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Why do model railway builders expect a discount


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As I volunteer in a charity shop I'm asked on regular basis "can I knock a bit off?" "No, it's a £3.99 T shirt. Now xxxx off , tight fisted gxx" well thats what I'm thinking. I have if someone points out damage on crockery/china then thats fair and I'd much rather sell than it goes in the bin. I once had along chat with a gent who volunteered at a presevation line, he was telling me they'd want about 40 platform edge slabs and had a silly price qouted over the phone. "We're not NR you know" when qouted £200 each. "Oh in that case it's 40quid each and we'll deliver for free!"

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We had a shop some years ago in my city that was within 5 minutes walk, and it was a very good shop, too, but the owner was outright rude and arrogant even when he was having a good day, which wasn't often.  He is remembered in the area with considerable distaste, and nobody was bothered when he inevitably went under, blaming everybody but himself.

 

John,

 

We're talking Terrys Trains in Broadway Cardiff aren't we?

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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Perhaps it's just me but I think it's not what you ask but how you ask for it. If I ask politely then it would be nice to get a polite answer and I certainly would not be offended if it was not possible. Sometimes I think traders are so stunned to get someone ask nicely they give an otherwise unavailable discount out of pure shock.

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As I volunteer in a charity shop I'm asked on regular basis "can I knock a bit off?" "No, it's a £3.99 T shirt. Now xxxx off , tight fisted gxx" well thats what I'm thinking. I have if someone points out damage on crockery/china then thats fair and I'd much rather sell than it goes in the bin. I once had along chat with a gent who volunteered at a presevation line, he was telling me they'd want about 40 platform edge slabs and had a silly price qouted over the phone. "We're not NR you know" when qouted £200 each. "Oh in that case it's 40quid each and we'll deliver for free!"

 

Four quid for a T Shirt?!  :O They must be good T Shirts.

 

Tell them to come to my charity shop as I do give discounts within reason. :)

 

 

But it's entirely at my discretion. I would rather get a quick sale than have too much stock. No discount if it's damaged as it shouldn't be out anyway or it's already been considered. Usually with a note saying it's damaged on the label.

 

There are a few individuals that I won't discount for as I know they are dealers that are taking the [email protected]@@ by trying to buy stock cheap from unsuspecting charity shops.

 

"Oh they are cheaper elsewhere? Go there then as I've already checked. Why do you think I'm stood here with a laptop on the counter?"  :sarcastichand:

 

 

Jason

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I think television has a lot to answer for ! I mean, people look at a £100 item on "Bargain hunt" and then see the seller let it go to the team, for £70 or something and viewers, watching the programme, then suppose, that there's obviously a hefty profit margin and therefore, if they ask, they might be able to get a good discount on their next car, or DCC sound locomotive, etc.

The television viewer, doesn't have the opportunity to find out that the seller may have originally paid £80 for the item and then, had it sat on the shelf for two or three years and decided to let it go at a loss, merely to circulate some cash flow and free up the shelf space for something (hopefully) more saleable !

I think these TV shows can sometimes convey a different slant on the facts, leading the viewer away from what really happened, into making, a simple presumption that a good deal was made, leaving the seller and buyer, both happy.

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I generally buy from either a online store or Frizinghall  ( Frizinghall is less of a discount than online and already marked on the price tag ) so basically if I go to another shop I will ask for a discount ( any discount if its less than rrp Is great ) even if £1.00 off of a £150.00 loco is offered would be £149.00 then I can make my money go further, if the shop says no that is fine too, I would simply say no problem and leave, and buy from who will give a discount.

I expect a discount because I can get one, maybe or maybe not in your shop but I can get a discount so will ask.

I dont ask for discounts on coaches, wagons, track etc

On a sub note

I used to buy some wagons and bits from trader at shows quite regular ( paid the ticket price without asking for a discount ) and even bought a DCC controller set from them, I wanted a deltic some years ago and saw the the trader (They sell a lot of DCC items) at the Pontefract show, so asked him for a couple of pounds off the price he was asking ( quite literally £2.00 ) which would have been £20 more than Hattons price, he said no and thus Hattons had my money, I have not bought from the l retailer since so i think that by not giving a discount of £2 on a loco that he could have done he has lost out on all the decoders wagons coaches etc that I would have bought from him since, his loss = Frizinghall / Online retailers gain.

 

Simon

 

 

Wow.

 

CoY

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Well I must be a bit odd (dare to agree and I know where you live....,.,,.) as I buy from places where I know I will get a damn fine service or I know I will receive expert advice. Strangely I think I may well have received more unasked for 'discount' by buying lots of stuff from a particular place where they know me well and will knock off a % on certain things. They know I will return again.

