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Author Topic: Many brick & mortar photo shops closing. Is this happening around the globe?  (Read 8164 times)

John Koerner

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The first time you described it, you sounded like you were just taking advantage of the policy. This time you sound like you are using the policy in place of being able to test it in the store, very different.

No, I was seriously wanting a field lens.

I suppose my error was to say, "I don't know why anyone would use a lens rental place."
If I "only want a lens, temporarily" then renting (borrowing) is what a lens rental place is for.

However, I sincerely want to purchase a lens, and I believe Lens X was the lens I wanted (after reading reviews, etc.), so I didn't need any lens rental facility. I bought, with confidence, that I would either like the lens I get from B&H, or I could safely return it for a full refund/exchange.

I wound up "biting the bullet," and buying the most expensive lens of the 3 I was considering.



Mind you, some companies encourage this exact behavior, as a happy customer is a repeat customer (generally).

Exactly right.

It is precisely because of this level of service that I have bought exclusively from B&H (except for RRS products) for 8 years now.

Jack
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NancyP

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Lens and other equipment rentals are for situations where one needs a specialty lens for a specific job or for trying out lenses and cameras in the field before committing to buy. Sometime I am going to rent some Big Whites one by one to see if I can manage them for birding, the Sigma 180 macro, and a tilt-shift (24mm), to see if TS helps in landscapes and urbanscapes. The TS-E 24 version 1 I can get locally for a day at 35 bucks, a reasonable price for learning something about TS and for a day of fun. The other two categories.... well, I am pumping iron in anticipation.  ;) My heaviest lenses are 1.2 kg, I can hand hold these fine. 3 or 4 kg? May be a different story.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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I just went through ordering, receiving, using, and ultimately returning 2 of 3 $2000+ lenses...

This sounded like the practice of some people to order 3 copies of the same lens, test them to find the best, and return the other two. Ethical? I do not  know. But I do know that when I order a new lens or camera, I expect a virgin new, untouched. Otherwise I'd buy used.

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Since I have a degree in the subject (Philosophy), I feel I am more qualified than you to use and discuss the term...

I'll pretend I did not see that.

synn

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This sounded like the practice of some people to order 3 copies of the same lens, test them to find the best, and return the other two. Ethical? I do not  know. But I do know that when I order a new lens or camera, I expect a virgin new, untouched. Otherwise I'd buy used.

These people make me laugh.

I have never bought a "Bad copy" of a lens, ever. That includes 25 year old MF lenses I buy off Fleabay.
The lack of knowledge on how to do AF microadjust and bad technique in general leads to a lot of "Bad copy" reports, IMO.
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John Koerner

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This sounded like the practice of some people to order 3 copies of the same lens, test them to find the best, and return the other two.

Then your ears are bad. (Or your interpretation of what was written :) )

My purchases were nothing like this.



Ethical? I do not  know.

I would call your example unethical (or "shady") on the part of the buyer.

The trigger of legitimacy versus fraud is intent.

A buyer of 3 of the same lenses, who intends to send 2 back, is fully-aware that 2 of 3 transactions are not legitimate purchase efforts.

I did no such thing. I made a legitimate purchase effort, was not satisfied, and returned the lens in accordance with the intent of B&H's return policy.

I selected another lens, different brand, same range, in another legitimate purchase effort, was again not fully-satisfied, and returned that lens as well.

I then purchased a 3rd lens, again totally different but same range (which was more expensive than the other 2 put together).

I kept the last and most expensive lens, because it performs beyond (not below) my expectations, and I am 100% satisified with it.
(The truth is, I would have preferred to spend less, wasted less time/effort, and have kept my first choice; but that's not the way it worked out.)

Therefore, the difference in intent in the two examples is night and day.



But I do know that when I order a new lens or camera, I expect a virgin new, untouched. Otherwise I'd buy used.

Then your argument should be with B&H's allowance of a return policy, not on the return decisions I made in exercising my right to use that policy in exactly the manner in which it was intended.

Jack

PS: For that matter, it could also be argued that, if B&H allows people to "Buy 3, send back 2," then even that purchaser is within his rights. So, even here, your argument would have to be with B&H's policy (or with whatever salesman is allowing people to "bend" B&H's honorable policy into something not intended) by allowing such antics.
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John Koerner

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I'll pretend I did not see that.

Lol :D

Shall I bait you even more by letting you know I have been an insurance claims & fraud investigator since 1988, and am "pretty well-schooled" on the differences between "legitimate" and "fraudulent" (ethical vs. unethical) ;D

Again, along with intent to defraud, the other trigger is a misrepresentation.

If I know I am "buying" a lens, with the intent to return it for a full refund ... after I get back home from my vacation ... then I am guilty of a fraudulent purchase.

I have intentionally defrauded the vendor by a misrepresentation.
My "purchase" was in truth an attempt to "borrow for free," with the intent to get my money back.

By contrast, if I legitimately want to own "Lens X," and I buy it, but then (after testing it) decide that it does not meet my expectations, in no way am I committing any intent to defraud (nor am I misrepresenting a thing) by returning it to the vendor with "does not meet my expectations" checked-off as my reason. (Especially if I send the vendor twice as much money, for a better lens, with my intent being to keep the lens.)

