It really hit home

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by rhensley@anderson.cioe.co, Mar 16, 2002.

  1. Our paper carries 'For Better or Worse' in the comics section. In the strip, he is a model railroader and she now owns a gift/hobby shop. Yesterday and today (Friday/Saturday) I watched as one customer distracted the clerk while another removed a locomotive form a showcase. Today, the theft of a $1500 US brass loco was discovered. Another clerk had left the case unlocked while she stepped out.

    I told you that to tell you this. Nearing the end of my time as a train hobby shop owner, we had developed a theft problem. More and more I put things under lock and key, Kadee 5s, N scale cars and locos, HO locos, etc. Then I was out for a major health problem for four months with my wife and Faye, my clerk, taking care of business.

    We were robbed blind. By the time I returned and looked at the inventory books and compared it to the shelves, it was obvious that we were in deep trouble. I know that some of my N Scale went to a couple of guys in a small town north of me, but I couldn't catch them in the act. I also know that some of my merchandise was being sold at a local club in the area as I had one 'customer' come in looking for the parts package for a particular loco that he had just bought at the club. I had the parts pack. It was in the empty box that the loco had been in when it was stolen.

    Yes, the comic strip really hit home. This is just one of the dangers of owning a retail store front hobby shop. After all, the thief really needs that model or part more than the shop owner and a regular customer. After all, everyone knows that all shop owners can easily afford the loss, they make tons of money by ripping off their customers with high prices.

    Well, by the time I got my losses under control, it was too late. My shop was history. How many others have gone the same way?

    Roger

    Roger Hensley - madisonrails@railfan.net
    == http://cid.railfan.net/eci_new.html ==
    == East Central Indiana HO Scale Railroad ==
  2. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Roger, I can imagine how you felt, especially after some of the posts in another forum about the so-called Hobby Shop Owners ripping off the modellers. These thieves are a pathetic fact in today's society and they make me sick to my gut!

    The only time I get to shop for models is when I visit the USA and I always go to the hobby shops for my needs, I don't trust mail order or e-commerce. I've visited most shops between LA and Denver and found that most customers only visit to chat about the hobby. Nothing wrong with that except that the store owners are generally so very helpfull and polite yet can't be making a 'per hour' income much above the minimum wage! They are the lifeblood of this hobby and are not just box-movers. I'm not a condescending person but the least I can do is buy a couple of dollars worth of 'bits' if they don't have what I'm really looking for. All the stores I visited had good selections of stuff and without exception were selling at below manufacturers recommended prices so I always felt I had got a good deal.

    The characters you spoke of are not modellers, they are opportunists and it beats me how they would risk jail and loss of livelyhood for $1,500 and so often for a helluva lot less than that!!!

    I wish you well for the future Roger and hope you don't think badly of most of us.

    Errol
  3. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Roger,
    I guess this doesn't surprise me as much as it should, but it still saddens me deeply to hear of model railroaders behaving in such a manner!:mad:
    Do they not realize that all they're succeeding in doing is destroying the hobby for others and themselves?
    The local hobby shop is the lynchpin of the hobby, & the more of them that are prosperous, the better the mfgrs do, the more products & choices we have, & the hobby grows...
    Times are kinda tough right now, & all of us need to support our local dealers as best we can...not kick the legs out from under them!
    People open hobby shops because they love the hobby. There are many ways to get rich, this isn't one of them!
    I'm very sorry to hear of your loss, Roger.
  4. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Roger I echo the previous two posts, Sorry to hear about your loss.:( The closest hobby shop to me is in the next county but I try to buy as much as I can from him, I don't want to think what this hobby would be like without the hobby shops.
  5. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Roger,
    I have allready posted on this forum my belief in supporting our local hobby shops, so it saddens me to hear that not only has another one gone, but that it had to go because some people haven't the personal responsibility to be honest. I feel the model railroading community is deminished by those who feel the need to steal from it.
    Sorry you had to sustain those losses,and that it cost you your business. It will be missed.
    Pete
  6. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    smaller market

    Theft is a problem here, but also the relative "smallness" of the market, means that most people will know, or heard of most people that are into the hobby seriously. Expensive items ($1,500 + etc) are talked about, and as soon as someone has a "new" one, they are quized "Where did you get that?" as part of the general conversation. And everyone knows if the method in which it was obtained is legitimate or not.

    "I got it at Fred's Hobby Shoppe" won't work, as someone will know Fred and know if Fred has sold a $1,500 item!(or can easily find out).

    "I found it", is not quite a valid method of procurement, and never believed.
  7. BDC

    BDC Member

    "We have met the enemy, and he is us." How true. On other forums, there are multiple threads on how Ebay is driving the LHS out of business. No one mentions that the modelers themselves might be stealing the store into bankruptcy. A real shame, especially how we consider this to be a friendly hobby full of nice people. I guess I can stop wondering why every train store I've been in has had all medium and small stuff locked behind displays. :(

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