Phil

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The issue with railway modellers is too many think any price above what Hattons charge is them being ripped off, although in many cases Hattons are far from the cheapest, and have no idea or concept of what the manufacturers list price actually is, consequently anyone selling a model for £139 when the box shifters have it a good £20 cheaper must in their opinion be able to offer a discount. The one thing I struggle with is someone offering on their web site models cheaper than they are selling them in store, away from model railways Halfords are a good example of this dual pricing although they will honour web prices in store if asked in my experience.

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I generally buy from either a online store or Frizinghall  ( Frizinghall is less of a discount than online and already marked on the price tag ) so basically if I go to another shop I will ask for a discount ( any discount if its less than rrp Is great ) even if £1.00 off of a £150.00 loco is offered would be £149.00 then I can make my money go further, if the shop says no that is fine too, I would simply say no problem and leave, and buy from who will give a discount.

I expect a discount because I can get one, maybe or maybe not in your shop but I can get a discount so will ask.

I dont ask for discounts on coaches, wagons, track etc

On a sub note

I used to buy some wagons and bits from trader at shows quite regular ( paid the ticket price without asking for a discount ) and even bought a DCC controller set from them, I wanted a deltic some years ago and saw the the trader (They sell a lot of DCC items) at the Pontefract show, so asked him for a couple of pounds off the price he was asking ( quite literally £2.00 ) which would have been £20 more than Hattons price, he said no and thus Hattons had my money, I have not bought from the l retailer since so i think that by not giving a discount of £2 on a loco that he could have done he has lost out on all the decoders wagons coaches etc that I would have bought from him since, his loss = Frizinghall / Online retailers gain.

 

Simon

Hi Simon

 

What if your boss was to knock a few quid off your wages every now and then? Because that is what you are doing to traders when you ask for a discount.

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Hi Simon

 

What if your boss was to knock a few quid off your wages every now and then? Because that is what you are doing to traders when you ask for a discount.

 

That is a different situation however...

I asked one trader once for a small discount the reason I asked for the discount is that I had the cash in my pocket which was less than the ticket price, Frizinghall already discount the loco`s ( I don`t ask them to ), and online retailers such as Hattons, Rails etc have already discounted the models too

 

Also I used to have a model shop years ago, and if asked i gave discounts, the reason I stopped trading is because I was driving up to a show, it was raining quite heavily I had got passed Carlilse on the way up to the show, My car started aquaplaning ( I was doing around 50 - 60mph because of the rain ), the next thing I know I was facing the motorway in a field with my son Dominick shouting at me to wake up as I was unconscious, as I was coming round there was a lot of Dapol wagons around me, We spent the night in a hospital so that was the end of model retailing for me.

It was a long time ago  :)

Simon

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The main problem and the reasons hattons can sell so cheap is normally there is a discount if they buy a certain amount where as the small model shop will buy 5 but the bigger shop will buy 20 and get a discount which can then be passed onto the consumer but the small model shop doesn’t get the discount so it’s dearer for the consumer. But I always buy from invicta or KGR. And I like the feeling of going in and buying a loco or some other bits. It’s got so bad that the team invicta has now guessed when my wages are because I’m always in at roughly the same time every month and that a personal touch you don’t get when you buy over the internet.

 

Big James

Edited by Big James
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Working in retail I too know the pain of customers asking for discount. Whether they get it or not depends on how pleasant they have been during the transaction. I know the margins I have to work with and appreciate that knocking even a couple of quid off something expensive (mobile phones and laptops in my case) can feel like a win for the buyer and can be very good for fostering good will and making someone into a repeat customer.

 

I don't ask for discount in the local model shop, but as I have been in on a regular basis since taking up the hobby again and am now on first name terms with the guy who runs the shop, I usually find my bill is rounded down by a small amount each time I buy something. It may still be cheaper for the same items online, but I enjoy going into the shop, having a nose around and a bit of a chat. The personal touch counts for a lot.

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Ask for a discount, why not?  The online dealers are at fault as their prices are usually way below the local shop, which they can and do sell at and still profit and keep the doors open.  When we see these prices it is a fair assumption that local shops can offer similar pricing, conveniently forgetting that the big guys get substantial reduction for bulk buying.  Sadly when no deal is forthcoming, we immediately turn to the OL source and get virtually immediate delivery these days!  In my instance, US tinplate locs sell for $100 or so less than retail, so it is hard to ignore.  There are no local train shops left in this area so we are the victims as well as the cause.

 

Brian.

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I think that people are mixing the concept of asking for a discount, and expecting a discount. I never ask for a discount (with the exception of cars where it is all part of a silly game, even there I avoid it now by using sites like car wow) but in a connected world it is easy to price check and if another dealer is selling the same item for less then I may well go there. The reason railway modellers expect a discount is because the retail trade created that expectation, people used to buy magazines which were full of classifieds offering discount prices, now replaced by websites offering discount prices. Although I don't ask for discounts I am generally aware of how much things cost elsewhere.

