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Baz JJ

Have Forums Replaced Salesmanship ?

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In the 21st century where many are prepared to buy online to get the best possible price from a supplier that can reduce their prices because they need no shop or a cheaper business premise, do you think forums and social media are largely fulfilling the role of the missing salesman ?

 

Back in the dark recesses of the last century when people would go to the counter and get served by a Ronnie Barker character in a shopcoat and tie, the shopkeeper would be able to give advice on the merits of a suitable product.

 

I see a lot of review/comparable merit questions on forums effectively asking "what on earth should I buy - can you recommend something" ?

 

In the age when many young people struggle to read more than 60 characters before their attention wanes, there is a lot more questions than reading going on.

 

Is AFUK just another cog in social evolution ?

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I also wonder how this affects children ?

 

Just keeping to the subject of airsoft, when I was a child and wanted anything, there would always be a conversation with my father about the merits of air rifles, replica handguns (when such things were permitted) and my youthly exuberance would be grounded by my wise but supportive father. I never got everything I wanted but there was a balance and anything purchased was done with my parents support. My first "weapon" was an Airfix model of a bucaneers flintlock pistol. It never even got painted because I wouldnt wait.

My father never put me off my interest in weaponry but he taught me about safety and responsibility.

 

I get the impression that these days many children including my own nephews spend a lot of time playing COD, BF, etc on their own in their bedrooms, communicating with people they have never met or will meet and then get an appetite for weapons based on those "realistic" experiences.

 

They then start looking at airsoft weapons online and asking questions on forums.

 

I wonder how much involvement parents have in this funnelling ?

 

Do they only get involved when the child needs the parent to invoke their over 18 abilities in the purchase ?

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I see your point, but some people such as myself didn't have a dad around. My mum wouldn't have the foggiest about weapons, and so I had to look elsewhere to get my information. There's nothing wrong with using your initiative and not being dependent on your parents for everything.

 

It's all really about the evolution of technology. Life in general isn't what it was and kids have access to all the information they need online.

 

I don't however, think it's fair to say that all kids have a small attention span.

 

With online shopping in general, physical stores and salesman are being obsolete to an extent, pretty much anything you could possibly want is available online, with all of the information about it right in front of you.

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I think you have touched on some valid points.

 

Its not just about technology though.

 

There are more single and divorced parents than forty years ago. Its more common for both parents to work and often weekends.

When I was a kid, all the shops shut on Sundays and on Bank Holidays.

 

Its very evident to me on these forums that people dont read previous threads or use search engines.

Whether its attention span, laziness or the fact that its more difficult on small mobile devices, I couldnt say. Its probably a mixture.

 

I know I have generalised, but you have to, to a degree as we are discussing trends rather than individual cases.

 

Changing times.

 

When I bought my first airsoft gun, I researched online. I asked a few questions about specifics.

 

There are a lot who ask what shall I buy. When they are given an answer, they then start defending an alternative viewpoint - why ?

 

Is it fair to expect members to give up time playing the patient salesman ?

 

I read something on the Internet the other day when an U16 was complaining about walking into a busy Airsoft shop and they wouldnt give him unlimited time to discuss a bottom of the range BB gun.

 

He couldnt understand that if they had other customers seeking attention who were spending hundreds of pounds, that the shop might need to limit their face to face time with him ?

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Its very evident to me on these forums that people dont read previous threads or use search engines.

Whether its attention span, laziness or the fact that its more difficult on small mobile devices, I couldnt say. Its probably a mixture.

You've got to take account for the fact that not everyone realises you can search on forums, espescially if they don't use them often. Younger kids don't have experience on the internet, and so don't understand how forums work.

 

It could also be laziness to I guess, but I think it's more of the former.

 

There are a lot who ask what shall I buy. When they are given an answer, they then start defending an alternative viewpoint - why ?

 

Is it fair to expect members to give up time playing the patient salesman ?

I can't really answer the first one, but it's possible that the posts are being mis-interpreted. It's hard to convey emotion within text, and so they may just be simply debating their choices and it come across in an entirely different way.

 

For the second part, it's all voluntary and it's what makes a good community. Helping you fellow airsofter is not necessarily mandatory, but doing so improves the airsoft community alot. Of course, no one expects help, but it's nice to have it every once in a while. Isn't that why we're all here? For our passion of airsofting and sharing that with others?

I read something on the Internet the other day when an U16 was complaining about walking into a busy Airsoft shop and they wouldnt give him unlimited time to discuss a bottom of the range BB gun.

 

He couldnt understand that if they had other customers seeking attention who were spending hundreds of pounds, that the shop might need to limit their face to face time with him ?

I don't think that's got anything to do with the current times, there'll always be naive / rude people, regardless of age.

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I guess theres a difference between helping those who try to help themselves and help those who expect everybody to do it for them.

 

Personally, I believe weve largely bred a generation of children with high expectations.

Its not their fault - its people of my generation who try to give their children too much materialistically.

