Interesting that you mention GW, there is a bit of a dark side to them...
Originally Posted by batwister
Essentially they are downright ruthless. Their prices are very high for what you get and their staff are pushed very hard indeed. There's a high turnover rate as people simply can't cope with the way the place works. A friend of mine managed one of their stores and I suspect it got to the stage where he was sick of the sight of model soldiers (even though he'd been a keen wargamer for years).
Sample story: They're obsessed with average transaction value. So when my friend managed to shift £120 worth of kits to a customer he felt pretty good. Unfortunately said customer came back 5mins later as they'd forgotten to buy a £2 bottle of paint. Having just sold them a hefty pile of stuff he naturally couldn't talk them into anything else, but his ATV for the day took a hammering as a result.
I suspect Jessops obsession with convincing people to dump film and buy buy buy bit them in the end. See, if you look at mobile phones you notice something. First they were for Yuppies as a poseur toy. Next tradesmen started buying them. Now the phone industry was a bit stuck as everyone who could afford one had one. So some bright spark invented pay as you go phones and suddenly there was a whole new market of teenagers. When every teenager had one, cameras and web access were added to make them buy a new one. Smart phones were another genius move in that people are now forced to have a new phone regularly in order to have the popular apps.
Translating this into cameras: People bought a digicompact. They didn't see any need to replace it as it didn't wear out and the images looked absolutely fine on the computer or printed up to A4 size. Soon camera phones were "good enough" for them and Jessops didn't see any further sales as a result. When they were selling film compacts to the same people they'd have a steady income from sales of film, processing, reprints, etc. None of which you need for digital. You make one sale at the beginning and that's it.
As for trendy plonker on radio talking about how only "geeks" buy proper cameras now, yes, that's how we're able to get images which make people say "wow". It's called accurate light metering and it's something your phone can't do!