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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First,wishing everyone a very merry Christmas.

Now to meat of the subject.
Second,im not gonna name names in my little adventure i had today but i have a feeling this likely happens in a lot of the afterfor mentioned places all over the USA.

So,in my quest to build a N scale layout and being the total rookie i am, i have been making purchases on the internet for track and a Locomotive and even though the nearest mom and pop place is about a 30 min drive away i thought i should throw a couple of bones their way to help do my part in keeping what's left still alive.

Thirdly, I'm gonna give kudo's to how everything went up until the point i actually went to the store.
I was able to e=mail my list of needed items to the train department and they promptly responded with what they had of what i wanted with the prices....now I'm tickled on how smooth that went i responded with ill take it all and be in the next day or two to pick it up, even though the prices were a little higher than i could find online the difference wasn't a deal breaker.

I arrive there today at opening time to find the store is already very busy so that is good to see and i make my way to the train section and a clerk greets me quickly and upon which i ask him to retrieve my purchase so i could pay and make my way home with my newly acquired treasures..............Kato Unitraks! A moment or so passes and said clerk returns to tell me he cant find the merchandise. So he give a call to the person i e-mailed with and soon finds my stuff and now all is well.I thought as lone as im here ill look around and come across some rolling stock in a locked case marked at 25% off. Looked it over and seen one i would like to adopt a take home and this is where the train did a Casey Jones>trying to get the clerks attention so i can get the car was to no avail because he was deep in a obviously personal chat with another guy that was about from what i overheard, flying their small planes into airports in bad weather. Hey if they were pilots I'm glad for them but after two or more minuets you think he would pause to help me or am i just being a cranky old man?

As a side not as i sit here and write this i get a call from the LHS that the other items i wanted but were not in stock are in.
Ok, sorry bout that rant so ill just move on to the next day's adventures

馃殏馃殏
 

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Once you become a regular, you'll be having conversations with the staff too. Going to a train store or a gun store is a little like going to a tavern.

Right now you are an outsider, but pretty soon you'll be able to sit at the Stammtisch.
 

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...

I arrive there today at opening time to find the store is already very busy so that is good to see and i make my way to the train section and a clerk greets me quickly and upon which i ask him to retrieve my purchase so i could pay and make my way home with my newly acquired treasures..............Kato Unitraks! A moment or so passes and said clerk returns to tell me he cant find the merchandise. So he give a call to the person i e-mailed with and soon finds my stuff and now all is well.I thought as lone as im here ill look around and come across some rolling stock in a locked case marked at 25% off. Looked it over and seen one i would like to adopt a take home and this is where the train did a Casey Jones>trying to get the clerks attention so i can get the car was to no avail because he was deep in a obviously personal chat with another guy that was about from what i overheard, flying their small planes into airports in bad weather. Hey if they were pilots I'm glad for them but after two or more minuets you think he would pause to help me or am i just being a cranky old man?

...

馃殏馃殏
Not in my books. I find myself becoming increasingly angry if a clerk doesn't offer to help or to complete a sale within a few minutes. It's different if it's another buying customer, either in person or on the phone; we all know to await our turn. But, if it's just idle chat, and the clerk lets us stand by for several minutes, that's just poor behaviour and poor leadership at work. Also, I am not the least bit averse to interrupting with, "I will probably need to come back to purchase these? I'm running late." That resets the old chip in their brains.
 

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After working Retail for ten years I would call that A bad Clerk. I was always told (and it is tru) you are here to sell merchandise not to socialize with your friends. they should have at least said I will be with you in a minute and stopped talking to his "Friend" . So no you are not a Cranky old man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Once you become a regular, you'll be having conversations with the staff too. Going to a train store or a gun store is a little like going to a tavern.

Right now you are an outsider, but pretty soon you'll be able to sit at the Stammtisch.
In hindsight i guess i could have interrupted them by speaking up but after handing me over $130 in a sale to me with another +150 in what they dident have at the time you think he would try to fish some more $ out of me wile im there. In workin days i did about 20 years in retail sales and those years when i was working on a commission basis doing something like that results in not makin nothing.
I feel sure the clerk at the LHS is paid by the hour weather he sells anything or not and ill admit a $300 sale nowa days really aint much but what ya gonna do.
I would like to be able to go there more that i do but in my current circumstances it not possible. I will be making a trip back to pick up what i dident get today but that will be next week.
 

