To Whom It May Concern:
I just picked up issue number thirteen, April/May 1994, and have to
start this letter by saying that this is the first of your magazine that I have seen and I
think it is great!
It's not always easy to find a Science Fiction magazine that covers all
of the topics that a person enjoys. But yours got them all, Godzilla,
Star Trek, and Toys. Keep up the good work and keep the articles coming (especially
those on the above first two!)
I also like your tips on building models, again especially those of the
Star Trek universe. I have several model kits which I have not built because I have
wanted to add light to them but could never find someone who carried the products to do so
until I read Strange New Worlds. Continuing articles of this type would be much
Ismael E. Perez
Rego Park NY
I'm glad you're enjoying your first exploration through our Strange New
Worlds. Welcome aboard as a new subscriber. We're always on the lookout for informative
articles about Trek, Godzilla, and all areas of interest to Science Fiction collectors.
I just finished reading issue #13 and thought I'd comment on the
Classic Light and the U.S.S. Reliant article. I have built and made hundreds of resin kits
and have a fleet of starships from the KLINGON ARMORER and have found his kits to usually
be of good quality. I'm sure no one makes a kit without a few bubbles in it that's the
drawback to resin kits but his kits are better than the article makes them out to be.
Mr. Waugh seemed to have not taken his own advice by checking a product
before he bought it. A good Reliant Kit to build is the SCI-FI Miniatures vacu-form kit.
It is in scale with the ERTL 1701-A and is a little difficult to build but the results are
outstanding. This kit also is sold by the Klingon Armorer.
In Strange New Worlds #12, Jane Frank wrote an interesting article about negotiating price, or as it's known in slang,
haggling, when buying collectibles. While Ms. Frank has cited excellent sources, and made
some really good comments, a lot of what she wrote would not traslate well into dealing
with the two places you are most likely to get your collectibles at: Science Fiction
Conventions and stores run by full time comic/science fiction dealers.
You might wonder why these two places would have different rules of
negotiation. There are a couple of answers to that. First of all, stores and full time
dealers have been doing this for a long time. While I know a lot of dealers who might be
considered difficult, myself included, most of us are honest and decent people who've
managed to stay in the business for many years by loving what we do. We're not out to
gouge, as we make lots more money by keeping our clients happy with us, and consistently
spending in our stores, and not somewhere else.
Another factor is time. At a two-day convention, I have, generally,
fifteen hours to sell my products and make the trip worthwhile. Usually eight hours on
Saturday, and seven or less on Sunday. I don't have time to dicker with everybody. If you
catch me at a lull, I will listen and occasionally negotiate. In my store, there is even
less time to deal with this aggravation. [ . . . ]
There is no divine right to discount. I have looked high and low, and I
have yet to ever see it written anywhere that dealers must give discounts. Discounts are
at the discretion of the dealer, as the dealer owns the property, until the dealer and the
customer reach an agreement. That may include a discount, it may not. You, the customer,
have to decide what you want to spend, and on what. You must set your own priorities, and
frankly, you should be prepared to pay full price.
I have a lot of customers who ask me about "bundling," as Ms.
Frank calls it. That's the concept that one item is one price, and two or three of the
same may be less. That is to be assumed only if you see a sign showing the rate, or the
dealer explains it to you. A dealer I know sells his videotapes at $20 each, two for $35,
and three for $50. Ask him, and that's exactly what he'll tell you. I put up signs that
say color photos are $5 each, and black and whites are $3 each, and I tell people this
when asked. The next question is usually, "How much for two??" The answer is
always $10. If I don't give you a scale, it's not there.
I have also run into people who ask my price and then ask, "How
much for a bunch?" I reply, "What do you call a bunch?" Most of the time,
the answer is two or three. I send these people packing. I had one customer reply to my
question, "Fifteen or twenty. What price could you give me?" I offered him a
discounted rate, and asked him if he was ready to buy. When his eyebrows went up, I
explained about the two or three in a bunch people, as well as the people who round up
their best prices and then go to the dealer they really want to deal with and tell him to
match my offer. My customer smiled, told me that he understood the reasons for my
questions, and then promptly bought thirty photos. We were both happy.
The upshot of all of this? Yes, you can negotiate with people and even
people like me who rarely negotiate will consider your offer, if it's made politely and
reasonably. I don't guarantee that you'll always get a break, but you do stand a better
chance of it.
Mark Marmor, THE OMEGA ZONE
258 West 15th St, NY NY 10011
Thanks for your thoughtful comments and for providing your own insights
and experiences with negotiations. I can understand your frustration at bargain hunters'
questions regarding discounts. You are a dealer who is always upfront and honest with all
your clients. But I also know many dealers whose standard policy is to offer certain
unposted discounts to those who ask, but won't willingly offer the discount to the unwary
who do not ask. In my experience, unless I know the dealer personally, I will always test
the waters for negotiations. Straight-shooting dealers, like yourself, will always set me
straight about their policy right away, saving both their time and mine.