I'm stunned

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Ailsa, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. Ailsa

    Ailsa Member

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    I've browsed this site for quite a while, but this is the first time I've actually posted. An experience I've just had during my lunch hour has galvanised me into action, and I'm still wide-eyed with disbelief.

    I was putting a couple of rolls of T400CN into my local chemist - they actually do a pretty good job on it, but that's by the by - when two people came up to another assistant at the counter and asked, 'What's the difference between these two films?' The assistant said, 'I think 200 is faster than 400, but I'll just check.' She spoke to a colleague, who agreed. At this point I thought I must be hearing things. But no, the assistant came back and said to the customers, 'Yes, 200 is faster, so it's better for action and that sort of thing.' I couldn't let this go by, so I leant over and said, 'Er, actually 400 is the faster film, so that's what you'd want if you were shooting action, or in low light.'

    The look the assistant gave me spoke volumes - I think she would have got me thrown out of the shop if she'd been able to! My intention wasn't to point out her lack of knowledge, or that of her colleague - after all, that's the fault of the company for not giving her basic training - but simply to help out two customers who wanted to get some half decent pictures and needed (accurate) advice. By the way, this chemist is a branch of a large, very well-known chain in the UK.

    I know this forum is for experienced photographers, but we all started somewhere, and we all made (and still make, in my case) mistakes on our journeys. Generally speaking, I prefer to be responsible for my own errors, rather than make them because of someone else. I feel very strongly that even those who shoot just a roll or two of film a year are as valid as the rest of us, and are entitled to the best pictures and advice they're able to get. If these customers had bought the ISO 200 film and expected good results from a challenging scene, they would have been sorely disappointed, and the resulting photographs would quite possibly have put them off bothering again. Thus the chemist would have lost out on future D&P revenue, the film manufacturer on sales, and so on. It's the kind of thing that just gets my blood boiling - and similar situations must occur every day. It really is about time employers gave their staff some thorough training in the basics. We'd end up with far more happy occasional snappers as a result.

    I'm not sure whether this is the correct forum to post this in, but it seemed as good a place as any!
     
  2. lee

    lee Member

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    I am always stunned at the gross incompetence of companies that are supposed to know the difference. Your experience is not un-typical which is sad. Thanks for sharing.

    lee\c
     
  3. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    hehe! I know that feeling... you hear a customer ask a question (that you know the answer too) and the sales assistant's eyes glaze over and says "I'll just ask someone" They walk over to a likewise clueless manager and come up with some junk just to sound like they know. A simple "sorry, we don't know" would be much better (and appreciated in the long run)

    Some decent basic training for the job by the company wouldn't go astray! Car Salesmen are a classic... (typically.. not all of course) They can get the brochure out to work out whether a car is front or rear wheel drive or how many cylinder engine it's got!
     
  4. Robert

    Robert Member

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    I was looking at a car in the showroom when the salesmen told me the car had a four cylinder engine. I had to ask why it had six plugs-))

    I think the best at camera shops is when you ask for something and they tell you they've never sold it and you point over thier shoulder at the box on the shelf. The local place keeps all the sheet film,bulk 35mm and 120 in the fridge. If I actually buy film from them 50% of the time I just point and mention the colour of the box.
     
  5. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I worked in a mini-lab once, and was shocked when I made a run to their warehouse. Sitting in the middle of the warehouse in the hot summer heat (and I mean hot), was their entire stock of professional slide film. I loaded up the film, took it back to the shop where it was then placed in the fridge!!! I suspect this goes on a lot...
     
  6. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    What really bugs me is when you are in a store that sells used camera gear and the salesperson is totally BS'ing the newbie photo buff about some piece of crap he or she is trying to sell them. [​IMG]
     
  7. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    Another funny issue is when the amatuer/beginner is arguing with a seasoned pro about something, without proof, then calls the pro an idiot because he tried correcting the beginner. I had a Pentax K1000 user with a Promaster lens telling me that "old, cheap" cameras like mine are useless and that "I should upgrade to something more modern". Hmm. So, my Hasselblad is obviously worse than his K1000.

    I told the guy that my camera wasn't that old, then I noticed they black electrical tape which was wound tightly around his Vivitar something flash. (Walmart special). Yes, it was even wound around the light-shutoff sensor for the auto-thyristor. I later noticed the guy shooting around the corner (he was doing some sort of "model" shoot) with his flash firing off at full power.

