This is why we are so lucky!!
All this JB-LowFi stuff is another reason for me to keep using silver jelly and cameras from the 1960s and 1970s and another reason I feel lucky to be a silver jelly film user - The one thing the sales being from JB-LowFi I have encountered knew about cameras was his sales commission (Joondalup Shopping Center, WA, about eighteen months ago)
But that's the thing. I usually don't go into a store looking for oddball stuff. For photo stuff, I'm just looking for the staples. Things lik D-76, Stop Bath, Fixer, HCA and PhotoFlo. My store usually stocks a selection of Ilford papers and at least one brand of film in 400 and 100 ISO. About three times per year, at the beginning of every school term, they'll stock up on supplies. Toward the end of the term, their supplies dwindle. These are things to be expected in any retail business. These are not the things that bother me.
Originally Posted by benjiboy
When I go shopping, I'll usually have a certain brand or product in mind. I often look for it on the internet, first, and see if any local stores carry that item or at least that brand or a similar product line. At this point, I believe it is reasonable to go to a store and ask for a specific product. At this point, I believe it is reasonable to complain when the store doesn't have what you want. How else can a store know what products the customers want to buy if they don't tell the staff what they are looking for and when they don't complain (with reasonable manners) when they don't have what people want?
On the other hand, if I go to the store and they have what I'm looking for, it is reasonalbe for the salesman to expect me to buy.
If the price isn't too expensive, compared to other stores and if you take internet pricing into account (product price + shipping/tax + reasonable retail markup) I, most often, buy on the spot. Why would any half-intelligent person spend the gas money, brave the traffic and generally withstand the hassle of going to the mall if he didn't intend to buy something?
The exception to that would be if you are already in the store and you ask an off-the-cuff question for a product.
If I was leaving the store and, on the way out, I asked, "Hey, do you have any Tri-X?" I wouldn't expect the guy to jump up and get it right now. If he answered, "We're all out but our order comes in next week," I'd be fine with that.
I guess the bottom line is that it's all about context. I understand that. However, the retail trade is all about selling customers the products they want to buy at the prices they can afford to pay. When a store consistently doesn't meet expectations, they won't have much business... at least not MY business!
Manufacturers and wholesalers have minimum order charges and if a retailer doesn't sell many of a particular product, perhaps half a dozen a year he is understandably reluctant to order when the minimum order of six dozen, I worked in the photographic retail trade for more than twenty years and know the realitys of stock control and ordering, in the current economic climate retailers are going to stock the products that turn over the quickest to produce the quickest profit, unsold items on the shelves gathering dust are dead money, and if I still was a photographic store manager although I personally have been devoted to analogue photography for a lifetime I wouldn't stock much photo chemistry or paper as a purely commercial decision based on lack of the general public s demand for it, because they think that digital photography is "the best thing since sliced bread" indeed most of them wouldn't know what to do with it if they had it, I'm afraid that the days when shops could have obscure esoteric items on the shelf for years and years in the hope that someone would buy it are over .
Originally Posted by Worker 11811
We have to accept that as far as retailing is concerned film photography these days is a minority interest, even my local professional dealers when I was there last week buying film only had a total of about a hundred 135 and 120 films total in stock, and when I asked them why, they said "very few of their pro customers use it".
Last edited by benjiboy; 01-30-2012 at 01:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Yes, I've worked in retail. I have worked in a toy store, a TV store, a furniture store and, recently, a photo studio. My family owned a restaurant when I was a kid, up until I went away to college. A store can't stock every product that any Tom, Dick or Harry walks in and asks for. I get it.
Again, I don't go into a store looking for off-the-wall stuff. When I do ask for something it is out of a reasonable expectation that they have the product. As I also said, if I do ask for something unusual it is with the understanding that the request is unusual and I don't think the store should be obliged to carry every little thing. However, even in frugal times, it is reasonable for a photography store to carry D-76, stop bath, fixer, HCA and PhotoFlo. Certainly, they'll run out of stock. Every store does, at least once in a while.
It is not these times when things bother me. What bothers me is when the salesperson doesn't know the product he has, doesn't spend the time to think about the products he has and doesn't take the time to find out. When he gives that stock answer, "I can order it..." is when I get peeved off.
That's where the thrust of this forum thread is headed. We're talking about stores that don't serve the customer's needs and act like it's the customer's fault that they aren't making money. That's the kind of behavior that is driving customers away from retail. Me included. When I do go to a retail store, I expect stores to serve customers' needs (all customers, not just me) and when I don't get that, I get upset. Rightfully so, I believe.
If retail is dying, it's not simply because of the customers. It's because the shops aren't responding to what people want.
Originally Posted by tomalophicon
Many are crooks, they spend an hour of a salesperson's time and then whisk off to the web to make their purchase..An attorney, doctor,accountant or mechanic wouldn't spend time with you for free...EC
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These former staples are the new oddball goods, I'm afraid.
Originally Posted by Worker 11811
Originally Posted by dpn
I have felt that more times than I care to remember Evan, and it is very demoralising for shop staff especially when the "customer" comes back after buying the product on-line to boast how much cheaper he got it, and asking you how to use it! , but as Karl Marx wrote "capitalism is savagery" and the bricks and mortar stores have had the whip hand for decades the general public are now just pressing their advantage by using the stores for demonstration purposes, and buying on-line until the stores all go bankrupt that is..
Originally Posted by eclarke
Last edited by benjiboy; 03-11-2012 at 11:47 AM. Click to view previous post history.
The stores are part of the problem. They want to carry a Canon or Nikon because it is popular. What they should do is look at what the true profit margin is, the stock turn over, and time spent selling and training staff to sell an item.
I acquired the assets of a local camera store when they became unprofitable. I was a customer and the owner became a friend of mine, and I hired the former owner, and set up shop in part of my very large office supply store.
I talked to Canon, Minolta, and Nikon, and frankly, could not see making any profit so sold only used or would buy new from one of the NY stores on special orders. The only real profit center was with walk in film processing.
Then, after several years, a big box store, Walgreen, move into town and Qualex (owned by Fuqua) open them up also. They apparently complained they we were hurting them and our account was canceled. I guess helping customers with the photo questions and problems was something the other store could not compete with, but they had a lot of stores so were a large account for Q.
Anyway, I did not see small local camera stores as a viable business. I kept selling per-owned camera and accessories. This was in the mid 80's. I did enjoy it and I made it profitable, but only because it essentially had no rent or only part time of use of some staff, not something that most camera stores could do.