(Topic ID: 172477)

I've been a long time Stern Pinball fan, but I'm done with them.


By jar155

2 years ago



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    #351 2 years ago

    As far as sending out a replacement PF. Is that all they do to correct a major PF issue? Am I (a person who has trouble installing Cliffy scoop protectors) supposed to swap in a whole new PF?

    OK lets get to the Cargument. I buy a new Ferrari and the dashboard is starting to crack. So Ferrari just sends me a nw dashboard and says good luck?

    Edit: I am not sure what the replacement is for the defective PF do they send a whole populated PF or just a replacement PF?

    -4
    #352 2 years ago
    Quoted from rai:

    OK lets get to the Cargument. I buy a new Ferrari and the dashboard is starting to crack. So Ferrari just sends me a nw dashboard and says good luck?

    That's actually a great example of why carguments don't work.

    #353 2 years ago

    I am not sure if they are sending just a replacement PF or a populated PF?

    That said, some of the photos I've seen have been what I'd call nit picky. I'm not saying the issue is not real. But more that not everything is perfect and over time things can get less perfect.

    I saw one picture of someone with Met coffin insert with 'ghosting' and my gosh it is ghosting but it was a miniature speck of ghosting which I'd never even notice unless you pointed it out to me.

    #354 2 years ago

    This illustrates the problem perfectly. The playfield should be sent to the dealer and the dealer should install it. The customer paid for a whole game and not a course in pinball mechanics. It is the fact that todays pinballs are complicated and need support from the factory. Regardless of the kind a machine you purchase you expect and should get support. I know there are many dealers out there prepared to do the right thing.

    14
    #355 2 years ago
    Quoted from jkashani:

    Why can smaller companies like Heighway, Spooky and Jersey Jack have codes on new games close to completion when shipped and Stern cant do the same. The showing at expo of the batman 66 with a non playable game with expecting deposits is beyond me. Caveat Emptor! With this practice Stern will continue to lose customers. We all like their games and would like to patronize them, however, this type of business practice will discourage allot of buyers, including myself.

    Pardon??!!!

    This statement is a little hard to take.

    Spooky, JJP, and Heighway shipped near code complete games!!?? Ummm... nope. I haven't owned a Heighway machine yet, but my WOZ took ages to become fun, and same with Hobbit. My AMH is now amazing, but it became code complete a few months ago. Again, I have NO PROBLEM with that. It's part of the process, but to suggest only Stern is shipping games in need of code is ludicrous.

    As for BM66 not being flippable at expo. I'm pretty certain that's something that Stern and everybody involved in the game would have wanted. Do you not think they all busted their asses to make that happen??!! It didn't happen... and yet, they sold a boat load of those pins.

    My problem with all the negativity that seems to swirl around Stern is that I think it comes from misaligned expectations.

    People talk about Stern as if they are Sony, or Ford, or Apple. Yes, they are the big player in the pinball world... but they are a TINY manufacturing company, in a super small niche market. They are filled with passionate pinball people who live and breathe pinball. They bust their asses to make amazing experiences for us. I'm grateful they do.

    They employ many of the greats of the 90s Bally Williams days. Are they all there because they hate their customers? Are they all there because they don't believe in the magic of pinball? Are they all there because they believe in profit above all else!!?? How delusional is that viewpoint??!

    Have you ever spoken to these guys? They light up when they talk about their designs. It's really exciting to visit the factory. It's an amazing place if you love pinball.

    I think part of the problem is, as collectors, we've arbitrarily decided that a piece of commercial vending equipment is now a collectors item museum piece, and should ascribe to all the requisite demands of this market we've created. Imagine we'd done that with leaf blowers, or chain saws??! All of the sudden we'd be demanding that they never leak, or have scratches on them, or smelled of gas... bet you never thought you'd hear a leaf blower-gument, eh?! Stern is trying to adapt to and serve this market. They are succeeding in a lot of ways, but they will always fall short of impossibly (unreasonably?) high user expectations.

    There is also a lot of talk about how Stern manages its social media presence. Banning negative comments or criticism etc... it's THEIR social media page! What do you THINK they should do??! Employ a full time staff member to type, "As we've stated many times, speak to your distro about your playfield. We have a program in place" or, "Sorry you feel that way, but we think GOT is actually really fun!" All day long?!! It's not their customer service department. They do exactly what I would do if I was trying to run a small manufacturing company. You can call Stern ANYTIME you like. I've done it many times. When I was having magnet board issues with my MET, I received AMAZING support from Stern.

    I guess what I'm ultimately trying to say is, Stern is a pinball company. We'd all do well to keep that in perspective. They're celebrating 30 years of making pinball machines! That's an incredible thing. They've given us Seawitch, Lord of the Rings, The Walking Dead, Quicksilver, Metallica, Tron, Iron Man, Ghostbusters and 50 plus other titles?!!

    They've had a few QC issues of late, and nobody is happy about rising prices... but is that cause to generate so much bile, and bluster?!!?

    I'm not intending to beat a dead horse here, but I think it's important to voice some positivity. I'm genuinely excited about the future of pinball. I've been collecting for over 20 years, and the hobby has NEVER been more exciting. Is this the BUBBLE??!! OMG!!!! Haha. Who the F$&k knows?! What I know it that it's still a TINY industry with ENORMOUS growth potential.

