"I always find it surprising that places like B&H have such a huge World Wide online business, but If I was in Down Town New York (correct me if I am wrong), I could just as easily walk into their showrooms. And yes, they do online/mail order properly (I have goods in my hands quicker from them, then when ordering from Melbourne!)"

I was in B&H's big bricks and mortar place in 2007, and it was a little mind blowing. The main floor is new gear; the second floor is used gear.

Used is not all on the floor; a lot has to be asked for and brought to the counter from shelves elsewhere on the second floor. It is well catalogued. I was looking for a Mamiya TLR wide angle lens set; they had I think something like 9 to pick from. I picked one of the 65mm pairs of the computer screen at a price point I liked, and it was fished out for me to hand inspect. I liked it. It went into a basket, and I got a claim ticket.

Then I went to the main floor to buy filters and a few other things. I lined up in a something like SLR's and accessories queue. The attandant at the head of the queue directed me to the first sales associate for the products I was intersted in when one of them came free.

We looked at what I wanted in the print catalog, and clarified on the computer exactly what the options were. We did that for a number of things. He said something like 'that will be a moment'. Within less than 2 minutes all of the things I had ordered to look at- glass filters, gelatine filters, adapter rings, front and rear lens filter stack covers, a cable release, a roll of cinefoill, swatch book etc arrived on a conveyor of some sort from the basement to a location behind him. I looked the goods over, and agreed I wanted them all. I got a claim ticket, and the basket was placed on an overehad conveyor system that transferred them to an area behind where you queued for cashiers.

I then went to the darkroom area. Here most of the stuff I wanted was sitting as open stock on the shelves or in commercial fridges. I even found a gallon of glacial acetic acid; I bought it on impulse! (It was far cheaper than having to fiddle with vinegar, and I also use it in home canning to avoid long boil down times as well now). These go shipped to the front.

At the cashier, you present all of your claim tags, they ring you up, and you get another claim tag, showing paid. You then queue to pick up the stuf you paid for, and retreive the bag you came in with from the bag storage desk.

The converyor has to be seen to be believed.