Train shows, same old stuff or ?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Mastiffdog, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. Mastiffdog

    Mastiffdog Member

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    To keep things interesting, I am going to change reels here and ask you some questions about the Train shows you attend:

    1. How many shows do you attend over a 1 year period?

    2. Is a stand alone buy-sell-trade show better or worse that a show that is tied to a convention or club?

    3. Let's say you're an East Coast modeler attending regional type shows, say within a 150 mile radius. Do see the same crap over and over again, or do always find something you like?

    4. What is your favorite show?

    5. Have you ever witnessed either a major arguement or fight over an item? (I'm serious)

    6. Do you ever see "vest pocket" dealers running around the trading floor trying to buy from one guy and sell to another?

    7. If you do go to alot of shows, what would be your list of do's and don'ts to pass on to newbies?


    Dog
  2. Ricardo Correia

    Ricardo Correia Member

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    I'll start answering your questions:

    1. Over a 1-year period, I usually travel to 3/4 shows;
    2. A stand alone buy-sell-trade, promoted by an association is always different than an exhibition, at least here in Portugal. An association invites its members to buy/sell/trade items and that's it. In a train show, you get people to show their layouts and you only buy/sell/trade if it's ok between the people on the show. Nevertheless, it's always possible to have b/s/t in an exhibition, although it doesn't happen very often...
    3. In this case, since I'm from Portugal, and in this for a short time, I have never had the chance of going any further than Madrid (from Lisbon to Madrid is about 600 km...) and I went there this year for a train exhibition with a layout (Barcarena, pictured by Xaniel in another part of this forum, with the NMAEISEL exhibition); some of the models and layouts have some years, although they're always beeing repaired and always showing something new. Also, since the layout is modular and iberic, you can always have a different layout with different trains running. I.e., when in Madrid, the largest train we kept running had 13 coaches, in Lisbon, with parcially the same things we run 33 coaches. The layout was far more big than the spanish one... and also the public is different. In Spain you see modellers... in Portugal, just curious about modelling...
    4. My favourite show is, as it would, the one I organize :D
    5. I've never witnessed such a thing either in Portugal or Spain
    6. Fortunately, we don't have many "vest pockets" in Portugal. The model railroaders are few and everyone knows each other...
    7. Do's: improve your layouts, make them shine among others; be always nice and explain things to people; run trains; enjoy the running; share your experiences;
    Don'ts: Never place long faces... people don't like watching them; never be quiet, just agreeing with others; never refuse asking some questions;
  3. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

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    Hi:
    Since joining a modular club i have been to 12 shows in 2.25 years, plus four TCA sales meets. Prior to that, i'd been to 2 shows in twenty years. So all my experience is new and local to the Carolinas, except for a Tidewater,VA show. So,...
    1. See above.
    2. If you mean by B-S-T there are no operating layouts, then i enjoy the other kind of show where there are operating layouts and sales of one sort or another. Have only been to one club sponsored show, which does have sales and layouts, and it's more fun from an exhibitors point of view than the "professional" shows.
    3. Most of the sales stuff moves from show to show, but there is always 10-25 percent that changes. Many of the layouts feature new modules, revised modules, or different running stock so it's always fun to see what folks have been up to, just like here on the gauge.
    4.Neuse River Model Train Club Show, Raleigh, NC.
    5. Only behind the scenes.
    6. No, but i do notice that some things have changed dealers.
    7. Dos:
    1. Share your own modeling experiences with those you meet.
    2. Talk to folks, don’t just walk around looking at things with your arms folded over your chest.
    3. Bring your kids, especially if there are operating layouts.
    4. Bring a friend, or your friend’s kids.
    5. Wear comfortable shoes, and be prepared for a cold venue or a hot venue.
    6. Bring a camera, you’ll get ideas for your layout and want to remember them.
    7. Take breaks, especially if you have little ones, they get worn out and cranky just like big folks.
    8. If the layout has things you can operate, like ours does, then operate it. Let your kids in on the fun too.