The two cases are not even remotely similar.

Jack

PS: Fire away, lol
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ErikKaffehr

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Hi,

Just as a general comment, I would suggest that photoprocessing was a major source of income for many "brick and mortar" photoshops. The other is that it is convenient to buy trough mail order.

Mail order stores have some advantages, one is that you can order almost anything. The smaller store has only a limited range of products. Another advantage with mail order is that the stuff they ship is new, never been packed up. Finally, mail order stores don't talk you into stuff they happen to have on their shelfs.

Mail order firms need to have a decent return policy, it is part of the business.

Now, there is something called sample variation. It is obviously nice if you can cherry pick, but that just makes someone else to buy the lemons.

Renting a lens from Lensrentals obviously makes some sense, they are testing all they lenses, so the risk of getting a real lemon is much reduced and I think it is possible to buy the lens you have on rental. As it happens, I live in Europe, so Lensrentals is not available to me.

The way I do things is:

  • Consider my needs
  • Read all available test for relevant equipment
  • Choose the one that is best match for needs and wallet
  • Order from one of my two favourite mail order shops
  • Test troughly on arrival

Has worked for me so far.

Best regards
Erik

« Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 01:25:52 am by ErikKaffehr »
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adriantyler

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i am no philosophy student, but nor do i believe that one can "philosophise" by heating ones head up with a few books.

however, the broader implications of this subject do seem not only related to philosophy but also to morals, personal integrity and, as suggested, ethics.

unless you live on a desert island, you probably are part of a larger community of fellow humans, if you are in trouble and need help, chances are a neighbour would offer help, or if you see someone who is in distress it is an intrinsic human instinct to offer help.

so if you are ok with having all the local jobs being done in (so called) third world countries by people who are in slave like conditions, or the fact that all your local stores no longer serve your community but are part of an automated "box shifting" business designed to steam-line profits for a very few, then good for you. but i would hesitate to call myself someone who has spent a lot of time "philosophising" if that was the case.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 02:18:32 am by adriantyler »
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Otto Phocus

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In my opinion, B&H Photo as such an impeccable level of service (immediate shipping, free shipping, no-charge return policy w/in 30 days, in unblemished), that I don't know why anyone would even bother with the added/unnecessary expense of "renting" a lens from a lens rental place either.
Jack

I am not sure I understand what you are writing here.  Are you advocating that instead of renting a lens that one buys a lens, uses it for the event, and then returns the lens to the retailer for a refund? 

Is that what you are advocating?
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dwswager

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so if you are ok with having all the local jobs being done in (so called) third world countries by people who are in slave like conditions, or the fact that all your local stores no longer serve your community but are part of an automated "box shifting" business designed to steam-line profits for a very few, then good for you. but i would hesitate to call myself someone who has spent a lot of time "philosophising" if that was the case.

First, let me say that I agree with John Koerner.  Buying 3 different lenses simultaneously and keeping the one you like the best or buying 3 of the same lens and keeping only the best performer is IMO unethical.  While some people may not like what John did because we know there are negative implications for others (higher prices, possibly getting a "used" lens), he merely took advantage of the return policy of the vendor.  Had he not intended to make a purchase or had he returned the 3rd and rebought one of the other 2 it would have been unethical.

As to Quoted text, I was good till this paragraph.  The world SLAVE (derived from Slavic because they were slaves to just about everyone at some point), has a specific connotation.  No voluntary employee works in SLAVE like conditions.  They may work in very poor conditions, but they have the choice not to do that job.  Slaves do not.  This is always why there is no such thing as an UNDERPAID worker.  A price is offered for the labor and the employee either accepts or rejects it.  Slaves don't have that option.  While we all wish every person could earn to a certain standard of living, some labor is just not worth that much to the employer.

Finally, those of us in the 1st world need to be very careful.  While a job making some paltry amount would not be what we would choose, it may in fact be the absolute best alternative available to someone in the 3rd world.
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dwswager

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I am not sure I understand what you are writing here.  Are you advocating that instead of renting a lens that one buys a lens, uses it for the event, and then returns the lens to the retailer for a refund? 

Is that what you are advocating?

No, I believe it has been clear John was talking about purchase decisions only.  Of course there are reasons to rent a lens when one doesn't want to actually own it.
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adriantyler

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As to Quoted text, I was good till this paragraph.  The world SLAVE (derived from Slavic because they were slaves to just about everyone at some point), has a specific connotation.  No voluntary employee works in SLAVE like conditions.  They may work in very poor conditions, but they have the choice not to do that job.  Slaves do not.  This is always why there is no such thing as an UNDERPAID worker.  A price is offered for the labor and the employee either accepts or rejects it.  Slaves don't have that option.  While we all wish every person could earn to a certain standard of living, some labor is just not worth that much to the employer.

agreed, let's change "slave" to "unacceptably exploited" but i hope you get my point about the ethical aspect of this thread running a little deeper than returning 3 lenses, the original poster is commenting on a GLOBAL phenomenon.  how you justify this in your mind is your own matter.
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Dshelly

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In Los Angeles, only Samy's Camera is left standing. Calumet and Canoga Camera shut down a couple years ago. Most of the mom and pop stores have also shuttered, but there are a few around town. Almost all the once ubiquitous photo labs have also closed.

