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LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

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LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

Old 03-21-2007, 07:16 AM
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rwright142
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Default LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

Sorry, this is a bit lengthy...

First, a little about me… I’m 48, was born and raised in the country, but have spent most of my adulthood in big cities. When growing up, the LHS around the corner had Cork pop guns, Tinkertoys, Erector Sets, the Fort Apache Play Set, Lincoln Logs, car, planes, trains, and 5-cent packs of baseball cards with that awful pink slab of bubble gum.

But what I remember the most were the owners - Mr. and Mrs. Hineman. They took the time to ask me questions to find out what I was interested in. Not how much I had to spend, and they didn’t try to get me to buy the oldest thing in the store because they couldn’t sell it. I was a kid, they could have taken advantage of me and I would not have known any better. But they didn’t.

When they saw that spark in my eye when I saw that airplane, or that rocket I wanted, they would get it for me, open the box, and show me the item. They would explain how it works, what was needed to make it safe for me and others, and would answer any questions I had. Then they would tell me how much it cost. Most of the time I didn’t have enough money and they probably knew that but spent the time with me anyway.

One time they told me I could work there to pay for what I wanted. Imagine that, someone other than my parents making me work to learn the value of money! Of course I would rush there right after school to put in my time to earn that 50 cents an hour. When I had worked off my debt, Mr. Hineman handed me the greatest gift I had ever received. No, it wasn’t the small plastic rocket that flew about 25 feet in the air after you spent 10 minutes filling it with water and pumping it with a plunger to build pressure. It was learning the value of hard work, money, and friendship.

40 years later…

I frequent 2 Local Hobby Shops. One is a large chain the other is a small, 'mom & pop' store. It is small. Very small. So small that if there is more than 5 people you will be elbow to elbow. But that is what makes it neat.

I needed a new home for my OS 52 so I asked the folks here on RCU for suggestions. I heeded your advice so I called around for the availability of a SIG Fourstar 40 kit (I like to build). The online stores have them for $79.99 and that is what I was quoted at the large store. I knew at the smaller store I would probably have to order it but that was ok because I didn’t need it today so 3 or 4 days is fine. So I called and they actually had it in stock too. They quoted $76.95 – hummm, cheaper than the big boys. (I know about inventory, overhead, etc, and I don’t want to start a business discussion here.)

I have bought at the large store before and when I do I have learned that most of my questions will have blank stare responses, or the frequent “uh, I don’t know”. So I usually do my research here on RCU first.

So I went to the smaller store. As usual, there were others there – one guy was talking with the owner looking at pictures she had taken at a local club's flyin. They were laughing, pointing out different people and what they were flying… just having fun. There was an elderly retired gentleman sitting on a stool at the counter, reading a magazine (I think it was the recent Model Airplane News) which I bet he just took off the rack by the cash register. I bet he won’t be charged, let alone being told “buy it or put it down”.

I was greeted with a friendly hi. The owner smiled and said “about time you came back in.” I told her I was the one who called about the Fourstar. She said she recognized my voice and had it by the register for me. As she was ringing it up I brought over a roll of covering. She said “That’s transparent yellow, is that what you want?” No it wasn’t so she pointed out the regular yellow. When I went back to the register she said that it takes 2 rolls to completely cover it so I went back and grabbed another roll. She told me that I grabbed Econocote and not Monocote like the first roll (they looked the same to me) and then told me that I didn’t want Econocote. As I was standing in front of the rack fumbling to find the matching roll of Monocote, from across the room she yelled 2nd column on the left, 5 rolls down.

Before giving me my total she asked if I had everything I needed to complete the kit, like glue. It wasn’t to get me to buy more stuff but to make sure I had everything I needed.
As I was leaving she took a call. I heard her say she recognized his voice and she asked him how he was liking the radio he bought. She took his order and told him that she would be placing her orders tomorrow and that everything will be in stock in a couple of days.

When I got home and opened the box, I realized I needed a fuel tank and wheels. Guess where I’ll go?