    I'm looking forward to spending more time on a Dialed In. I enjoyed it at Expo. I can't wait to see what Spooky does next. Aliens could end up being a really cool pin too. I hope Heighway gets it over the finish line soon.

    But above all else, I'm CRAZY excited to get my BM66. I think it's going to be an amazing pinball machine. I think it's going to be fun, and I think it's going to be deep. I KNOW it's going to look spectacular.

    Play more pinball everybody. This typing nonsense is for the birds!

    Happy flipping.

    #356 2 years ago
    Quoted from RobT:

    That's actually a great example of why carguments don't work.

    A more accurate cargument would be if Toyota made a minivan and some of the seats start splitting. Toyota never sends out a recall, but through the grapevine it's stated that only GT models that have 3 or more seats splitting will be covered. It also requires you sending in pictures via the dealership and Toyota will let you know what the plan is eventually.

    -18
    #357 2 years ago

    You know what is so very funny. Most of the folks buying pinball have no idea what code even is. Completing code and updating code is really for the hardest core of players. I think that when you look at the volume of code written who even comes close to Stern?

    -J

    20
    #358 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinballAlley:

    You know what is so very funny. Most of the folks buying pinball have no idea what code even is. Completing code and updating code is really for the hardest core of players. I think that when you look at the volume of code written who even comes close to Stern?
    -J

    This excuses poor support?

    This sort of apologist attitude is only going to worsen the end product. Accountability is absolutely necessary to maintaining or improving quality.

    -20
    #359 2 years ago

    It does not excuse anything. I think it shows how much Stern supports the core player. I think Stern does a very good job with code. They keep rising to meet the challenge of complex players with complex games and very complex codes. I have been doing this a very long time. I have yet to have someone ask me "SO where are they at with the code on this machine?" It is something that means something to a very small percentage of players.....US! It shows that everyone one involved is a hard core pinhead. When I actually sit down and look at the code that gets written, it blows my mind. There are some very smart cookies working hard to amuse us.

    #360 2 years ago
    Quoted from MapleSyrup:

    As for BM66 not being flippable at expo. I'm pretty certain that's something that Stern and everybody involved in the game would have wanted. Do you not think they all busted their asses to make that happen??!! It didn't happen... and yet, they sold a boat load of those pins.

    No. My very own opinion is that that wanted to get it sold unseen and paid unplayed. If they wanted to they could have gotten it ready to be played. My suspicion is that it plays roughly the same as the original, and the original is not famous for its great gameplay.

    That is also why I cancelled out of my order. It seems like they just want to push this machine down our throaths.

    #361 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinballAlley:

    You know what is so very funny. Most of the folks buying pinball have no idea what code even is. Completing code and updating code is really for the hardest core of players. I think that when you look at the volume of code written who even comes close to Stern?
    -J

    I agree to a point.

    Used to be when I played I just made shots and got points, maybe loaded the gum ball machine or destroyed the castle, but I didn't really understand rules.

    I owned Potc for years before I even knew there was an update or how to update.

    So to a degree I believe that *some* code is all the unwashed masses care about.

    But the next 10-20 percent who do know what code is and knows when a game is meh or a game has a roadblock or an unbalanced scoring. If a game just ends after the wizard mode for example or if the call outs don't match the results that's a problem and Stern should care more about the 10-20% who do know the rules matter because we are the ones with $50,000 worth of games in our basement. I'd say we are the ones that matter more than the 80% who spend $10 a year on pinball at an arcade.
    IMG_2518 (resized).PNG

    #362 2 years ago
    Quoted from MapleSyrup:

    Pardon??!!!
    This statement is a little hard to take.
    Spooky, JJP, and Heighway shipped near code complete games!!?? Ummm... nope. I haven't owned a Heighway machine yet, but my WOZ took ages to become fun, and same with Hobbit. My AMH is now amazing, but it became code complete a few months ago. Again, I have NO PROBLEM with that. It's part of the process, but to suggest only Stern is shipping games in need of code is ludicrous.

    Not to mention 1 pin every 3 to 4 years and 3 or 4 pins every year so JJP and Heighway etc. should be done and they still aren't fully complete.

    -3
    #363 2 years ago
    Quoted from MapleSyrup:

    Pardon??!!!

    My problem with all the negativity that seems to swirl around Stern is that I think it comes from misaligned expectations.
    People talk about Stern as if they are Sony, or Ford, or Apple. Yes, they are the big player in the pinball world... but they are a TINY manufacturing company, in a super small niche market. Happy flipping.

    I'm wondering if anybody considered that if they didn't do these high price points they go bankrupt? We have no way of knowing either way but like what was said above small volume that could keep getting smaller.

    20
    #364 2 years ago
    Quoted from JimB:

    I'm wondering if anybody considered that if they didn't do these high price points they go bankrupt? We have no way of knowing either way but like what was said above small volume that could keep getting smaller.

    I think the Pro/Prem/LE thing was doing very well for them in terms of money and volume. When the LE was about $800 more than the Premium, from ACDC to Merallica - that pretty much guaranteed they would sell 500 units before we ever played them. There was an "unwritten contract" there: "Spend a little more & have some faith - and you might end up with a valuable collectible". No guarantees, but it was a worthwhile gamble for pinheads and an instant influx of cash to Stern. Win win. Then - if word of mouth on a game was good...sell unlimited Premiums and Pros...pure gravy profit.