    Don’ts:
    1. Educate your kids before you come, so they know not to mess with the layouts. Some of these trains cost a thousand bucks and there may be hundreds of hours invested in the scenery. We’ve had parents throw turnouts so they’d cause derailments, and had one lady pick up a DC-3 and put it on a passing flat car!!! So, amend my first sentence to include parents!
    2. Don’t set your drinks on layouts or display tables. Accidents happen in direct proportion to opportunity.
    3. Don’t expect a gourmet dining experience, but don’t gripe about it either. It’s a train show, not a deli.
    4. At our layout, please don’t let little Johnny lean on the whistle for a solid five minutes. It may look like we’re smiling at him, but it’s REALLY a grimace.

    Don’ts list is shorter than do list.

    Regard’S’,
    Ted
  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    1. How many shows do you attend over a 1 year period?
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    There is 7 that you are guaranteed to see my smiling face.I been know to take in at least 10 shows year.
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    2. Is a stand alone buy-sell-trade show better or worse that a show that is tied to a convention or club?
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    I prefer the shows put on my local clubs and historical groups better then say a GATS.i find the prices is far better at local shows then say GATS.
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    3. Let's say you're an East Coast modeler attending regional type shows, say within a 150 mile radius. Do see the same crap over and over again, or do always find something you like?
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    First most train shows has a core group of dealers that attend these shows and usually they have something different at each show..Then you have what is called independent dealers selling their private collections.So over all if one spends time at Train Shows and look over what is available then yes one can usually find something they need or like to have.Now if one rushes through the show and say in and out in a hour or hour and half of course he/she will have a bad day.Take your time look over what is on the table then look UNDER the front of the tables..You will find a lot of good deals there usually..I am yet to walk away from a train show empty handed.I usually find that odd road name car or engine.Folks remember you only get out of a train show what you what you put in it.
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    4. What is your favorite show?
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    I have 3 that is my favorites.Marion,Willard and Bucyrus.All three of these shows are good.The Bucyrus show gets bigger each year.In fact it had to move from the high school to 2 buildings at the fair grounds.:D Not bad for a small city show.
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    5. Have you ever witnessed either a major arguement or fight over an item?
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    Strangely or perhaps oddly enough I did see a fight break out once over a difference of opinion..This one dude started telling this other guy how "wrong" that brass locomotive model was that he just shelled out $450.00 for and that it was a toy and not a "REAL" model..The buyer said he did not bother him and it should not bother you.This dude tells this guy that bought the engine that you are a insult to real modelers.I guess the other guy had enough and knocked Mr.Perfect Modeler on his hindy and after that it was Katy bar the door. Other guys was getting out of the way tables was getting turn over, Ladies was screamin' fist was a flyin' as well as models from the over turn tables...It took 8 Police officers to break that fight up by using mace and batons(night sticks) to the back of the legs after the combatants started swinging at the officers,still the officers had to jump on them in order to get them on the ground to cuff them.It was a needless fight of course but still a battle royal..That was the only fight I ever seen at a train show. Yes,I and many others stood by and watch those cats have at it.
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    6. Do you ever see "vest pocket" dealers running around the trading floor trying to buy from one guy and sell to another?
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    Not actually on the sales floor,but,I have seen such in the parking lots.
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    7. If you do go to alot of shows, what would be your list of do's and don't to pass on to newbies?
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    That could be a topic in its self..Ok,here is my list.
    1.Take your time,don't rush and look around by walking up and down each row of dealers check under the front of the table...DO NOT BUY AT THIS TIME.

    2.Stop and go to the snack bar and have your favorite drink and snack.Think over what you saw.Relax.

    3.Now being less excited you are ready to start buying.

    4. Haggle over the price like you would a car.Be realistic in your counter offer.Never use I saw this on e bay for or I can get it off the net for.Surprise They already know this in most cases..They also know they don't have to sell you anything less then their asking price..You will only hurt yourself.Remember you are not their only customer for that day and they know that to.

    5.Get there early and spend the day..The reason for this I found most dealers are willing to haggle more closer to closing time..You see by that time they know if they had a good or bad day and they may need to sell more to break even or make a profit.Plus they need to repack their stock and if they sell one more item that is one less thing to pack after all they are tired,hungry and want to go home.

