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Old Apr 28, 2001, 08:58 PM
Registered User
Okemos, Michigan
Joined Feb 2001
277 Posts
An open letter to all Local Hobby Shops.....

To whom it may concern,

I just visited a local hobby shop looking for a special part I had placed on order. This chain of shops (whom will remain nameless) has a wide selection of planes and parts including a wide selection of electrics. Being that I needed a special order I sought out one of the sales clerks and asked an order be placed with Hobby Lobby for a prop, prop shaft adapter, ect. I know my order wasn't much, and I know I could have ordered it myself. (Or to your preference bought one of your ARFs.) But I figured since I visit so often to your store I would just stop by and two weeks it would be in. (As I spend a few bucks atleast in parts and balsa.) I am your dreded nightmare, a scratch builder, whom can get his balsa elsewhere.

Normally I wouldn't expect that a part would be in right away. But when I asked about the order the clerk(s) were quite rude. They looked around and could not even find my order as being placed. I got the impression that I was inconviencing them just for checking on my parts. I would expect poor service from younger people, but these men were proudly wearing "25 Years of Service" on their name badges.

Thankfully my small city has another hobby shop that I can patronize. Your poor service tells me that my money and time will be best spent there. They can and will order me my parts so that I will never enter your doorway again.

Please consider this in the future. The hobby needs people who are friendly and willing to help new and experienced modelers. Your buisness is a great source of information and supplies, without your help our hobby depends on mail orders. (Which can be a mixed bag of service as well!) Please do us all a favor and try to atleast serve your customers with courtesy and respect. I know you may not make the big sale on every customer. But many small sales are just as important! (And have a good mark-up!)

Inclosing I will let my wallet speak for me. My money will go to your competitor who has learned service, respect, and loyalty.

Thank you,

Sean

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Old Apr 28, 2001, 11:41 PM
Registered User
Joined May 2000
2,039 Posts
Crete,

I have also felt your delima, the two shops in my area are really getting a lot better than they used to be, especially in e-flight stuff. They stock a good supply of kits, ARF's and parts. Try the RC boat hobby, these parts are really hard to come by in local shops, esp. for the high performance stuff. I think the key in their success is actually hiring good seasoned enthusiests, whether full or part-time, these people are critical to making sales, getting customer loyalty and making profits. I've noticed a few airplane guys move to a different shop, and their customers go right along with em.

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Old Apr 30, 2001, 01:21 AM
HobbyKing
Paul Susbauer's Avatar
Hong Kong, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
Joined Apr 2001
4,564 Posts
I've noticed this kind of stuff too. One of the local hobby shops (nameless), doesnt' stock any E-flight stuff, and most of the people that work there look like thugs, don't know much about planes, and aren't very friendly.

I don't go there at all anymore, (except once earlier this year to get Micafilm, as they were the only place that had it, though it had been sitting there for years)
I now spend all my hobby dollars at another shop, that offers great service, they can get me anything I need even though they usually have it already.

Knowing I'm a good customer at this shop, I have gotten price breaks on kits, the main airplane guy offered me a great deal on a slightly damaged Pico Jet (shipping damage) $20.

I love this hobby shop, in fact I'm going in there tomorrow.
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Old May 16, 2001, 11:12 PM
Senior Gravity Checker
Tampa, Florida
Joined Mar 2001
1,051 Posts
I was on business in Pennsylvania for a month recently. Not having much to do at night and being far away from home I decided to build a model airplaine.

I purchased the kit and all stuff (glue, receiver, servos batteries...etc.) from a local hobby shop. A real mom and pop store. Needless to say in 3 visits I dropped greater than $400.

On my third visit the proprietor sold me a 350mah nicad battery. trying to fly with it I blew my only two motors. The motors were only rated for 270mah max as I found out later.

Calling the store and then visiting I expected some sort of arrangement due to my deep pockets behavior. Something like the motor costs me $x and I'll give it to you at cost. Just good PR for the shop...

Needless to say this did not happpen. The owner ran the gamut of emotions...from disbelief to shock to denial. Yet refused to admit his error or offer a solution.

I left his store never to return. I was paying a premium for his face to face service over the interent outlets. I leave him to his just rewards.....all shoddy businesses fail over time.