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In hindsight i guess i could have interrupted them by speaking up but after handing me over $130 in a sale to me with another +150 in what they dident have at the time you think he would try to fish some more $ out of me wile im there. In workin days i did about 20 years in retail sales and those years when i was working on a commission basis doing something like that results in not makin nothing.
I feel sure the clerk at the LHS is paid by the hour weather he sells anything or not and ill admit a $300 sale nowa days really aint much but what ya gonna do.
I would like to be able to go there more that i do but in my current circumstances it not possible. I will be making a trip back to pick up what i dident get today but that will be next week.
My local hobby store has been there since around 1934 and would not still be in business if they acted like that.
300 bucks is not that much? Take 20 customers spending 300 bucks a day, equals 6000 bucks for the day.
If they did that 6000 a day all week it would total 30,000 bucks! Now not everyone spends that much when they go to a hobby shop, but it all adds up.
Especially in these days of internet buying.

If I am engaged in conversation when a customer walks in I will gladly wait, and not get mad at them going and making a sale. At times I will help if I can.
I am in no hurry anyway, when I was a little kid I remember going there with my Dad and we were there for hours not minutes.
That kept me out of Moms hair. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My local hobby store has been there since around 1934 and would not still be in business if they acted like that.
300 bucks is not that much? Take 20 customers spending 300 bucks a day, equals 6000 bucks for the day.
If they did that 6000 a day all week it would total 30,000 bucks! Now not everyone spends that much when they go to a hobby shop, but it all adds up.
Especially in these days of internet buying.

If I am engaged in conversation when a customer walks in I will gladly wait, and not get mad at them going and making a sale. At times I will help if I can.
I am in no hurry anyway, when I was a little kid I remember going there with my Dad and we were there for hours not minutes.
That kept me out of Moms hair. :)
I agree Big Ed. To me 300 is not a small amount,and other than the +150 i will pick up next week i dont see me making any more buys over $100 after i get the layout operational,or at least i hope 馃挷馃殏馃殏 i can also see where they have regulars who wont blink an eye at droping 750 for a Big Boy among what else they have bought there, and that really shouldn't make a difference. I'm not gonna right them off and vow never to go there again but ill try to go on the off weekday mornings after the Christmas buying is over.

I have a feeling that the clerk that i had this interaction with will eventually get busted by the owner cause i feel sure he will do it to someone else who will step up and make it an issue
 

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I would let it slide now a days. With covid and crap who knows , that guy could have been wothout conversation for a long time. I see it a lot when my mom first started going out. TBH, if i was that upset, and i was being helped first, i would speak up. Say excuse me i dont mean to interrupt but i need to finish my order, etc , etc.
 

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My father was a small business owner from 1948 until he retired in the 1990s. I got my love of model trains from him. Needless to say, I never had to worry about a weekend or summer job. One of the first things I remember being taught, after how to make change and count it out properly into the customer's hand, was to NEVER, no matter what I was doing, let a customer who wanted to give me money stand unattended. My wife doesn't understand why I get so angry in so many stores when I'm ignored. As my father always said, "The customer may not always be right, but they're always the customer."
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I would let it slide now a days. With covid and crap who knows , that guy could have been wothout conversation for a long time. I see it a lot when my mom first started going out. TBH, if i was that upset, and i was being helped first, i would speak up. Say excuse me i don't mean to interrupt but i need to finish my order, etc , etc.
Yea ,I'm over it now and i know ill be back to buy again.
If i think about there was more good in that exchange by being able to put my purchase together through e-mail quickly and being competitively priced, other than him not being able to find it which didn't bug me but the being ignored part is what pushed my cranky button.

So instead of being a Grinch about it I'm gonna dive right into this project and have a Merry Christmas
 

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I get it, i have my cranky old man moments, but then try to put myself into others shoes, its also easier when it dosen't happen to you, lol . Hope it all woks out, the train stuff. Have fun with the new toys!
 

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I just wish I had a LHS now days. The one I frequented for years was there through 3 owners over a 63 year period. The original owner never met a stranger in his 35 years and knew his trains besides other hobby stuff. When he retired and the second owner bought the store, he lasted 6 years. The store went from a train store and Lionel Service Center to mostly RC car and air plane store. That was his focus and his hobby. The train inventory and his lack of train knowledge cost him. We train people were pushed aside and pretty much ignored. If you went into that store and there was even one RC car or airplane customer there, the owner's attention was on that guy. I began to take notice of what those people bought. Usually nothing. Just a bunch of jawing. My average purchase was always 200.00-300.00 a visit as was others I knew. About once a month 4 of us train friends made a 160 mile round trip to a real train shop. We easily spent 300.00+ each. Remember this was during the early years of computers and not much on line ordering was even available.
The third and final owner had the place for 22 years. He returned it to a train and general hobby store and kept the RC crowd as well. When you walked in, you always got a "hello, be with you in a couple of minutes". He had a large train inventory on hand. not to mention train supplies and was very knowledgeable. He and I became good friends over the years. Sadly, his business succumbed to the on line sellers and his business declined to the point he closed five years ago.
I write this LHS account to illustrate what happens how different managing styles affects the retail side of the LHS. I witnessed the whole thing through all three owners. The owner cannot take his customers for granted and you, the customer, can't take the LHS for granted because someday he may not be there. Support your LHS if there is one. Don't fall victim to buying on line just because it is cheaper. Developing a relationship with the owner is priceless when it comes to helpful advise not to mention getting something serviced if there is a warranty issue. In my opinion, sometimes paying a little more is cheaper in the long run. If the LHS doesn't respect you for coming into his store, then by all means move on. We need each other to be successful.

