Discontinuations

Goodbye Polly Scale
 
I made up a word….I’m an English teacher, I do that all the time.  Besides, it really fits the topic of this blog.  As a hobbyist, you have lots to cope with.  Of course those things include time, money, frustrations, small parts, and delays in delivery.  The one that seems to bother me the most are discontinuations.

Discontinuations refer to products you want to buy no longer being sold, and there being almost no way to get them.  It’s like going to a Japanese convenience store.  You continually buy a product, only to discover one day that it is gone, and it’s not coming back.  You thought by buying them that you’d send a message to the manufacturer that they should keep making it, but you were wrong.

This happens to TV shows that you love.  You think it’s great, but you might be the only one.  I loved Firefly, and though I know I am not the only one, they killed it.  I loved an 80’s TV show called Shell Game, but it didn’t live past five episodes.

For the hobbyist, what usually happens follows two patterns.  In pattern one, the hobbyist waits to buy something.  Maybe they don’t have the money (usually my case) or they are hoping to score a better deal somewhere down the line, or they just put some other item ahead of it in the queue.  Regardless, when they finally decide to make the purchase, it’s gone.  Lone gone.  They scour the internet and every hobby shop they can find, but to no avail.

The other pattern is that the hobbyist uses something religiously.  They come to depend on it, perhaps even take its availability for granted.  Then one day, it is gone.  The manufacturer has discontinued it.  There were probably warning signs.  There might have been announcement in the various magazines that cater to the hobby.  Perhaps someone had remarked on it in an internet bulletin board.  Had they taken the news to heart they would probably have known about it and stocked up.

Recently, the paint that I have been using for my model train buildings has been discontinued.  What does that mean?  It means that I will have to use something else.  I really shouldn’t worry because there are lots of paint manufacturers out there.  Any day now, that same company will probably announce a replacement.  Even if it doesn’t, the hobby store will have to find a new supplier, because paint is an integral part of the hobby store.

The uncertainty is frustrating.  When will it happen?  When will it be resolved.  I am not a great enough painter that I have such a detailed understanding of paint or the different characteristics of paint.  I buy what they tell me is good at the hobby shop or they talk about in the magazines.  It’s just a minor annoyance.  However, there are hobbyists who have mastered the characteristics of a particular paint brand and are probably going to be frustrated.  They are going to flood the hobby chat rooms and bulletin boards, announcing Armageddon.    I will quietly sympathize, and hope that my paint supply doesn’t run out soon.

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