    This new greed era is perhaps getting more money upfront but is going to result in lower volume. Is the trade off worth it? I dunno, but as you can see here, they're losing reliable "usual suspects" as customers. I'm hopping off the bus for a while. I asked my distributor when I could expect my Ghostbusters refund...he said "Oh, I didn't know you wanted your money back - I moved it to the next game". I said "Until Stern can make reliable playfields, test games before shipping, finish code in a reasonable time frame, and stop charging $15k for games...I have zero interest in any next game. Check please!!!"

    Meanwhile, I'm going to spend my pin money on a lightly used Hobbit this weekend. IMO, that purchase will have more value than any new Stern. It'll be nice to get something basically new, with modern features, finished code, and no shipping or tax! F NIB! ...and just to put "luxury value" in perspective ...I could get 2 Hobbits for the price of 1 B66 SLE!!! WTF!?!?!?

    #365 2 years ago

    To illustrate how small of a nitch Stern is.

    Let's have as a WAG and say Stern sells 10k pins in a year at average price of $6500 that's $65M dollars.

    The tobacco industry spend almost $10B *in advertising* in a year in the US alone.

    Harley Davidson sales one year was $6B and I'd wager that most HD buyers is more of a hobby or luxury item not as a primary transportation vehicle. In 4 days HD would sell more inventory than Stern does in a full year.

    #366 2 years ago
    Quoted from MapleSyrup:

    There is also a lot of talk about how Stern manages its social media presence. Banning negative comments or criticism etc... it's THEIR social media page! What do you THINK they should do??! Employ a full time staff member to type, "As we've stated many times, speak to your distro about your playfield. We have a program in place" or, "Sorry you feel that way, but we think GOT is actually really fun!" All day long?!! It's not their customer service department. They do exactly what I would do if I was trying to run a small manufacturing company. You can call Stern ANYTIME you like. I've done it many times. When I was having magnet board issues with my MET, I received AMAZING support from Stern.

    I appreciate your passion and positive feedback is important. They have chosen to embrace social media and have managed it poorly. There are experts in this field and some have weighed in on the topic. They are doing a bad job with this issue. As sincere and commited as you may be, your style would not be well received by the younger generation. Banning users and typing in all caps is taken as angry and insulting by most Facebook users. At 46, I'm usually more of law and order "get off my lawn" type guy. In this case, I think Stern is wrong. Banning negative comments and news members from events is not the way to gain customer confidence.

    #367 2 years ago
    Quoted from ronaldvg:

    That is also why I cancelled out of my order. It seems like they just want to push this machine down our throaths.

    I don't understand that. Did they put a gun to your head and force you to pre order one?

    It is an overpriced luxury toy. If you like what they've shown so far then order one. If you are unsure due to lack of gameplay details then don't.

    Once they are available you can re-evaluate and if you like it buy a premium. If not then wait for the next over priced shiny flashy thing to come along.

    16
    #368 2 years ago
    Quoted from MapleSyrup:

    They've had a few QC issues of late, and nobody is happy about rising prices... but is that cause to generate so much bile, and bluster?!!?

    Quality Issues - Unacceptable
    Rising Prices - Unacceptable

    Pegs, no lock down bar or rails and plastic cheap IDC sockets, thinner playfields which are wearing within a few months of purchase
    are legitimate issues.

    When you maximize prices and sacrifice quality you will get bluster and bile. Sorry, but these are not $1500 machines. Stern should
    and will hear these comments. It's about time Stern gets an ear load. They took the money, now take the heat. How about improving
    quality control and bringing back pinball built the way it is supposed to be built and played and updating code quicker. How about they
    inform the customers who spent their $5500 - $15K on a pinball machine when updates can be expected to give them some insight. It's not
    like they don't have a website or facebook page. Surely they can spread promotion of their products but not be informative to the end
    user? The money spent on pinball machines isn't exactly cheap. In the end, bad business practices all around. Take the money, run and
    move on to the next title is what is being seen now. This cannot go unnoticed.

    #369 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinballAlley:

    I have yet to have someone ask me "SO where are they at with the code on this machine?"

    Just to be clear here... your website is advertising a Hurricane for $3,500. Pretty good indication that the pinball people you're dealing with probably press the start button 6 times when they step up to a game...your sample is tainted.

    19
    #370 2 years ago

    Lol. That Hurricane is a ground up restoration and is stunning. Brand new playfield, plastics, ramps, displays, LED's, Legs , protectors, new motor, Rottendog MPU, New flippers from the coil right on up to the rubber around the flipper. I could go on. It doesn't matter as the game sold to a collector on Thursday. As far as my customers, I have to tell you that they are the real money demographics. They want machines that look nice and play nice and all they have to do is press the start button. They want a one year warranty on new pinballs and six months on used. These are the folks putting deposits on Batman 66 without blinking an eye. Every month there are more and more of then. They are polite, they seldom haggle, end up buying six to eight pinballs and tip my delivery people. They are very good customers. They are the segment Stern is trying to add. From a business standpoint it makes tons of sense. The thing I don't get is all the negativity. There is so much going on at this moment that if a pinball guy cannot find something to make himself happy then it doesn't exist. What are we looking at? Ten plus new pinball releases in the industry? That is crazy, I am trying to remember when we ever saw it. Maybe the early nineties? On top of it, these games are so nice, seeing guys like Lawlor and Gomez all excited about their new releases gets me going. If you can't find a spot to be happy in our hobby I am not sure you will ever get there. My grandfather used to say "If strawberries give you a rash don't eat them." I like what's going on and I feel like a kid at Christmas. I can barely wait to see what is coming next! I put up a billboard yesterday and that has me a jazzed up too. I really do love this industry.

