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There seem to be more and more opportunities for us to add to our collections.

Shops : a chance to pick up the box, look at the detail, check the colours and decals. All this comes at a price, the rates and heating all have to be paid for, plus of course parking and fuel costs, on the plus side no postage costs.

Online retailers : The standard of pictures and descriptions are good, but you cant pick the box up, on the plus side the overheads are possibly lower than a shop so there is wiggle room on the prices, but of course postage will eat into that.

Internet auction sites : once you have got over some of the dodgy photos and descriptions and secured the item for a good price there is still the dreaded postage charge.

Swapmeets : A social space, a chance to pick up obsolete items hopefully at a good price, no postage.

So what do we think?

Is there space for all of them or is the writing on the wall?
 

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I pick all my cars from ebay, whether a private seller or a retailer with a good drop in price on the models I fancy. I,ve never paid full retail value for a car yet. John
 

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This thread, potentially, has all the hallmarks of a discussion that could get prickly. It can be an emotionally charged topic and one that has been discussed on many occasions over the years. Nevertheless…..

The root cause, and problem, is one of demographics and an 'ageing buyer' base. If you are a 60's or 70's 'kid' you will fondly recall gazing into a local hobby store window and making a mental note of the next model car or train that would be on your birthday/Christmas list. This just does not happen any more, not in the UK anyhow.

The 'ageing buyer' would still like that experience but knows it will probably never be repeated because the way we want (and have) to buy has changed for good.

The 'ageing buyer' would like his offspring to be interested in slot cars/model kits/trains but the plain fact is that this is very rare. I have long given up trying to get my teenage lad to show an interest in slot cars/model kits or trains. "Gay" would be his quick retort. Whatever "Gay" may mean as a descriptive term, I'm not really sure.

Online retailing and internet auction sites are where most of the sales are. The problem with that, for this hobby (and any other industry), is that it does not really promote much customer loyalty. Any buyer loyalty that an online retailer thinks they have can easily be displaced by the ability of the buyer to save some coin by shopping around.

Swapmeets/shows and other annual gatherings tend to be populated by the same old faces (but older each year). I have attended swapmeets since the early 80's. I can spot a stallholder that I have seen around for over 30 years, peddling the obsolete and unusual items that populate most of the tables.

This all really loops around to the time-bomb which is that slot cars are a micro-segment of the scale model hobby business. In other words, not a lot of not a lot. Many folks in this business are aware of this and we keep making and selling slot cars and promoting new 'choices' in the hope that the old times may come back but this simply fragments a very fragile and vulnerable hobby.

Until this hobby re-invents itself and makes some essential changes (the subject is an entirely different topic altogether) the buyer should expect less points of sale for purchasing slot cars. The buyer's purchasing actions will continue to impact upon traditional hobby store viability and help cement the constantly growing trend towards just a few genuinely viable purchasing outlets.

Jules
 

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There is a very good shop in the UK where you can look at slot cars before you buy them, Pendles, it's a bit far from mine, 5 hour drive, but its well worth going to a race or rally there once a year.
 

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For a youngster ........ "Gay" just means stupid, unfashionable .............. etc .....
 
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