Well, I'm new to this so my response may be somewhat different than most peoples here. Some things I've noticed in the 4 months I've been at this hobby:
- The younger or "newer" generation of O gaugers aren't into O-27 or traditional scale like most guys in this hobby (generally speaking of course). Why buy tiny O scale stuff? If you want small stuff, why not just go HO?
- The market is definately flooded with PW, MPC and early 90's 0-27 stock. There's just way too much of it out there. I've seen auction sites selling boxes of 10 pieces of rolling stock (all PW or MPC) for $10. Let's face guys, this stuff looks toy-ish, doesn't run very well and is mostly made of plastic.....
- This hobby (O gauge in particular) has done a **** poor job of bringing in new blood. I go to swaps and shows and see 90% to 95% of the people there are baby boomers. Conversely, I've been to HO shows and they are closer to a 50% to 50% mix of boomers vs. younger folks. Lionel will cease to exist in 20 years if they don't change. MTH and Atlas will be ok as they are slowly pushing into HO. Good for them.
So those are just some observations I've made. Now I have some questions for you O scale gurus.
- All toys essentially have almost no resale value after a year or two. You can call it "garage sale value" for arguments sake. With that in mind, how in the &^%$ do you think you can sell a 1991 or 1992 piece of rolling stock that's made of plastic, not even full scale and manufactured in China by the thousands for $20? I mean, that's probably the retail price of it when it was new. I don't get it. But when I go to these shows, that's all I see. Row after row of MPC or PW stock all for $15 or $20. Unreal man, unreal.
- Why do people somehow feel this forum is a "safe haven" for transactions? It's definately not. You have no recourse. Ebay is by far the safest venue. They go to extremes to guarantee a good purchasing experience. That's not my opinion, that's a fact. Don't take my word for it, read their policies. I might be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure this forum doesn't even have a policy for questionable or misrepresentations that may take place here (if it exists, please let me know as I'd like to see it). You could say, this is the most dangerous place to buy/swap/sell. That's a new guys opinion though, and only that.
- Is this hobby even trying to market to any other age group or demographic? I have seen zero effort to do so. Just curious. I'd like more Gen X'ers like myself to get into the hobby so maybe the prices on newer stock can come down a bit? I know, I'm stretching on that one.
- If Lionel supposedly charges ridiculous prices (all I ever see is people complaining about them here) then why do people keep buying it? It's not like their product is any better than MTH loco's or Atlas rolling stock.
- Additionally, why is Lionel many times portrayed as the "golden child" or "golden standard"? I don't get it (especially when discussing used prices). I could see them being the "golden child" back in the 50's. But after that, it became a crap company. Actually it wasn't even really a company in the MPC era. It was a division of another company. They literally made the same crap from the 1960's up until the early 90's. And it was crap. As a matter of fact, it went from really good (PW stuff rocked) to crap, then from there, it went to being even crappier and then devolved into the absolute crappiest in the 90's. Matter of fact, it was so crappy that some guy named Mike Wolfe came in and wrecked them. His product ran circles around them (come on, that was funny), so much that Lionel stole all of his designs. But, somehow, they were allowed to continue on...... But hey, their new stuff is pretty good though. I mean, it should be because for 5 years they had no R&D costs because, well they were just stealing the tech from MTH.
Thanks for reading, I'm bored and it's Sunday night. But my biggest question is this: is the O scale hobby doomed in the next 20 years? There's no concerted effort to bring any new blood to the hobby. This will only drive new loco and rolling stock prices up and up, which of course limits the amount of people that want to get into it. If it is doomed, please let me know so I can get out while I can and sell my stock while there's some semblance of a market to sell it in.
Just my 2 cents.
Not a good idea to "knock" the Buy/Sell Forum without citing specific cases. I have encountered nothing less than satisfactory experiences on it. Participants are "good folks", and it is an excellent service provided by OGR. Remember: eBay has not earned the name "flea-bay" by accident.
I Have had Excellent results buying on both the forum FS/T board AND on eBay. eBay offers buyers protection, with the FS/T board, you are on your own. In MY Opinion, eBay doesn't deserve the name "Fleabay"
All of my purchases on the forum FS/T board have been Great, where I have had trouble was in SELLING, I had one set of Passenger cars in particular, that I had for sale, where THREE different times, I had MEMBERS commit to buying them, then back out.
One of those times I had a swap meet that weekend, and asked him are you SURE you want these? YES, I WANT Them. Then AFTER I didn't take them to the swap meet, I can't AFFORD them right now, can I buy them a couple at a time? Of Course, he wanted the Hard to Find cars FIRST, uhh NO.
The Next Week he buys a MORE EXPENSIVE locomotive from another member off the FS/T board, and doesn't even do it by email, but right on the FS/T board, needless to say that is one member I won't do business with.
Simply being a member doesn't GUARANTEE Anything. Another member, that I DO TRUST, said that he had a similar experience with the same member.
Unfortunately, the forum rules don't allow posting of negative experiences, but with eBay you DO have feedback to at least attempt to be selective about who you buy from.
I Did eventually sell those cars on the FS/T board, but you can have as much Headache and Heartache there as you can on eBay, you just don't have the fees OR the RECOURSE, if things go sideways.