Photography shop or John Lewis?

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Adam
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#1
As posted in a previous thread, I'm thinking of moving to a mirrorless system from a D7200, well, today, I decided I'd had enough of reading reviews on the internet and went to a well known photography shop in Birmingham City Centre with a name that starst with J...

Having a good idea of what I wanted to look at, I walked past the empty display cases and bare shelves in the Nikon and Canon sections and went straight to the Fuji and Olympus gear, what can I say, nearly every camera I picked up had a dead battery and the cameras with charged batteries were tethered to the shelf with a cable about 6 inches long attached around the zoom ring on the lenses so it was impossible to get an idea of what the camera would be like to use, I counted 5 members of staff milling around who all took turns to ask if I needed any help, being the only customer in the shop, I felt really awkward... It was like trying to test drive a car with an empty fuel talk.

I then headed to John Lewis, what a difference, only one camera had a dead battery and I was not once bothered by over-friendly sales people, I was free to test and play with the cameras as much as I liked, while still protected with security tethers, they were not as short, obtrusive or restricted as in the previous shop, the atmosphere was also much more pleasant.

I wouldn't like to take trade away from a dedicated photography shop, but when the prices are broadly the same, I know where my custom is going...
 
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#2
I've got the same problem currently....however John Lewis don't have the Sony A7iii yet. I went into my local camera shop and they didn't either, only the A7ii but they were really friendly and let me have a play with that!
 
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#5
They're pretty friendly in there, why didn't you ask to try the cameras you were interested in?

I bought my 70-200 2.8 IS II in there, I don't know if they work on commission sales, but the guy looked like Christmas had arrived.
 
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Adam Priseman
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#6
But you were asked a number of times if you needed any help in Jessops. Perhaps, had you said yes, I’d like to try this camera please, they could have untethered it and put in a fresh battery for you. But, we’ll never know will we. :rolleyes:
True, but not all of us like being bothered by salespeople.

It's more about the shopping experience, dark, empty store with a tense atmosphere, or bright, welcoming store with plenty on display to test, which would you choose?
 
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#7
True, but not all of us like being bothered by salespeople.

It's more about the shopping experience, dark, empty store with a tense atmosphere, or bright, welcoming store with plenty on display to test, which would you choose?
But that’s your preference. Others like to be approached with an offer to help. You could argue that the customer service at a John Lewis was poor because they ignored you.

You OP didn’t mention a dark, empty store only that the batteries were flat and the security tether was to short, both of which could have been rectified if you’d accepted an offer of assistance.
 
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#8
True, but not all of us like being bothered by salespeople.

It's more about the shopping experience, dark, empty store with a tense atmosphere, or bright, welcoming store with plenty on display to test, which would you choose?
While I agree a bright welcoming store is more inviting etc there's a big difference in the 2 companies turnover meaning one has a lot more to spend on there stores and it's fittings (and I know this from experience as the company I work for does shopfitting occasionally)

To be honest if it was me I would go with whoever was offering the best deal regardless of if there shop wasn't as brightly light or shiny as the other
 
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Adam Priseman
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#9
You OP didn’t mention a dark, empty store.
It actually did, "I walked past the empty display cases and bare shelves ".

I was surprised by how few cameras were on display in the Canon and Nikon areas of the store, and to a certain extent, the Sony area, I can only assume commercially, point and shoot cameras are more profitable so take higher priority...
 
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#10
But that’s your preference. Others like to be approached with an offer to help. You could argue that the customer service at a John Lewis was poor because they ignored you.
It gets a bit wearing when the approaches are repeated.

It's not a new problem. The trick is to ask the customer once - give them space if that's what they want.

I rather like the Calumet / Wex open day concept. You can pop along and see a stack of stuff and there will be somebody who knows the product really well to take you through it. Only downside is that the range of manufacturers' products is limited to those interested in supporting the concept.
 
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#11
Also consider JL give two years warranty on cameras and lenses amongst other things.
Took a Galaxy 7 phone that went faulty back after fifteen months, so yes they do honour it.

My only trip to the reasonably local Jessops was a fortnight or so ago, went specifically to look at the new Fuji X-H1.
Upon enquiring was told it's not out yet, strange considering it was already in stock elsewhere, not much of anything in there to be honest.
 
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#12
It gets a bit wearing when the approaches are repeated.
But if said customer looks like they are struggling, say with a security cord and a flat battery, surely asking them repeatedly might tempted them into actually asking for help to see the product they are wanting to buy.
 
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#13
I've got the same problem currently....however John Lewis don't have the Sony A7iii yet. I went into my local camera shop and they didn't either, only the A7ii but they were really friendly and let me have a play with that!
It’s not actually available till April is it?
 