 

For all that, it doesn't just come down to price. I like good service and don't mind paying for it, equally I value well designed websites and will use shops that have made the effort to make shopping easy. However, if it is a product where discounting is the norm then really a shop opting out of offering a discount needs to offer a reason to pay more. For some it may be a desire to keep a local shop, but if it is ordering online then whether a shop is 50 or 500 miles away is irrelevant and it comes down to do they have what I want, price and service.

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Sadly when no deal is forthcoming, we immediately turn to the OL source and get virtually immediate delivery these days!  In my instance, US tinplate locs sell for $100 or so less than retail, so it is hard to ignore.  There are no local train shops left in this area so we are the victims as well as the cause.

 

Brian.

 

I think that is probably the big issue for retailers. At one time mail order was a bit of a chore, you needed to make the effort to mail a cheque, then wait for them to cash it and send the order out. And most of the time magazine adverts were so out of date the stock was gone. Nowadays with real time stock info, next day delivery and competitive pricing I find that it is much easier to just buy online and would rather shop online for most things.

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I very rarely ask for a discount from a shop, if ever.  If I don't like the price I don't buy it.  I also really get the fact that we are slowly killing off model railway shops, which will be to our loss.  As for expecting a discount at exhibitions, Traders have had to pay to be there, fuel, accomodation, staff costs, meals etc. even before they break even.  I know one Trader (loco kits) who has now dropped Ally Pally from his list cos' it simply became a box shifting exercise, with no profit.  Need a table sir?  That'll be extra, as will chairs.  Electric?  That's extra too.  I do know that at the Model Engineering Exhibition at Ally Pally even a small stand costs the wrong side of a grand for the 3 days, and that's without the travel, accom. etc. etc.  You have to flog a lot of s/h drills to cover that....

 

On the flip side, how many of us (shop owners incl.) would pay list price for a new car without question?

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Don’t worry , in a few years there be zero customers asking a discount as they’ll have all gone to the internet

 

I’m reminded of the quip “ this would be a great business if it wasn’t for the customers “

I don't mind paying a little extra over internet prices to buy from a more local shop.

There is a difference between making a living & trying to rip you off, so I won't buy anything from the latter.

Hopefully it will help keep the local stores open for next time I want a few small items..& a loco sitting on the shelf which looks much more appealing than I imagined.

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I've had a discussion over what I'd like to pay when buying cars, houses, telecoms services and insurance. Like many others I'll just walk away if a shop is asking more than I'd like to pay. Obviously this is how some retailers prefer to operate, but do others take the "most of something is better than all of nothing" attitude?

 

I actually do often pay more than the minimum possible for things in order to support local suppliers, because I like knowing they're there when I want something now and not in 2 days (in my case I try to support Model Junction in Slough because they take all the hassle out of importing stuff from the US, and my local independent place is good for paint and stuff like that, though I'm not interested in their bigger ticket items).

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There seems to be a large difference of opinion, so here  ar some answers to a few questions raised.

 

We do as a business giv a discount if a customer spends a large amount with us in one purchase, margins are better on some things than others, buying a box of track is cheaper than buying odd lengths, and we do make customers aware of this

On locos we do list and price at RRP, perhaps we shouldn't and make the money on the accessories, but that's another debate.

Bulk buying by Hattons and others, this is a a lot of smoke and mirrors, Hornby tell us smaller traders that thet do not give Hattons discount for bulk purchases, they like anyone else get a stock allocation, and according to Hornby have to abide by the same T's & C's that we do, ( no discount on new releases in the first 6 weeks, and thereafter  by a maximum of 10% for the following six weeks).

 

Plastic kits are not all priced at £15, and we sell very few of them of them at that price, most of the 1/35 scale sell for around the £50 mark, larger scales can be a couple of hundred pounds, and we still don't get asked to discount them.

 

I value and take onboard all of the opinions given and will have a long think to see ifwe can increase sales by offering a standard discount on loco's.

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I think there's a 'culture of a generation' element to this situation in some cases, especially where older customers, among who I now count myself, are concerned.

 

When I was much younger I was taught at home and school to politely ask for and expect to receive a discount if paying cash for any goods commanding a price over say £5.00 and I rarely recall being refused or even chided for asking.( £5 was a lot of money then.)