Kenny
 

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That's why I buy my trains and train accoutrements from Amazon. The closest LHS to me was just as OP described. In fact, it could have been the same place. The old farts stood around jawing, and not one person asked 'Can I help you?'

Selection in N was very limited, and prices were jacked over SRP.

On the other hand, Amazon trains are almost always in stock so I can find what I want without having to wait for the owner to finish his conversation with his buddies.

You don't get much customer service up front from either, but with Amazon, returns are as close to painless as they can be.

Local hobby stores are dying, but it is as much from crappy service as it is from internet competition.

And lest anyone think I am prejudiced against old farts, I am an old fart, and i have the geezercycle to prove it.
 

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I have a great local train store, and I help the owner go out and acquire train collections.....my only on-line train buying is when I can absolutely not get something through the local store, but that鈥檚 not very often.....just lucky, I guess, but I鈥檒l take it! 馃榿
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have a great local train store, and I help the owner go out and acquire train collections.....the only on-line train buying on-line is when I can absolutely not get something through the local store, but that鈥檚 not very often.....just lucky, I guess, but I鈥檒l take it! 馃榿
.
That is what i wish for 馃い buts 30 min each way so its still kinda local.
And from a new guy point of veiw the shop in my story has a fairly large train section.I guess the store is half rc type stuff with the other half divided to models and trains.So i hope they have success, just to have them near by and his prices are just a little more than the internet is not enough to change my mind and buy online especially if i want something bad enough i could have it in two hours

Too all who own shops thank you for being there

Merry Christmas to all
馃殏馃巺
 

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you might consider leaving a note on their web site comment page.
Ya drive for half and hour to get to their store then have to wait while someone else tells em about their personal life issues. I get irritated at any store when people are in line and the guy wants to tell the cashier about their sob story. Then, the women who need to repack their suit case after finding the cash they need outa their wallet, that is packed in a clutch, that is at the bottom of the hand purse, that is somewhere in the carry bag that is mixed with other things in their suit case. Good lord that drives me nuts.
 

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One thing to consider , a lot of times the staff in small LHS is not necessarily paid. Some are just modelers/collectors who just "watch" the store for the owner while they go to lunch ,take care of some other business or help out on the weekend, In exchange they might get a discount on something that they want . So they don't necessarily have a vested interest in selling you something . Thats both good and bad , bad because you don't get service, good because you don't get leftovers and junk pushed on you. I've seen this happen at most small non chain stores , they don't have the resources to hire and pay regular staff. Its sort of an off the books barter. You usually get better service if their working on commission.

Its a fairly common practice in a single owner store. If your knowledgeable and you hang around enough they'll try to recruit you by forcing you to take the keys to the store and leaving you in charge !:ROFLMAO:
 

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Unfortunately, its almost a self made proficy. We go elsewhere for cheaper prices and to have to noth bother with the nuansances of the LHS. And then they close down one by one. So , we cant have both, good service and low prices , unless you go to a bigger operation. Years ago the banter was half the reason why people went to the local stores. Were all in a rush, rush mentality now. Everything is geared to it. And lets face it trains are not a big ticket in demand item now. I dont see everyone wanting them and the stock selling out leading to huge 200 pecrcent mark ups. Its not a nintendo. Places like the lhs are far and few between. Most places over here are gone, and thats more then the LHS. Anyway, have fun.
 

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That was my experience in the scenario I described earlier about the 3 different owners with the last one and I becoming friends. If I was there and he wanted lunch he'd leave and myself and somebody else would mind the store. There were always 2-3 train guys there hanging out and trading stories. Most of the time you could learn something if it pertained to the gauge you were into. Most everybody helped the customer by answering questions so when the owner came back the customer had already been told what he wanted know and then could conduct his business with more knowledge with the owner.

Kenny
 
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