I’m not saying that one LHS is better than another. It has nothing to do with price, appearance, or inventory. I just like the atmosphere and the feeling like I’m with friends. It’s like when I’m at the field. Sure it’s fun to see the plane do what I want, but I also enjoy watching others fly, talking about their planes, what they have on the bench, what they want next, etc.

I hope you are happy with where you buy, and enjoy where you fly.



Old 03-21-2007, 08:44 AM
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Bruno Stachel
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

Good post. Man, I loved those water rockets. There aren't too many places like your small LHS left anymore. And I'm also thinking of the mom and pop corner grocery store I used to go to and buy baseball cards. My friends and I would open the packs and trade them right there on the counter. It's great to have a place to go to with some character and hospitality.

One problem though. I'm right behind you at 45, and I refuse to say things like, "LHS Comparison from an Old Guy.
Old 03-21-2007, 09:01 AM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

Great post. After reading it, I`m headed to my LHS for the 3rd time this week lol.
I grew up on a farm and never was close to the cities and hobby shops, so I`m a late bloomer in the world of RC, but trying to catch up is the fun part.
Old 03-21-2007, 09:05 AM
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rwright142
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

I had fun with them too. Nowadays they would come with a page and a half of warnings like "don't point at anyone, don't eat the plastic, wear a helmet and goggles, etc..."

You're right about the Mom & Pop shops becoming extinct... I guess like you I miss the character of them.

The "old guy" comment came out because yesterday my 5 yr old grandson asked about my age. When I told him my age he said "that's really old." hahaha You're as old as you feel I guess...

So, at 45 do you remember:
All the girls had ugly gym uniforms?
It took five minutes for the TV to warm up, it only had 2 or 3 channels, and you had to walk over to it to change the channel?
When a quarter was a decent allowance?
You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?
You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time?
And you didn't pay for air? And, you got trading stamps to boot?
Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?
They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed... and they did?
When a '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car... to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?
No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?
When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited at home? Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Doody and the Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk.
Candy cigarettes, Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside, 45 RPM records, Green Stamps, Metal ice cubes trays with levers?
Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-moe"?
Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do Over!"?
The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was "cooties"?
Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot?
"Oly-oly-oxen-free" made perfect sense?
The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team?
Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?
Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?


Feeling old now? hahaha
Old 03-21-2007, 09:15 AM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

Well, I just turned 50 and I can relate - thanks for the memories. I miss those days!

There are a few privately owned LHS's that I frequent - one in particular is alot like the one you describe. It's tough to survive in that business and I hope they are around for awhile. Although I do occasionally drop into one of the chain shops, I get the same blank stare or "we can probably order it" (whatever it is) when asking for a particular product. Can't fault them though, they need to cater to a broad range of interests to make it a profitable venture since it's all about making money for corporate - right? They do have alot of activities for kids of all ages which I applaud.

Oh, by the way, my 11 year old son is into baseball cards and some packs still have that "awful pink slab of gum" that he will not dare to chew - he gives them to me and I enjoy every minute of it just like I was 12 again! In some respects I still am (12).

Steve
Old 03-21-2007, 09:37 AM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

Insanemoondoggie,
I found 5 acres of heaven just close enough to the city so the wife can travel to shop without using a whole tank of gas, but far enough away that we have lots of deer, raccoons, etc, and we can see the stars at night.
Have fun catching up!


Steve,
Glad you also have one close. I hope they are around a long time too. Businesses have to make a profit and I am glad the chain store close to you also gives back to the community - that's noble. Kids need a place like that and a dad that will spend the time with them to get baseball cards.

It's funny that you enjoyed that gum and making you feel 12 again. Makes me want to get out and go find some myself... hahaha
Old 03-21-2007, 06:08 PM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

You are certainly blessed to have a LHS that actually treats you like a flying buddy and helps you out. I used to live close to a shop like that. It's great. Ya never know who will walk through the door in the next 5 minutes--but you can be sure, everyone will be happy to see him. Everybody is friends.

It's not like that where I live now. I can drive across town--about 15 miles (1 hour) through Denver traffic and stop lights--but I don't have the energy. I'm perfectly happy doing 99% of my shopping online. About the only thing I buy from the LHS is fuel.
Old 03-21-2007, 06:51 PM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy


ORIGINAL: rwright142

Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Doody and the Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk.
Don't forget........."Out of the blue, from the Western Sky....it's SKY KING!"