    PinBallNov2016 POP (resized).JPG

    #371 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinballAlley:

    if a pinball guy cannot find something to make himself happy then it doesn't exist.

    That just makes too much sense for this forum. You're going to have to do better than that.

    #372 2 years ago

    I'm not done with Stern because I never even started with them. Never liked the way they photoshop actors faces all over their playfields, cabinets and backglasses.

    #373 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinballAlley:

    As far as my customers, I have to tell you that they are the real money demographics. They want machines that look nice and play nice and all they have to do is press the start button. They want a one year warranty on new pinballs and six months on used. These are the folks putting deposits on Batman 66 without blinking an eye. Every month there are more and more of then. They are polite, they seldom haggle, end up buying six to eight pinballs and tip my delivery people. They are very good customers. They are the segment Stern is trying to add.

    Ha.

    It's always great to see the bias of a retailer shine through.

    "My customers come in my shop and say $5,895 for a Kiss Pro? No way, Bob! I want to Pay you $6,800! Hell, I have the wife and kids out today... why don't we just order two for $14,000. You know... I wouldn't want to lift a finger if one breaks... wait... what's that? You sell an extended warranty for $2,000? Sure, just lop that on my bill. While you're at it, I'll take that Walking Dead topper you have for sale over there for $900."

    I love your insinuation that some how wealthy people have zero commonsense or judgement of value. Frankly, your assessment of that "segment" as you put it is a poor one.

    Just curious, the photo of the Hurricane on your website looks like it was pulled out of a pizza shop yesterday... do you have detailed photos of the full restore to share?

    hur3 (resized).jpg

    #374 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinballAlley:

    Lol. That Hurricane is a ground up restoration and is stunning. Brand new playfield, plastics, ramps, displays, LED's, Legs , protectors, new motor, Rottendog MPU, New flippers from the coil right on up to the rubber around the flipper. I could go on. It doesn't matter as the game sold to a collector on Thursday. As far as my customers, I have to tell you that they are the real money demographics. They want machines that look nice and play nice and all they have to do is press the start button. They want a one year warranty on new pinballs and six months on used. These are the folks putting deposits on Batman 66 without blinking an eye. Every month there are more and more of then. They are polite, they seldom haggle, end up buying six to eight pinballs and tip my delivery people. They are very good customers. They are the segment Stern is trying to add. From a business standpoint it makes tons of sense. The thing I don't get is all the negativity. There is so much going on at this moment that if a pinball guy cannot find something to make himself happy then it doesn't exist. What are we looking at? Ten plus new pinball releases in the industry? That is crazy, I am trying to remember when we ever saw it. Maybe the early nineties? On top of it, these games are so nice, seeing guys like Lawlor and Gomez all excited about their new releases gets me going. If you can't find a spot to be happy in our hobby I am not sure you will ever get there. My grandfather used to say "If strawberries give you a rash don't eat them." I like what's going on and I feel like a kid at Christmas. I can barely wait to see what is coming next! I put up a billboard yesterday and that has me a jazzed up too. I really do love this industry.

    Nice billboard dude! I wish you the best with your business.

    This PinballAlley guy is a nice dude. Back when I initially had playfield issues with my GBLE and wasn't getting any responses from my dealer or Stern, he PM'd me his personal cell phone number and offered to help assist me and work with Stern to get a new playfield. Keep in mind I've never spent a dollar with him or his business.

    I ended up not taking him on that friendly offer as Gary Stern called me and then talked to my dealer and apparently things are still in process.

    Sorry if it's a subject change but this guy is a pretty cool cat, just my $0.02

    #375 2 years ago

    I really liked the Pinball Alley billboard, but not the Hurricane.
    It is always concerning when acorn head leg bolts are missing on game photos, regardless of any other factor of consideration due to non-technical nature of the repair and cost effective purchase of new leg plates.

    Retro Refurbs makes good decals for the game, if needed.
    http://www.retrorefurbs.com/shop/hurricane-pinball-cabinet-decals/?currency=USD

    GLWTHS.

    Waiting to see the "Stern Army" billboard while driving like what was shown on the Expo banner.
    Seems fitting for the thread, whether favorable or fighting for a rebellion.

    Stern Army Billboard.jpg

    #376 2 years ago

    Stern's value and quality is at a low ebb currently, so I'm taking a breather from NIB. Ditto for JJP when they copied Stern's high prices with DI. A 40% price increase in 1 year is unacceptable. Is it the new investors pushing for more profit? I'm guessing yes, as Stern's antics with kickstarter for a book, charging for their own anniversary party, $14k for a pintable etc look like the tactical output from a Greed 101 brainstorming session!

