Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Those VRE Models in the Pit

For the record, I didn't get any of the VRE models in the tent. I didn't even see them, until after the fact. (Truth be told, I almost completely struck out when it came to the “good stuff” at BreyerFest this year – in the Tent, and elsewhere - but that's another post for another time. One that can't be written until I've moped around the house for a few more days and finished consuming my weight in chocolate.)

There's been considerable hue and cry about the appearance of the leftover VRE models in the Ninja Pit of Death. It came as a surprise to me, too – not that the models were not destroyed, but that they thought it was a good idea to throw them into the tent in the first place.

Bad idea Reeves, bad idea. But I'll get to that in a minute.

I was not surprised that the models were not destroyed: Reeves isn't in the habit of destroying perfectly good models if they don't have to – especially if they're already wrapped and ready to sell. There were rumors of earlier BreyerFest Special Run leftovers (primarily the Three-Piece Classic Thoroughbred Sets) being destroyed and reground, and those rumors weren't the least bit true: I know some of them turned up in the Tent and in other retail venues, including Tuesday Morning.

And if they're not sold as is later on, they're often repurposed: the yellowed JAH Giltedge Hackneys became the BreyerFest Special “Excalibur,” and the leftover Inolvidables became the JAH Special “Causin a Commotion.” (And if you want to go even further back, factory overstock #58 Bay Hanoverians became the fabled Chalky Dapple Gray Hanoverians.)

I wasn't there at the actual Velvet Rope Event to hear what the Reeves employees said first hand about the disposition of the leftover models. I suspect the notion that the leftover VRE Specials being destroyed was probably a combination of misunderstood questions, misinterpreted answers, garbled and incomplete information passed amongst the various Reeves employees in attendance, and wishful thinking on the part of attendees.

That idea just struck me as wrong. It was contrary to what they had done in the past, and the explanation that it was going to be done to “preserve” the value of the VRE models didn't make sense. When you're dealing with piece runs of 100 or less, the destruction of even a handful of models wouldn't preserve the value, it would significantly alter it – up! (Hence the wishful thinking reference, above.) I'd be a little miffed though if I had made my VRE selections based on piece counts, only to find out the piece counts changed afterwards.

I thought Reeves would take the saner route and just use the leftover VRE models as prizes, raffles, auction pieces and giveaways. I don't think too many hobbyists would have been upset if they had done that: they'd still have that cachet of being an exclusive and all that. It's not like they're making “more” of them available – they're just distributing the remainders in an even more exclusive way.

Throwing them in the Ninja Pit of Death was not what I expected. The Medalist Ponies, the exclusive surprise Stablemate Sets, Rileys and Party Girls? Yeah, sure, no problem. Those kinds of things we can plan and compensate for.

The VRE models, not so much: Burbanks marked down to $60.00? What on Earth were they thinking?

The Ninja Pit is almost unmanageable as it is – throwing something that rare into the mix, and marking it down, is only going to make matters worse. Much, much worse. Now that that has happened, hobbyists are going to come to expect it. Unless they make significant changes in the way the Sales Tent is run, an entire army of nunchaku-wielding ninjas on elephants is not going to be enough to control the crowd, much less a single mounted police officer.

I sure would have loved a Burbank, though. It would have made a nice consolation prize in lieu of not getting any of the Deco Surprise QH Geldings.

(Totally my idea, but you guys knew that already. Pardon me while I go mope in a corner and console myself with microwave chicken taquitos.)

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