The Inverse of Service


I’m never sure whether my hobby is photography or “Buying cameras, using them for a bit and then selling them for a loss on ebay”. Either way, while I do take a lot of photos I also do a bit of camera shopping. Today I was in a camera shop asking about a camera I was thinking of investing in. I never say buying, that sounds like I might actually lose money on the deal.

Anyhoo, we find the camera and one of the assistants appears and offers to show me the device in action. Which turns out to have a flat battery. “Typical” says the assistant, although typical of what I’m not sure. No, they don’t have any charged batteries lying around. No, they don’t have any other versions of the camera, just the one on display. No they won’t give a discount if they sell the display camera. The best they can offer is to charge the battery and I can drop back later to take a look.

I wouldn’t mind but this is the third time I have had this kind of experience. Shop 1 the camera battery was flat. Shop 2 the battery wasn’t flat but they didn’t have an SD card that I could use to store pictures that I’d taken to test the camera. And now I get this.These are just random shops I’ve walked into around the country. They were not all in the same chain either.

The camera I was looking at wasn’t cheap. And I was fairly serious about buying it. If I was selling in this position I’d make sure that every camera was fully charged first thing in the morning. I’d have a pocket full of the relevant batteries and SD cards that fitted. I’d even go as far as having a bunch of sample prints that I’d taken to show any potential customer what each camera could do. I’d have a sensible policy on selling display models, even a modest discount might have sealed the deal.

The one way that these kinds of shops can compete with online shopping is on service. It is rather upsetting to find that they are not really trying on this score either.