the busy bender

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by matthew, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. matthew

    matthew Member

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    Just thought I would share....

    > > ----- Original Message -----
    > > From: Matthew
    > > To: mrbender@benderphoto.com
    > > Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2004 7:25 AM
    > > Subject: back parts
    > >
    > >
    > > I am in need of a ground glass frame for a spring back. I was
    > > wondering
    > > if you sell just the wood for the frame that holds the GG. And if so,
    > > are these pieces pre-cut to accept the glass.

    > On Wed, 4 Aug 2004 08:35:01 -0700, "Jay Bender" <jay@jaybender.com>
    > said:
    > > Yes we sell the parts.... no, they are not pre-cut to accept the glass.
    > > Our ground glass frame is an assembly which is made of four outer pieces,
    > > 4 tiny parts glued to these pieces which the glass rests upon, and two
    > > more parts that hold the glass in from the other side. I assume from
    > > your question that you do not own a Bender camera. Are you adapting this
    > > to some other camera? It may be the wrong size for your camera, and we
    > > do not do custom work for other camera brands. Thank you,
    > > Jay Bender
    > > Bender Photographic, Inc.
    > > http://www.benderphoto.com

    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: Matthew
    > To: Jay Bender
    > Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 2004 11:08 AM
    > Subject: Re: back parts
    >
    >
    > Thanks for the info. (and no, I don't have one of your cameras) I
    > realize you don't do custom stuff, but I am making a custom 4x5 back
    > and
    > thought I would ask about yours instead of trying to adapt something
    > off
    > ebay. So, basically yours is a straight frame of wood and the glass is
    > held by these four tiny pieces. Hmmm...can I ask how this design holds
    > up in the field? What is the cost for the pieces of this assembly?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > Matthew

    On Wed, 4 Aug 2004 11:41:39 -0700, "Jay Bender" <jay@jaybender.com>
    said:
    > Hi Matthew,
    > I don't want this to sound rude. It may, but please accept my apology
    > for this in advance. I am extremely busy and have very little time
    > for emailing as I get an awful lot of it from my base of camera owners
    > and those who are considering a camera purchase. What it boils down
    > to is that I just don't have time for design consultation. You are
    > building your own. That's great. Go for it. I wish you well. My
    > spare parts are offered as replacement parts to Bender camera owners.
    > You sound plenty smart and probably have the skills you need to make
    > what you are trying to make. You don't need me. Again, I apologize
    > if I'm seeming rude..... it is just a necessity as I don't have time
    > to continue our conversation for the potential 50 cents I might make
    > here. Sorry to be so blunt, but life is short. Thanks for
    > understanding.
    > Jay

    Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 3:36 PM
    From: "Matthew
    To: "Jay Bender" <jay@jaybender.com>
    Subject: Re: back parts


    Life is too short for people too worried about money to answer a simple
    question. I was not asking for your design consultation, nor would I
    want it. I just wanted to know how the thing I wanted to buy held up in
    the field and how much it would be. Please get over yourself Mr.
    Bender. I will waste no more of your precious time. Don't bother to
    reply.


    Matthew
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Sorry Matthew, but I have to side with Bender on this one. If I spent all my time with the tire kickers and/or people trying to pump me for my knowledge so they can do it themselves I wouldn't make a cent. In todays world of thin margins you have to do a lot of turnover to keep the doors open. In the old days when you made decent margin you could take the time to help someone like yourself out. Unfortunately most of us have to put food on the table.

    You can thank the Walmart mentality for the current state of affairs. Everyone wants everything for next to nothing and don't want to pay for knowledge and expertise. It all boils down to the lowest dollar gets the sale. To bad really because it doesn't foster an attitude of sharing or rewarding skill and expertise.

    I think Bender was very courteous, unfortunately you didn't follow his lead.

    Eric
     
  3. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Matthew, your experience sounds like a real bender!

    I have a 5x7 Deardorff. When I bought my new 8x10 Wehman View Camera I told Bruce Wehman I wanted a 5x7 back for it to maintain my 5x7 capability. Bruce's response was "find a 5x7 spring back on eBay and I'll mount it for you. I found one for $35.00 and Bruce mounted it (and he refurbished and refinished it). Beautiful!

    I kept the Dorff anyway, of course.

    Point is, if you want photos and measurements of either of my 5x7 spring backs of their GG holder frames, just ask.
     
  4. ElrodCod

    ElrodCod Member

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    I'll side with Matthew on this one. Mr. Bender used more cyber ink in his (un)rude reply than he would have if he simply answered Matthew's questions without the bull$hit.
     
  5. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    I'll side with Mr. Bender on this one. As a self employed cabinet maker, I did not have time to waste time "chatting" where I would not get paid. As it is now, I have more time as I have a "real" job which allows me to write these silly posts. Mr. Bender's candor is refreshing in this P.C. world.

    Matthew, buy the tools, learn to use them, buy a book on camera design, search the web on camera design. Improvise! There are many good sites you will find on design with practical drawings.
     
  6. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    I knew a lady who ran her own landscaping business. I once asked her a simple question about a source for some plants. She was very swift in elaborating fully that it was her business in which she made money to survive. Her profits were not great. If she gave out the information to everyone who asked, she would ultimately lose business. then she apologized for being so rude, but had over the years lost business from people she knew to be friends, who turned around and gave out the information they had received from her to others who would have purchsed her services.

