If all else fails, I can always sell cameras

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by dwight, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. dwight

    dwight Guest

    A couple of years ago (a few?), I was really tired of my old Olympus 1.3MP
    camera and desperately wanted a new one. After reading everything I could
    find, I decided on the then-new Canon S1 IS. It had all of the features I
    wanted, so I decided to treat myself to a new camera on my birthday.

    Went to the local Best Buy (hey - 0% financing), and checked out the S1 in
    person. Also looked at all of the other models, just to make sure I wasn't
    missing anything. A customer asked me why I was getting the S1, a huge
    mistake on her part, and I spent the next few minutes talking her ear off
    about all of the things the S1 could do. I ended up selling her on the S1
    and we bought a pair right then and there.

    My wife does a fair amount of travelling, and always regrets not taking my
    daughter's SD200 with her. She likes that little pocket-sized thing - she
    wouldn't stray from the automatic settings, but likes the mobility and ease
    of use of this tiny point-and-shoot camera. So I decided she should have a
    camera of her own.

    Now, my wife and I are of a certain age (read: coming up on trifocals).
    Whenever I show her a photo just taken with my Rebel XT, she squints, nods,
    and pretends that she can make it out on that tiny LCD screen. So, for her,
    I decided the SD630 would do the trick. Although it has no viewfinder (which
    she wouldn't use anyway), it does have a honkin' huge 3" screen on the back.
    The flip side is that the controls are tiny, but, again, I don't see her
    playing around with menus or settings.

    So off I go to the local Best Buy with my daughter in tow. As I'm looking
    for the SD630, a woman asks me if I know anything about cameras. I say "a
    little," and my daughter just smiles. For the next few minutes, I talk to
    the customer about what she's looking for in a camera (she's buying for HER
    daughter), what level of interest the daughter has in photography, etc. etc.
    She says she also thinks she wants a photo printer, so we talk about the
    cost of consumables vs. the cost of taking the few photos daughter would
    actually want printed over to the local camera shop or WalMart for printing.
    In the end, I think I talked her out of buying the printer but talked her
    INTO buying an SD630.

    Now, I get the fact that customers are wary of talking to store salespeople,
    who are seen as having an inbred bias toward certain brands and/or price
    ranges. But I'm a stranger, a fellow shopper, and people are picking me out
    of a crowd to ask my opinion. They don't know whether I have ANY experience
    in photography or equipment, but, at least in these two cases, they are
    perfectly willing to ask my opinion and go with it to the tune of hundreds
    of dollars.

    For the record, no, I don't know a heck of a lot about digital cameras
    available today. I don't read magazines, read reviews only after I've
    settled on a couple of choices, and I can take a hundred shots to get one
    good photo. But, apparently, I'm beginning to see what my post-retirement
    job will be. I'll work for Best Buy, but wear street clothes and pretend to
    be a customer. Then I can sell cameras all day long - or whatever passes for
    cameras twenty years from now.

    dwight
     
    dwight, Dec 23, 2006
    #1
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  2. dwight

    Guest

    dwight wrote:
    > For the record, no, I don't know a heck of a lot about digital cameras
    > available today. I don't read magazines, read reviews only after I've
    > settled on a couple of choices, and I can take a hundred shots to get one
    > good photo. But, apparently, I'm beginning to see what my post-retirement
    > job will be. I'll work for Best Buy, but wear street clothes and pretend to
    > be a customer. Then I can sell cameras all day long - or whatever passes for
    > cameras twenty years from now.


    The market will saturate long before then. It's already saturating
    - and prices on digicams are way down for what is a one-time purchase
    for most users, with no follow-on purchase items like film to carry a
    store as the camera sales stagnate. Already, some big camera stores
    have closed up around here for this reason.

    No $4 to park! No $6 admission! http://www.INTERNET-GUN-SHOW.com
     
    , Dec 23, 2006
    #2
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  3. Hi Dwight,

    > Now, I get the fact that customers are wary of talking to store
    > salespeople, who are seen as having an inbred bias toward certain brands
    > and/or price ranges. But I'm a stranger, a fellow shopper, and people are
    > picking me out of a crowd to ask my opinion. They don't know whether I
    > have ANY experience in photography or equipment, but, at least in these
    > two cases, they are perfectly willing to ask my opinion and go with it to
    > the tune of hundreds of dollars.