    I've diversified my collecting for now, as I do have money to spend, but perhaps not on pinball for a while. It's actually been great fun, as I've learned such a lot about other hobbies & machines, and met some really interesting people, such as retired BBC engineers who refurb old valve radios, and as a pastime create enormous tesla coils Gotta love engineers!

    #377 2 years ago

    Stern Army Meme.jpg

    #378 2 years ago
    Quoted from kpg:

    Here is what my $8K got me with Stern... which some can see why I find it hilarious they are raising prices, yet who knows when I'll get a replacement playfield or if the issues have been fixed. Was playing GB LE last night, and more of my playfield or some piece of the machine broke off again and stopped in the shooter lane that I had to remove the glass to take the piece out. It's becoming a pretty common thing to see pieces of playfield scattered around lol. Notice the bare wood and lack of clear coat in the shooter lane too? Sorry, have to laugh that after this their solution was to jack up prices for their products.

    Damn! Your GB shooter lane sure did get beat up quick!

    Stern needs to realize that collectors are the only reason why their doors are still open.

    This is definitely not a collector quality product!!!

    #379 2 years ago

    I was at Pinball Pete's in Ann Arbor, MI to play a little bit today. I played GBLE today and enjoyed it for the most part. My biggest complaint play-wise was that if you put the ball in the left scoop, it exited and went SDTM unless you gave it a good shake. Otherwise, I had fun. I thought the game had a lot more going for it than the pro.

    The bad, however, was pretty bad, I thought and speaks to the quality-control complaints that I've seen a lot as of late. And this is the fact that the front cabinet seems to be detaching itself from the side cabinet. See pic. Unless this game was dropped or something, there is no way in the world that this should be happening. See pic.

    GBLE (resized).jpg

    #380 2 years ago
    Quoted from docquest:

    I don't understand that. Did they put a gun to your head and force you to pre order one?
    It is an overpriced luxury toy. If you like what they've shown so far then order one. If you are unsure due to lack of gameplay details then don't.
    Once they are available you can re-evaluate and if you like it buy a premium. If not then wait for the next over priced shiny flashy thing to come along.

    I live in Europe and here the LE which I had on order was sold out in about 6 hours. My distributor only gets 4 of them and it was a question of deciding immediately or not have the chance to buy it. Furthermore the price was announced two weeks later at 12500 Euro, about 14000 dollar. Even that was not the problem because I was sure that BM66 would be something special, but the fact that I had to decide immediately after expo to send the pre-order money was.

    No gameplay whatsoever was shown at Expo, just a normal Stern which has a lot of the same artwork on all sides and even the same on the playfield. The ONLY thing that would make BM66LE worth the 14000 dollar would be the fact that it was limited and the best you could get, except there also is the SLE of course so that makes that point somewhat moot.

    You can argue with my points, but I am a long time LE buyer and for me this way of doing business is just not right. Show me what I get for my money and I can evaluate and decide like you suggested. In this case I had to decide without anything to go on and the sale would be final, no refund. That is why it indeed felt like being forced to do something based on hype alone.

    #381 2 years ago

    Never mind

    #382 2 years ago
    Quoted from 27dnast:

    Ha.
    It's always great to see the bias of a retailer shine through.
    "My customers come in my shop and say $5,895 for a Kiss Pro? No way, Bob! I want to Pay you $6,800! Hell, I have the wife and kids out today... why don't we just order two for $14,000. You know... I wouldn't want to lift a finger if one breaks... wait... what's that? You sell an extended warranty for $2,000? Sure, just lop that on my bill. While you're at it, I'll take that Walking Dead topper you have for sale over there for $900."
    I love your insinuation that some how wealthy people have zero commonsense or judgement of value. Frankly, your assessment of that "segment" as you put it is a poor one.
    Just curious, the photo of the Hurricane on your website looks like it was pulled out of a pizza shop yesterday... do you have detailed photos of the full restore to share?

    Wow that pin is faded to all hell and is very rough...i hope that wasnt one in question or someone got ripped off for 3500.... its1k maybe....

    #383 2 years ago

    I just feel bad for Jeff (the op). If you heard his podcasts you could tell he would just light up at the thought of the ghostbusters theme. Once the machine was announced you could just hear in his voice how amped up he was. From that to this is just sad. No matter what side you're on I feel that stern is f'ing something up to lose a customer like him.

    #384 2 years ago

    I bought twd premiumn nib ,I wanted to support stern and help keep pinball alive, the machine had issues (lights or stayin on) and with their help it was resolved..I still have issues when I turn it on, it doesn't light up or goes to code update needed, I have to send board to distributer so they can send it to stern been busy dnt have time, when it doesn't turn on I unplug 3-4 pin conectors from the board and it usually works...this sucks ,I will send it out after the holidays, stern has been very helpful but I think it shouldn't have any issues, I dnt fix em, just play them. (I can fix alittle)..all the new higher prices make people sell old machines for more in order to buy the new machine they want!!! Prices will keep goin up as long as we keep buying...I wnt be buying nib again, I will wait for a newer machine to sell in a few yrs or be ready when some one needs the money and is selling at a fair price, then the voultiers buy it and try to resell at a higher price , pinball is for fun, not to be over priced...I hope to find new machines on location that play good to great and never buy again,and keep what I have to remember the good old days....no complaints, i love pinball it's part of my life!! Sorry so long..happy pinballing

    #385 2 years ago

    In defense of PinballAlley:

    He's a brick and mortar shop. He's got overhead such as rent, employees to pay, heat, electricity, delivery trucks, taxes, advertising, insurance and what all to pay etc....

