Many years ago he had a Zero One system (one for us oldies here). He thought the idea was great. And it was. The idea that is. The product is was a real pain to get to work.
He had spent many a frustrated hour with both the system and himself. After a while he did what all men do when all else fails, he read the instructions. They spoke in a different language to him and being a man he wasn’t going to ask for help. The system was abandoned and left in the loft.
Having heard about Digital he paid us a visit. As he walked through the door my staff obviously thought I had nothing to do so they all found jobs to do leaving me the only “free” person to serve him.
We were there two hours, he was very sceptical of the new Digital System, and I spent the first hour reassuring him that Hornby wouldn’t release this if it was a difficult to use as Zero One, and that Hornby are supporting this system for the long haul, etc, etc.
The second hour was ‘which set to buy?’ Now it was his turn to speak in a different language, different era. Steam, rivets, footplates, GWR, ECM, GBT. All I could do was nod at the right moments , a whole long talk about Hornby moving production out of China and how the quality and detail has improved since (there’s a positive spin on our Chinese problem).
He walked out with the Western Pullman set with my reassurance if he had any problems to read the instructions first and call me. He didn’t call that day, or the next. I didn’t know if that was a good sign or bad. After a week I kept listening out to the local news the hear if Police had found the body of an elderly gentleman decomposing next to a Hornby train set, but nothing.
About two weeks later he walked through the door. The staff scattered once again, leaving me with him. He was delighted, the system worked first time, it set up straight away and he is now integrating it into his current layout. He said he came in a couple of weeks ago and ordered some Locos for when they came in and hoped I got the message that everything was okay. Well I needn’t have bothered asking who didn’t give the message as I could see her scuttling away.
But once again this man, reminded me why I love this industry so much. He was so excited he was foaming at the mouth. But the best thing he told me was how it was so easy to operate, his grandson has shown real interest in the train set. He even used the word “cool” to describe it to his mates.
Hornby Railway and cool. Now there’s two words you don’t expect to find in a sentence together.