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#14
Having a good idea of what I wanted to look at, I walked past the empty display cases and bare shelves in the Nikon and Canon sections and went straight to the Fuji and Olympus gear, what can I say, nearly every camera I picked up had a dead battery and the cameras with charged batteries were tethered to the shelf with a cable about 6 inches long
You’re fortunate with that situation... everything I was interested in looking at was on display without a lens and no one was interested in helping on Saturday!
 
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#15
I was surprised by how few cameras were on display in the Canon and Nikon areas of the store, and to a certain extent, the Sony area, I can only assume commercially, point and shoot cameras are more profitable so take higher priority...
Im sure when I was there Saturday they had all the current bodies on display, however hardly anything had lenses fitted.
 

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#16
A proper photography/camera shop over either option above! JL are box shifters and unless you're lucky and get one of the manufacturer's bods helping you, they know sod all about the cameras. Jessops are marginally better but usually (IME) plug Canon over other brands. Some Jessops staff do actually know a bit about the products and can offer decent advice. Unfortunately, most of the good camera shops have been killed off by "showrooming" where people wander in, look at and handle loads of kit then go home and buy from the cheapest place they can find it on the internet.
 
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#17
This story is not unique. Badly trained and unmotivated staff. I went into the Bose shop on Regent Street a year or so ago to buy a pair of HC35 headphones and one of thei all in 1 CD player radio alarm unit for the bedroom. I knew more about the products from reading the product website prior to going out than the staff in the shop did. I fired a letter of complaint to the M.D. of Bose and eventually got a reply going on about new staff..it costs a lot of money to train staff, it costs a fortune if you don’t.
 
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#18
I had a great experience at Jessops in Manchester, I was asked if I wanted any help to which I replied I'm just perusing.

They left me to peruse and then when I asked for help they stepped in. At the time I wanted a Fuji 100-400 with the 1.4 convertor as a kit, some £300 cheaper than separates. They didn't have a kit in stock, but when I asked if they would price match they did. That meant I got the 2 parts in separate boxes which would be easier to sell on if I ever want to.

John Lewis would never do that. I would however always go to John Lewis if I wanted a TV or other electrical goods.
 
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#19
This story is not unique. Badly trained and unmotivated staff. I went into the Bose shop on Regent Street a year or so ago to buy a pair of HC35 headphones and one of thei all in 1 CD player radio alarm unit for the bedroom. I knew more about the products from reading the product website prior to going out than the staff in the shop did. I fired a letter of complaint to the M.D. of Bose and eventually got a reply going on about new staff..it costs a lot of money to train staff, it costs a fortune if you don’t.
Well if the Bose staff really wanted to help you buy a better product they could point you in the direction of Richer Sounds or Sevenoaks I guess... :exit:
 
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#20
Knocking Jessops stopped being trendy a long time ago. When they went out of business a few years ago it was a sad time for photography and it was great to see them back on the high street thanks to Peter Jones. Jessops need the support of photographers, not to be slammed by idiots who didn’t get a cuddle when they walked in the store. If you want to shop in a department store that’s fine, but don’t run Jessops down. Or they’ll be gone again. Btw, I’m willing to bet you didn’t buy from JL either. Your type usually end up buying online to save a further 75p whilst wasting the time of the people doing their best to earn a living helping ungrateful fools like you.
 
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#21
Knocking Jessops stopped being trendy a long time ago. When they went out of business a few years ago it was a sad time for photography and it was great to see them back on the high street thanks to Peter Jones. Jessops need the support of photographers, not to be slammed by idiots who didn’t get a cuddle when they walked in the store.
Not sure if you were including my comments in your little rant... but while I would agree with your sentiment that it’s good Jessops were saved from oblivion, just being saved is not enough if they can’t offer decent service. As for “Your types usually end up buying online to save 75p” ... my last major camera purchase was at LCE and I purchased my last bag from a Jessops store because I appreciated being able to browse and look (although likely would have saved buying online).

The point is though, Jessops will not survive if they cannot adapt to a modern market place, that means offering service over and above that offered online and casual buyers will patronise their stores despite slightly higher prices.

As a general comment about Jessops: I’m from the Leicester area so know a thing or two about Jessops (had friends who worked there)... Jessops lost their mojo (IMO) back in the mid 90s when they were sold by Alan (Jessop) in a management led buyout to venture capitalists. The company (in my opinion) grew greedy and spread too far, in the process causing other smaller independent stores to shut. Eventually it reaped what it sowed and we know the eventual bankruptcy after years of financial woes. The problem is (again IMO) they still haven’t learned from the lessons and are continuing to think they have a right to exist and that photographers should be greatful for their existence.
 
