Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Changes to the Pit

When I got home today from work, I had a late lunch, sat down in a chair, and fell asleep for the rest of the afternoon. So I didn’t get a darn thing done at all today - or even get a chance to follow up with the doctor’s office.

I am not overly worried, however. The toe is less purple and hurts somewhat less, though the painkillers did make me want to sleep every time I sat down at work.

The car is still not completely unpacked. It may remain that way for a few more days because of an issue unrelated to my left foot. (A something I had nothing to do with, that I had no control over, but for which I’m being used as a convenient scapegoat anyway. It’s a story so long that it involves chapters and character guides.)

One of the few things I have been allowed to unpack is this lovely creature, one of the last things I found in the NPOD - late Sunday morning!

As you might have guessed, it’s no ordinary Vintage Club Kiowa: not only does he not have any VIN numbers or stickers, he’s NOT Chalky. He also has the old copyright horseshoe mold mark, and it looks like the Indian markings are handpainted in acrylic paint (though I’m not willing to test that theory).

I’m not 100 percent certain that he’s the guy in the Vintage Club batch photo, but I would not be surprised if he is. (All I can say is I haven’t seen anything that would indicate otherwise.)

I found him mixed in the bagged horse boxes, along with several other Kiowas and BreyerFest SRs of years past. I’m pretty sure he was a newer "plant", rather than something that had been overlooked before. Even though many of my fellow Ninjas were avoiding the leftover Vintage Club models like the plague, he did have one of those generic labels - and a handwritten price - that screamed SAMPLE SAMPLE BUY ME NOW.

The NPOD was … different this year. Reeves threatened to "spread the wealth" throughout the weekend, and as this fellow attests, they did. There were some quality items to be found Friday morning, but a lot of them were either priced accordingly - or buried and mixed into things.

I did get some other Samples - most notably a couple of the Reissues - and a few other items that I will eventually get to sometime in the next few weeks.

The most important development is that they HANDED OUT LINE NUMBERS. They were laminated and everything! They should have done it earlier than they did (shortly before the gates opened) but it was wonderful to see the usual linecutters wandering around and looking disoriented. The line to the Arena was neat and orderly and almost stress-free.

About danged time, you guys!

As to some of these changes to the Pit, I have mixed feelings.

Changes needed to be made, no doubt; the line standing had escalated to the point where some people were skipping out on the Thursday night room sales entirely and heading straight to the Park, which just feels wrong. Something had to be done to prevent a Walmart-style Black Friday Stampede from occurring.

(Seriously people, they gave us cake and ice cream at the hotel!)

Salting the Pit with the occasional rarity also encourages people to go back, again and again. And we love surprises, as the continuing popularity of the Surprise SR attests. I was somewhat concerned that this would lead to people camping out around the Arena and stalking Reeves employees, but after an initial bit of that Friday morning, it seems to have dissipated. (The heat and humidity also helped with that, I think.)

Putting out a portion of Store Specials - and enforcing the "one per person rule" - every day makes sense, and should have been a feature of the Store Specials from the get go.

On the other hand, I do not want to see the NPOD phenomenon eliminated entirely. Not because I have a vested interest in it (though I do) but because for some of us, it’s one of the few means of getting something special and rare that’s at least partially under our control.

Not all of us are lucky, or talented, or blessed with good financial fortune, or live near wonderful flea markets and antique shops. For those of us in that situation, camping out at the Park to be among the first in the "Pit" is the best opportunity to get something really awesome. It’s not just a matter of being the first or the most aggressive, but of capitalizing on the skill of being able to spot the rare and unusual at a moment’s notice.

Eliminating that opportunity - and making all rarities completely random - would deprive some of us of our "thing". It would become just another means for the very lucky among us to continue to be very lucky.

It’s not just about the "power shopping", it’s a social event, too, and one I’m a little surprised that Reeves has not capitalized on. I’m not saying that they should be handing out SRs or special offers to the Ninjas, but arranging for some food carts to provide a picnic-style breakfast (bagels, donuts, muffins, fruit, coffee, etc.) would be a wonderful thing, for instance.