    It's not the same as myself selling a pinball that I've played to another pinsider at a 'normal' price.

    He does perform a service. Before I was trading on Pinside, I had a retail guy like this who would deliver, set up,and service my pins.

    A lot of folks may not know of Pinside or even that pinball conventions exist or even mail order/phone order dealers.

    So while I can see looking down your nose at his kind as exploiters of newbies, recall that I was once a newbie and I paid 'overpriced' rates such as $3500-$4000 for when I was buying TZ, TOTAN, IJ (back when prices were much cheaper thank goodness).

    That was many moons ago, but the point was I was paying retail because I didn't know how to buy or how to fix pins and Pinside which I was a member was much different 12 years ago.

    I'm just saying cut the guy some slack when you think he's got a $2K +\- nut to pay every month just to keep the lights on. He needs to make money on a sale.

    I'm not saying he may or may not be going overboard in his enthusiastic prices but just pointing out that the phone dealers we use for great prices don't need to make a ton of money if they're just being middle men for the most part whereas someone who's driving around and breaking his back picking up pins and cleaning them up needs to make some money in order to keep doing that.

    #386 2 years ago

    Let's put in a engine and wheels and drive these machines to work!! They are way over priced now!!! And i dnt want pro...Not for the average joe!! Like myself..

    11
    #387 2 years ago

    Quigley Butt Ugly 2 (resized).jpg

    Quigley Butt Ugly 3 (resized).jpg

    #388 2 years ago

    PinballAlley I think everyone is cool with your business and all. But, you have to admit Stern is not doing any justice to the vendor and now has pulled the rug from under the collectors. If you're a Stern Distributor, you should call Stern and inform them of how their business practices are affecting collectors, vendors and distributors. I agree Stern did turn up some successful titles. I personally own Metallica,
    Tron LE, Iron Man, Star trek and Kiss. Unfortunately, Kiss being a music pin, has taken a serious beating and been forgotten just as several other pins have. Don't forgive bad business practices, do something about it. Tell Stern what's going on voice your opinion. Don't be a
    distributor who is blind to what's going on. The facts are clear. Collectors and vendors have spoken. Don't let all these comments fall on deaf ears. If distributors don't speak up, Stern will continue the same bad business practices which will cost distributors money. Collectors and vendors will not purchase machines at increased prices, unfinished code and inferior quality. Ask yourself this question, what if the pinball market turns out to be car market? Not everyone can afford to purchase a new pinball so they will wait a few years for the title to depreciate, contain tons of mods and purchase the title for much less. Is this the type of business Stern and distributors want to see? I don't think so. I think sales and assembly lines movement is what needs to be seen. If quality goes down, no code and prices go high, how can a business sustain itself?

    #389 2 years ago
    Quoted from rai:

    So while I can see looking down your nose at his kind as exploiters of newbies

    It's not that - he's coming onto a hobbyist/collector forum and dismissing our concerns because his "casual" buyers don't know any better and don't care.

    #390 2 years ago

    If I was a distributor for Stern right now.. I would be a bit worried that sales may have peaked this year and that 2017 might be a wild ride. At these prices and obvious customer satisfaction concerns, 2017 might be interesting for NIB sales in general. So many people are putting their money in the used market instead of NIB right now it's crazy.

    #391 2 years ago
    Quoted from kpg:

    If I was a distributor for Stern right now.. I would be a bit worried that sales may have peaked this year and that 2017 might be a wild ride. At these prices and obvious customer satisfaction concerns, 2017 might be interesting for NIB sales in general. So many people are putting their money in the used market instead of NIB right now it's crazy.

    I wonder how much higher used prices will go in 2017 with these NIB price increases.

    #392 2 years ago
    Quoted from JonH123:

    I wonder how much higher used prices will go in 2017 with these NIB price increases.

    I honestly don't think they will be affected, other then stabilizing them. Most people have a set price in their heads on what they are willing to pay, and it seems pretty tapped out - in my opinion. If used prices sky rocket, it would be very bad for the hobby all around.

    #393 2 years ago

    Is pinball supposed to be fun? I think it is supposed to be engrossing and ungratifying.

    #394 2 years ago
    Quoted from MapleSyrup:

    it's THEIR social media page! What do you THINK they should do??!

    You capitalized the wrong word. It is their SOCIAL media page.

    Being anti-social on a social media page defeats the purpose of having the page in the first place, provides little benefit to your customers, and potentially loses sales.

