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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Have been looking to purchase a barn for the farm my wife wanted me to add to my layout. (done) I could name the places but I won't, but here in SE Pennsylvania & Maryland I found several for sale - all the MTH barn. Check out the range of prices:

LTS #1. - $179.00
LTS #2. - $149.00
LTS #3. - $ 80.00
LTS #4. - $ 55.00
LTS #5. - $ 48.00

I think the #5 price may have been "new" from an estate sale. I was amazed at the degree of mark-up some dealers added. I don't know what the whole sale price is for this item so I cannot comment much more.

The dilemma is this - the closest LTS (local train store) to me is #3. It just over 1/2 a mile from my house. Where I bought the barn from, #4, is over a 2 hour trip one way. (yeah, I know - I s t r e t c h the definition of local a bit) So, how much extra should I willing to pay to keep the neighborhood guy in business?

I was very fortunate in this case, because of the York April TCS meet, that all locations except #1, which I actually passed going to and from York, were at the meet. It made thing easier.
 

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Loyalty can only have value if it is reciprocal in nature. One-sided, or unilaterally, it is normally only useful to the beneficiary. Even so, the idea of loyalty in business arrangements seems stretched to me.

A dilemma, if it is an ethical one, must satisfy three conditions:

It must present a choice between at least two permissible options;

One must choose one of the options. No flying off to Hawaii for a break; and

The correct, or 'better' choice of the two must not be readily apparent.

I don't see a dilemma here. You have no duty to any of the sources, at least as far as you explain your situation. If you add a criterion, strictly self-imposed, that you must support a local seller, then it's no longer a dilemma.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Loyalty can only have value if it is reciprocal in nature. One-sided, or unilaterally, it is normally only useful to the beneficiary. Even so, the idea of loyalty in business arrangements seems stretched to me.

A dilemma, if it is an ethical one, must satisfy three conditions:

It must present a choice between at least two permissible options;

One must choose one of the options. No flying off to Hawaii for a break; and

The correct, or 'better' choice of the two must not be readily apparent.

I don't see a dilemma here. You have no duty to any of the sources, at least as far as you explain your situation. If you add a criterion, strictly self-imposed, that you must support a local seller, then it's no longer a dilemma.
Brilliant answer. A very high level of thoughtfulness. So glad I did not debate against you when I was in college.
 

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Have been looking to purchase a barn for the farm my wife wanted me to add to my layout. (done) I could name the places but I won't, but here in SE Pennsylvania & Maryland I found several for sale - all the MTH barn. Check out the range of prices:

LTS #1. - $179.00
LTS #2. - $149.00
LTS #3. - $ 80.00
LTS #4. - $ 55.00
LTS #5. - $ 48.00

I think the #5 price may have been "new" from an estate sale. I was amazed at the degree of mark-up some dealers added. I don't know what the whole sale price is for this item so I cannot comment much more.

The dilemma is this - the closest LTS (local train store) to me is #3. It just over 1/2 a mile from my house. Where I bought the barn from, #2, is over a 2 hour trip one way. (yeah, I know - I s t r e t c h the definition of local a bit) So, how much extra should I willing to pay to keep the neighborhood guy in business?

I was very fortunate in this case, because of the York April TCS meet, that all locations except #1, which I actually passed going to and from York, were at the meet. It made thing easier.
You could also scratch build the barn for a whole lot less than any of those prices.

Traction Fan
 

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If I could have a say....Mr. Traction Fan has the best option for you. You could build out of basswood...balsawood...Plastruct plastic panels. Add mini LED lights for Bessie da cow!
Choice TWO....is the $80.00 barn. That still leaves money on the table for you to add lights...cows/pigs/sheep/emus.....maybe replicate the interior of a friends barn, or a hoarders' house....lol!
 

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Sometimes things just work out, I read this thread, I have a small layout that I wanted to put a barn area in, so I searched off of MTH Barns and found a barn flat, it is perfect for my spot that butts a wall. So yes I do believe in customer/business loyalty, have been that way in and outside our hobby, but just thought I would mention my good fortune.
 

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Negative - all but the most expensive priced vendor were at York Train Meet... About 31 minutes travel for me.
But that doesn’t make any sense….why drive 4 times as far to pay almost twice the amount for the same thing? :oops:
I don't understand either. The $80 barn is little more than 1/2 mile from your house? You could have walked there and bought it.
 

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I do believe in loyalty to a business. I believe that the loyalty is reciprocal, as @mesenteria noted, when I get good service from the business. I also believe that quality costs money, whether the quality is in the materials or the people. So I do not mind paying a little more for a business that provides better service to me. If I am not getting the service I require, I am no longer loyal to that business.

