The changing face of detecting

Graeme Unearthed
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For more years than I care to remember detecting was pretty much boxed off to myself and 2-3 friends, each week, every week travelling up and down the country in the quest for anything old, sometimes we came back empty handed, sometimes with choice coins and artefacts, either way it was all about the adventure for us, getting up early, coming back late, a little banter, a bite to eat halfway back and a good laugh, however the banter soon stopped whilst on the field as it was really serious stuff, concentration levels on maximum, we had to make every minute count as the clock was always ticking time wise, thats always the gamble when detecting so far from home for a day.
This scene was pretty much the same for 3 decades or more with the odd rally thrown in, Things soon changed when I opened up Unearthed, firstly as a part-time venture which soon became 24/7, the rise of detecting on social media really did open my eyes as we had no choice other than to open the business up for people to see, what became apparent from day one was the sheer amount of individuals coming into the hobby wanting immediate success, actually I will rephrase that, demanding immediate success, if this didnt happen then the Detector was either sold, slated on facebook/Forums/social media/You-tube or stuck under the bed never to see the light of day again, I often wondered why people didn't do what we all did, take the machine out into the fields and learn it from scratch, In the 1970,s-1980,s all we had was a paper pamphlet to read!
This has now sadly grown and grown and with me dealing with people each day every day its amazing how many people actually will not take the time to get used to their machine, One case study stands out in my mind, Last year a gent purchased a particular model after asking specific questions about what it potentially could find, all was well after I set it up for him, showed him the ropes on our test bed and he was more than happy, 2 weeks later I got a call from him playing holy hell over the phone "This detector you sold me is rubbish" Why is that sir?"I haven't found any gold yet" Well that could take some time I said, Some people actually never find any at all, some can take years, but hopefully, eventually you will walk over a piece of the yellow stuff....." Stuff that I want a refund, im not wasting my time for years to find some" I was shocked, but it doesn't end there, since then I have had at least a dozen more similar types of incidents, all with people not willing to give the hobby the time it deserves.
Now, after sitting back and thinking about this I wonder if social media is slightly to blame, Hear me out first.... People join a facebook group of maybe 10,000 members, in the height of the season desirable discoveries could be posted up on a regular basis which then gives people the impression that everybody finds these coins and objects, in reality its probably 1-2% of the membership, the rest is just the average run of the mill gear, the fact that the good stuff gets much more attention makes me think it gives the impression that anyone, anywhere can locate it, even days, weeks into the hobby, So I have now started to change my tune a little when talking to people who want to purchase a metal detector for the first time, Ive started almost drilling it into them that its a marathon and not a sprint and you must give the detector the time and effort to get used to it, and because of this I have actually turned people away from buying one, In life its much better to give the proper advice and guidance than grand dreams that will be shattered in a matter of hours! I wonder if others think the same or is it because the nature of the job I am in!?
Blackadder43
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I have been detecting for the last 40 years on and off
Admitted i took some long breaks during this time, when life got in the way
But
I have never found any Gold yet!

The reasons for this are simple for me
1) Me and my machine have never actually walked over any gold
2) If i have walked over any then my machine wasnt set up correctly to tell me its there, or i didnt interpret the signal well enough and dig it out.

You are right though, there does seem to be a sense of entitlement with some folk nowadays
I saw a real explosion in new detectorists after the Staff hoard came up.....That by the way was 11 years ago!!
Once it was released to the media, the forum i was on back then exploded with new detectorists, and is still exploding now all over the internet

You say you have turned people away rather than just sell them something to make profit
That is a fantastic and honest way to run a business, i respect that :thumbsup:
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DaveP
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Graeme,

I'm going to take a slightly different tack. In just about every walk of life there are the "want it today" lot. Whether it's losing pounds with the latest diet, making money on bitcoins, or whatever. But I see you as having an additional problem - you come over as a really nice bloke. I've spoken to you on the phone and emailed and you always give freely of your time and knowledge. You must have been asked the same questions a million times but you still treat everyone the same - and full marks to you. It's appreciated and valued. But, there will always be folk who abuse your good nature. And, the more that get in to this hobby, the more often it will happen.
I think you're right to tell them how it really is - if you would like the 20 buttons, bits or lead an foil from this afternoon's jaunt as an example just say - but I doubt they'll listen until you turn your advice in to hard facts. This is a bit of a bonkers example but you'll get the gist.

