York and 'Evil' Train Shows

OK, try to understand. I've been doing train shows for years and years now. And before train shows I was doing Coin shows. OK, I admit I am sort of 'showed' out. Yes I used to deal in coins and I think at one time I was doing 30+ shows a year. That's a lot of shows. Now I shouldn't complain because if it weren't for the shows, I may be the sweeper behind the elephant parade. (I'd probably be pretty good at it! I might not have the sinus problems I have now!)

But shows have always been a way for me to earn my living so I suppose I should be thankful for the opportunity to work them.

Now I do two shows a year. York and York. (Of course York occurs in the Spring and Fall.) I really like doing only two shows a year. Some of my friends live for Train Shows. They go to show after show, and they love it!

Don't get me wrong, I love going to the York show. Now that I do only two shows a year, I actually am to the point of really looking forward to going! Generally I take one of the kids, and we really have a ball. But I can honestly say that when 2PM on Saturday comes around, I feel like I am getting out of school for the Summer.

Let me list some of my pet peeves about shows that I have done over the years. Maybe you'll understand me better.

  • The thing I hate about some shows is not being able to leave when you want to. I always wondered what would happen if someone came by and bought me out. Would they still make you stand there at your empty table? I still have nightmares of Joe (formerly of Greenburg shows), on the microphone screaming at dealers who were starting to pack to early. I remember them throwing people out of the show because they started packing to early. I know I came very close several times at the Monroeville Greenburg Show. Actually I tried to get kicked out once so I wouldn't have to go back, but the guy just looked the other way. It was terrible!
  • Another thing that always irked me about Train Shows, (especially York) is the announcing. Try standing in a spot for nine hours with people constantly making nonsense announcements. One guy I think paid someone to page him every 15 minutes just so he could hear his name over the loud speaker. A couple of years ago someone had yanked the wires from one of the speakers near my table. That was a great show. Not only did I sell a lot of trains, but I actually left with my sanity. That's a very rare occurrence!
  • OK, so who forgot the bathrooms in Purple Hall. That's a long, sometimes cold, and sometimes wet trip to the nearest bathroom. Can't someone put a bathroom in Purple Hall?
  • Narrow aisles! Boy, our aisle is so narrow it is hard to believe that anyone at all can stop in front of our tables and not be stampeded while looking at trains. And then the aisle behind us is like the Grand Canyon! Why can't you guys at York even up the aisles? Sometimes I feel like a Sardine!
  • We used to do Mall shows. Boy am I ever glad I'm not doing those anymore. You had to be at your table while the Mall was opened. That is a long time. But the worst thing about a Mall show is that most of your audience is the general public. If I had a dime for every stupid question I answered over and over at those shows, I'd probably be retired! I get grumpy when I am programing on my computer especially when I don't know what I am doing. One show that I went to with Bob Zimmer (a good friend), I took my computer. (This was long before laptops, so I took the whole thing.) My goal at that Mall show was to do some work on our operation programs. It was OK when Bob was there, but when he went walking and left me there alone, boy was that aggravating! Well, that is why I had Bob there. But that really was a bad attitude on my part. I learned the hard way!
  • How about the guy that asks you to hold something for him and never returns.
  • Hauling things to show after show after show mainly because they are overpriced and you are too stupid to realize that. Well I never had that problem, but I know some people who do!
  • Theft. Oh yes that is a big problem at most shows. I was at a Greenburg show several years ago. A person from my area was caught shoplifting red handed at the show. Eventually he got away, but I had seen him and could identify him. I made every effort to help convict him, and what did the Greenburg officials do? They were too busy, they didn't pursue it. Great move guys! The guy still comes in my store. Of course we watch very carefully when he's there!
  • How about the guy that sells you something at a show and swears up and down that it is original. He even signs a statement to that effect. Then you find out later that it isn't and try to contact him and of course he isn't a member of the TCA anymore, so what does he care? Well Joseph Minervini of Medford, NJ did this to me in October of 1996. It was a Lionel 700E that I had paid him $3000.00 for. I finally just sold it for $2100.00 the other day. One of his comments to me when we had a fairly heated discussion about it was..'don't bother me about it, just sell the thing'. Meaning he sold it to me as an original, so find some other sucker and sell it to him for an original. Well I don't do things that way Mr. Minervini. I just haunt people!
Now that I have touched on some of the things I don't like about shows, which is uncharacteristically negative for me, I have to admit that I like a lot of things about shows too. Probably the most important being the very nice people you meet. And I will say this for every one unpleasant, or dishonest person that you meet involved with trains, you find another 999 very honest, interesting, and very nice people.

And that is what makes me look so much forward to being in York, PA Friday and Saturday. I'm starting to realize that the good stuff is much more prevalent than the bad stuff.

I guess I'm maturing!!!!  Back to Archives

Revised 4/17/98