It's a different world. It's rare that I or any of my fellow photographers print our photos. The lions share of our work remains digital, and when it's printed out, it's by the clients, themselves. I only print out an occasional photo that I put up in my house or office.
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Otto Phocus

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I would like to buy locally but won't put up with the attitude from my local photography store.  It is such a snooty unfriendly place to shop. The owners seem to have their small number of "favourite" customers that they will chat with endlessly while ignoring other customers.

One Saturday (a pretty busy business day), I saw a line of customers with photographic equipment in one hand and a credit card in the other hand, just waiting to give my local store money.... they were ignored to the point that far too many of them simply left.   Why?  Because the owners simply had to tell a long and boring story (yeah everyone in the line had to listen) instead of helping customers spend their money.

I am not a big spender on photographic stuff, but I buy a lot of small stuff on a pretty regular basis.  I always felt that I was disturbing the owners with my tiny purchase.  But guess what?  Like most photography nuts, there came a time for an upgrade.

About two years ago, I purchased just under $6,000 worth of camera/lenses.  But not from my local store.  I went with Adorama/B&H.  Got a better price, better customer service, and no attitude.

Note to local photography stores:  Lay off the attitude.  A small purchase customer today may be your big purchase customer next month. 

Gone are the days where we had to deal with our local stores.  The question is no longer "why shouldn't I shop local" but "why should I shop local".  The attitude of the local shop owners governs the answer.

I would much prefer shopping local.  But I don't deserve to put up with their attitudes.
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Endeavour

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I would like to buy locally but won't put up with the attitude from my local photography store.  It is such a snooty unfriendly place to shop. The owners seem to have their small number of "favourite" customers that they will chat with endlessly while ignoring other customers.

One Saturday (a pretty busy business day), I saw a line of customers with photographic equipment in one hand and a credit card in the other hand, just waiting to give my local store money.... they were ignored to the point that far too many of them simply left.   Why?  Because the owners simply had to tell a long and boring story (yeah everyone in the line had to listen) instead of helping customers spend their money.

I am not a big spender on photographic stuff, but I buy a lot of small stuff on a pretty regular basis.  I always felt that I was disturbing the owners with my tiny purchase.  But guess what?  Like most photography nuts, there came a time for an upgrade.

About two years ago, I purchased just under $6,000 worth of camera/lenses.  But not from my local store.  I went with Adorama/B&H.  Got a better price, better customer service, and no attitude.

Note to local photography stores:  Lay off the attitude.  A small purchase customer today may be your big purchase customer next month. 

Gone are the days where we had to deal with our local stores.  The question is no longer "why shouldn't I shop local" but "why should I shop local".  The attitude of the local shop owners governs the answer.

I would much prefer shopping local.  But I don't deserve to put up with their attitudes.

I can relate to that - but to be fair, I find all physical retail a pain which has to be endured.

When you want help no-one can be found. when you just want to quietly browse, bored staff are on you like a pack of monkeys

Amazon changed my life.

There is one store in Toronto (Vistek) which are great at sales, but really suck for repair/service. So I occasionally buy from them or mostly used from kijiji

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mbaginy

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I've seen a number of photo shops close in different cities in Germany in recent years.  But I'm fortunate that the local dealer I've been frequenting for some 20 years in Bonn is not only still around but as helpful as ever.  I've been able to use his demo camera bodies and lenses for some hours or even a weekend before making my decisions.  I've bought all my Canon, Panasonic and Fujifilm gear there and haven't once regretted a purchase.  His prices come very close to internet offers (which I only view out of curiosity).

Only twice did I pick up faulty gear - a Canon G11 (I believe it was that model) with a sensor problem which Canon informed about and I faulty battery charger for my X100T.  Both were promptly exchanged.

The only photographic items I buy via the net are odds & ends he doesn't carry and can't order, e.g. thumbs up for my X-Pro1, MOAB paper and such.

I truly do consider myself fortunate in this respect, especially when hearing of the photo shop closures in the US.
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Endeavour

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I've seen a number of photo shops close in different cities in Germany in recent years.  But I'm fortunate that the local dealer I've been frequenting for some 20 years in Bonn is not only still around but as helpful as ever.  I've been able to use his demo camera bodies and lenses for some hours or even a weekend before making my decisions.  I've bought all my Canon, Panasonic and Fujifilm gear there and haven't once regretted a purchase.  His prices come very close to internet offers (which I only view out of curiosity).

Only twice did I pick up faulty gear - a Canon G11 (I believe it was that model) with a sensor problem which Canon informed about and I faulty battery charger for my X100T.  Both were promptly exchanged.

The only photographic items I buy via the net are odds & ends he doesn't carry and can't order, e.g. thumbs up for my X-Pro1, MOAB paper and such.

I truly do consider myself fortunate in this respect, especially when hearing of the photo shop closures in the US.

There was a great shop in Aachen which also did rentals. I really wish I still lived near that place.
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