    And finally you only get out of a train show what you are willing to put in it.You can rush through the show in order to get home faster to start a topic on some forum how bad that train show was or to watch TV or you can take your time and find the better deals.Its your call.
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    Dog,Keep these questions coming..They're great!
  5. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

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    1. How many shows do you attend over a 1 year period?

    Only 2 this year. Back in western Pa. I found one almost every week. (no kidding)

    2. Is a stand alone buy-sell-trade show better or worse that a show that is tied to a convention or club?

    I like them all , but ones tied to a club or convention are usually better orginized.

    3. Let's say you're an East Coast modeler attending regional type shows, say within a 150 mile radius. Do see the same crap over and over again, or do always find something you like?

    Sure, you always see what looks to be the same old crap, but if you stop there and walk out you miss the deals. I always take a few laps around, look and dig in the boxes in front and under the tables. talk to and ask the venders if they have what you are looking for. They don't always bring everything.

    4. What is your favorite show?

    The ones that I can't carry everything out to the car in one trip.

    5. Have you ever witnessed either a major arguement or fight over an item? (I'm serious)

    No.

    6. Do you ever see "vest pocket" dealers running around the trading floor trying to buy from one guy and sell to another?

    No, but I got accussed of that one time when I was invited behind a venders table to look though his parts bins. Someone I had bought a dissabled MDC 4-6-0 from walked by and had a few words to say. ( does that Quallify for Question 5?)

    7. If you do go to alot of shows, what would be your list of do's and don'ts to pass on to newbies?

    I guess I would have to say to Enjoy yourself and have fun. Be curtious and keep in mind the guy who just cut in front of you might not realized he did so because he just spotted that item he has been looking for for years. (You know how that is.)
    Don't take someone that doesn't want to be there.
    Don't handle the man's display of detailed custom painted locos.
    Don't expect to find eveything you are looking for.
  6. RidgeRunner

    RidgeRunner Member

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    1. How many shows do you attend over a 1 year period?

    About 2-3.


    2. Is a stand alone buy-sell-trade show better or worse that a show that is tied to a convention or club?

    I've had equally good and bad experiences here.


    3. Let's say you're an East Coast modeler attending regional type shows, say within a 150 mile radius. Do see the same crap over and over again, or do always find something you like?

    Nope, I actually find a fair variety... that's not to say there's not alot of the same old stuff over and over again, but I do find something at most any show.


    4. What is your favorite show?

    I miss the old Carolina Model Railroaders show, first Saturday every April in the old Sou. Greensboro depot... but now, probably the Winston-Salem GATS. Recently went to the French Broad eNpire show in western NC, and was impressed by it as well.


    5. Have you ever witnessed either a major arguement or fight over an item? (I'm serious)

    Umm, nope!


    6. Do you ever see "vest pocket" dealers running around the trading floor trying to buy from one guy and sell to another?

    Nope.


    7. If you do go to alot of shows, what would be your list of do's and don'ts to pass on to newbies?

    * Be aware of other people around you! I find shows to be rather claustrophobic, so it's hard to move around... plus it's hard to find space at the dealer's table to see what is for sale.
    * Do ask a dealer if that's his best price, or offer a lower price. The worst they do (that I've seen) is politely say no.
    * Don't touch the layouts unless the layout owner, an operator, or show staff says you can.
    * Do take your locomotives purchased at the show to the test track to see if they work.
    * Last but not least, DO have a good time. ;)
  7. Vic

    Vic Active Member

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    1. 5-10 Depending on my mood and the condition of my wallet.

    2. Not sure what you mean by stand alone shows. But commerical
    shows like GATS "stink on dry ice". They are no fun. Too many
    sellers there trying to make a living outta the hobby. I really
    enjoy the club and regional events where you can bargain and
    haggle with the sellers.

    3. Being sorta "specialized" in what I model I sometimes find
    something and sometimes I don't. What the heck...I went for
    the fun of looking anyway. A lot of the so called vendors need
    to dump what they have and get some new inventory.

