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    NEC show, February

    Fenman said he is going to the NEC show in February.
    If you haven't been before, here are the rules:

    OK I won't try to put you off, but to start the ball rolling:
    1) You won't believe the prices unless you have attended all 6 shows in the last three years.
    2) When you have got used to the prices you don't understand why they are so expensive. If you ask a gold medallion / Rolex wearing, perfumed sales person why, you will get the up-to-date version of Grimm's Fairy Tales.
    3) You can't afford to buy anything unless you have just been informed that your estranged Nigerian Aunt has left you $20,000,000 in her kitchen cupboard with a note explaining that it is to be given to you when you arrive at Lagos Airport carrying a red suitcase with an arrangement fee of £5,000 in it.
    4) You should enter whatever competition that Truma have going, you will win a prize but it may or may not be useful. I did once win a new motorhome. That's the good news. The bad news is that it is 50mm long. Good for parking, clearly.
    5) Don't buy the Solid Gold coffee, go to any one or several of the stands and blag a free one.
    6) As well as 5), take you own sandwiches or get a bank loan if you want to buy one of theirs. If you go to the Brownhills stand, provided you have bought something from them in the past, you can get free breakfast, free lunch and free afternoon tea, and free tea/coffee any time. If you buy a vehicle from them you get free champagne. Just to put the 'free' into perspective bear in mind that they are making about £10,000 profit when selling you a camper. No I'm not exaggerating.
    7)Any dealer will do a part exchange deal with you, without looking at your current van. That is standard practice. Do not try to increase their offer by mentioning accessories. Even if you do it will make no difference to the valuation. I have been assured of that by the salesmen and therefore if you can remove them prior to handover, you can later sell them on fleabay. I had a £2500 self seeking satellite dish that the previous owner left on a used camper I bought, and it was the first thing I ripped off as soon as I got home. I later traded that van without the tow bar or the satellite system or the refillable gas system or the bike rack or the mud flaps - it made no difference to the trade value but I will make a few bob when I finally sell them all or fit them to my next van.
    8) Personally I don't bother with the advance ticket purchase. You save a whole £1.50 (because there is a fee for advance purchase of discount tickets!) but on the other hand you might want to change your mind on what day you want to go, or it might be snowing and there is a multiple pile up on the motorway caused by incompetent drivers who think that as their cars drive themselves, the person behind the wheel doesn't have to do anything.
    9) For those who may intend or hope to buy a new camper, you might like to bear in mind that Fiat is the only manufacturer to make Euro 6 emissions compliant engines without resorting to AdBlue. AdBlue adds complexity to the engine workings so there is more to go wrong, and I have seen AdBlue for sale in petrol stations at a price which would increase your overall fuel costs by 10%. The same-looking Peugeot and Citroen based campers both require AdBlue, as do Ford and Renault. If you are rich enough to afford a Mercedes base, then you don't care about the cost or reliability issues associated with AdBlue so it doesn't matter, go ahead and give a book of signed cheques to the dealer to fill in as and when they please. Also you will be able to afford the refreshment prices, and to stay on the official camp site - last time I looked I seem to remember it is about £45 a night.
    10) Don't buy any of the saucepans, frying pans, graters, vegetable peelers or foot shaping devices. They work in the demonstration but not at your home, even if you do actually try to use them. Food sticks to the non stick pans, the graters and veg peelers are made of one micron thick plastic and break, and the only reason the foot shapers feel nice is that by the time you get to their stand, you have walked about four miles around the show and all you really want is to sit down.
    11) Oh by the way I have had chats with several of the MMM journalists I have seen at the shows. That is quite interesting, you can chat to them seriously and ask questions and you will get genuine answers. They will give you sensible answers to such questions as "I'm thinking of buying a panel van, what should I avoid?" or "What do you think of these slide - out sections or electric beds?". You won't find that sort of information in print, because the manufacturers advertise with the magazines. They won't respond with a 'Don't touch that, it's a bag of horse manure', but they might well say 'tambour doors have a tendency to rattle when driving', or 'Bailey no longer fit electric beds to their motorhomes' and you are surely astute enough to take the hint.
    12) I will be doing a properly critical review of my panel van for youtube, but it won't be until about April. It will be a 'Good / Moderate / Bad' review including the bits you won't see in the adverts or the professional reviews.
    Andrew The Show-going Guru.
    (having said that about tambour doors, I bought one with those, and mine don't rattle)
    suivez l'aventure

    #2
    Cheery as ever Andrew ! Happy New Year to you both.
    Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

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      #3
      Wahaay thank you Ian. Just trying to help. As usual. Seriously, these are all my genuine experiences, and if someone hasn't been before it might give them a flavour of what it's like. I forgot to mention that it will take two days to get round it though. I pity anyone trying to decide between a caravan and a camper though, that would take all week.
      Anyway well done for reading it all.