 

Also, a combination of technology, choice and availability has turned a younger generation into critics.

 

I was talking to a bunch of youngsters about the new Thunderbirds series.

 

As children watching the original series, we thought it was brilliant. Didnt really take too much notice of the clumsy models and jerky string puppets.

 

These modern day children were critiqueing everything from the storyline to the SFX and CGI..

 

Spoilt for choice ?

 

 

 

 

For the second part, it's all voluntary and it's what makes a good community. Helping you fellow airsofter is not necessarily mandatory, but doing so improves the airsoft community alot. Of course, no one expects help, but it's nice to have it every once in a while. Isn't that why we're all here? For our passion of airsofting and sharing that with others?.

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I believe I'm quite techno savvy and shop online fairly often but I still enjoy face to face chatting in a shop but like a lot of us, I was raised in a different generation

 

My dad worked 6 days a week to give us the best he could as my mum wasn't around so I grew up working for what I had and appreciated every bit of it

 

Kids these days have far more available with computers etc, we had to read books for info, they have the internet but some kids are truly spoilt little brats who get what they want without working for it, we're in a 'throw away' society still instead of 'look after it'. As kids we did recycle things but back then we didn't know what we know now

 

That is how I'm trying to raise my 14 yr old boys, work for what you got and you'll get far more than just a reward, a sense of accomplishment, confidence etc, these are just a few of many things that SOME kids are lacking

 

Its a whole different generation now and us old gits are the ones following kids rather than guiding & leading

 

I believe we can't blame everything on parents or society (we had similar pressures etc when I was a kid) but there are more factors involved now we have unlimited internet access, technology & so on

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I wonder where our current emerging situation, where kids seem to have quite a lot more disposable income and much greater choice of stuff to buy with it, online, is leading and why. Because one thing is for sure, whilst there appears to be all the prerequisites for much greater customer choice, the reality seems to be somewhat different. Are we as forum members responsible for guiding so many noobs to the same old M4, or are they more insistent that the same old M4 is what they want? When was the last time that a youngster rocked up here and said, "What am bestest Vz.58?"

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I think one problem is because of COD & BF games

 

My eldest always refers to a sniper rifle as a 'sniper' and have to correct him every time ffs

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I wonder where our current emerging situation, where kids seem to have quite a lot more disposable income and much greater choice of stuff to buy with it, online, is leading and why. Because one thing is for sure, whilst there appears to be all the prerequisites for much greater customer choice, the reality seems to be somewhat different. Are we as forum members responsible for guiding so many noobs to the same old M4, or are they more insistent that the same old M4 is what they want? When was the last time that a youngster rocked up here and said, "What am bestest Vz.58?"

Airsofters are really stuck in a rut when it comes to brand choice. When ever a player asks whats the best starter weapon its always the same answer G&G when there are other good brands and weapon choices out there that dont necessarily cost a fortune either. Everybody always says M4's because there are lots of aftermarket parts but this is only because the aftermarket market is driven by the consumer demand. If everybody went and bought type a Type 97 then soon enough there would be a plethora of upgrade options out there. I would rather create something unique than a generic G&G M4 they are the Iphones of airsoft everybody buys them because everybody else says they should.

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Are we as forum members responsible for guiding so many noobs to the same old M4, or are they more insistent that the same old M4 is what they want? When was the last time that a youngster rocked up here and said, "What am bestest Vz.58?"

 

Part of it is games I think. When I was a teenager I was absolutely in love with M4s because of counter strike. Although they are very common across all media where guns are featured. When I first got into airsoft everyone was going crazy for the SPAS 12 and I think it was partly due to it being featured in the matrix, along with stuff like the MP5k. If the hobby was bigger I think you'd see the range of guns on offer grow organically and I doubt in the scheme of things if there are many, if any manufacturers that really care what the UK market wants.

 

Variation is nice but I always roll my eyes when someone says they don't want an M4 like everyone else then goes and buys a G36, MP5, M14 or to a lesser extent an AK variant which are all very common. If someone wants a certain model of gun then that's the best thing to advise them on, unless the only manufacturers producing said gun are terrible. Recommending a gun on the potentially false premise that it is almost unique isn't going to do anyone any favours in most cases.

 

It's quite interesting how much faith is put in essentially anonymous people online pretty much across the board. For sake of argument we could all say what we want with little recourse whereas if the chap down the local shop misleads you then it's much easier to give him a good talking to(or worse if you are that way inclined lol)

 

Whilst smaller communities like this one more or less police themselves, whilst the product reviews sections on online stores and on larger forums it's a bit like the wild west. I've repeatedly seen people slagging off products to the point where I question if they are just parroting something they heard someone say when you own said product and know a lot of people who do also that have nothing but good things to say about it. I won't mention anything specific as I think it would potentially lead to a massive thread derailment.