    4. Dothan, Alabama and Marietta, Georgia. These are regional
    and club sponsored shows.

    5. Can't say that I ever saw a fight at a show but the one
    Brakie saw would have been worth the price of admission:D
    I did have a security guard at a commerical show push me
    away from an entrance door because he thought that I had
    not paid my admission. I told him that we would get the "real
    police" in to solve the problem or that he could pick his teeth
    up off the floor...he backed down right quick!!!

    6. Yep, I've seen that. But what really PO's me is that at some of
    the commerical shows I've been to they will, for an extra
    admission fee, let you in early before the show opens.

    7. Buyer Beware!!!!!!! Newbies check this link out...
    http://www.the-gauge.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4140&highlight=Trainshow
  8. Cjcrescent

    Cjcrescent New Member

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    I have to agree with the what the others have said about attending the shows as a customer, but let me give you some answers from a dealers viewpoint.
    1. How many shows do I attend a year, 15-20.
    2. What's the best one to attend? Clubs or commercial (GATS)? Both can be great, good, or bad. I've seen them all this past year in both types. Lately there has been a lot of talk about how GATS aren't as good as it once was. There are several reasons for this; 1. GATS has expanded their venue. They used to only go to areas with a certain population base. Now they will host a show in many smaller population areas. Advantage: It does show the hobby to more people. Disadvantage: It has to rely more on local dealers and local organizations for layouts and clinics. If there aren't many in the area or the local groups don't want to come then there may not be enough dealers or "sights and sounds" to make it a "good show". Who gets the blame, the local people who didn't want to participate, or the GATS people? All GATS does is find a place and then invite area groups to participate. If they choose not to, you shouldn't blame it on GATS, blame it on your local groups.
    3. Same old stuff at every show? Our inventory changes on a regular basis. We generally will wind up bringing about 40% new inventory to every show. We will bring what has been popular in the past as well as newly released items if we can get them. No dealer I know will ever be able to bring 100% new inventory to a show unless he has enough stock to switch out every time.
    4. Don't like our price, ask us we have always been willing to bargain to a point. :D
    5. Never have seen a fight at a show. Have wanted to start a few due inconsiderate customers. Had a child once stick his hand into a display of utility knives and I asked the boy to not touch as he could get hurt. The father, who was standing there, basically got mad because I kept his son from slicing his hand to shreds. I was very nice to his son, but still he got mad.:confused:
    6. I have never seen "vest pocket" dealers but we have been known to buy excess inventory from one dealer and be able to sell it to customers at another show.
    7. Come to the show with an open mind. Ridgerunner and Brakie had very good comments in this vein. Not very many of the dealers at a show is going to be able to have most of the newest items just released. Some are lucky if they can get 1/5 of what they ordered from their distributors. Our store has three main distributors and sometimes on orders as big as $5000 we're lucky to be able to get $750 of what we order.
    Don't come to the show expecting to make a killing on bargains. More and more the dealers are doing this as a full time job and can only go so far in lowering prices. As was stated earlier most have heard the "I can get this on E-bay for $X", or "I saw this on the internet for $X below what you have it marked".
  9. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

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    Great job on that forum. I dislike seeing folks getting stiffed selling items way too low to a vender/collector nor do I care for dealers that drum up the value on something simply because it is old. I have nothing against dealers and am, in fact, working towards doing it part time. Even the most seasoned of us can get bit if a particular thing is something we've desired for a long time.
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    To add some thoughts to what CJCresent has said. I'm a member of a modular club that supports GAT shows here in Southern Ca. If you are looking for "swap meet" bargains in So. Cal., go to your local model railroad club's swap meet. Relatively speaking, GAT shows are high profile, and the Ca State Board of Equalization monitors them to make sure that all dealers have a resale license and pay the state sales tax. The result is that most all of the dealers at the shows will be business owners who make their living selling train items at the GAT shows. I would also caution "buyer beware!" I've seen sellers put cheap toy locomotives in Atlas boxes and then try to sell Model power, Lifelike, or Bachmann as Atlas. If you buy something at a GAT show, don't take it to your local hobby shop if it doesn't work and expect the hobby shop to fix it for free.