Show them a 1 acre field. That's about 70x70 yds.
Assume a full end to end swing of 2 yds.
That means you have to go up and down the field 35 times (70/2)
Assume a 12" coil. So 3 swings for every yard you move forwards. (70x3 = 210)
To cover the field properly will take 210x35 = 7,350 swings ( which in anybody's life is a bloody lot and will take time).
Then tell them the probability of there being ANY gold in the field at 12" or shallower is about the same as me finding a unicorn holding a winning lottery ticket at the end of the rainbow! Get them to sign that they have understood and sell them a GPZ 7000.

There are plenty of people who appreciate all you do, even is we don't say it enough, but when you are in the business of selling to a growing hobby in a "want it now' society, you are going to get more crap. It's an unfortunate fact of life. It's easy for me to say but I would just try to find additional ways to make the understand or, at least, show you've really told them what it's like.

Cheers,

Chris
P.s. Now can I have a free Nox :lol:
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Kenleyboy
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A very interesting post and despite our differing trades there are similarities and one being the attitude of some people and their expectations . There is a combination of factors here , you have social media and the many you tube channels and viewers especially those fresh to the hobby can be forgiven in thinking that what they are watching is one or a group of likeminded individuals all pulling up hammered coins etc on every trip . Not all you tubers are to blame because the stark reality of a days detecting is so very far removed from what the many channels would have you believe is reality compared to the actual facts , its hard work full of many disappointments and if you lack the patience to persevere then you may as well take up golf or something similar . On the side of the you tubers if they were to show footage of a typical days detecting with 99% rubbish then the viewing figures would drop through sheer boredom .
In my line of work there is a waiting list of up to two years and like you I have seen my way of approach now is rather than sell them the item and await the inexperienced moans and groans for whatever reason , it is far better to actually question why they want this product and what they expect and can expect to gain from a purchase . I tend not to find the "I want it now " and the "instant gratification squad " are the old school customers , this is the new breed just coming into the game and dipping a tentative toe within because its the "must have " product . A hard nosed businessman would say that this approach is not good business but for me it is , something expensive and hand made that takes two years to build from scratch only to have the recipient disappointed because they have no experience or understanding of the reality of the product . I think also across the board with any hobby and especially as I see it in metal detecting , peoples attitudes have changed , there is little or no patience and with that comes disappointment , all the gear and no idea , seen it in my game plenty of times and thats why you see top of the range gear for sale for many reasons than the truth , lack of patience and the lack of willingness to learn from the bottom up .
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Bors
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I too like Bruce have been detecting 40+ years and i`ve never found a Gold Coin in all that time . Its most certainly hasn`t been a case of not trying or even not having a machine capable of detecting a Gold coin , but I know I just ,in this instance its been not having the good fortune on my shoulder to achieve hitting it,and I most probably have walked by one buried near to me ,but I just didn`t go over one to find one. Ah! well ,one day maybe ? :D
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Oxgirl
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Graeme you are absolutely right! Great topic and superb points :thumbsup:

Interestingly I wrote something with a lot of the same points called ‘New to detecting, a reality check’ a few months ago in another place. It was written because I was shocked by a guy who had decided to sell his new, expensive machine a mere weeks after buying it. He was slagging it off without giving it a chance. Turns out it wasn’t the only machine he’d discarded in his short detecting career.

I know I spent weeks and weeks detecting without finding anything at all that was even recognisable :shock: I was beside myself with excitement when I eventually found my first coin - a toasted Georgian penny. By then I was absolutely hooked, despite the disappointing finds. I’d accepted it would take time and patience.

When I upgraded to the Deus the learning curve started again. Someone, sorry can’t remember who, told me it takes about 100 hours detecting time to know your machine well. Not that I’d be an expert then, but that I’d be really comfortable with it. A year after I got the Deus I was on a new permission one day and I just realised I was wholly content with my machine because I had spent the time to listen and learn. It’s a wonderful feeling where you stop wondering if you have it set up right and you just relax, swing slower and enjoy the confidence it brings. Then my find rate rocketed. It was helped by a great new permission, but it was the confidence thing in my machine that really did it.

I know I have little patience with most things, but with detecting I have bucket loads. No idea why really but it’s essential. Riches come in the excitement of the perfect buckle, a first of something on the bucket list, or even just a piece of local history you know the land owner will love. I wish more people joining our hobby came for that viewpoint though 8-)
Yes I really don’t like Roman coins, I’m not joking
Pete E
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I guess I am at the other end of the scale in that I only started detecting March 2019, so I guess I represent one of the beginners Grahame is talking about..

There has been talk of people wanting "instant success", and I guess I am guilty of that to a degree. I don't do face book at all, but reading s few MDing forums and similar YouTube channels and I see other people's successes and I confess I am a little jealous at times, or conversely get get disheartened by my own efforts..

