It's one thing to tell your potential customers that your props are in high demand and that there is a long wait time. I myself have waited months to get props, and I know people who have waited over a year.
It's another thing entirely when you tell people they will have their goods in a couple of weeks and then give every possible excuse as to why they have not shipped, or you stop communicating altogether.
I know that everyone here has a real job, some have more than one. There is such a thing as respect however. As a consumer of these props I respect the prop maker's time and artistry. I also feel that they should be compensated for their efforts - heck I have paid several hundred to over $1,000 for helmets I have bought.
The flip side is that the artists should respect and honor the time and money of the people they are selling to. It's not to say that they shouldn't take 6 months or more to build and deliver a part. Only that they should act in an honorable manner and treat others as they would like to be treated themselves and let the buyer know that it will be 6 months. I understand that they want to take money when they can, but it becomes an issue if they do so with a lack of integrity, taking the money and crossing their fingers behind their backs, knowing that they cannot deliver on what they have promised.
I have been in the hobby for a couple of years, and honestly I have had nothing but good experiences, but I have been lucky. I am on several other boards where people have parted with their hard earned cash and waited over a year to get what was "in hand and ready to ship tomorrow".
Okay, let's say I fix up used cars and sell them in my spare time. It's just a hobby, not my living. You notice in an ad (or someone tells you) that I might have a Volkswagen bug for sale and you want to buy it for a trip that you're taking with your new girlfriend. "Great" I say, "I just have to throw a carburetor on it and you'll be good to go for the weekend." But dang, I get tied up with some stuff at the office. Sorry, no weekend trip for you. "No problem" you say, "will I at least have it for the wedding I want to attend in Carmel next month?" "Heck, that's easy" I say - until a few days before the wedding when you can't get in touch with me and I am not returning your phone calls, angry emails, or the letters with anthrax that you're now sending my way.
Listen, I am not knocking Ruffkin here. I honestly don't know what is going on in Chuck's life. We all have our problems, and I have seen more hardship in the prop circles than anywhere else for some weird reason - heck, is it something we did? My comment is a generalization on a pretty small sector of the prop community that seems to feel that they have a lack of responsibility to deliver on promises that they have made. It's not that they even have to communicate with each individual person, they can usually just make a general post to let people know what's going on - 5 minutes of their time max. This is about trust - on these boards your word is your bond. In my brief two years of this I have seen several well known prop makers go down this way and eventually all left the hobby because of it.
Anyway, sorry about the rant. In my work I often find that the biggest problem in negotiations and conflict issues is a basic lack of communication. In whatever I do I always try to under promise and over deliver. I see way too much of the opposite in life. That's why I so respect most of the prop makers here on TDH who bend over backwards to make sure they deliver what they promised, when they promised it - or at least let us know if there is a problem.
Okay, stepping off my soap box now... sorry if I stepped on any toes along the way.