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Issue of Global Proportions

By Hal Miller
Published: September 10, 2010
Talk about the butterfly flapping its wings in China and creating a windstorm here.

That might be a bit of an overstatement, but what's quietly happening is having potentially disastrous results.

It's not as though we didn't see it coming, either.

The influx of knockoff, factory second and counterfeit products into the hobby market, especially radio control, is a scary thing. Factor in the state of the economy, consumers with less money to spend and the ability to electronically find the best deal anywhere, plus the ability to spread news of that deal nearly immediately to their friends.

What you get is the perfect storm that threatens to swamp the already thin margins brick-and-mortar dealers make on these products.

Moreover, it threatens the companies that legitimately put resources into innovating and developing the products in the first place.

Have a look at the story on on P. 16 of the October 2010 Model Retailer and you'll see the issues actually go deeper than just cheap product coming direct to consumers from Asia. This is something that affects everyone in the manufacturing-distribution chain, and it will take a united effort to do something about it.

Let them decorate cake
After our story on scenery in September (P. 12), Colleen Dobie of The Doll House & Train Emporium in Port Hope, Ont., wrote to tell me of another use her customers have for the products.

"With the success of all of the cake decorating reality shows, I have people coming in looking for items to use for fancy cakes they are making," she writes.

I'll bet they look great, but the taste, well ... I'm sure lichen provides plenty of fiber, but I hope the baked goods are just for show.

Hal Miller
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