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Variation is nice but I always roll my eyes when someone says they don't want an M4 like everyone else then goes and buys a G36, MP5, M14 or to a lesser extent an AK variant which are all very common. If someone wants a certain model of gun then that's the best thing to advise them on, unless the only manufacturers producing said gun are terrible. Recommending a gun on the potentially false premise that it is almost unique isn't going to do anyone any favours in most cases.

 

I dont think anyone should buy a unique gun but should be able to create something that is truly there own. This can only come about by more diversity which is lacking a bit. The G&G M4 range are good solid guns that anybody would be happy with but it would be better if people mixed it up a bit to increase competition. Which would be a good thing for all airsofters. Would be nice to get a really good FN2000.

 

Edit: No one should ever recommend a gun that they havent actually got any experience of and nobody should buy a gun without trying one out first.

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Isn't there already a decent FN2000? G&G released one a few years ago and it's got a fairly good reputation

Reviews on it are kind of mixed but generally ok. The main problem is the Black Hunter version never seems in stock in any of the shops I prefer to use. I will probably look for a second hand one when I have finished trying to sort out the gun I am using at the moment. Still suffers from lack of aftermarket support though.

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It would suffer from lack of aftermarket add ons, it's not an M4. The G2010 is out of stock everywhere I've looked too, no matter what model.

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It would suffer from lack of aftermarket add ons, it's not an M4. The G2010 is out of stock everywhere I've looked too, no matter what model.

Found the tan ones but they are not really my taste. Thats my point a lot of guns struggle with aftermarket support and its a shame. I have the same problem with my Sig.

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Problem is airsofting is a niche market. There aren't enough good quality shops around the country for us and you get much better ideas on here than from a website.

 

As for the comments about kids it reminds me of that Socrates/ Plato quote about the youth of today being disrespectful and lazy, it's been the same for 3000 years every one thinks the new generation has it better than the old. I've been a teacher for almost a decade. Kids today are the same as when I started teaching same as when I was at school and listening to my dad and his mates same as they were forty years ago.

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I think another reason why I'm more willing to ask for advice on here is because I've never received good customer service in airsoft shop. Either the people working there are too busy talking to their mates, lack basic customer service skills or don't actually have much knowledge. I once went in the small airsoft shop in derby asked if they sold BFG' s the reply was 'what's one if them?'

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Having come into Airsofting recently and rapidly approaching 50 years of age !!! Forums like this are a godsend for info etc. I am also a keen hunter using Air Rifles and again the forums i belong to are on the whole excellent place for info and help. My location also inhibits me visiting shops as on the IOW we have one gun shop and that's it . We also have just the one Skirmish site which carries various spares etc. and has been very helpful to me in the answering of my noob questions . It's also the only place i get to see and feel other Rifles ( :wub: )

 

With regard to youngsters , Yes they are spoilt imho. I know my nephew seems to have very little understanding of what stuff is worth. He would quite often leave any of the following hanging around and then start pestering his parents with " where is my ipod/ipad/laptop/ " Hundreds of pounds worth of stuff he would leave somewhere and not be bothered about it. He would always be asking for stuff ( i am sure he is not unique in this !! ) with the argument " my mate has it so why can't i ? "

 

As for youngsters asking for help on forums , I would think / hope that's the best route for them to take in the hope they get the right advice in which to make an informed decision on what to purchase. Would also be good if they would direct the parents to the same forum so they could ask questions too ? and see just what little johnny or Jane for that matter are getting in to !!

 

Hope that all makes sense !! :D

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People still go to shops to ask the shopkeep since the internet and people used to ask impartial enthusiasts for advice before the internet. In my mind it's just a new medium and still very similar behaviour.

 

As for kids; is all down to how much an adult offsets their parental duties to electronic entertainment, but same shit happened before the internet, kids just got ignored without an easy electronic babysitter to fill the gap.

 

When I was a kid we blew our money on shite like football stickers and other collectables (pogs etc). these days it's micro transactions in computer games.

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Very true comments but like I said the kids of today seem to be taught stuff like coding

but less actual hands on practical common sense stuff

 

The woodwork lesson - now they got computer laser cutters to do all fancy stuff for them

Where as if I wanted to that I had to go really careful for yonks by hand

We had to learn how to fit a plug - not that hard but now it all comes fitted

We had to fix our bikes puncture etc - all stuff that I really think helped later on in life

 

Some shops are brilliant but most are not with their customer service...

Majority of shops are now replaced by the bigger chain of shops, they often employ the younger people of today

 

But a classic 'ol school type of shop that has been going for yonks...

The owner is probably still serving behind the counter, has decades of wisdom (sorry kids they don't teach this at uni)

and thoroughly prides himself on his service as well as products he sells

 

I could go on - but places like PC World are a joke to me, kids still wet behind the ears, know jack $hit except what colour that laptop comes in

(soz to any PC World workers - just a very rough generalise of my experiences a while back and haven't been back for ages now)

 

Forums and people trying to do their homework is very very important - at least "try" to search/research some stuff

but many many people prefer to be spoon fed or ar$e wiped for them but by that they gain very little

they are just in effect buying what they are told to buy

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