 

Specifically related to Model railways, I used to frequent the much missed C & G Models in Darlington. I would enter the shop with a list of wants, select items from the displays and give a cursory glance to the price ticket, knowing from previous experience that I would be paying less than that amount. You never knew how much the discount would be however, as the proprietors would invariably perform a feat of mental arithmetic before pronouncing the end price and I for one could never fathom their calculations. Application of discount in this manner was far from unusual in other emporiums, but practise did vary, discounts of x% being openly advertised and an expectation was created which persisted until fairly recently.

 

For reasons others have stated and the obvious tightening of margins for retailers, discounting in the above way has become rather more the exception these days, but I have a friend who will always ask if a discount is available, simply because this is a habit of a lifetime. If refused he takes the attitude that 'if you don't ask you don't get', but no harm has been done to anyone in the process and I've never known him walk away without paying the asking price in these circumstances.

 

I'd relate the mind set to the expectation I once had that if I deposited money in a bank I'd be paid a meaningful rate of interest, not the case any longer, but that's another set of circumstances, though not entirely unrelated.

 

Regards,

 

                John

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I never ask for a discount on new items. I see the price and either buy at that price or don't. If I can get it cheaper somewhere else I go somewhere else. If I am given a discount by those who know me then that is much appreciated but not expected.

I think second hand items may be considered to be more open for discussion on price.

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I very rarely ask for a discount from a shop, if ever.  If I don't like the price I don't buy it.  I also really get the fact that we are slowly killing off model railway shops, which will be to our loss.  As for expecting a discount at exhibitions, Traders have had to pay to be there, fuel, accomodation, staff costs, meals etc. even before they break even.  I know one Trader (loco kits) who has now dropped Ally Pally from his list cos' it simply became a box shifting exercise, with no profit.  Need a table sir?  That'll be extra, as will chairs.  Electric?  That's extra too.  I do know that at the Model Engineering Exhibition at Ally Pally even a small stand costs the wrong side of a grand for the 3 days, and that's without the travel, accom. etc. etc.  You have to flog a lot of s/h drills to cover that....

 

On the flip side, how many of us (shop owners incl.) would pay list price for a new car without question?

Hence the decreasing number of small (and more specialist perhaps/) Traders at exhibitions. I admire those that seem to appear almost everywhere and yet have good websites with easy ordering.

P

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As an ex-retailer, I can certainly sympathise with the OP.

 

The one's that really annoyed me, were those who asked for a "little discount of 10%". I would ask them what their reaction would be if their employer suggested a 40% cut in their wages (which would be approximately the same as we were working at 25% margins). Apparently, they would not be up for that. "So", I would ask them, "why the **** do you expect me to?"

Edited by Joseph_Pestell
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Hi all,

Some one mentioned earlier about people from the Emergency Services/NHS/Police asking for discounts. There is a reason for this. Many shops actually officially do discount to those groups via who they work for or the trade unions they belong to. This has been happening since before I joined the NHS nearly 40 years ago. It is just that it is not widely advertised that they do it. When I started  every year you were given a little booklet that told you who were giving discounts nationally. There are not as many places still doing this discounting as there used to be and the booklets are no longer given out. So you have to politely ask if they give discounts for NHS staff. One big area where NHS staff still get a discount is in motor insurance especially if they belong to the RCN. But if you do not ask you do not get. I think it is really all in the way you ask. If you just inquire politely that's ok. If basically you demand a discount then you should so no politely. You never know they may still come back and buy something more.

There is an old adage that seems to be forgotten the "The customer is always right" even when they are wrong. Poor customer service is never a good thing even to a bad customer. As those bad customers have friends and their experience will be passed on to those friends and possibly loose you even more custom from people who may actually be nicer than the customer you have been rude to.

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Running a model shop is not easy, running a model shop that sells model railway items is even harder, why is it that if a plastic kit builder comes into my shop he chooses the kit, come tot he counter, he may add some glue, sanding sticks and paint to his purchase,  total the goods up, tell him the cost and out comes the cash or the card, he walks away after maybe a brief chat as happy as a sand boy.

The same goes for people who buy model aircraft, wargames, or the dolls house ladies that buy the scenics.

 

But the railway modeler is always the one who asks 'any discount'   why ?  Why do they expect discount ?

 

When they go to TESCO or ALDI do they ask the cashier there for discount ?

 

It's got to the point where I and my colleague are seriously considering not stocking any locomotives, rolling stock or carriages, instead we may be gong down the route of just carrying track and accessories, then again I've been asked to give discount on a pack of rail joiners, even worse they then want to pay by card !

 

I confess, I have never heard of this phenomenon, and cannot speculate as to why, as a breed, railway modellers behave this way in your locality.

 

I sympathise.

 

At least you sell a "good".  Perhaps due to the intangible nature of services, many people seem to think it is open to them to pay, or not pay, whatever they feel like!

 

As I say, you have my sympathy!

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