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Old 10-01-2005, 01:17 AM   #43
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janet, that's sounds like part of the guys problem. he doesn't think all those little things are worth his time. what he doesn't realize is that all those little things multiplied by hundreds of vintage a/s owners adds up. he seems to be only concerned about making the big sale. not the kind of attitude you'd expect from airstream today.
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Old 10-01-2005, 06:54 AM   #44
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Stef -- I was pretty shocked when I first saw that quote too, and I often get the same response you get. Just last evening a taxicab dropped my husband off at home from the airport. He said the driver's eyes lit up when he saw the Airstream parked outside and he said -- you guessed it -- "Wow! Do they still make those things?"

Urbanfood -- We like to get out and go backpacking and hiking too and we'll still take a tent if it's a simple one night basecamp. We see a lot of younger folks out tenting and backpacking and I'm guessing they'll stick with that until they can afford a vintage unit or Bambi, if they want an RV at all. I've only met a few young tenters who would even consider an RV, and it's usually only when they have a few kids and it's getting harder to travel with all the gear, or their backs are starting to go from sleeping on a sleeping pad.

Janet -- I've tried getting parts and service directly from Airstream for my '76 Safari and I've always been met with "We don't have that" "We can't do that" and "You're on your own there." Basically, come back and talk to us when you buy a new model. So when I saw that quote from Tim Champ it explained a lot to me. Funny, I didn't get that attitude at all when I started talking to folks at my local WBCCI unit. They were very open and welcoming, and genuinely wanted us to come join them. I predict that Tim Champ will have to eat his words someday.
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Old 10-01-2005, 09:11 AM   #45
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No waiting by the side lines

A couple of comments;

As an Owner of my second new MH by AS, a diesel Cutter, as well as the owner of a vintage caravel, I feel I have spent quite alot on AS products. I have not found the company very supportive of the product after market but am fortunate to have a very technical and mechanical spouse, since you're pretty much on your own. You're right that they need help with customer service and marketing.

The free year membership was an interesting concept. We had several members as a result. They never showed up at a rally during the first year. I personally didn't see it work. I think we have to work harder to make sure we invite members to club rallies as guests within the first year. We do get list of all people in our geographic area, who have just purchased an Airstream. We mail them literature right away and then follow up. I think we can do a better job of follow up though. I like the idea of a free invitational rally in the first year though. What do you think? What about a specific New Member Rally?

The base camp is a great idea for the younger market. Too bad the short sightedness of the powers that be at WBCCI shot the rig down from being eligible for membership in the club. I feel there should be a grass roots effort to make them reconsider the inclusion of this rig and expand our ranks. Having started in a tent, then a pop up, then the mh, we have kept upgrading as we have gone along. I think others may as well.

I am probably going to ruffle a few feathers here, but, another impression I have from reading the forum posts is that there's a reluctance to join the WBCCI, because some people can't figure out "what it will do for them." Wow! What a shame to be sitting on the sidelines waiting to be spoonfed life. Ever think of jumping in, taking the reins and seeing where you can take it? Participating is so much more rewarding than watching. If you're loving the product, then the WBCCI is the place to be to meet others with similar "aluminitis" disease. I have learned so much about the product and lifestyle from the other members. It has been truly rewarding.

You're invited to come on in. The waters are fine.
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Old 10-01-2005, 09:21 AM   #46
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The free year membership was an interesting concept. We had several members as a result. They never showed up at a rally during the first year. I personally didn't see it work.

(pssst! we joined after the free 1yr membership for new owners of course, we probably would have found you guys, anyway. but it was during that first free season that we found the NEU).
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Old 10-01-2005, 09:39 AM   #47
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(pssst! we joined after the free 1yr membership for new owners of course, we probably would have found you guys, anyway. but it was during that first free season that we found the NEU).
So did we...look at where that got me!

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Old 10-01-2005, 11:03 AM   #48
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I admit I have always been a joiner. When I bought my Miata and found there was no club for us in E. WA, we started one! Now I have been in the WBCCI for three years, trying to gently guide them towards things younger people will enjoy. Meanwhile I have volunteered to do the newsletter and website. It's a lot of work, but a lot less work than running the miata club was! I'm happy to do my part to help out, and I enjoy what I get from the club now, and I look forward to what I can get from it in the future when I have more time to travel.
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Old 10-01-2005, 02:11 PM   #49
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Wow. I just reread Mr. Champ's comment and realized that I don't contribute to Airstream's bottom line because I don't buy new trailers or motorhomes.