It’d be something that other people who like to line up early anyway, and not just for the Pit, would appreciate, as well.


Anonymous said...

I have only gone through the NPOD and I loved it. To me it was fun. I am tall so was able to grab horses shorter people couldn't reach. I got my last coveted Creepy Meow for $5.00! Were there line cutters? Probably. That is just wrong and irritating for those of us who follow rules. I didn't get anything super rare or special but it was still fun. I'd hate to see it end but as usual a few bad actors will ruin it for the multitudes who behave themselves.

kelly7874 said...

Breyer attempted to make the process more fair by stating they were going to spread items out over the weekend, and by golly they did. Isn't that enough? With all of the complaining (not just by you, but by many in the hobby) that the same folks win prizes, get picked for volunteering, win a particular model, or manipulate rules to their advantage, isn't it refreshing that the new NPOD process evens the playing field for everyone?

What good would it do for Breyer to provide bagels or a fruit plate to people waiting overnight? They and the KHP are generous enough as it is, permitting folks to camp out the night before on private property. The little extras like the shopping bags for the Celebration model and blankets with each purchase were welcome surprises that truly made the event special. Lately, there has been a sense of entitlement from hobby folks that Breyer owes us something - but they don't owe us anything other than the models that we purchase.

Denise said...

I for one, am thrilled that Breyer has made some changes to the pit. I think people will still spend the night if they want, and still have an overall edge at shopping compared to someone strolling through say at noon on Saturday but it's nice they are attempting to level the playing field. I do the NOPD every year (I don't spend the night though) but mostly to get whatever store specials interest me. If I find something else, it's a bonus. After all the store specials are snapped up quickly! Being short doesn't help.....

Susan said...

Wonderful test Kiowa, Andrea. Congrats. :)

Anonymous said...

Well said Kelly and VERY WELL PLAYED BREYER!!!! Breyer did an excellent job of making the surprises random this year. It made ALL the attendants feel like they had a chance to get something special.

The NPOD and kid’s costume contest changes were long over due. I use to read this blog for Breyer trivia and thought I might find some after Breyerfest, but no it is filled with personal life drama and teasers. The complaining and sense of entitlement is very unbecoming. Complaining about not being lucky is just childish. If I want to read that kind of stuff, I can go to FB and find all I want and more.

Breyer did SO many positive, fun things this year and people should be thanking them!!!

Anonymous said...

Andrea, I love your blog. Please don't ever filter yourself (not that I think you would)

Anonymous said...

Bravo! Great post and great job, Breyer. It was a great year, even if I wasn't "lucky". The fun part is all the great people and seeing everyone excited at their purchases. Fun, fun year. Um, next year, pack your own bagels and fruit. Just sayin'....

Anonymous said...

What exactly is the "PIT" and what does NPOD stand for?

RowanMorgaine said...

I too love your blog and I say write whatever you want to. I don't always agree with you but I certainly respect your opinions. If people don't like your blog, perhaps they should find something else to read.

Anonymous said...

"If people don't like your blog, perhaps they should find something else to read."

Ah, the internet's answer to everything. No one knows how to have a conversation anymore. They just want to tell people what to do.

LostInAn80'sFog said...

I don't see how posting about one's observations, opinions, recommendations and compliments of an event on one's own blog conveys a sense of entitlement.

Anonymous said...

How sad and pathetic that a person would tell another person NOT to filter all their personal drama and meltdowns because they loved reading about it. The internet is forever. It’s not a very wise place to post this drama where present and future employment bosses can read it all.

Anonymous said...

The person who commented above, you need to chill out! I said nothing about personal drama or meltdowns. I was simply referring to her opinions about THE HOBBY and Breyerfest. How sad and pathetic that you don't know what your talking about and get on the internet and sling mud. I will pray for you.