Smile as you leave and vote with your dollars somewhere else. -Ken
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Old May 17, 2001, 09:35 AM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,758 Posts
Ken

If I were that proprietor, I'd be puzzled as to what you were doing. Last time I checked, a 350 mAH pack will not fry something that uses a 270 mAH pack- capacity doesn't fry things- excess voltage does! Are you sure you're using the correct number of cells? Alternatively, if you're heating up a motor on a 270 pack and running it all the way down, and when you changed to a larger pack, that fried your motor, well, you're operating stuff kind of beyond it's limits. Is this the proprietor's responsibility?

Look at it from the proprietor's viewpoint- if you've abused the goods do you deserve a refund no matter how much you've spent in the shop? What happens if you mangle something expensive? This is a dangerous precedent for the proprietor.

Sam Brauer
Norwalk, CT
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Old May 17, 2001, 12:06 PM
Senior Member
Dallas, Texas, USA
Joined Feb 2000
363 Posts
I agree with Sam on this Ken. However, more correctly, it is total watts that nuke motors. Since either high amps or high volts (volts cause the motor to fly apart, amps cause it to melt down) will do damage.

We all go out and buy speed 400 motors and abuse the heck out of them. The manufacturers (Mabuchi mostly) never intended their 6 volt 20 watt can motors to be run on 10 cells at 10 amps (over 100 watts) regardless of the time actually on. So, of course these motors do not last their manufacturer listed service life. I wish they did, I would never have to replace a speed 400 again.

We also often modify a product to suit our needs (taking cases off of things, changing the wiring, etc.) which technically voids the warranty. Some manufacturers still honor the warranty on their products even when we do change them (I know that Hitec will still take care of a 555 or Feather even if the user took the case off to save weight. That is common practice in micro flight and they seem to understand and respect that. I'm sure other vendors may do some of the same. However, take the casing wrapping off a cell and sand the casing down to save weight like some competition light flight guys/gals and then try to send the cell back to sanyo if it goes bad (or tell them you were running their RC3000's at 90 amps and want your money back because the pack failed) I think some manufacturers will not be so accomodating. The same goes for a vendor or hobby shop. If their manufacturer won't accept the item as defective, then they won't take it back and lose the money on it. In the end, we are responsible for the operation of our toys and whatever damage may result from abuse, intentional or not.

However, if the vendor sold you an item and specifically told (advertised) you it was functional and would operate a specific way - and it did not or it failed earlier than the vendor's instructions indicated it would... well, then the vendor or manufacturer probably owes you something as you are entitled to a "functioning as advertised and operated" product. This falls under most warranty clauses and those warranties are required, unless an "as is" disclaimer is posted on the item, by most laws. Good luck, sorry the store owner did not tell you to not use that pack, or to use it in a specific way (less throttle). However, he is not required to do so. He may not even have known if it would work or not, experimentation is part of this hobby. If you went in and asked for a bigger or specific pack, and did not tell him what you were going to use it for (or that you were going to fly the plane you bought against the manufacturers instructions with that pack), then there wasn't much the guy could have done. What did the instructions that came with the plane/motor system say to use for a battery?


Cash

[This message has been edited by Cash Traylor (edited 05-17-2001).]
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Old May 19, 2001, 12:42 AM
Senior Gravity Checker
Tampa, Florida
Joined Mar 2001
1,051 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Cash Traylor:
I agree with Sam on this Ken. However, more correctly, it is total watts that nuke motors. Since either high amps or high volts (volts cause the motor to fly apart, amps cause it to melt down) will do damage.

We all go out and buy speed 400 motors and abuse the heck out of them. The manufacturers (Mabuchi mostly) never intended their 6 volt 20 watt can motors to be run on 10 cells at 10 amps (over 100 watts) regardless of the time actually on. So, of course these motors do not last their manufacturer listed service life. I wish they did, I would never have to replace a speed 400 again.

We also often modify a product to suit our needs (taking cases off of things, changing the wiring, etc.) which technically voids the warranty. Some manufacturers still honor the warranty on their products even when we do change them (I know that Hitec will still take care of a 555 or Feather even if the user took the case off to save weight. That is common practice in micro flight and they seem to understand and respect that. I'm sure other vendors may do some of the same. However, take the casing wrapping off a cell and sand the casing down to save weight like some competition light flight guys/gals and then try to send the cell back to sanyo if it goes bad (or tell them you were running their RC3000's at 90 amps and want your money back because the pack failed) I think some manufacturers will not be so accomodating. The same goes for a vendor or hobby shop. If their manufacturer won't accept the item as defective, then they won't take it back and lose the money on it. In the end, we are responsible for the operation of our toys and whatever damage may result from abuse, intentional or not.