    Was that rude? On the surface it appears so. On the other side, she was asingle mother with 4 children from ages 4 to 9. She barely made ends meet. She worked long hours to support her family. She was weary from the struggle and had begun to be short when it came to question such as mine.

    I can't fault her or any other person in the BUSINESS of making a living who makes the decision to not give away a propietary information on their product, or services. To ask in the first place is rude.
     
  7. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Free info doesn't put food on the table. I agree with Eric, Aggie, etc.

    It reminds me of when I used to do wedding photography and some guy asked me if he could plug into my lights while I was doing family shots. There I was trying to make my living and having to do 2 hours of work in 20 minutes and this guy not only wants to copy my pose, but also use my lighting. Basically trying to make copy negatives of my work so he wouldn't have to pay for a "Real print".

    You've got to realize that people are in business to make a living, not to answer questions for people who have no intention of being customers.
     
  8. matthew

    matthew Member

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    I am not really asking anyone to take sides. I just wanted to share my experience. I asked simple and staright foward question that didn't even require a complete sentence for an answer. He answers questions that I didn't ask and nicely tells me that I am waisting his time.

     
  9. matthew

    matthew Member

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    ...and I had every intention of buying stuff from him. I don't set his profit margins.

     
  10. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Couple of years ago I had a cracked rail clamp on a Bender. I naively called Jay Bender on a late saturday afternoon while he was driving down a freeway. He pulled off the road and took my order. I received the parts the following week. He is one of the good guys in the photographers' support industries.
     
  11. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

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    Though by posting your experience this way, in effect, is a subtle way of soliciting opinions, which inevitably will lead to whether we agree or disagree with you/Bender.
     
  12. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    Emails can be so impersonal at times (nix that, very often!). His honesty, perhaps sounding brutal, moreso because of the medium chosen to display it, is nevertheless refreshing in the LF industry.
     
  13. bmac

    bmac Member

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    You missed my point, Bender is in the camera kit business, not the sell you the most difficult piece to manufacture do you can build your own camera based on his design business. Would you have been upset if he would have said the back will cost you the same price as the entire kit?
     
  14. matthew

    matthew Member

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    nope
     
  15. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    honestly I think its pretty trivial and somewhat unprofessional that you posted the email correspondence between the two of you.

    Mr. Bender is a professional and courteous individual who was politely and courteously watching his a$$. I dont blame him.
     
  16. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I am sure all of us that are self employed have had the experience where you spend all kinds of time with someone, map everything out for them, give them documentation etc. and then have them take all your expertise down to some bottom feeder that will beat your price by a few bucks just to get the sale. Actually in this case there are two bottom feeders, the customer and the eventual seller.

    In my case it has cost me thousands of dollars to gain the expertise I have and I'm not giving it away. I learned the hard way, trying to be a nice guy, but unfortunately there are always unethical people out there that spoil it for others. Fortunately I learn very quickly. If someone comes in and wants a bunch of free advise they put up a non-refundable deposit that goes against the order. That way I sort out the tire kickers real quick and get something for my time if they do evertually go elsewhere. If they book with me then the deposit is put against the final bill so they aren't out anything. Repeat customers generally do not get charged the up-front deposit.

    90 percent of our business comes by word of mouth and we have a very large retention figure so I guess we are doing something right. Mind you we are not the cheapest guys in town either. Our customers have recognized that what we have to offer is worth something. The extra mile we go doesn't come for free, but they sure are glad to get our help when they really need it.

    Once people get past this bottom line mentality and recognize that expertise is worth something then maybe we will get back to the days when shop owners would spend the extra time with you and give some free advice.

    But these days it's "money talks and bull$hit walks".
     
  17. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I remember when I was laid off I went to work at a friend's camera shop. Many people would come in asking questions about cameras, asking to see them and handle them, only to leave the store and go buy it at B&H or some other mail order store. Of course the same people would come back to the store so we could help them figure out what they were doing wrong or if there was a problem. One woman even had the audacity to tell me "can you show me that camera I want to buy at B&H".....The owner happened to be at the store at that time, he politely but firmly told her to please leave the store, that her business was not wanted.

    I see nothing wrong with what Jay did, he was probably weighing loosing one potential part customer in exchange for being able to take care of his real customers. The Bender company has always been known for good customer service and response to their customers.
     
  18. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Boy I'm sorry Matthew but, I am so far on to Jay's side of this that it is irksome to me that the correspondence was posted. The man is not a consultant or part supplier, but a designer and seller of cameras.

    Think how your questions must have sounded to him:
    Q:"Will you tell me how your widget is made so that I can incorporate it into something that will deprive you an income? Is your widget well made and will it hold up in the field?"
    A:"No, my widgets suck, but please ask me any question you like -- its free and I want to go out of business."​
     
  19. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    ... not to mention that it's considered rather rude to post "private" email without the consent of the other party involved.
     
  20. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    "Hey Fry, bite my shiny metal ass!"

    Oops! wrong Bender...
     
  21. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Love It!