A tale of two Camera Stores…

Went out yesterday to buy my daughter a digital camera. I’d done the research, had a price to match ($280 incl. shipping) from a website that I’d used before and trusted. So it was an exercise to see if we could do better – either a better deal on a different camera or a matching deal with nice service.

Anyone who’s had anything to do with cameras in Melbourne knows that you start at Elizabeth Street. Where you can wander from one store to another (there are about 6) getting the info… making comparisons. Fierce competition!

We start at JB – they don’t stock the one I’m after, but make a good offer on a similar camera – we’re tempted, but decide to walk the strip first.

Next stop, Michaels. First, a little background – Michaels have the most prominent and well known store – it’s always busy, but I have never bought anything there… not for the want of trying, but they’ve always missed: either price, the deal, the people, the service… always something. Today was no different. “That camera is $299” accompanied by blank “take it or leave it” look. No offer of a reasonable alternative, no assistance… obviously we were wasting the time of staff who could be better employed selling to customers with deeper pockets. We walked on.

Ted’s camera store is another institution – in fact, I used to buy my bulk Ilford FP40 B+W film there as a student! We are immediately helped by a young guy with an Irish accent and strong opinions about cameras. He agrees that the one we seek is a good choice, pours appropriate scorn on a couple of others we’d been shown at other shops, freely admits he can’t match the internet price, but throws in a couple of promotional sweeteners which more than bridge the gap. He immediately makes a sale.

I’m hoping to upgrade my own camera this year, and I know where I’ll be heading! To the manager of Ted’s – give that man a raise! To the manager of Michael’s, I don’t think I’ll ever bother again.