Honestly, I had never thought about that before. Three-Way Campers in Atlanta never made me feel unwanted or uncontributing when I straggled in needing parts for the Argosy, and they have came through for me, time and time again. They sold me a fridge heater element, a side compartment cover, a Parallax replacement Univolt, a battery or two, orange trim stuff for the outside channels, beige trim stuff for the inside channels, some cabinet latches, a dump valve, and some other assorted goodies during the last thirteen years.

I know that some of the parts had to come from Airstream, but I never spent much time thinking about Airstream and their bottom line. I was just happy that I could still get orange stuff for the outside channels.

So, Mr. Champ, I'm very sorry that I won't be buying a $300K motor home or a $40K Bambi from you folks any time soon, but if I back into something, you guys might get to sell me some shaped panels. Support the old stuff, sir, and I'll try to keep it on the road. Keep the parts available, and I'll support your bottom line.

Isn't it sad that a product that has been manufactured for seventy-five years does not see their vast existing owner-base as a source of potentially ever continuing after-sales support and profits?

(But then again, there's the repro manuals for the old trailers from Airstream now. Somebody there is doing some thinking.)

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Old 10-02-2005, 09:39 AM   #50
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Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

Well, after mulling over the comments on this thread I am off on a tangent

I am going to explore developing some "discovery" rallies and events in the Region One and New England Units of the WBCCI. I got so excited about inviting non-member Airstream owners to events!!!! Thanks for getting me to look beyond the traditional "buddy rally" opportunities.

I will keep you posted about my progress. Keep your eyes open for some new opportunities!

Thanks for all the discussion.
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Old 10-02-2005, 09:40 AM   #51
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Ok.

I would like to talk a bit about the secondary market, since it is perceived as not providing a benefit to Airstream.

In a recent post I talked about how Kimber and I act as non-paid Airstream salespersons in every State Park (pick your state) that we stay in. We sell the longevity of the trailers as a key benefit.

A high valued secondary market is a huge benefit to the primary market. Anyone seen a TV add touting Ford or Chevy trucks as having the highest resale value over this period or that? I know everyone has.

Why do you think Ty kept selling beanie babies to the primary market at $5.99, when they were turned around and sold at far greater prices on the secondary market? Ty knew that he could produce the babies at a low cost and win the commodity wars. He was willing to sell billions of babies at a low price and make billions rather than sell a million at a higher price, not have the free press the marketing the frenzy and make much less. Anyone question if beanie babies are still made? That really isn't fair, but Airstream is benefited by having a presence of secondary market trailers in the state parks. There are so many white boxes that the silver ones just don't have a critical mass. Someone has to answer the questions that everyone gets, and Steph and dougjamie quoted: "Do they still make these?"

The Ty example is unusual. Most often, companies enjoy far greater margins and can demand much higher prices in the primary market for their product. But they give up the huge market trend in doing so. This makes sense if you are an Airstream type product and can't easily expand production capacity to meet demand. This would imply that Airstream (doing my best to keep names out of this) is benefiting greatly from the popularity of the secondary market.

I have kept to the trailer side of this as you have noticed. The parts side is a bit more complex. There is a significant cost to parts. There can be a significant profit too. Consumables are a key to many businesses and Airstream parts are consumable, just with a longer lifetime. I think there is opportunity here for Airstream to take a larger picture look at things, as Janet has suggested, but without significant attention and controls, parts won't be an "Airstream level" money maker in itself. Parts can well make someone a millionaire. Inland RV certainly does well enough selling parts. Airstream obviously has outsourced many parts making, stocking, etc activities rather than attempt to fully-participate.

Just some thoughts....throw yours in the ring too!
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Old 10-02-2005, 11:28 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pam
I am probably going to ruffle a few feathers here, but, another impression I have from reading the forum posts is that there's a reluctance to join the WBCCI, because some people can't figure out "what it will do for them." Wow! What a shame to be sitting on the sidelines waiting to be spoonfed life. Ever think of jumping in, taking the reins and seeing where you can take it? Participating is so much more rewarding than watching. If you're loving the product, then the WBCCI is the place to be to meet others with similar "aluminitis" disease. I have learned so much about the product and lifestyle from the other members. It has been truly rewarding.

