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Eamonn

Yet Another Pet Peeve!!

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OJ returned from a very enjoyable time at NOAC and is already making plans for the next conference. Which is fine and dandy with me. He informs me that the Lodge is thinking about issuing a special flap to help subsidize the trip. The patch will be sold for some exorbitant amount and there will only be a few hundred of them.

I am not a patch collector. However I think that this idea stinks. Lodge Flaps should be just that Flaps that show you belong to the Lodge. It seems that every time there is a need for a few extra bucks we pop out a new Lodge Flap.

I have been a member of our Lodge for over 25 years. We have had more flaps and some of them are really ugly, in the past five years then we ever had in the twenty years before.

Sure I don't want to have dig to deep into my pocket to send my kid to anything, but selling a $2.00 patch for $25.00 and telling everyone that it is going to be a collectors item is not right.

Could it be that we need to take a long hard look at the Scout Laws?

Eamonn

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Our council gave each participant in the Philmont trek contingent 2 "limited edition" council shoulder patches. They have a cool image on them of the Tooth of Time. They were said to be worth $90-$100 each as collector's items. The price of our trek was $950 per person. One of the comebacks to complaints about the high cost was that you could sell your patches and recoup some of the cost. I've checked on the eBay a few times. I could sell my patches for about $5, maybe. Just because a patch is "limited" doesn't mean anybody will pay a premium for it.

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I've got to agree with you on this Eamonn.

 

Even our beloved government, who is trying to suck money out of me at every possible opportunity, doesn't charge extra for a collectible 37 cent stamp or collectible state quarter...

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Eamonn,

 

I agree. It's easy for me to say, but you should speak up at your lodge. No matter how worthy the cause, deception is too high of a price to pay. At best, this kind of strategy has all the appearance of snake-oil salesmanship. At worst, it is what it appears to be Scouters exploiting the boys naivet and their excitement for collecting, in the name of a worthy cause. The ends do not justify the means. Scouters should know better.

 

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Is it any worse than charging me $350 for an FOS CSP and coffee mug? Or charging the public $30 for a tin of popcorn that they can buy for $3.99 at Wal Mart? (But the tin is "collectable"!!)

 

If you have problems with it, then call it what it is...a token gift in appreciation for your donation. As long as it's clearly identified as a fund-raiser, I think it's fine.

 

 

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"Or charging the public $30 for a tin of popcorn that they can buy for $3.99 at Wal Mart? (But the tin is "collectable"!!)"

 

However, the Trail's End popcorn is much, much better than anything that you'll ever get at Walmart.

 

As for the patches, if you don't want to spend the money, don't. They'll be snatched up in a heartbeat by collectors.

 

My council spits out a new CSP and lodge flap every year. I buy the CSPs because I like them, most are about $4. The only $25 patches that I've seen come out of my council were the ones that are bullion. I haven't bought any of the $25 patches but I have seen a few on the shoulders of Scouters.

 

Most new CSPs in my council are made in runs of 1,000. Within a week or two, they're down to less than 100. Obviously, people want the patches.

 

As for telling people that things are a collector's item, everything is a collector's item if people collect it.

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Our council is doing the same thing with the "commemorative" Jambo council strips. We are sending five contingent troops and although a similar theme, each troop will have aslighly different strip. Oh, and the general public (the great unwashed) which are those who are not going to go to the Jamboree, have the "opportunity" to buy slightly different (different border) strip. Yes, it all smacks of hypocrisy, especially considering the BSA unit fundraising rules but it is done quite widely.

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Well, if the people selling the patch are telling the boys it is a collector's item and they will be able to sell it for more than they pay for it, that is wrong.

 

Otherwise, as others have said, there are plenty of examples of the BSA and its sub-units selling things for exorbitant prices. Sometimes it is a thinly disguised donation, sometimes it is just a highly priced item that makes you wonder what this is doing in a Scouting catalog. Check out scoutstuff.org. You can have the BSA crystal candlesticks for only $107.95, or perhaps if you are on a tight budget you might prefer the "A Scout is Helpful" Norman Rockwell afghan for only $57.95, to keep you warm on winter campouts. Operators are standing by. But I say this at least partly in jest, because frankly I think raising money like this from people who can afford the BSA crystal candlesticks -- or the James E. West Fellowship knot for a mere $1,000 -- is better than things like raising registration fees or reducing services. (There, see, I said something supportive of the BSA! Mostly.)