    #395 2 years ago

    Hi All,
    One of the problems with being an old guy is that I am very behind when it comes to social media. I pay people like a web page guy and have trust. I looked at the photo someone posted on my Hurricane. I said to myself "That doesn't look right?" I went to my website and to my horror saw some of the photos. I am seething pissed. I don't blame anyone for thinking "What the Hell!". I take an immense amount of pride in what we do. I happen to think we are one of the best restorers anywhere. I have no idea where those photos came from. The first thing I am going to do is fire the dirty MF! Then I will post photos of the actual pinball. Then I will have to get someone to take good photos of the rest. We have over 80 titles on the floor. In almost every case, we are below e-bay prices.
    Whoever pointed out that we are brick and mortar and all the things that come with that is true. We employ American workers at a good standard of living and am proud of that. We also feel our prices are fair. We sell new pinballs for a reasonable price. Our pro prices are (today anyway we just got notice of increases) are 5395.00, for that we deliver, set up and warranty the pinball for one full year. We give this in writing along with the fact that we will never give any less than 50% of what was paid toward trade in. Many times it is even more. We do tons of repair work which we bill at $65/hr and are one of the few guys who handle board repair. Hell, we even fix Williams pinball system 9 boards. My biggest passion, the thing that makes me high, is a full on ground up restoration. When I take a classic pin and get it to better than new condition. We will sell over 300 pinballs this year. I know that is not huge volume, but volume is not our thing, Our thing is high quality and customer satisfaction.
    As for Stern. I feel that Stern is a good company filled with good people. They have had some issues and I have gone to the mat for my customers and will continue. Right is right. The one thing I do know is that Stern feels that their customers are very important. They know that they have had issues. I have worked very hard to explain that they need to have a better customer service policy. For a large part they have listened. I know Gary Stern called concerned customers himself. I try to think if I had ever heard if any CEO of another manufacture who has done this. At the very least it is uncommon. I do know that one of the big things Stern is working on is to get more brick and mortar stores out there. I know some feel some hostility about that. I don't know why. Stern is moving toward standard pricing (I can't wait) with enough physical locations, it will be possible to provide better customer service, including better warranty life and easier service.
    This isn't just a Stern problem. It is something that confronts all pinball makers. Pinballs are large machines that are very expensive to ship. Unless you live next door to a factory, the logistics of customer service can be very tough. My company has a policy of not exceeding a three hundred mile radius . That is the furthest we can provide the customer service that we offer. I know many of my fellow dealers and think they feel the same way about their customers. As I had mentioned before, this industry has changed significantly. We have gone from a business that was primarily selling to vendors to one that has several kinds of customers. There was no model , we all kind of felt our way around in the dark. I can honestly say that things are better. I am committed to have this continue until we can have people like Jeff coming back.
    The hard thing is that this whole thing is equal parts business and hobby. It brings feelings and emotions of the heart into a business situation, very tough. Buyers should not have to deal with the manufacturer. Their satisfaction should come from the dealer they purchased the game from. All the dealers I know feel they same way. Even though we have different ways of doing things, we all are concerned with customer satisfaction. Like anything else there are always a few bad apples that taint the picture for the rest of us. It is important that when someone purchases a machine, that there is a clear understanding of expectations. Get the assurances you have discussed in writing. That kind of thing not only protects the buyer but also protects the seller as well. There has been no better time to be a pinball aficionado. Wondrous advances and a bevy of new releases is so exciting. We can sit and complain or we can be proactive and make this hobby all it can be.
    I will post the photos and video of the Hurricane in it's own post. It doesn't belong here. I am also willing to help any fellow pinhead resolve issues if I can. Helping people get satisfaction is good for all of us. I am sure that there will be future issues. It would be crazy to think otherwise. These machines are growing increasingly more complex with each new release. The important thing is to keep a good attitude and work through the issues until everyone is satisfied. Some of you are thinking 'Aw bullshit!", and I understand. I have been in this industry for a very long time. With the perspective of the years, I can say things are moving in the right direction. The bottom line is that , it is your money. Don't spend it until you are comfortable that you are getting what you want. In the meantime, I will (and guys like me) work our tail off to make you happy.

    -Jerry

    #396 2 years ago

    Batman Boardroom Meme.jpg

    #397 2 years ago

    You seriously need to paragraph your essays - it is next to impossible to read what you have written - I'm not being nasty, just factual.

    ************

    Hi All,

    One of the problems with being an old guy is that I am very behind when it comes to social media. I pay people like a web page guy and have trust. I looked at the photo someone posted on my Hurricane. I said to myself "That doesn't look right?" I went to my website and to my horror saw some of the photos.

    I am seething pissed. I don't blame anyone for thinking "What the Hell!". I take an immense amount of pride in what we do. I happen to think we are one of the best restorers anywhere. I have no idea where those photos came from. The first thing I am going to do is fire the dirty MF! Then I will post photos of the actual pinball. Then I will have to get someone to take good photos of the rest. We have over 80 titles on the floor. In almost every case, we are below e-bay prices.

    Whoever pointed out that we are brick and mortar and all the things that come with that is true. We employ American workers at a good standard of living and am proud of that. We also feel our prices are fair. We sell new pinballs for a reasonable price. Our pro prices are (today anyway we just got notice of increases) are 5395.00, for that we deliver, set up and warranty the pinball for one full year. We give this in writing along with the fact that we will never give any less than 50% of what was paid toward trade in. Many times it is even more. We do tons of repair work which we bill at $65/hr and are one of the few guys who handle board repair. Hell, we even fix Williams pinball system 9 boards.

    My biggest passion, the thing that makes me high, is a full on ground up restoration. When I take a classic pin and get it to better than new condition. We will sell over 300 pinballs this year. I know that is not huge volume, but volume is not our thing, Our thing is high quality and customer satisfaction.