    I told they guy about they sensor and (in laymen's terms) how it worked and why it needed to be uncovered. They guy proceeded to lecture me about he is also an "electronics hobbyist" and that "I am definitely wrong". Hmm, I decided not to tell the guy that I'd been an electronics engineer for about 10 years now and I just walked off.

    Saw the guy two weeks later, and the tape was off the flash. He ran the opposite direction when he saw me coming towards him. I hate people who are afraid to acknowledge their mistakes!
     
  8. Mark in SD

    Mark in SD Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Mar 25 2003, 10:32 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> I had a Pentax K1000 user </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Sniff....I kind of liked my old K1000. Rugged as heck. Carried it for over 700 miles of backpacking in the Sierra Nevada.
     
  9. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    Mark,
    Not saying that they're bad cameras at all...just in this case, the user was not even worthy of a disposable... [​IMG]
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sometimes it's nice when people think your brand new MF camera is old - like when I was travelling in Africa. I felt everybody in Cairo wanted to look at my "old" camera - so I got plenty of photos. A "modern" 35mm would be familiar and uninteresting - except to the wrong people [​IMG]
     
  11. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ailsa @ Mar 25 2003, 06:02 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>I've browsed this site for quite a while, but this is the first time I've actually posted.

    The look the assistant gave me spoke volumes - I think she would have got me thrown out of the shop if she'd been able to!...

    I'm not sure whether this is the correct forum to post this in, but it seemed as good a place as any!

    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Great to see you posting!!

    That misinformation doesn't bother me as much as the times when I've overheard dishonest - and I mean *DISHONEST* information - deliberately intended to cheat a customer -tossed out over the counter.

    Once upon a time, in one of the medium-sized cities of Maine, I stopped at a small local camera shop - to "check the place out"... etc.
    The guy behind the counter was reviewing just delivered prints from 35mm, processed in house, with a young woman. I was close enough so that when I happened to glance over I could see them ... photographs of a small child ... the usual one-year old splashing in the tub ... "bearskin rug"...
    The woman was gushing over the images ... one could see that this was HER child ... and those photographs were indicators of the strong maternal bond.
    All those prints had a HEAVY cyan printing bias. No other color in them, really, except cyan.

    The conversation went something like this ...

    Mother: "Oh, he's so darling.."

    Clerk: "Yes. Too bad the color is so `off' ".

    M: "Yes it is. Do you think I've used the wrong film?"

    C: "Oh, no. That was Kodak!!"

    M: "Then why?"

    C: "It is the camera! If you had bought the (brand name classified - they were dealers) instead of that Nikon (Nikon!!! - ES) the colors would have been MUCH better. Nikons are known for `bad' color.."

    That was the swindle ... deliberately mis-print, and blame it on the camera.

    It would have been *so* satisfying to go over that counter and give that #$% clerk a knuckle sandwich.... All I could do is leave and wait for the distended blood vessels in my neck to return to normal.

    Given the choice between ignorant and dishonest .. I'll take "ignorance" every time.


    Anyway ....WELCOME to te "posting" bunch.
     
  12. harry

    harry Member

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    Don't let it get to you. The people and businesses that pull that sort of crap will eventually get theirs. I went to a chain camera store once looking to buy a Nikon FM2. The guy behind the counter told me that no one ever buys mechanical cameras because everyone knows that metal bodied mechanical cameras are so much more fragile than plastic electronic cameras. Yeah, I'm not kidding. I noticed on the way out that I was the only one there. Every time I've driven by the place since then, there's never been a customer in the store.
     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (harry @ Mar 26 2003, 02:49 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Don't let it get to you.&nbsp; </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Oh, I didn't. It tok some effort, but I made it.

    I probably could rant for hours over some of the gross incompetence I've encountered - like the time I visited "Local Big-Time Photo", dealers in photographic chemistry. This outfit had attracted some *very* knowledgeable professionals and *serious amateurs* as salesclerks. The great attraction was that sales people would get generous employee discounts on materials and equipment.

    One day, I visited "LBTP" to find most of those I knew - gone. Some genius had decided that they were paying the help too much ... so they decided to reduce the sales skills to about the level of the average burger flipper.

    I asked for color chemicals - specifically, Photocolor Bleach-Fix. Salesperson recovered from blank look, and retired to "The Back Room". Some time later he emerged with a bottle of Kodak Rapid Fixer. The conversation:

    Me: "Uh ... I can't use that. That is black and white chemistry. I'm working color - C41 color."

