Are you the guy in the picture?

I'm sort of embarrassed having my picture on the front page of our web site. But it's been there for a long time. I don't have it there because I am in love with myself or because I think I look great! (Although I do, don't you think?) LOL. Actually I have it there because I think it is important for people to know who they are dealing with. That's pretty much the sole reason.

At any rate, when I am talking with people for the first time on the phone, many times they'll ask me if I'm the guy in the picture on our web site. Now sometimes that is good. Like they'll say it like well it's nice actually being able to know what the guy looks like that you are doing business.

Sometimes it's bad. Like I'm going to print your picture and use it as a dart board.

I got that feeling when I sort of saved Linda, a relatively new employee from a first time customer who was upsetting her with insults.

Quickly I took the phone and started trying to talk with the guy, not exactly sure what his problem was. It seems he was new to the Internet and had accidently gotten into our on-line price guide instead of the text price list or on-line database. And he had found a Marx item which evidently he was very interested in buying.

I tried to explain that he had gotten into the price guide and that didn't represent our current inventory. Well, he didn't understand and started to argue some more. I remember he was yelling, well you cost me money for making this call. Your site is deceptive and hard to use, and he went on and on. Then finally he asked, hey is that you in the picture? Of course I admitted I was. Things digressed from there. You know I am tempted to put someone else's picture on my web site. Maybe if I put a picture of one of those hooter girls in our Train City tour, people would be more understanding!

Thanks very much for the many kind comments about my daughter Kathy's amazing heart surgery last month. It seems us Siegel's never go through medical procedures easily though. As it turns out somehow Kathy has picked up a bacteria that is in her blood stream that is causing problems and she is back in the hospital. She's a little bored and a little scared, and I wish I was in Pittsburgh with her and my wife right now, but I have to be up here with my Son John. I am sure she will pull through this fine. It's just been a long haul, and I can't wait to have her back home again.

Choochooauctions.com is now one year old. As our auction site it is going better than we had ever expected. As you may know I hired Debbie to do the auctions so we could offer more and make the site grow. Sometimes I can't believe some of the prices we are realizing generally in a good way.

Originally choochooauctions.com was launched in hopes of charging for auctions that anyone can put on the site. However disappointing to me is the fact that we are having trouble getting people to use the site even since it is now free. So from that standpoint I am disappointed. But a lot of people like the site and use it regularly, so who knows at some point that may happen and we may be able to charge a small fee for auctions. But that may be down the road a ways, so take advantage of the free site for now.

Another problem that we have encountered recently after increasing the number of auctions is a small number of people have bid on to many auctions, and when they win, they don't have the money available. I had to literally ban two people from the auction site after they had won several auctions with no way to pay. This isn't a huge problem because it only involves a very small number of people. However last week we had 40 auctions that were involved and that was unfair to others who had bid and ourselves of course. So please beware, don't bid on items if you don't have ready cash to pay for them when they are complete.

But these problems are prevalent in all on-line auctions unfortunately. No system is perfect. All in all I am still thrilled with what has happened on our auction site over the last year. And we thank everyone who has participated.

I will be in Florida in two weeks provided my Daughter's condition improves. I go to Florida usually twice a year on buying trips. This is no exception in that I will be purchasing yet another Florida collection and shipping it back. Oh yea, I will have my golf clubs also!!!

I also have another collection which is being sent to me today. And we are definitely in the mood to buy more trains, especially since we got stiffed on a large collection we had committed to buy this Month. The collection was so big that I was holding off from buying collections for a while. But three days after the guy had committed to the deal, he went back on his word. And that's not terrible, but I lost out on another great train collection because of it and there are the non-refundable plane tickets! Oh well, you win some, and you loose some. I'm glad I win more than I loose!

I'd like to welcome Hank Bodamer to Train City. Hank believe it or not was my little league baseball coach. I hadn't seen him for a long time, and it was nice that he called me and inquired about the job we had advertised locally. He never was able to teach me how to hit a ball back then. But I don't think that was his fault. I think it was just lack of ability!! We still won the championship my first year. Ah, what memories.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving this year. Don't forget to play with those trains. Trains go great with Turkey!


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Revised 11/03/00
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