. I would never expect a vendor to give me a discount because they sensed that I am new to the hobby or guantee the condition of an engine; on the contrary, I expect them to try and take advantage of me, and some have proven that to be the case. You are a rare breed. I have a reputation for being a man of my word and I am proud of it, I sense you are also proud of the way you do business and treat people. I'm sure we both sleep better at night knowing that.

    My good friend Andrew (CSX6638) send me this link. It is a lengthy article, but spend a few minutes to read the sections on Swap Meets and Train shows and you'll see where this guy just kinda gets to the heart of things.

    Bottom line is that not every vendor is trying to screw buyers and not all buyers are trying to steal from vendors, but there are enough out there that causes buyer and seller both to be on guard. An that's a pity we have to do business that way....


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