    Poor Uninformed Dolt: "Why can't you use it? It's good Kodak fixer."

    M: "Yes, well, it it probably very good for BLACK AND WHITE (with emphasis). I need COLOR chemistry - Photocolor Bleach-Fix."

    PUD: "I don't see what you've got against Kodak chemistry..."

    End of conversation. There is a point where you know anything more will be an exercise in futilty. I might as well have tried to communicate in Sanskrit.

    I remember they installed one of those Kodak Enlarging Machines - "Make Your Own Enlargements - NO Negative Required." They taped a sign on the front of the machine: "This is a Family Store - No Nudes Allowed". I paced off the distance from the machine to the photographic book rack. Fifteen feet (15') - Five meters - to the place where "Nude Photography for Dummies", "How to Talk a Girl Out of Her Clothes and Get Her In Front of the Camera" - " Nudes, Nudes, Nudes" were openly displayed. I think the machine died from cobweb strangulation.

    Shortly after, another great change: I guess they were frustrated by requests from those who were more aware of what was going on than they were ... there was a major shift to Digital and Point and Shoot 35mm.
     
  14. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  15. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    It would seem to me that the trend of unknowledgeable sales personell will continue and probably degenerate from here. When I moved here 15 years ago, we had four camera stores. All were fairly well versed in conventional photography.

    We now have two that sell used equipment at highly inflated prices (due to the fact that they haven't become aware of ebay yet...shame on me!!) and one that is foreign owned and exists primarily on the sales of Kodak Graphics Materials (which should stand them in good stead for at least another six months) and Epson printers ( on which they are in the beginning stages of the learning curve). Forget even asking any of them for sheet film of any size, emulsion, or of a recent manufactured date. They will "special order" it for you, if they can locate it in the catalog. (If they can remember where the hell the catalog is.)

    Oh well, ain't life grand!!!
     
  16. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Ok everyone, now for something positive. We have 3 major "pro" stores in Calgary and several that deal in used stuff. All but 1 is a great place with super staff. In most cases the sales people know what they are talking about and actually use the stuff. One store in particular "The Camera Store" has a number of experts in each area, such as digital cameras, printers, LF, MF etc. When you ask for that special dodad someone will know exactly what you are talking about and if it's not out front they go to the back and rummage around to find it. They also stock lots of LF film and the usual darkroom stuff you need.

    I do not go to the chain stores as it is a waste of my time, and theirs. The staff at the chain stores typically get paid minimum wage + spiffs. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. I don't fault them for not knowing much as they will probably only work there for a couple of months and then on to the next low paying job. The people that deal with these kinds of stores know as little as the salespeople so therefore it's the blind leading the blind.

    One store in town I refuse to go into as I feel they are crooks and one other that sells used stuff I will go into to look for specific stuff but will not get into any chit chat with the staff as I have seen them outright lie to rookies who know no better. These guys work on commission. The staff at The Camera Store on the other hand are on salary.

    Obviously The Camera Stores get the lionshare of my business. Even if it's a few bucks more it's worth it to me have deal with knowledgeable staff. In this era of Wal Mart mentality where everyone wants it for the lowest possible dollar you can't expect to get service along with cheap prices.

    We of all people should recognize that to produce a quality product takes time, money and effort. If you have a good store in town with knowledgeable people, support them. That's the only way they will be able to maintain their staff and inventory. Just because you can get it for a couple of bucks cheaper on eBay or some out of town store will not support the continued success of your local store. After awhile you will see the good staff let go and inventories reduced for the products you want. Lets face it, we account for probably only 10% of their sales, maybe less, but the overhead to keep us happy is considerable. Craftsmanship in product production (photographs, furniture etc) and superior salesmanship costs money. If you want it, pay for it.
     
  17. Robert

    Robert Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (EricR @ Mar 27 2003, 01:58 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Just because you can get it for a couple of bucks cheaper on eBay or some out of town store will not support the continued success of your local store.

    Lets face it, we account for probably only 10% of their sales, maybe less, but the overhead to keep us happy is considerable. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I agree with the first part 100%. The second part I'm not sure about. I'm an easy customer. I tend to walk in. Pickup what I need. Maybe ask a question. Pay. I'm also likely to come back. The general customers walk in. Ask a bunch of questions. Maybe buy. Likely never come back. Just look how many of the people here are willing to buy mail order. Shows we aren't the types that need too much hand holding. If I'm buying mail order either I can't get it easily from a local shop or the issue is much more then a couple of dollars.

