Nice story proudgeek, one which confirms the saying "you pays your money and you takes your choice"! Now the question is what would you have done if they had been $150 dearer? What percentage does it take to buy online?
Buying Locally - They make it hard to do.(80 posts) (39 voices)
Well I just got into DSLR and did but my gear at a local shop (part of a small chain) that would match on-line prices (after doing a bunch on on-line research and starting to put together an on-line order.) I probably wouldn't have bought it there had they not been price-competitive. The salesman walked me though my options. I had a good idea what I wanted...in fact I planned on getting the Canon T2i but after handling the Nikon D3100 and looking at their interface I got it and never looked back...I love it. (It fit my tiny hands better.)
Sadly, we just learned yesterday that this chain (Penn Camera) is closing it's doors. There's another local store that I'll need to check out.
The percentage would depend largely on the item and my urgency for needing it. For instance, I just bought a 70-200 from the same dealer and even at full retail (which I would have paid anywhere), they're barely making any money on the transaction due to a lack of volume, so I guess the issue cuts both ways.
The bottom line is that we're all a little better off having local options. The alternative is all these little guys being starved out by bigger competitors and consumers having little or no choice except for the big box or online retailers. While that may save us a few dollars (or pounds or euros) here and there, in the long run it's not good for anyone for many different reasons.
I'd rather support local businesses, but they are going away quickly. One would think in Tampa, FL., there would be much demand for good equipment, but it's pretty much Best Buy or nothing these days. Even Ritz Camera has closed all their stores nearby. There is one about 45 minutes drive away, but they don't discount and the last time I was in there, they had dramatically reduced their inventory. Plus I was listening to the sales guy with a customer and he clearly had no clue about photography. He probably sold shoes the week before in a different mall store. If Best Buy closes (it was rumored they weren't in great shape), there'd be no other options.
While I have purchased both my cameras and all my lenses locally, I've had to buy many of my accessories like filters (B&W) online (I found the best deals at Amazon for them) as no one carries them locally. I just received a 32GB Sandisk memory card today. I ordered it from Adorama for $46. It's over $75 at Best Buy (last time I looked).
The day is likely coming when ordering our gear online is the only option we have. I find that kind of sad......
Of course you all realise that competition is only there to get trade away from other outlets, so when the other outlets all close down, there is no (or less) need for competition - or even good customer service, so we all pay more in the end.
I lived in France for eight years during which the French cartel-forming protectionist mentality drove me nuts so I am all for competition, but it is very hard for small companies to generate enough business to make a profit after all overheads especially when we could be headed into an internet-based business environment with very low overheads - perhaps the manufacturers will have to open demonstration centres so people can handle the gear before they buy off the internet? Perhaps the manufacturers will sell direct - then what? People need to earn money to buy stuff and competition reduces people in work effectively so the marketplace shrinks and prices go up far more than they went down because manufacturing in higher quantities has a massive pay-back.
If you can afford all these toys, perhaps you should afford to buy locally.
Just my 2c worth that's all....
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