You're invited to come on in. The waters are fine.
No ruffled feathers here...but...maybe a chance to share my perspective Other younger generation members may have a different perspective, have different drives in their lives, or may not know enough about the great and boomer generations yet to realize some of these differences. I encourage them to disagree with anything I write and offer their perspectives. Only through open discussion, can we learn and grow together.

You have hit on one of the (from my observation) major differences in the new generations, and it is exactly what you may see as "too bad". New generations, with all of the marketing, with the education being fed to us (I explain parts of this later), with expanded opportunities, have been "programmed" to look at life as "what is in it for me" or "sitting on the sidelines waiting to be spoonfed". The world of marketing, the competition for our dollars, the vast number of activities that compete for our time, have turned our life experience into a series of trade-offs, and less requirement to engage in something to get a benefit.

Sometimes the engagement needs to be in new, different, more convenient, and global format (like this forum, rather than a weekend rally, or a meal in a restaurant somewhere), but I digress.

Please be clear, I'm not making excuses or complaining about life today. I am merely attempting to share my perspective and spur discussion.

Every decision has an opportunity cost. By spending time in WBCCI, everyone is missing out on spending time in something else. The younger generations are acutely aware of this fact.

In spending time in my Airstream in the Airstream Park, I missed out on the VAC Rally. I also didn't make it home for a long weekend to see my grandmothers and parents as I normally would. I also didn't work for my company while I was there. I also missed out on home improvements while I was gone. I didn't get to spend the weekend out on my boat, like I would like to do. I didn't go to an auction I was interested in. I wasn't being as active in many different organizations as I would love to be. I wasn't putting significant investment into making myself a better person. I wasn't cleaning our house. I wasn't networking to improve my career. and on and on.

I know for a fact that I am not special in this. Everyone has all of these problems. I have been programmed to optimize. Optimize money, time, etc. If the value proposition isn't there, we have been trained to move on. We tend to treat most life activities as we were day traders and the activities are stocks in the stock market. If we can't see the benefit, we trade it in immediately for something else until it declines in providing benefit, then we jump to the next new thing.

Which presents another attribute of the younger generations. We have a relative lack of patience when compared to the great generation, and probably even the baby boomers. With opportunities being more plentiful, it is easier to move on to the next thing than it is to continue to invest invest invest waiting for a future payoff that may never come. In fact, we have been taught that there is often a loss involved in doing so. We have been bombarded over the years with stories of people putting 20 years into a company and losing everything when that company goes under, lays them off, etc.

Let's continue that thought and talk a bit about employment. It offers a pretty good analogy to many aspects of our lives. The great generation and many of the baby boomers worked for a company for most of their lives. There was a time when company's and employees thought that there was benefit in this. The company perceived a benefit from loyalty and the employee wanted security.

Many companies began to see the cost side of job security. There was a clear transition in the most valued company stakeholder, as optimization set in and stockholders became more important than employees. Our generation is learning that there is a benefit to the employee of not being forced to be loyal to one company. There is plenty of research in the Human Resources fields that shows that changing companies is critical to significant changes in responsibility and financial opportunity as the employee is able to break out of the perceived limits that develop over time in an employment relationship. Would the great and boomer generations been able to get further ahead by doing this too?

I was literally taught by my undergraduate college placement department, and by the media, to never to count on a company being there for me. I was taught that a company will always do what is best for it and for the stockholders. That the only person on my side in an employment relationship was me. Keep in mind I hadn't even worked for a company yet.

This is very different from the loyalty/lifetime employment contracts that some companies and generations shared. We have been taught by many different places that loyalty and showing a continued blind investment opens the door for someone to take advantage of you. A very sad thought.

Ok, so how does this relate to the concept of what is in it for me, or wanting to be spoonfed? 1) loyalty and trust - it doesn't run as deep 2) opportunity costs - if I invest in this, I can't benefit from that 3) value proposition - things are changing around WBCCI and to stay viable WBCCI must understand its value proposition and be able to enhance and sell that or risk loss.

I don't know if any of this makes sense to someone that hasn't lived my experiences. Hopefully, there is enough commonality in other younger generation member's experience to be semi-insightful. Again, we are WBCCI members, and these statements are presented in the hopes of sharing and learning from each other, both within my generation and beyond.

