Monday, June 30, 2008

If only you'd paid attention.

The boyfriend and I went out this weekend with the hopes of finding a good camera store with a friendly salesperson to answer a few questions for us. (Little did I know boyfriend was fully ready to buy me a camera right there and then!) We drove around for a while and ended up at this place in Woodland Hills called Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes. Looking back, it seems like they are much more a telescope place than a camera place, but hi, their name has "camera" in it, so we went in expecting to talk to someone who knew something about cameras.

Here's how our experience went: We go into the cramped store. There's a middle-aged man helping a guy at the back counter, and an old man, a teenage boy, and a middle-aged woman working in the store with several customers. I head back to back counter, where the middle-aged guy is helping a guy choose between two point and shoot cameras. Since neither of them are a Nikon or a Canon (or even an Olympus, for that matter), I start to wonder. There's a lady waiting after him, and I approach and start to look at the SLR and DSLR cameras they sell.

I make eye contact with the guy to let him know we have some questions and stand patiently for at least five to ten minutes while he helps the other two customers. The guy who is weighing his options between the point and shoots asks for a minute to think about it, and we are finally helped.

Or, should I say, not helped. This guy was a complete asshole. He was rude, he was standoffish, and most importantly, he didn't seem to give a shit about the fact that the cameras we were looking at were at least TWICE the price as the guy dilly dallying about the point and shoots.

We were ready to buy! We were ready to say, ok, wrap it up and let's go! If only he had paid attention to us, and given us the quality of service you'd think would keep a mom and pop place like that open!

I asked about the D60 and the D40X. He completely brushed of me asking about the D40X, even though he had at least four of them in boxes under the counter. I had to ask him to see the physical D60, which he did very begrudgingly. At that point, I was already put off by this guy. I was playing around with the D60 when he went back to help point and shoot guy. While he was helping him, the older man in the shop came up and asked him if anyone needed any help. He looked at us, and said NO.

What? Obviously I have questions about a Digital SLR. Point and shoot guy then need MORE time to think (I don't know about you, but this tipped me off that he wasn't quite ready to drop $400 on a camera). The dude finally paid attention to us again, and I took the opportunity to ask him about the D80, and about whether or not I could use my old Nikon lenses on the Digital SLR. He told me to forget about the D80, because Nikon was going to announce the new version in a month at the European trade shows. What if I still wanted the damn D80??? I made him give me the one he had on the shelf so I could hold it and see how I liked it anyway, but I was totally over it by then. And the lenses? He could not for the life of him give us a straight answer as to if they would work or not. No way was I going to allow Sean to spend money in this place.

We left shortly after that, totally pissed off that this guy had totally blotched the opportunity for his store to sell a camera to us.

You have to be a special kind of stupid to completely alienate two customers who are actually ready to buy a $700 camera and make them never want to go near your store again.

So, the moral of this story? Don't shop at Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes. And also, if you ever own a company of your very own? Don't mistake a young couple as "browzers" when they very well maybe be dropping large amounts of cash in your store.

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