Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Myth Of "Great Deals"

One of my friends, along with many many others this holiday season, has engaged me at great length in conversations about cameras, asking my advice, only to turn around and make a purchase somewhere else. I needled him about this, I thought rather justifiably; I'm spending all this time advising you on cameras, and I know you're going to come to me with it later asking more about how to use it, so why don't you buy it from me?
And this person said, and I quote, "Small shops can't compete with online prices."

Needless to say, this isn't a friend I'm speaking to currently (let him figure out how to use his camera on his own first, then we can make up), but if someone who I considered a friend felt able to say this to me, then the rest of you (most of whom don't know me; hi, I'm Bridget, I work at Store 406 on Transit Rd) are all thinking it. Customers coming into the store have said things like "I'd rather spend a little extra and know I can get the camera looked at if I have questions!"

But it's not true. We sell online. We sell online competitively. Most of our prices are the minimum advertised price set by the manufacturer and adhered to by every one of their licensed dealers. Yes, that means Best Buy. Yes, that means Wal-Mart. Yes, that means Amazon. (We sell on Amazon. The link's to the right of this page.)

The camera he bought, we had for $50 cheaper, in store, no shipping. We also had a better deal on a memory card to go with it.

So our prices aren't any higher. Where this idea comes from, I don't know.

If you find it for a better price online, print out the page showing it in the shopping cart at that price. Then go to Google and type in the shop name, and look for Reseller That's what we do, in the store. If it turns out the shop in question really is on the up-and-up, then bring the page in to us, and we'll match the price. I promise you, about 19 times out of 20, if the price is really really good, it's because you're not actually going to get what you think you're going to get. There are a million and one scams on the Internet, and even more of them this time of year. If it's good, we'll match it! If it's not good, then we can't afford to match it, because we're not going to sell you the wrong camera or give you an illegally imported gray-market no-warranty camera or take the included charger and battery out of the box and sell them to you separately or insist you buy some shady "extended warranty" or we'll cancel the sale, or any of those things that make those "incredible online deals" worth exactly what you pay for them.

So really. You trust us for camera advice. Trust us to sell you your cameras. Or we won't be here indefinitely to keep answering your questions.

And if you did buy a camera somewhere else after benefitting from all our advice and expertise, c'mon. Buy a camera class or get your pictures developed here. Support a local business; reward those who try harder to serve you; keep the knowledge base local.

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