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A bit of a weird week (Virtual slotfest rant)


This week has been a bit of a weird one for us. Ordinarily we would be getting bits ready and finishing off some last minute stuff before we head off to Gaydon for the UK Slot Car Festival. However because of this horrible virus it was unfortunately cancelled, along with most every other slot festival and swapmeet this year. This is heartbreaking for us traders as these shows are a great opportunity to showcase our products, get feedback and generally get to know our customers on a more friendly basis. All of this on top of the shows providing the platform on which we can sell our products and which many traders depend on to support their livelihood. We thank the organisers of these events immensely for giving us the opportunity to do this. Without them the hobby and industry would not be what it is today.

Of course ours is not the only industry effected by the virus. Most aspects of our life have been impacted in some way or other. One industry in particular that comes to mind is the music industry. This summer all the big music festivals were cancelled, disappointing thousands of people. But ultimately it was all for their safety. To reach out and support their fans many of the bands that would have been playing organised their own online versions so that they could do something and bring a little joy to the disappointment.

The other day this inspired a few of us traders to do something similar. Arranged very quickly and efficiently, we decided that as we could not attend our normal trade shows this year and see our customers we would offer them some deals online over the weekend. Nothing big or flashy, just a few traders offering some deals. Put simply this was meant as a gesture of good will to our customers. It is something positive to do while all of the virus crap is going on around the world. After a quick ask of my own customers, they seemed to think it was a good idea. So forward the idea went.

Out of courtesy I contacted one of the organisers of the Gaydon event to let them know it was happening and to ask if they would like to be involved. To be clear the actual Gaydon event has been completely cancelled this year and the organisers have chosen, understandably, to not pursue an online event. Upon learning that a few of us traders were taking part in this spur of the moment (almost) event, this organiser was not happy.
Like the bands organising their own online gigs, this virtual slotfest was not meant as an affront to the original event. Only as a means to reward our customers as the original event was cancelled and not taking place. It was meant to make the best of a bad situation. A ramshackle thing put together to get information about some online deals out quickly and without fuss.

The organiser was apparently upset that we were using their events name. We are not. That name is 'UK Slot Car Festival', the name that is on the website that is only being used as a signpost, to point customers to the traders respective websites, is 'Virtual Slotfest'. I did think this was a bit like a situation where Glastonbury would say to Download that they could not use the term 'music festival' as it was too similar. The other problem was that it is happening on the same weekend as the Gaydon event would have been happening. True, but it is also happening on a weekend where Gaydon is not happening as well. There are 52 of those weekends this year after all. To be clear, no affiliation with the Gaydon event has been claimed and it was not the intention to be.

Nothing about what we are doing is intended to upset anyone or to compete. How could we possibly compete when the event was cancelled? If things were going ahead as normal we would not even think of doing a virtual event. The same could be said if they were organising their own online event. But as that is not the case we are making do. No one will lose out from this virtual event as there is no other event to lose out this year. At most it will be me losing our because of the discounts, so it is to gain of our customers who hopefully get some pretty models.

In the end the virtual event is meant as a one off thing in response to the virus. The important people in this hobby are you, our loyal customers. We do everything to bring what we make to you, regardless of everything happening in the world at the moment.

I have always enjoyed the Gaydon event, it is a well organised and well run and I hope it will return to its rightful place next year.

Anyway, what was this all about? I am offering some discounts this weekend, that's about it.

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