Re: Consumer Prototype Protection

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

Jeff Aley sez:
So, Tony, I infer that you think it's stupid for manufacturers to allow
such silly things as "cost" to influence their thinking. Given that the
broader MR market will not pay more for a kit just because it has 2 lines
of data at the end of the box, you're talking about increasing cost for a
fixed selling price. Please explain why doing this makes sense to you --
it sure doesn't make sense to me!
You are of course free to infer what you want, Jeff. But that's not what I meant to say. Probably in your business, as in many, there are real economies and false economies. There are economies that are sensible and genuinely help the bottom line, and there are economies that say "damn the customer." And there are foolish economies that save very little. I'd put the deliberate concealment of information in the latter category (and maybe in some other categories too).
Yeah, the MR market won't pay "more" for two lines of information on the end of the box . . . or will they? What if the cost difference is 10 cents? That's what the "day of overhead" Charlie mentioned would cost over even a rather small run of kits. And for bigger players, it's in the single numbers of pennies.
And if cost really IS fixed? though I very much doubt it--would those pennies buy you more customers or not? I don't really know, but I sure don't think it's clear that they would COST you a bunch of customers. Volume matters, too, just as I'm sure it does in your business.
I don't think customers expect, nor are likely to get, a Lofton or Westerfield information sheet in a Branchline kit (just to choose one example)--but especially if the preparation of that sheet were farmed out to a consultant or historical society (with appropriate controls), it might not cost much at all. I think it is fairly foolish to assume that ANY added cost, no matter how small, would break the model manufacturing business. Instead of debating that, let's debate costs AND benefits.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

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