    I almost fell over the other day when I was at Lowes and this guy approached
    me as I was looking through the powertool section and started asking me
    questions about routers. Granted I have one on my wish list, but don't have
    one and said so. He ignored that information completely, maybe because I
    could actually give him _some_ information on what to look for and that
    there are different types of routers (plunge and fixed etc.) Price was
    obviously not an object, nor was brand as he was asking about two different
    brands of routers, very differently priced, but fairly similar in technical
    specifications, apart from couple of things which we discovered and talked
    about (the cheap one had a very rough dept metering guide, the expensive one
    had a very precise one). And, sorry to say, I'm not even up to a single
    focal glasses for every day use so I do not have that
    "grandpa-knows-everything" kind of look, so _that_ was not the reason<bg>

    When I walked past again I saw him leave with the $500 router (or whatever
    it was - the expensive one) in tow<g>

    Bottom line is that people like to get the response of a fellow shopper to
    what _they_ are thinking about buying. A very positive or very negative
    approach may not work at all as people would dismiss it as rants rather than
    based on knowledge and experience. Explanation of why one is better than
    another generally works best. Unfortunatly you don't really see that very
    much in (most) stores as most of the people who work there have none or very
    little experience with what they sell.

    --
    Arnor Baldvinsson
    San Antonio, Texas
     
    Arnor Baldvinsson, Dec 23, 2006
    #3
  4. dwight

    KenJr Guest

    In article <>, tfrog93
    @gEEmail.com says...
    > But I'm a stranger, a fellow shopper, and people are picking me out
    > of a crowd to ask my opinion. They don't know whether I have ANY experience
    > in photography or equipment, but, at least in these two cases, they are
    > perfectly willing to ask my opinion and go with it to the tune of hundreds
    > of dollars.
    >
    > For the record, no, I don't know a heck of a lot about digital cameras
    > available today. I don't read magazines, read reviews only after I've
    > settled on a couple of choices, and I can take a hundred shots to get one
    > good photo. But, apparently, I'm beginning to see what my post-retirement
    > job will be. I'll work for Best Buy, but wear street clothes and pretend to


    Yep, I've had that happen to me quite a few times in both Walmart and
    Circuit City. So many times that I felt I should get a commision from
    the store. I no longer recommend any particular camera since I got
    reamed buy a lady who bought a Canon S3 IS after I recommended it. She
    wanted a camera with long zoom, but said her pictures always came out
    blurry. I told her the S3 has IS which would help. Turns out she was
    using it to take pictures of her daughter's HS basketball games. If
    she'd have told me that a month earlier I'd have told her to get a DSLR.
    Of course I'd probably have heard her moan about the $300+ price
    difference.
     
    KenJr, Dec 23, 2006
    #4
  5. dwight

    dwight Guest

    "Arnor Baldvinsson" <> wrote in message
    news:Emejh.6137$...
    > Hi Dwight,
    >
    >> Now, I get the fact that customers are wary of talking to store
    >> salespeople, who are seen as having an inbred bias toward certain brands
    >> and/or price ranges. But I'm a stranger, a fellow shopper, and people are
    >> picking me out of a crowd to ask my opinion. They don't know whether I
    >> have ANY experience in photography or equipment, but, at least in these
    >> two cases, they are perfectly willing to ask my opinion and go with it to
    >> the tune of hundreds of dollars.

    >
    > I almost fell over the other day when I was at Lowes and this guy
    > approached me as I was looking through the powertool section and started
    > asking me questions about routers. Granted I have one on my wish list,
    > but don't have one and said so. He ignored that information completely,
    > maybe because I could actually give him _some_ information on what to look
    > for and that there are different types of routers (plunge and fixed etc.)
    > Price was obviously not an object, nor was brand as he was asking about
    > two different brands of routers, very differently priced, but fairly
    > similar in technical specifications, apart from couple of things which we
    > discovered and talked about (the cheap one had a very rough dept metering
    > guide, the expensive one had a very precise one). And, sorry to say, I'm
    > not even up to a single focal glasses for every day use so I do not have
    > that "grandpa-knows-everything" kind of look, so _that_ was not the
    > reason<bg>
    >
    > When I walked past again I saw him leave with the $500 router (or whatever
    > it was - the expensive one) in tow<g>


    Hey, now, I'm only 52 - but that's old enough to qualify as an "Old Fart" in
    technological areas.

    I always remember when VCRs were new tech, and I was dismayed at how many
    people had VCRs that constantly flashed "12:00". People then, who were as
    old as I am now, seemed to be unable to read a stinkin' manual to figure out
    the simplest things, like setting a clock. I vowed then that I wouldn't let
    technology overcome me, so I've tried to keep up. (Or ahead.)