However, if the vendor sold you an item and specifically told (advertised) you it was functional and would operate a specific way - and it did not or it failed earlier than the vendor's instructions indicated it would... well, then the vendor or manufacturer probably owes you something as you are entitled to a "functioning as advertised and operated" product. This falls under most warranty clauses and those warranties are required, unless an "as is" disclaimer is posted on the item, by most laws. Good luck, sorry the store owner did not tell you to not use that pack, or to use it in a specific way (less throttle). However, he is not required to do so. He may not even have known if it would work or not, experimentation is part of this hobby. If you went in and asked for a bigger or specific pack, and did not tell him what you were going to use it for (or that you were going to fly the plane you bought against the manufacturers instructions with that pack), then there wasn't much the guy could have done. What did the instructions that came with the plane/motor system say to use for a battery?


Cash

[This message has been edited by Cash Traylor (edited 05-17-2001).]
When dancing in the grey zone on a model I feel like I was paying extra for the shop keepers experience.

I did not go in looking for a bigger battery....it was his suggestion as he was out of the smaller type. He knew the two motors it was to go with as he sold them to me 1 week before.

In any case....both burnt without turning the prop once. Really a bummer as I sacrificed the second motor thinking it was my ESC...

I really don't think I was looking for more than an apology for some wrong information. If I tell you as a friend that a modification will work and it does not....well sorry. If I tell you as an expert then that's another story.

Basically he was not willing to part with $6 of his mark-up to save a customer who just spent several hundred dollars. Fine, he does business his way...but without me. In my work I dont bill for a huge percentage of my time. Just part of keeping the customers happy.

We can discuss technical merits until the cows come home. If you are unsatisfied with a vendor it just makes sense to find another one. Free market economics at it's best.

I think the days of mom and pop hobby shops will be lost if the personal service and caring which they should preserve is lost. After all they are charging a 25-40% mark up over the internet outlets. -Ken

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Old May 19, 2001, 02:16 PM
Senior Member
Dallas, Texas, USA
Joined Feb 2000
363 Posts
Ken,
That works for me. I agree with your "mom and pop - service" philosophy, that "service and expertise" is the primary reason we patron those shops and normally don't mind paying a bit more for a product. You are getting the "shop talk and advice" with the purchase price. You are right, free economics works for the consumer in his ability to choose where their money is spent. So, in saying the above - I DO agree with you there. However, you have to also accept the fact that not all shop owners ARE experts. If the shop owner/salesman had told you that those batteries WOULD work with THOSE motors, then that is an implied and stated warranty of service. A good store would back that statement up with some form of compensation (whether it be an appology or a new motor and a change in advise) if that expert advise was proved to be wrong. Most of our more popular vendors do just that. Hence that is why they are our more popular vendors! So, in the end you are probably right in your review of your experience with that particular shop.

***But of course, there is a caveat.***

However, technically - I still have to wonder how a pack of the same voltage/number of cells (and probably just slightly higher wattage - as the cells normally have a lower internal resistance as their capacity rating goes up, and therefore put out slightly more power at a given load) burned out 2 of your motors before they ever produced a revolution of your prop? Are you sure they weren't lithiums by chance (3.6 volts per cell instead of 1.2 volts) - ie, that pack was 3 times the original packs output power? I highly doubt that, as the price would be significantly more, and require a different charger. However, your "results" perplex me. Maybe I'm missing something, but that could be the same reason the shopkeep wouldn't give you another solution... He simply could not understand what was wrong with the one he had provided in the "second" place. I know this is the Consumer Advocacy forum (and this question should be in Open or Science), but curiosity is killing me... What motor and battery pack produced this self destructing combination?


Sincerely,
Cash

P.S. Just consumer theory discussion, nothing else and nothing personal. However, I am sorry that incident cut your "away from home flying" short. Also, for the sake of length in the thread (for everyone, not just you Ken), try not to reply with an entire post's contents in your response. They can get very long - especially with my "longwindedness". Might I suggest just referencing a post by the author's name and/or maybe a brief quote. Especially when the post your responding to is only one or two posts above your response (I understand complete quotes if the post is two pages before, or maybe from another thread). Thanks!

[This message has been edited by Cash Traylor (edited 05-19-2001).]
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