      Actually there is another interesting thing I hadn't realised until I bought my current van last September. As the show goes on, even on the first day, you will see "Sold" stickers going in windscreens. I said to the salesman I was dealing with in September "It's the first day of the show and already I see quite a few 'sold' stickers in windscreens". He said "yes, when the sales director sees things are a bit slow he tells the staff to run round and stick sold stickers in some of the vans. It's a psychological impulse to potential buyers to make them think this dealership is worth dealing with". So I asked what they would say if someone said 'I'd like that, but it's a pity it's sold'. The reply was 'well of course we would show them round and say we have another one in stock and they can buy it if they wish. It's a very popular model'.
      suivez l'aventure

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        #4
        Actually, I have been to the show several times, finding it fascinating though exhausting. My advice is to wear your most comfortable walking shoes, and a small rucksack to put your coat / jumper in as you will get hotter and hotter as you walk round. And water!

        I couldn't believe the size of some of the monsters on display. You know the ones - they have a cargo hold into which you can drive your Smart car. How on earth would you drive such creations down the rounds in Devon?

        The displays of 'really useful' equipment such as special cloths to clean your van with, just about match the stalls in our local market, though double the price!

        And Andrew, i really chuckled at your reams of advice.
        Last edited by NomadSue; 09-01-2018, 11:50 PM.
        Carpe diem! :)

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          #5
          About to attend, so grateful thanks...especially the coffee tip.

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            #6
            Great post and all true!!

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              #7
              Well Gasgas, from my days visiting Earls Court exhibition centre, is it still there? - for both motor shows and caravan shows and the Ideal Home exhibition, to the numerous outdoor caravan/motorhome shows, that encourage a weekend stay we have now, I concur with your experiences.
              I go to see what's new and bank the info for five years hence when I might be able to afford that unit.
              As for the accessory stands I find them interesting more to scoff at than purchase. A few items that always makes me smile are, the man with a bucket of water and hose that you jiggle about to wash your car or caravan - never worked for me ! Also the kitchen peeler that will cut your cucumber into a spiral to decorate your salads. Then there was the hand held Ewbank or sweeper to the younger readers, that will collect the crumbs from your table cloth. I seem to remember my grandmother having a ornate little brush and pan set for this purpose that sat on the sideboard. Don't ever remember it being used as kids we ate everything and never left crumbs!
              I have purchase two caravans from shows, the first was from a very nice dealer who was at the time local to me in Kent, sadly has been taken over. The second from a dealer whose salesman I knew from another local dealership. My own stupidly shone through on this occasion as I assumed he was selling for our local dealer, only to find out after the deal had been made, that he had moved to a dealership in North Wales. No amount of discussion would move him to move the deal to my local dealer. I have to say the deal was extremely good and in the end we had a wonderful holiday touring North Wales after collecting the caravan.
              So I am off to the NEC show on the 21st Feb armed with my rucksack, flask and sarnies. I have thought in the past of taking a folding chair but that might be a step too far and I would hate to scratch one of the many "sold" vans around with my clumsy gait !

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                #8
                That reminds me fenman. In about 1985 I went round my local caravan dealers looking for a bargain. I never buy unless there is an irresistable bargain to be had. I saw one I liked in a local dealer in Gloucester but I couldn't afford the balance of my trade in against his new van. Later I went to the ?Earls Court? caravan show and saw the same caravan there. I struck up a conversation saying I would like that van, what can you do for mine? He offered me £1800 MORE for my van than the Gloucester dealer I had previously been to a few weeks before. I said yes you've got a deal then. It turned out that he was from the same Gloucester dealer but said they do better deals at the shows than in the showroom.
                suivez l'aventure

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by fenman View Post
                  Then there was the hand held Ewbank or sweeper to the younger readers, that will collect the crumbs from your table cloth. I seem to remember my grandmother having a ornate little brush and pan set for this purpose that sat on the sideboard. Don't ever remember it being used as kids we ate everything and never left crumbs!
                  My first step-mother had a dinky small brush and pan for that very use. We were astonished, being a relatively uncouth family, it would seem. And now Ian and I have a Victorian one. And yes, I do use it if i can't be bother to shake out the table cloth!

                  Enjoy your visit to the travel show. Looking forward to hearing all about it.
                  Carpe diem! :)

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