To apply this to the train hobby, I have a LHS that I have bought around 80% of my trains and supplies from. I got a lot of free advice from this shop when I got started in the hobby. I still get advice from them as we are building my new layout. They help figure out reasonable solutions to our problems, even when it is not necessarily to their best interests. An example of this occurred this weekend when they were showing my son and I how to install DCC decoders in some locomotives we bought. They do the installs there for $40 each but were giving us the knowledge to do them ourselves for free. I know I could easily get some supplies much more cheaply on the internet than there, but I buy from them because I want them to be there when I have a problem and want advice.

On a side note, the definition of local is always very flexible. This store is in San Antonio, about 10 minutes or so from my son's house but an hour and a half drive from me. The second store I consider as a backup LHS is in Addison, about 30 minutes from my daughter but about a five to six hour drive from me. I almost always stop in there when i go up to see my daughter. In Texas, a two hour trip one way is definitely local.
 

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I have a couple places I get my models from. In Wheaton Illinois we have a monthly train show that I go to most every month for my train fix as well as having Walt’s hobby shop in crest hill Illinois. Walt’s is about half way between my house and Wheaton so it’s closer but they’re obviously more expensive than the train show. There are a few vendors at the train show that I ALWAYS make it a point to buy from when they’re at the show since they will give you deals. One guy I buy from gets some form of business from me no matter what. Sometimes I buy a box car off him for a couple bucks or I buy half of his ho scale items. He has always treated me with dignity and respect and has even held stuff for me till the next month so I could go there with money for it if said item is expensive. He knows my hand shake is good as gold. That being said there are a few vendors that will never get a red cent from me since they have been condescending to me and one in particular acts like he is king of the show. If I have money left from my monthly allowance I usually swing into Walt’s and burn the rest on couplers, wheel sets, decoders, and scenery. In the event I was to want a brand new locomotive Walt’s would get my money but 99% of what I buy is either used or nos.
 

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I am SOOOO LUCKY, toy train wise, to live where I do. I too, go to the Great American Train Show in Wheaton, Illinois for a lot of my stuff, from car and locomotives to vehicles, buildings and scenery. I have three local train stores that have been around for over 30 years but are very pricy. Can't wait to see 3D printers compete with monopolized toy train vendors to get them to lower there prices! One of my local train store will give me a 10% discount for being a local gal.
I do ebay on things if the price is right and only IF free shipping is in play.
Looks like the internet is quickly loosing out as shipping cost for vendors will take it's toll. And I rather shop in person anyway. There will always be those things on the internet you just don't see at the store, so you either bite the bullet or kitbash your own.
 

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Yes, it was a mistake - corrected it I the OP.... It is a wonder that my trains don't run backwards all the time.
I thought so when I first read it, but that was about 1:30 AM in 1/2 dark room without glasses. I’m at the stage now where sometimes I have to read stuff 3x before I get it. Daily adventure of aging and the fun has just begun 😆
 

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You could also scratch build the barn for a whole lot less than any of those prices.

Traction Fan
I agree. Try a scratch build. It will add a personal effect to your layout, and your wife will be so proud of you. I have recently started scratch building and I usually mock up with an old cereal box first. And, I was just kidding about your wife being proud. You would be proud and she will eventually start to roll her eyes
 

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Funny - me, too. I'd been thinking small towns / light industrial, but my wife wanted a farm. Got the barn from American Model Builders. (When I go into my local train stores and ask for their "S-Scale Section", they know I'm being sarcastic.) I haven't gotten the courage to tackle scratch-building yet, but did feel a sense of accomplishment from slapping together a fence from left-over pieces.

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Ok, I'll put my 2 cents in on this one, All the years doing restorations and listening to people grip about cost of { What have you }- I'm a firm believer giving highly quality work at low price - it is better to make a low profit a 100 times over then to stick some poor guy once - who will never come back - as you can see the OP had enough class not to brand his Number 1 loser - publicly - which makes my point very clear - { I grip all the time so I'm not perfect - never will be } but still hold true to Old Fashion business practices
Example
  • I bought a train from a guy paid fair price
  • He then asked me to consign one for him, I did and did not make a dime - it sold at his asking price to one of my clients
  • I have one of his trains in for repair
  • he called me - he picked up a part I needed as a thank you gift for treating him fairly
You get the point Being Number one on the OP list is just as bad as Going Number two - Once you stuff people that smell never goes away.
You can be the biggest jerk in the world and still make it - by just treating people fairly
Ok that is my two cents - in todays market - not much interest on 2 cents.
 
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