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Perhaps they could sell little stuffed animals and claim they have been issued as a limited edition.

 

What? Someone does that? Never mind.

 

SA

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Yes we as a Council do have the "Special" CSP for donations over a $100.00. I don't know somehow this isn't as bad as trying to get Scouts to hand over big bucks for a patch, with the promise that one day it is going to be worth mega bucks.

Worse still is thinking behind the idea "Hey we need money!! - I know lets stick another patch out there." It seems that we have to have a special patch for everything: NAOC, The Jamboree. The Anniversary of the Lodge and whatever else comes down the pike. I am not in favor of this but can live with it. But the idea of just making a patch and having it be a "Limited Edition" in order to make money seems wrong. The next contingent to NOAC, won't turn around and say "Hey donate money to subsidize the Scouts going to NOAC and we will give you a patch." They can't do this because it is wrong. But selling a patch for some silly amount is just as wrong.

Eamonn.

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The idea of encouraging people to buy patches as investments is on the same level as promoting beanie babies as investments.

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Even gold can be such an investment. About 1977 I was working in a fine jewelry department in a major chain. When I overheard a man making the statement that he was buying 14k gold chains as an investment. Now grant it the price of gold was heading up fast then, but and big but 14k gold is less than 60% gold, then you have the machining /manufacturing cost of making the chain and jewelry is typically triple keystone meaning the retail price is three time the wholesale cost. If that chain had 20% of it sale price that could be got for its gold value they guy would have been lucky.

 

There are lot of things that can be collected but the first value you place on is do you like it, in the case of the fun raiser patches, do you want to support the activity and in my case the least of my worries is if my kids when Im gone can sell it for a profit.

 

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Well, if the people selling the patch are telling the boys it is a collector's item and they will be able to sell it for more than they pay for it, that is wrong.

 

Again I find myself responding to one of my own statements. I don't mean the patch necessarily won't be a collectors item or that a boy won't be able to sell it for more than he paid for it. What I mean is that there is no way to know whether these things are the case, and therefore it is "wrong" to say that they are.

 

Apart from the "securities fraud" aspect of this, is a "values" issue. (Yes, I do believe in values.)

 

I get a sense from Eamonn's post that a boy might get the idea that a portion of their Scouting activities involve some sort of get-rich-quick scheme. Thrifty, yes, investing yes, but I think I'd rather people learn about "speculating" somewhere other than in the Boy Scouts. What's next? Day-trading merit badge? Learning how to play the float, as part of American Business? How about Gambling Merit Badge? Nothing wrong with any of these things, for adults, but can't we let the boys be boys?

 

(I know, I am making more of this than it's worth. At the moment, it entertains me to do so.)

 

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I have been collecting Scout books since 1980. I keep away from patches because of the volatile market valuations. I personally understand the collecting bug or "addiction" that tempts people into paying more for an item than it is worth. For those that have reached a certain saturation point or if they have limited what they are collecting, then it is easier for them to decline but not so for others.

 

What I can offer to the discussion in the way of deciding if the limited patch offerings are good or bad is that it can be considered a way to play on a person's addiction. In other words, some cannot decline no matter what the reasoning. It is wrong to set the circumstances for those individuals so that they will pay a high price when something has so little real value. The Beanie Baby craze was exactly that kind of marketing ploy that "extorted" money from unsuspecting customers with a strong penchant to collect. Now, an individual might conclude that the person buying should be aware of such schemes but I feel that the onus is really on the seller.

 

I realize that my little moralizing won't stop Scouts from continuing with their patch craze because it is "easy money". I realize that people who are addicted won't stop buying worthless items no matter what the circumstance.

 

The worth of an item is really an issue of the worth of the individuals own heart. We discuss God and religion allot here on this forum because, as humans, we are drawn to search our soul for God. Religion to me is who we are inside. The truth of God is not what Bible verses we carefully select to quote but how we act toward others.

 

A salesperson that has a good product and is proud to share and sell it to others at a fair price, to me, would be considered good.

 

FB

 

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