Sunday, 16 February 2014
Stealing from a Wargames Show?
On the drive up to the York Wargames Show a few weeks back, myself and a couple of friends discussed the occasional thefts from stallholders that take place now and again. This was mainly prompted by the disturbing report that one of our favourite regular vendors Dave Thomas had lost some Warlord ECW Battalia boxes to an outbreak of thievery at a previous event last year. I was shocked not only for the fact that it was a bit brazen to just grab and walk off with a fairly large amount of stuff like that, but also that anyone (who no doubt enjoys Wargaming) would steal from companies or individuals that are such an essential part of ones own hobby. Let's face it, robbery hardly contributes to the continuation of the hobby does it? Rather it aids its decline. My friend Simon also pointed out how weird it must be for these individuals to cast an eye across their collections and say to themselves "I nicked most of this". When we arrived at the show it was interesting to see that Dave T had quite reasonably taken the step of placing a CCTV camera at the back of his stall.
Sociologists and psychologists have a plethora of reasons for why people steal, but one thing we can be sure about is that lifting a load of model soldiers from a Wargames Show doesn't fall into the category of "stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving family". More likely it's a case of petty selfishness and the concept of getting something for nothing. If someone wants to save money there's always a bargain on the Bring 'n' Buy stalls or EBay for god's sake.
Far from being 'faceless corporations' (and this may come as a surprise) but where Wargames Shows are concerned many of the traders are not making a fortune from what they do - in fact many of them have full or part time jobs outside of it, and the Wargaming business is quite often something they do as an extension of the passion they have for the hobby. If you inhabit the kind of moral grey area that makes it ok to rob from their business, then you may not appreciate that it's pretty much the same as putting your hand in someone's jacket and lifting their wallet or breaking into someone's house.
I know that this activity is likely down to a small percentage of unscrupulous people and that the majority of folks help to make Wargaming the kind of fun and inclusive community that it's meant to be.