Re: Consumer Prototype Protection

Schuyler Larrabee

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim O'Connor


Face it, a lot of models are marginally
accurate, or just
completely bogus. Yet the vendor may need to
sell inaccurate
models in addition to accurate models to cover
their costs.
Should they label only the accurate models, and
not the
inaccurate ones? Wouldn't that possibly wipe out
many sales
of the inaccurate cars?
Let's be generous and guess that the readers of
this list represent, oh, say, 0.5% of the
model-buying public. (Yeah, I know, way too high,
but easier to work with than say, 0.005% which I
would guess is more realistic.) Now, of any
particular model, I'd speculate that this group
represents maybe as much as 0.2% of the model
sales. Now, further, let's guess that maybe 20%
of those sales are to people who decide that the
car looks good, the BLT date is OK, and geez, I
can justify a Canandaigua Southern car because of
the heavy shipments of Lugubrium to my road's
modeled area. Now, those 20% get home and realize
after consulting (of course) the STMFC Archives
that they've blown it. All because the end of the
box didn't have the data on it. So, if the
percentages are correct, we've failed to make .2 x
.2 = .04% of the model's purchasers happy. Now
that's really gonna hurt the manufacturer, right?

Now, conversely, there's another group, which I
would hazard a guess is more than the people who
bought and wish they hadn't, who didn't buy when
they had an easy opportunity, but because they
weren't sure, and because their modeling money is
not without limit, didn't pull the wallet out.
I'd bet that represents, in contrast to the 20%
who pulled the trigger, maybe another 1% of the
overall model sales (not just a portion of the
0,5% first stated).

Further, those who bought this car and are unhappy
are, more than most, able to either trade that car
to somebody for whom it will work, and/or repaint
it for some other road that DID have the car at
the appropriate time if that can be done at all.
Sure, they're bummed if they have to do that, but
what the hey.

Now let's consider the sales to the rest of the
model-buying public, the other 99.5%. Did they
notice the lack of the prototype data on the end
of the box. Nope. Did they care? Nope. Did
they consider the BLT date? Nope. Did it impact
their decision to buy the car? Nope. They bought
it because they just LIKE the Canadaigua Southern
paint scheme. Looks cool. Real railroady,

Yeah, I know, this begs the question about why the
manufacturer should bother for that 0.04% of
sales. Well, first of all, because it represents
money. Money in the modeler's budget that might
get spent on some other product by this same
manufacturer which DOES fit in because of the good
will generated by the fact that the end of the box
DID contain the information which killed the first
sale. But what about those in the potential 1% of
overall sales not gained, because the end of the
box DIDN'T contain the information? That's even
more than the .04%, isn't it?

Maybe a good compromise would be to just put the
date" or the "new date" to indicate the era
represented by
the paint scheme on the model, without actually
claiming that
the model is accurate.
Why compromise? I think the manufacturers should
put that information on there because:
1) they have it. If they don't they should, and
they can get it by asking.
2) a select subgroup (self-selected, if you like)
wants it.
3) It generates an image for the manufacturer of
knowing what you're doing.
4) It generates an image of caring about your
5) It will generate sales to informed consumers
6) informed consumers will consider you a good
source and recommend your products (assuming that
they're any good) to other modelers, including
those who couldn't give a damn about the stuff on
the end of the box.

Oh, yeah, small reasons to cater to a small group,
I suppose, but it didn't take many people to get
Dan Rather to apologize, did it?

And, BTW, I agree with Dave Nelson:

I think this is a good time to add a thanks to
Branchline for adding
useful information (e.g., dates) on their
boxes. It isn't
Sunshine or
Westerfield caliber, but it's darn useful.


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