August 3, 2001THE WORLD'S A STAGE...BUT ARE WE JUST BIT PLAYERS?! Or Chumps?!
You know what? Sometimes this hobby confuses the hell outta me!
So confusing that I often wonder what type of person this hobby is made up of!? But, more importantly, what type of person this hobby truly attracts?
I'll refrain from mentioning any names, both personal and companies. Heaven forbid I get anyone's knickers in a twist, force them to mount their Knighted horse(s), and come riding in to save the day.
But I've been reading the editorials around lately, and getting some disturbing emails in the past two weeks, and think we should discuss it.
By a show of hands, how many of you out there have ordered a kit, sent your payment dutifully, and either never got the kit or parts, or thought the time period between order and receipt was way out of line?
(...and I'm NOT talking eBay, here! That's a whole notha' can of worms!!)
I'm talking within our own Garage Kit/Modeling Hobby!)
How many kit producers, who don't have the space, equipment, time or experience to mold and cast their own product, ship it out to others who can? And how many out there have got screwed in the end? Either with delay in product arrival, which in turn resulted in lost or delayed sales, or never got the kit molded and casted up in the first place? And on top of that, were never able to recoup the money they paid for this work to be done, or received the original sculpt back in order to find someone more reliable to do the work?
Now what confuses this simple Sailor, is that once a chunk of time has passed... you've done everything from sending numerous e-mails, to personal phone calls (resulting in more hollow promises), and in the end are no further in resolving this problem than when you started... you are finally faced with nothing else to do but warn fellow modelers or kit producers of this guy's character! Then weeks, months, a year, go by and someone else ends up getting burned?!
Or better yet, the one I personally love, is the company who sells or does mold/casting work for others, burns everyone with either shoddy work, late orders, never sent orders, or pulls a disappearing act, then changes the name of their company and pops back up on the scene! And those that know that it's really so&so, either don't tell everyone else, or everyone really knows but goes along with the name change like nothing in the past happened!!
Now before I'm accused of having an axe to grind, let me clear something up. In all the years I've been in this hobby buying up kits, I have never... repeat, NEVER, been stiffed! I did have one occasion where I waited 9 months for a kit I ordered to finally arrive on my doorstep, but that's been it. Everything I've ordered via mail I've gotten without a hitch. But just because I haven't been stiffed doesn't mean the problem isn't out there. I can name MANY folks who have gone through this or are going through this right now.
And nine times out of ten, the folks that do this to people are usually the LAST person I would have suspected this from!! That's what really floors me!!
You have to wonder if sniffing RTV and Resin over time, seeps into the brain cells and turns them to the Dark Side, or something!!?!
I've also been faced with the dilemma of trying to decide whether 'second chances' should be allowed or not.
More often than not it's usually some dude who produces nice work, but has the business sense of Firestone! Someone who might have legitimate reasons for a given delay, be it world-problems, too many orders too fast, or a combination of both... and while attempting to get on top of matters, makes the mistake of fabricating stories in a time delaying tactic and before you know it ends up pissing everyone off. Months or a year down the road he gets past all the problems that was causing delays and valiantly attempts to try again.
We've all seen it play out. For those that have tried a come back that I can think of, over time they reverted back to sloppy business practices and everyone went through the heartaches once again. There's some out there on the come-back road right now. Time will tell if this 2nd, 3rd and even 4th attempt will be any different or more reliable then those past.
I especially hate it when it deals with producers or molders that I consider friends. Usually find myself in a mess when both the screwer and screwee are both friends of mine, but the two don't know each other personally, and you end up in the 'middle-man' position!
And then there are reports of new names entering the fray. Again, folks who, up til now, have been doing good work and have built up fine reputations. You hear a story here, and days later another story very similiar from someone else. You try to contact the person being discussed, but hear nothing back in return. The silence extends, and the frustration builds. And you wonder... what the hell is it with this hobby!!?
But what concerns me the most is the new folks getting into this hobby of ours. The one's who don't know all the sordid details or past history lessons like we do. Maybe the best advice we could give these folks is that prior to ordering anything, put up a query on one of the many message forums and ask for some references before going ahead with the transaction!
I saw a post the other day recommending a guy that does molding/casting work in response to someone asking for this service, and there were at least three people I know of that were burnt by this recommened guy! I'm sincerely hoping the burntee's will either raise a red flag, or at least, will send a personal email to the dude with some cautionary words of advice!
The problem I had personally with this was, even though I know three people have been burnt by this guy.. I, myself, haven't!! Should I say something to the dude asking? Is it my place to say something? Even if it's, "Before you ask this guy for a quote, you might want to check with So&So and ask about his dealings with this guy." Or forward the email to the guys who were burnt and ask if they'd like to email the inquirer and give him some sage advice?
Or do we just stay out of it and hope we don't see a public email from this poor kid who asked in the first place, 6 months down the road, telling us how he was ripped off or taken in by the guy? And we have one more pissed off modeler/producer to add to the growing ranks?
Fuck it! I sent an email quoting the recommendation back to the guy asking and told him to check with the three people first. Only then could I look myself in the mirror. If the 3 guys don't want to share their experiences or the guy asking doesn't follow up, I tried to at least give him a head's up!
I don't know? I do know that I'm gun-shy concerning a variety of dealers or kit producers out there. I know I'll never mail order any of their stock and usually only buy their product when and if I see them at shows. The danger is present, and there's alot of folks out here that have no inkling of whose who.
So if you see an honest request for information or someone asks if buying a kit from some producer is okay, take the time to answer the kid. Even more so if the producer is worthy of a good word! Only takes a second, and really... wouldn't you like someone to watch your back as well?!
Last weekend's Sub Regatta was very enjoyable! Only able to partake of the festivities on Saturday, but was great talking to folks and enjoyed watching the boats strut their stuff in the water!
To all who had a hand in organizing this event, and to all those that participated, a job well done by all!
This weekend sparks off the premier of Imagine Nation Expo! I hope everyone arrives safe and sound, has the time of their lives, buys (and sells) a whole bunch of stuff and returns home, once again, safe and sound! For those of us sitting at home, buy a drink, toast us poor slobs and have a blast!! Look forward to hearing all the stories and seeing all the new stuff making their debut at the show!!
Til next week...