I watched B&W TV until I was 12 years old, all 3 channels. Funny, if you deleted all the total garbage available on the, say 400 channels available today, you'd have............3 channels of stuff worth watching.
Old 03-21-2007, 07:53 PM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

48 and you're talking old! As far as I am concerned, you're a young stud. Try 1937. OK Cub .049 in 1950. I may be over weight and gray, but I'm still young.

TV, we had radio. The Shadow, Captain Midnight, Sky King, Jack Arnstrong, Flash Gordon. The Green Hornet.

I remember hearing that up and down, control line sound, grabbing my bike and riding over to the ball field to see who was flying. Once I got there and someone was testing an El Diablo he had built from plans, flames on the wings and everything. That was one cool airplane. I forget what he had in it, maybe an Orwick.
Old 03-22-2007, 05:41 AM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

ORIGINAL: Ed_Moorman
I may be over weight and gray, but I'm still young.
TV, we had radio. The Shadow, Captain Midnight, Sky King, Jack Arnstrong, Flash Gordon. The Green Hornet.

I remember hearing that up and down, control line sound, grabbing my bike and riding over to the ball field to see who was flying. Once I got there and someone was testing an El Diablo he had built from plans, flames on the wings and everything. That was one cool airplane. I forget what he had in it, maybe an Orwick.
As you eluded to, age is not in years, but in your soul. Glad to hear you still are young buck at heart.

When I was a teenager dad would pick me up from work and on the drive home he would listen to 'old time radio'. I got to hear the shadow, mystery radio, orson wells and a few others. Even then I thought that was neat because my imagination would create the pictures.

I think I was about 6 (1965) when I saw my first RC plane - control line, COX engine. I don't remember the rest because I only saw dad fly it for about 30 seconds - hahaha - his first plane and no training...
Old 03-22-2007, 05:44 AM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

ORIGINAL: khodges
I watched B&W TV until I was 12 years old, all 3 channels. Funny, if you deleted all the total garbage available on the, say 400 channels available today, you'd have............3 channels of stuff worth watching.
How true!
I occasionally watch some old time TV channels. They show Gunsmoke, I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, etc. I also like to watch the older movies.
"They just don't make 'em like that anymore" like dear ol dad used to say...
Old 03-22-2007, 10:19 AM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

You guys who have local hobby shops are lucky. I would suggest you support them as best you possibly can. The only LHS in this area closed a year and a half ago. It just isn't the same buying everything online.
Old 03-22-2007, 10:35 AM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

I agree, and I will support mine as much as my wallet and wife will let me
What's really neat about the one I go to is that they also support local clubs with door prizes for competitions, etc.
Old 03-22-2007, 12:11 PM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

Ours does too. And everytime you buy something, your name gets entered in a raffle at the monthly club meetings (which he allows us to have at his shop during the winter months.) The prize is a $20.00 gift certificate. There are some guys who go and buy 1 stick of balsa one day, then maybe some glue the next, and so on!
Old 03-22-2007, 12:20 PM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

You'd think they's burn more than $20 in gas! hahaha

Sounds like a great LHS.
Old 03-23-2007, 08:49 PM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

Im llucky i am withinen walkign distance of an awsome hobby shop still small its a new stoore that is fairly large and most of it is empty which is fine he builds stock with time he is mostly in cars and trucks but he will work with me if i ask him about things like if i dont understand how somthign works or somthign he will explain it to me or draw diagrams for me to take for wiering or fuel setups (im a newb).
Old 03-24-2007, 07:24 AM
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Default RE: LHS Comparison from an Old Guy

It is nice when someone can talk to you in 'newby' hahaha. I have found some at the field I USED to fly at who did not want to 'waste' their time answering basic questions. However, almost everyone else can remember when they first started out and when asked 'dumb' questions (like I do a LOT! hahaha) they are willing to spend extra time answering. Those are the kind of people that keep this hobby going and growing.

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