Friday, December 29, 2006
Lesson Learned - The Bargain
There it is, an ATSF 40ft box car, El Capitan it says across the side. Looks like it has good couplers, you know, them Kadees we all love. OK, it is only 6 bucks on eBay, I won! Postage 4.65, not bad, 10.65 for a nice Athearn box car.
Week later, UPS shows up with the box, finally it arrived, heck it was only coming from 100 miles, I wonder why it took so long to get here, that is another unrelated story, nothing to do with trains, er, maybe it does.
Out of the box, nice looking car, just like the picture. Wait a minute, one of the trucks is broken. Seems that about 5% of the train cars I have bought on eBay arrive with broken trucks and or couplers. OK, I'll find a new truck. Well, it looks like I have to replace both trucks, these are those old sprung ones that I have so much trouble with and those look like the old profile wheels too. OK, a set of metal wheels and two trucks, 4.85 at the Caboose, lets see, my bargin box car is now $15.50 but it ought to be good as gold!
Lets put it on the track and see how she rolls. Smooth, lets connect her to 201 and let her fly around the track for awhile. Nice. Oh crap, she came uncoupled, wonder why, oh, no wonder, those are not Kadees after all they are plastic! Well another 2 bucks and we'll have this thing in top shape.
All right, everything is just perfect, working like a champ, my bargain car has now cost me $17.50 but I am so happy with it.
Wait a minute, the DCC powered off. Look at that mess on the track. That new car again, the front truck fell off, well let me see what is going on, oh boy, the screw hole is stripped.
I wonder what that car would cost me new at Caboose? $15.95 they say.
Lets get back on eBay, maybe I can find a dozen more, I'll make it up in volume!
Oh, but I wish this were not true. My used cars have cost me as much as a new car in many cases, and some of them, well they look used, my friend calls it weathered, I call it used.