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On the one hand I want local model shops to survive - we all need them to supply the little odds and ends. Perversly they will only survive if we are prepared to pay something more for the bigger stuff like locomotives and control systems.

If the mathematics was simple (such as purchase price plus postage and package compared to minimum cost plus petrol) then the choice would be simple, and there would be a balance allowing Liverpool retailers and Fred's model shop survive side by side.

The mighty dollar (I hesitate to mention pounds in their current condition) seems to prevail endangering the small model shop to the prediction of extinction. Yes, some of them approach sales costing using logic which ignores price comparrisons; but others recognise that we consumers are also short of liquidity. Again a balance needs to become a reality.

Let the immature retailer go to the wall and the more reasonable (small) model shops prosper.

Another dimension - if you think that things are difficult in the UK let alone Europe, just think of the third world market where currency exchange rates are worse.

Here in sunny South Africa I have found a model shop that will price receipts in accordance with the generally discounted rates that apply with the current foreign exchange rate prevailing at the time of their payment to the supplier; and will not reprice them whilst on the shelf. For those that know the system, we search for the 'old' stock and can purchase an old item for up to two thirds of a new renumbered equivilent.

With some negotiation, discounts on marked prices are also a possibility for the regular customers.

The big retailers depend upon the locals to create the market that they then plunder. If they destroy the local shops they will kill their own business as the old wrinkleys die out and youngsters forget the magic our great hobby can provide.

Commercial pressures should keep the balance but greed will destroy the hobby - unless we all go back to scratch and kit bashing options - bring back Mr Freezer please !
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