    As for Stern. I feel that Stern is a good company filled with good people. They have had some issues and I have gone to the mat for my customers and will continue. Right is right. The one thing I do know is that Stern feels that their customers are very important. They know that they have had issues. I have worked very hard to explain that they need to have a better customer service policy. For a large part they have listened.

    I know Gary Stern called concerned customers himself. I try to think if I had ever heard if any CEO of another manufacture who has done this. At the very least it is uncommon. I do know that one of the big things Stern is working on is to get more brick and mortar stores out there. I know some feel some hostility about that. I don't know why. Stern is moving toward standard pricing (I can't wait) with enough physical locations, it will be possible to provide better customer service, including better warranty life and easier service.

    This isn't just a Stern problem. It is something that confronts all pinball makers. Pinballs are large machines that are very expensive to ship. Unless you live next door to a factory, the logistics of customer service can be very tough. My company has a policy of not exceeding a three hundred mile radius . That is the furthest we can provide the customer service that we offer. I know many of my fellow dealers and think they feel the same way about their customers.

    As I had mentioned before, this industry has changed significantly. We have gone from a business that was primarily selling to vendors to one that has several kinds of customers. There was no model , we all kind of felt our way around in the dark. I can honestly say that things are better. I am committed to have this continue until we can have people like Jeff coming back.

    The hard thing is that this whole thing is equal parts business and hobby. It brings feelings and emotions of the heart into a business situation, very tough. Buyers should not have to deal with the manufacturer. Their satisfaction should come from the dealer they purchased the game from. All the dealers I know feel they same way. Even though we have different ways of doing things, we all are concerned with customer satisfaction. Like anything else there are always a few bad apples that taint the picture for the rest of us.

    It is important that when someone purchases a machine, that there is a clear understanding of expectations. Get the assurances you have discussed in writing. That kind of thing not only protects the buyer but also protects the seller as well. There has been no better time to be a pinball aficionado. Wondrous advances and a bevy of new releases is so exciting. We can sit and complain or we can be proactive and make this hobby all it can be.

    I will post the photos and video of the Hurricane in it's own post. It doesn't belong here. I am also willing to help any fellow pinhead resolve issues if I can. Helping people get satisfaction is good for all of us. I am sure that there will be future issues. It would be crazy to think otherwise. These machines are growing increasingly more complex with each new release. The important thing is to keep a good attitude and work through the issues until everyone is satisfied.

    Some of you are thinking 'Aw bullshit!", and I understand. I have been in this industry for a very long time. With the perspective of the years, I can say things are moving in the right direction. The bottom line is that , it is your money. Don't spend it until you are comfortable that you are getting what you want. In the meantime, I will (and guys like me) work our tail off to make you happy.

    -Jerry

    11
    #398 2 years ago

    Sorry about that. I do indent but it doesn't seem to come across when I post. The funny thing is that I have written several books. The last one was the "Outdoor Chronicles" published by Skyhorse Press.(2014) Next book is at the publisher as we speak. I must confess, it was written on an old typewriter. I will try double spacing the paragraphs. Did I mention that I am not so great with the new social technology. It is probably why it took so long for me to get on Pinside. My editor has been at me to write a blog. I probably should take a class. Again, I apologize.

    -J

    #399 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinballAlley:

    Sorry about that. I do indent but it doesn't seem to come across when I post. The funny thing is that I have written several books. The last one was the "Outdoor Chronicles" published by Skyhorse Press.(2014) Next book is at the publisher as we speak. I must confess, it was written on an old typewriter. I will try double spacing the paragraphs. Did I mention that I am not so great with the new social technology. It is probably why it took so long for me to get on Pinside. My editor has been at me to write a blog. I probably should take a class. Again, I apologize.
    -J

    You seem like a nice guy with a reputable business but honestly you write the SAME loooong post over and over. Not unlike a lot of people over here unfortunately... we're all guilty of this from time to time but I think by now we have all the relevant points...

    Something about "getting high while doing full, ground-up restorations" or along those lines

    #400 2 years ago

    PinballAlley you bring up good points and you seem like an honest seller and distributor. The three key elements here that need to be
    escalated to Stern are as follows:

    Game Code (When will it be completed from start to finish - Stern needs to provide "realistic" time lines for completion to it's programmers
    as well as periodic updates to it's investors through their Facebook page or Pinside. Collectors, home owners and vendors are the investors and we spend a lot of money on machines. Without the investors, there is no Stern Pinball.

    Price (Price needs to stabilize to affordable levels so the hobby can continue to thrive. Sourcing pinball parts that are too expensive drives
    up cost. Quality and cost sourcing needs to be managed better by Stern to churn up better machines at affordable prices. Go back to simple economics. Sell more machines for less money and gain better profit. You'll have your assembly line running as you wanted and increase productivity and profitability.

    Quality (Check the quality of the finished product. You have the "Stern" brand name on it. First and foremost, do not sacrifice quality because
    you're rushing the games out and tarnishing your own brand. This is business. This is Stern's business. Don't rush it. Do it right. Maintain
    your current customer base and increase productivity and sales through Quality.

    When you combine all of the above, you have gained customer loyalty, trust in the name brand and satisfied every investor. Until this
    is addressed by every Distributor directly to Gary himself, this hobby will continue to plummet causing the future of pinball to become
    bleak.

    (By the way............. Kiss Code Please)

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