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Adam Priseman
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#22
Knocking Jessops stopped being trendy a long time ago. When they went out of business a few years ago it was a sad time for photography and it was great to see them back on the high street thanks to Peter Jones. Jessops need the support of photographers, not to be slammed by idiots who didn’t get a cuddle when they walked in the store. If you want to shop in a department store that’s fine, but don’t run Jessops down. Or they’ll be gone again. Btw, I’m willing to bet you didn’t buy from JL either. Your type usually end up buying online to save a further 75p whilst wasting the time of the people doing their best to earn a living helping ungrateful fools like you.
Excuse me, Idiots? Ungrateful fools?

I'm not lowering myself to making daft comments such as yours, but for your information, no, I didn't buy from JL as I wasn't ready to buy, but when I am, I will certainly be buying from a real shop, my last two cameras were from Jessops.
 
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#23
Jessops have just refitted our local store (a mini store within a Sainsbury’s) as a printing “specialist” with various self service machines and even less gear. I think gear is still available click and collect, but apart from pcworld, nowhere to examine gear closer than the nearest cities...oxford, Reading, Newbury or Swindon.

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/16...ew_Didcot_store_with_focus_on_photo_printing/
 
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#25
A proper photography/camera shop over either option above! JL are box shifters and unless you're lucky and get one of the manufacturer's bods helping you, they know sod all about the cameras. Jessops are marginally better but usually (IME) plug Canon over other brands. Some Jessops staff do actually know a bit about the products and can offer decent advice. Unfortunately, most of the good camera shops have been killed off by "showrooming" where people wander in, look at and handle loads of kit then go home and buy from the cheapest place they can find it on the internet.

In Cambridge you have Jessops, hardly anything on show and see my comments above re trying to look at a new camera. Independent shop, prices at least full mrp and above in some instances, dearer than most UK retailers going by camerapricebusters
JL who have plenty of demo cameras, price match shops such as WEX and Park plus two years warranty, also deliver free to pick up in local Waitrose (five minute walk for me)

Why not buy from the retailer that provides the best overall service, also they are a UK company paying tax and employing thousands of people.
Perhaps look at Peterborough my next nearest shopping centre, fairly large city and only place to buy a camera is JL, so not even the option there of buying from a specialist store.
 
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#26
It’s not actually available till April is it?
Yeah, the camera shop I went to already had some in and sold them, a few people I know have them already too (y)
 
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#27
JL who have plenty of demo cameras, price match shops such as WEX and Park plus two years warranty, also deliver free to pick up in local Waitrose (five minute walk for me)

Why not buy from the retailer that provides the best overall service, also they are a UK company paying tax and employing thousands of people.
Indeed, my last lens purchase (Nikon 200-500) was unusually) bought from JL with the advantage of 2 year warranty and accidental damage cover (£25 extra) and still no more than any other UK store ... of course JL employees also benefit from a profit-share scheme which is an added reason to support them.
 
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#28
Indeed, my last lens purchase (Nikon 200-500) was unusually) bought from JL with the advantage of 2 year warranty and accidental damage cover (£25 extra) and still no more than any other UK store ... of course JL employees also benefit from a profit-share scheme which is an added reason to support them.
That's right the "partners" do get a share out, apparently this years profit share was the lowest amount since 1957
Don't seem bad employers which makes a nice change these days, after 25 years service staff get six months off on full pay.
Got bugger all at my place after 25, they changed it to 30 and then you got 500 quid
 
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#29
Excuse me, Idiots? Ungrateful fools?

I'm not lowering myself to making daft comments such as yours, but for your information, no, I didn't buy from JL as I wasn't ready to buy, but when I am, I will certainly be buying from a real shop, my last two cameras were from Jessops.
Apologies, that was a bit harsh. But I stand by my defence of Jessops, and any other high street retailer. Times are tough and it would be a shame to lose them again.
 
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#30
Some good points so far.
Ive found both jessops and LCE shops vary in the way staff approach you and their knowledge.bound to be a variety of good and not so good experiences.
Ive only used jl in leicester and found 2 staff who know what they are talking about re cameras but again they are not always around on every day.
Jl give 2 yearswarranty and a 30 day money back trial period as long as the gear is in as new condition as far as they can tell.
Not used wex or calumet as never been in area of one.
 
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#31
JL also price match.......not sure if Jessops do or not? I would probably use a Jessops if there was one nearby but there isn't!
 
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#32
My latest purchase has just been bought from WEX, JL didn't stock it neither did Jessops, so it was mail order time, most were the same price, but they had a free next day delivery offer.
 