BTW, I love the quote from O' Brother Where Art Thou - "Come on in (boys), the water is fine" What other things have I missed experiencing that may have been the real origin of that saying? I probably missed that because I was off at the Airstream Park.

Please keep up the great thread by sharing.
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Old 10-02-2005, 11:34 AM   #53
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Man, that sovereignrwe sure is "wordy".
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Old 10-02-2005, 02:12 PM   #54
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Soapbox on:
I guess Tim Champ doesn't realize what a rolling advertisement for his trailers we vintage owners are.
"Wow, what year is that?"
"1963."
Boy, those Airstreams hold up good, don't they?"
"yes. If you buy a new one today, you will probably have a travel trailer for life."
That was part of a conversation I had with a SOB MoHo owner last weekend at the forum rally, he was going to check them out this week. For all I know, he may now be the owner of a brand new Airstream. So don't say we do no good for Airstream, or that we make no money for Airstream. People will buy a product that has been proven to last, and our trailers are living proof of that, and it is better advertising than could ever be bought.
Soapbox off.
We now return you to your regular thread.
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Old 10-02-2005, 05:18 PM   #55
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I don't know if any of this makes sense to someone that hasn't lived my experiences. Hopefully, there is enough commonality in other younger generation member's experience to be semi-insightful. Again, we are WBCCI members, and these statements are presented in the hopes of sharing and learning from each other, both within my generation and beyond.
I totally understand where you're coming from. I learned those lessons about work from my first job. Our boss was always hanging over our heads, threatening to lay us off. He'd come in and say "I just got back from mexico, and down there you're only worth $2 a day. What are you doing for me?" Now, he was an old guy, and perhaps he felt this was motivating. Once he even pulled the entire engineering dept night shift out into the parking lot and told them they were all fired, then told them he'd changed his mind, he was only kidding. Wow, what motivation! We quit and eventually started our own business, so that if a layoff was coming, at least we'd be the first to know about it!

I agree, life is very different for us. Our parents worked most of their lives for one company, and retired with benefits. We have to save up our own retirements, and pay our own benefits along the way. Our parents got two week vacations. We worked for companies that took our sick leave out of our vacation time. I've never even had a paid vacation.

I was just thinking today about these constant trade-offs, always looking out for number one, always trying to spend our time on the thing that gives us the most pleasure. I think one thing we miss out on is concentrating on one thing long enough to become really good at it. To get really involved. I have had a lot of hobbys. I will do the best I can, and then move on to something else. Talk to some of these old timers who have been woodworking for years and years. I can't get past the six months phase, where I'm just starting to get the hang of it. They work at it for years and become masters. I do the same thing playing the guitar, writing stories, restoring cars. I can never do as good a job as the people who are professionals, so I give up and move on to something else. But the only reason those people are experts is because they stick with it. They weren't born with it, they earned it. I think sometimes we want it easy, and we move on to the next thing too fast.

We also compare ourselves to professionals too often, and expect to be THAT good. We don't understand how to do something just for the joy of doing it. If I'm playing guitar, people ask, do you play with a band? If I'm writing a story they say, have you ever been published? If I'm doing a woodworking project they say, you could probably sell those at the bazarr. So everything is compared to professionals, and expected to make us money. It's an attitude of always looking for the payoff. Can't we just do things because we enjoy doing them, with no payoff involved?

I think the WBCCI is like that. It's a chance to have regular opportunitites to meet up with people and go camping and have fun. That fun isn't defined, you have to go and spend the time finding it yourself. But if we don't sit still for a minute and give it that chance, we'll never know what we're missing.

I was ready to quit after my first year, but I've stuck it out and I'm oh so glad I did. And I'm glad I got involved, although I don't have a lot of time to spare. I've met a lot of really interesting people, and gone to some places I didn't even know existed, and I have friends who are almost like family. It's something for which there is no tangible payoff, and there are tradeoffs to make it happen, but in this case, it is something that is worth doing if only to learn to sit still and enjoy life for a little while, before rushing back to our daily lives.
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Old 10-02-2005, 06:04 PM   #56
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Quote:
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(pssst! we joined after the free 1yr membership for new owners of course, we probably would have found you guys, anyway. but it was during that first free season that we found the NEU).
Psssst! So did we!
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