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!
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.
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!
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.
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...
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. http://apug.org/forum/html/emoticons/mad.gif
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!
</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.
Not saying that they're bad cameras at all...just in this case, the user was not even worthy of a disposable... http://apug.org/forum/html/emoticons/smile.gif
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 http://apug.org/forum/html/emoticons/smile.gif