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#33
Jessops will price match if they can. JL's "never knowingly undersold" line is BS. I've told them about cheaper high street prices and they've not bothered reducing their shelf price, although they did offer to match the high street price - but they didn't have the product available in store (the competitor did.) While the partners at JL do get a share of the profits, surprisingly few of the people who work for them are partners. A lot are manufacturers' agents (they're the ones with some product knowledge) or agency workers.
 
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#34
Jessops will price match if they can. JL's "never knowingly undersold" line is BS. I've told them about cheaper high street prices and they've not bothered reducing their shelf price, although they did offer to match the high street price - but they didn't have the product available in store (the competitor did.) While the partners at JL do get a share of the profits, surprisingly few of the people who work for them are partners. A lot are manufacturers' agents (they're the ones with some product knowledge) or agency workers.
Also get reward points on JL credit card for every quid spent there which is in effect a cashback scheme especially when you also do your shopping at Waitrose.

Just do what suits you, we all have our favourite stores and ones that we wouldn't cross the road to shop in
 
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#35
At Jessops the staff 10+ years ago were very good, however I've experienced the same situation as the OP in the last few years and now stay well clear, In contrast I find LCE at various outlets very helpful and have no complaints. At John Lewis I've never been pressured and there's always charged equipment that comes with a 2 year warranty.
 
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#36
I have to travel into London or Reading for a decent "traditional" photography shop, so I have also picked up cameras and lenses as JL. Some of the staff are quite knowledgeable, but they are often tied up as they are the one camera person in the dept. I like the 2 year warranty so I have purchased a 7D2, 300 f4, and my Gopro from JL.

That said, they seem very short of Fuji gear in my local stores; lenses especially.

I have very little time for Jessops. Since the take over they remind me of a "Snappy Snaps" that sell a few cameras. Even before then, trying to find somebody who actually knew anything was like the haystack needle....
 
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#37
Even before then, trying to find somebody who actually knew anything was like the haystack needle....
Let's be honest, finding any salesperson, from any field, who has in-depth knowledge of the products they are selling is extremely rare.
 
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#38
Let's be honest, finding any salesperson, from any field, who has in-depth knowledge of the products they are selling is extremely rare.
I have to disagree (depending on what you call in depth). At LCE in Reading, of the 4 guys that were working there on my last visit, 1 shot Canon & Fuji, another Nikon, one Nikon, Fuji & Sony, and another Canon & Sony. That meant that of the 4 main brands there were people with real life experience. Plus they had "shop kit" that they took home to use so they could understand it.

Believe it or not, my local Mini showroom actually has a very passionate Mini owner on the sales team... He has a couple of his own cars plus his demonstrator. Is it a coincidence that he sells more than the others ?
 
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#39
I'd love to be able to go into a camera shop, but there isn't one in either of my two local towns! I used to love going into a camera shop, even just to buy some film and have a quick chat and see what was new... or even just to have a quick browse in the window as I walked past to see if they had any second-hand bargains in stock! These days, they've all gone from round here and many of the other shops in my local towns are closed, empty and 'To Let'. A very sad state of affairs.

I always used to buy my cameras and lenses from a local shop, and I found they'd usually price match if I took a photo magazine in with me to show them another genuine UK stock advertised price and I asked them nicely and haggled politely but firmly with them! These days there isn't a camera shop within about 20 miles of where I tend to travel, so when I want some new kit I'm reduced to looking at gear reviews in magazines and the internet, searching forums for comments or asking the audience on this forum, then I buy on line and hope it arrives safely in the post.

So if you do have a camera shop in your local town or city then try to support it if you can, as you don't miss what you've got till it's gone! Oh, and if the price of a camera or lens is a bit high there, at least give them the chance to do a deal with you. A price ticket is only 'an invitation' to pay that... to me it's just a starting price! If you're genuinely looking to buy a camera or lens then I don't think there's anything wrong with explaining you're seriously looking to buy that item and asking what their best price would be. You might have to go back when the manager or shop owner is there (everyone needs a day off now and then!), but over the years I've found they'll usually do a deal if you ask nicely and haggle a bit (perhaps taking a photo mag in to show them a genuine UK stock advertised price). Don't expect absolute miracles as they'll have 'bricks and mortar' overheads to pay, but it might get you a bit nearer to one of the warehouse seller prices, plus you can try before you buy and take it home with you the same day! :)
 
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#40
I have a local camera shop that's really good, Charles Eagles in Sunderland, knowledgeable staff and great customer service. I bought a lens there just over a week ago, strangely their website has just been deleted when I had one of my regular check of their used stuff yesterday. Hope this isn't a bad sign as they had to close their Durham branch a couple of years ago.
 
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