    One thing that really bothers me is when sales staff tries to sell you what they have in stock. It's sleazy. To say the least.
     
  18. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robert @ Mar 27 2003, 03:25 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (EricR @ Mar 27 2003, 01:58 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Just because you can get it for a couple of bucks cheaper on eBay or some out of town store will not support the continued success of your local store. 

      Lets face it, we account for probably only 10% of their sales, maybe less, but the overhead to keep us happy is considerable. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I agree with the first part 100%. The second part I'm not sure about. I'm an easy customer. I tend to walk in. Pickup what I need. Maybe ask a question. Pay. I'm also likely to come back. The general customers walk in. Ask a bunch of questions. Maybe buy. Likely never come back. Just look how many of the people here are willing to buy mail order. Shows we aren't the types that need too much hand holding. If I'm buying mail order either I can't get it easily from a local shop or the issue is much more then a couple of dollars.

    One thing that really bothers me is when sales staff tries to sell you what they have in stock. It's sleazy. To say the least. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I agree with you in part Robert and I think we are going in the same direction. My favorite store never tries to "sell" me anything. They know I know what I am doing and if I ask for something and they don't have it they will tell me the best place to get it. No BS, no switching. I do appreciate that if I have a question they can answer it. I also appreciate that they keep a good selection of LF films and MF films in stock. They also keep a lot of darkroom stuff in stock as well. All that stuff I will buy from them as long as they are relatively competitive, and as I've said to keep these benefits I am willing to pay a bit more. When I want something I want it now, not a week later when it comes in the mail.

    Now when it comes to used camera equipment I will always go to them first and see what they have. On some things I have gotten some trememdous deals. On other things they are out to lunch. The blad lenses I just bought are a prime example. I was able to buy them on eBay for about 1/2 of what they would have cost at my favorite store. I show them the eBay listing and give them a chance to try and get close. It all depends on whether it's a consignment item or one that they took in on trade. If it's their's then it depends on how much they are into it for. Sometimes they can cut their margins just to keep me happy (which they will do since I am a long time customer). My Pentax sportmeter was a case in point. They essentially sold it to me for their cost.

    It's all about relationships. If they are willing to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with me and we can both treat each other with respect, then I'm willing to support it.
     
  19. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    A friend and I on our first trip to Orlando, Florida were looking for bargains in the photo shops around International Drive... ...this was before we realised they were all tourist traps!

    We entered one shop looking for a good deal on a speedlight. The salesman dismissed our enquiry by explaining that what we really wanted was an ultra-wideangle converter (no, I didn't get the relevance either!). He just happened to have some wonderful ones in stock at really marvellous prices.

    My friend and I weren't convinced, so the salesman started to wax lyrical about the amazing build quality and, to demonstrate the build quality, took one out of the box and slammed it down hard several times on the counter. "See, great build!"

    We explained at that point that we wouldn't be buying an ultra-wideangle converter from him or anything else for that matter. I think he seemed a little put out at our lack of enthusiasm but we were so busy leaving that it was difficult to tell!

    At another shop a salesman tried to tell my friend that an EOS 300 was exactly the same as an EOS 500. A quick look through the respective finders showed 3 focus points on one and 7 on the other...

    Ludicrous but true.
     
  20. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (FrankB @ Apr 28 2003, 11:01 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>We entered one shop looking for a good deal on a speedlight. The salesman dismissed our enquiry by explaining that what we really wanted was an ultra-wideangle converter ....

    Ludicrous but true.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Not too surprising ... though it should be.
    It's called "The Dumbing-down of America".
    There are those who figure "The less people know, the more they will spend". What really frosts my cookie is that, for the most part, they are right.
     
  21. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    There are a few brick and mortar stores I still frequent. The sales guys are enthusiasts and their hands smell like thiosulfate, just like mine do. I go there and spend some money now and then just to ensure they will be there tomorrow. Most of the time I find that my questions will not get answered by a person I can drive and see. I will have to ask questions at a place like this or others like it and then the "value add" is not there - the item has just become a commodity. I will buy it on-line because no one added value to it by helping me see if it was the right product for me. I still may not buy it from the lowest bidder though. I like stores I can trust. B&H never did me wrong and always made things right. Another store in NY took 4 months to fill an order and they are as big as B&H - So - pay where value is added is my motto - if a local camera store can help you find a product you really need help with, pay the premium. - Frank