Now before people slate me for this, I am not talking "success" in terms of finding gold, hoards or other high cash value targets, but rather finding anything pre 1700's on a reasonably regular basis. I would just like a permission that was reasonably productive in this manner..

At the moment I have land that tends to take a lot of hours detecting and several visits to find just one decent item, with most of the other stuff being tatt...I now realize that with certain limited exceptions, that sadly that this is likely to be the case with most of the land local to me..
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Kenleyboy
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Pete E wrote: Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:17 pm I guess I am at the other end of the scale in that I only started detecting March 2019, so I guess I represent one of the beginners Grahame is talking about..

There has been talk of people wanting "instant success", and I guess I am guilty of that to a degree. I don't do face book at all, but reading s few MDing forums and similar YouTube channels and I see other people's successes and I confess I am a little jealous at times, or conversely get get disheartened by my own efforts..

Now before people slate me for this, I am not talking "success" in terms of finding gold, hoards or other high cash value targets, but rather finding anything pre 1700's on a reasonably regular basis. I would just like a permission that was reasonably productive in this manner..

At the moment I have land that tends to take a lot of hours detecting and several visits to find just one decent item, with most of the other stuff being tatt...I now realize that with certain limited exceptions, that sadly that this is likely to be the case with most of the land local to me..
You have achieved one huge success and that is actually gaining a permission , I think that is a huge milestone for anyone coming into the hobby . Once that gate is opened up you have all the time in the world to search , learn and achieve . I can well remember going to my first metal detecting club meet and seeing all the amazing finds on display , it blew me away and also made me feel a little disappointed with my own scant efforts .I never thought that one day I too would be finding similar items but it took a few years . My first season on my permission had me chuffed to bits just finding buttons and a few scorched coins , at least I knew my machine was finding stuff and it was in there . It took me that first year to get to grips with the land and get myself accustomed to its layout . I could take you to the exact spot where I found my first hammered coin , the feeling of elation is incredible , I was walking on air but it took me two years to find one . Its a long haul and instant success isn't always the best option but it will come in time , in the meantime enjoy your permission it will reward you with the fruits of your labour all in good time .
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Easylife
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Regarding finds it stands to reason that there is a far greater chance of finding the more common ones and very much less chance of finding rare ones, so luck is a big factor. Generally (not site specific) the older the finds the less chance of finding them also. You can increase your luck by learning your detector and using it optimally regardless of the ground you are on. Anything can be anywhere and there are no set rules.
Quite a few of the public I meet while detecting seem to think that I must be purely searching for gold or buried treasure until I put them straight. I guess it is that type of people who are influenced to buy a detector after seeing media reports of valuable finds, only to realise the grimmer reality and don't wish to put in the time and effort required to get results.
I think Graeme is doing the right thing in explaining the reality first as when they come back he only has to say “Well I told you so!”. :thumbsup:
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figgis
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While the customer Graeme describes might be an extreme case, people like him have always been around but there do seem to be more of them these days and I think the point that social media carries some of the blame is a valid one. The internet and phone networks give instant access to everything, and whereas in the past the good finds were known to people only locally through clubs, now everybody has access to everybody else's finds across the planet. As mentioned above, that paints an entirely false picture because only the good stuff is posted up.

We live in a world of instant gratification and the amount of work needed to be put in lessens with each passing day. Going somewhere? Gone are the days when you'd spend ages with a road map planning a long journey;now you just type your destination and follow a little arrow. Hungry? Don't get of the chair - use your phone to choose, order and pay for some scran which someone will bring to you. There's an app for everything and if there was one that fed the baby it'd be a bestseller.

It's this backdrop, mixed with an increasing sense of entitlement and natural laziness, which gives rise to the likes of Graeme's customer. It seems that many people aren't afraid of hard work... provided someone else is doing it.
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Littleboot
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I think many of us found ourselves nodding vigorously at this thread. I too started this hobby back in the 70's after i found an advert in a magazine and immediately thought 'That's for me!!' I just had always been happiest wandering around finding things...beachcombing while other kids built sand castles, rambling miles for bilberries, mushrooms, raspberries, blackberries etc spending days at the local quarry looking for fossils and bits of quartz. I never expected to find gold....I actually just liked the idea of finding something. Needless to say I never found gold back then. It never dampened my enthusiasm....because I actually enjoyed what i was doing.