    To me, digital photography was a godsend. I can continue to take thousands
    of lousy pictures, and it costs me virtually nothing when they don't turn
    out the way I'd hoped. Now, while I don't study up on the latest advances in
    digital cameras, I can research aspects of different cameras enough to know
    what it is that I'm looking for.

    Same with any other purchase. The internet is at my disposal, and there are
    any number of websites spouting off about any number of items or services I
    may be contemplating. The more money I intend to spend, the more research I
    do on the subject. To me, there is no excuse for knowing NOTHING about a
    product you're buying, given all of the information at our collective
    fingertips.

    My wife and I moved last year, and I had to trade my electric push mower in
    on a lawn tractor. I wandered over to Sears for a look at a couple of
    models, then moved on to a John Deere retailer. There was no comparison.
    Although the Deere was a higher entry level, the build quality was a
    no-brainer. But I could at least talk to the salespeople with some advance
    knowledge on the topic.

    My wife just traded in her 2004 lease on a 2007 model SUV. I knew more about
    that particular model than the salesman who "helped us."

    I work in a business campus very near Valley Forge Park, a major tourist
    destination. When I'm walking around the campus, drivers are always pulling
    over to ask me for directions. Have they never heard of Yahoo Maps or Google
    Earth? My god, Google Earth is fantastic - I can SEE where I'm going before
    I leave my house!

    When it came to buying my first good digital, I found Steve's, DPReview, and
    naturally monitored a couple of newsgroups. Within a week, I was at least
    conversant in digital cameras enough to narrow down my own needs.

    When people get in their cars, drive over to a big box store, and have to
    resort to asking strangers what they think about a given camera, that seems
    to me to be risky behavior.

    > Bottom line is that people like to get the response of a fellow shopper to
    > what _they_ are thinking about buying. A very positive or very negative
    > approach may not work at all as people would dismiss it as rants rather
    > than based on knowledge and experience. Explanation of why one is better
    > than another generally works best. Unfortunatly you don't really see that
    > very much in (most) stores as most of the people who work there have none
    > or very little experience with what they sell.
    >
    > --
    > Arnor Baldvinsson
    > San Antonio, Texas


    ....or it could be "Kodak Day" or "Fuji FunFest" at the store. There's no
    doubt that salespeople will often lead customers to a certain brand or
    product, based on whatever marketing deals were struck at higher levels.

    My own approach is to listen to the person and try to match a camera to what
    they're intended use would be. But they need to understand up front that my
    own personal experience is limited to a couple of Canons, and I am
    absolutely ignorant about the hundreds of alternatives available. In that,
    how much help am I, really?

    Obviously, my people skills are good enough to have sold two cameras to
    uninitiated buyers, and I can only hope that they're as satisfied with their
    purchases as I hope they'd be...

    dwight
     
    dwight, Dec 24, 2006
    #5
  6. dwight

    dwight Guest

    "KenJr" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In article <>, tfrog93
    > @gEEmail.com says...
    >> But I'm a stranger, a fellow shopper, and people are picking me out
    >> of a crowd to ask my opinion. They don't know whether I have ANY
    >> experience
    >> in photography or equipment, but, at least in these two cases, they are
    >> perfectly willing to ask my opinion and go with it to the tune of
    >> hundreds
    >> of dollars.
    >>
    >> For the record, no, I don't know a heck of a lot about digital cameras
    >> available today. I don't read magazines, read reviews only after I've
    >> settled on a couple of choices, and I can take a hundred shots to get one
    >> good photo. But, apparently, I'm beginning to see what my post-retirement
    >> job will be. I'll work for Best Buy, but wear street clothes and pretend
    >> to

    >
    > Yep, I've had that happen to me quite a few times in both Walmart and
    > Circuit City. So many times that I felt I should get a commision from
    > the store. I no longer recommend any particular camera since I got
    > reamed buy a lady who bought a Canon S3 IS after I recommended it. She
    > wanted a camera with long zoom, but said her pictures always came out
    > blurry. I told her the S3 has IS which would help. Turns out she was
    > using it to take pictures of her daughter's HS basketball games. If
    > she'd have told me that a month earlier I'd have told her to get a DSLR.
    > Of course I'd probably have heard her moan about the $300+ price
    > difference.


    No offense to this woman or any other person who goes to a stranger for
    advice, but...

    She's an idiot. That you sold her on an S3 is not a problem - it's a great
    camera. That she bought the wrong camera after talking to you is completely
    on her. Instead of explaining digital cameras to her, you should have just
    told her about Google.

    dwight
     
    dwight, Dec 24, 2006
    #6
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