While at the Salchester show we heard a story from the Wraybury club about one of their members.  It seems he always arrived at shows sporting their club sweat-shirt.  He’d get in for free when he announced that he was helping with the club’s layout.  But he’s the one person the operators will not let anywhere near the layout, never mind the control panel.  However, the team know he’ll not give them a glance.  He’s no intention of helping out.  Indeed, he’ll totally ignore the layout.  He doesn’t even say ‘hullo’ or ask how things are going.

However, arriving mid-morning at one show, he was asked for his exhibitor’s pass.  Of course, he didn’t have one.  He just pointed to the club logo on his shirt and made to go in.  But the stewards stopped him and asked him to pay.  He refused and went home.

At the next club night, he crossly reported that he’d turned up to support the club, but he’d been turned away.  He was actually REFUSED ADMISSION.  He was furious with the operating team for not supplying him with a pass.

“What have you done to earn one?” they had asked.  “You didn’t help build the layout, or become familiar with the controls, or learn the operating procedures.  You didn’t even help us set up on the Friday when the exhibitors’ passes were being issued.  When you do get into a show, you don’t stand at the front of our layout to talk to the public, or give out leaflets for our exhibition.  So why should you get in for free?”  The fellow thought this was extremely unjust criticism.

“A club is where you help each other,” he had protested.  “I pay my subs like everybody else.”

“Ah, yes.  So it was you,” the leader said, nodding knowingly to the rest of the team.   “The show manager mentioned that someone wearing our club shirt had tried to blag his way in.  He asked if the stewards had done the right thing.”

“Well, what did you tell him?”

“I said it was OK by us,” the leader replied with a smile.  “I don’t want them to think this club is full of con artists, scroungers and free-loaders.”

“But for heaven’s sake, it’s only a model railway exhibition.  What’s a few quid one way or the other?”

“The difference between a profit and a loss,” was the instant reply.  “What if every member of every exhibiting club wanted to get in for free?  Add to them all the families of privately owned layouts, together with their friends and neighbours and relatives and work-mates?”

“The hall would be packed, creating quite a buzz.”

“May be, but the organisers would be seriously out of pocket, wouldn’t they?  And the folk who’d paid would be jostled by folk who hadn’t.  Is that fair?”  We were distracted before we could hear the end of the story.

“I wonder what happened to that member?” our chairman asked.  We all agreed that he wouldn’t be welcome in our club, now would he?