My dad used a term back then for people who want immediate results with no effort: It's all Instant Whip. That particular 'dessert' had become popular. Tasted of nothing but sugar and flavouring but the result came at once. Everyone started wanting things at once...no waiting. And that trend has got much worse. No wonder there are so many stressed, unhappy, depressed people about. They are focused on the getting and having and not on the doing and anticipating.
Anticipating, working for something patiently, seeing a plan come gradually together....those are the satisfying things. I have had so much pleasure from things that have been flippin hard work and gave me lasting satisfaction. Even the gravel drive me and Pete laid in the middle of cold wet muddy january....I look at now and feel happy and pleased. So many people simply miss that and wonder why they are always chasing rainbows.
Detecting is like another hobby of mine...consumer competitions. I won lots of prizes. But i entered lots of comps over a long time and put masses of effort into to it often for no reward other than the hopefulness and thrill of the chase. Lots of people started comping and gave it up after a few weeks...but not before whinging that they weren't winning and why weren't they winning, it wasn't fair etc etc etc :lol:
As for me...I detected for decades without finding anything of real significance.....most of my best finds (including being fortunate enough to find several hammered golds....have come in the last 10 years. If i hadn't stuck at it I would have missed out on them and never had the thrill of that.

I find that really committed detectorists are above all patient people. It isn't just reflected in their choice of this hobby and how they approach it...but how they approach other things. So many people who make and create, who are anglers etc It is a mindset.
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Bors
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What I find really anoying is when I read in a newspaper or hear on the TV that some little scrote who has just bought or had given him a cheap little second hand detector probably costing no more than £70 ,goes out and on their 1st or not many detecting jaunts later and hits a hoard of Gold coins . Now THAT REALLY HURTS as much as a kick in the testimonials !! When I think of the probable miles I`ve put into detecting and the many fruitless results given back in return , It really destroys your will to continue when you hear such things. :(
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Dave The Slave
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Definitely in the patience camp.
Detecting since late 70`s but mainly last 8 years.
Fishing in childhood, never caught much but always the chance.
Always rooting around looking for stuff in fields, woods.
Came to the opinion at least 20 years ago, that the general public are lazy and it is getting worse.
Drive into a car park, always guaranteed a space if you walk a little bit.
Same with beach parking, couple of roads from a car park and you can get free parking.
With detecting not found any Gold coins as yet, not bothered if I ever do. Silver coins stand at 5 with a couple of other Silver bits, would like to find some milled but have no interest in hammered.
Although they get a bad press sometimes after a poor session of unidentifiable rust, a 4 hole button is actually welcome. My button count is probably around 40, with only a couple of poor livery ones, plus a couple that have been recorded on the PAS site due to their scarecity.
What I have always tried to do is post the full details, total amount of items dug with photo, plus separate photo of what I call interesting bits, even though they are run of the mill to most people. Basically trying to show a newcomer perhaps interested in taking up the hobby that you don`t get the crown jewels with every signal or even after hours. The problem is we all like to see the good stuff but we also need to show what we went through to get that one or perhaps more interesting item. Last seasons inland stats;
Visits 19
Hours Detecting 67
Items dug 578
PAS recorded 1
Coins 5, oldest 1721 Halfpenny.
Not much you may think but I have learned a lot from items found.
In what was the wettest, windiest detecting season so far, only bonus was frozen ground on one occasion. Would I do that field again yes. Only covered part of it, maize stubble was a nightmare but somewhere is better than nowhere.
For me the hobby is History, researching the finds side of things, even everyday pre 1970`s items.
Good Luck everyone, :thumbsup:
Dave.
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Easylife
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Bors wrote: Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:07 am What I find really annoying is when I read in a newspaper or hear on the TV that some little scrote who has just bought or had given him a cheap little second hand detector probably costing no more than £70 ,goes out and on their 1st or not many detecting jaunts later and hits a hoard of Gold coins . Now THAT REALLY HURTS as much as a kick in the testimonials !! When I think of the probable miles I`ve put into detecting and the many fruitless results given back in return , It really destroys your will to continue when you hear such things. :(
Not mine at all, I just think how lucky they were at those odds. Though what a come down it will be after that for them. If I found all of my bucket listers to start with then I'd have no future goals to aspire to. I enjoy the thrill of the chase but anyone in it for the money may not? :Thinking:
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figgis
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What Easy said :thumbsup:

If someone is spawny enough to find true treasure within five minutes of turning on the Hokeycokey2000 they got in a christmas cracker then good on them. The odds of that happening are of course miniscule but the fact that it has happened is all some people can see. What is clear is that the effort they're not willing to put in to learn their machine is the very thing which will vastly improve the odds of them achieving their goal.
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