Like probably most of you, every time I want to buy something I start up with the dilemma ‘shop locally vs. buy on the net’. There are several pros and cons of each solution. Buying locally not only supports your local camera store (which needs your business to survive) but also allows you to touch before you buy, saves you time and shipping costs and provides (usually) better after sale care. On the other hand, the net gives you almost unlimited supply of anything you may want to buy at the very attractive prices.
So up until recently the way I was doing it was that I was shopping at the local camera store for low priced, small gadgets and then, after deciding on what I’d like to finally buy from the bigger items, I was shopping over the internet for the lowest possible price. It probably isn’t the way I should be the most proud of but I did it this way and it worked.
Recently though something started to change. Several time when I was looking at the prices it turns out that our local camera store has prices that are at the same level or only slightly higher that those on the net. This is especially true when it comes to higher quality well known ‘brand’ items. Here either the MSRP is the price or if the street price is lower, it’s similar everywhere. Local stores learned that they have to be competitive to keep clients while internet stores can’t keep dumping prices forever. Current eBay’s pricing policy that makes selling there less and less attractive (read: you have to charge more to stay above the water). Even B&H or Adorama aren’t ‘the source’ anymore. Plus you still have to pay for shipping. Local stores, like my favorite, are a great option.
So right now when I look for something the main decision point is ‘how fast I can get the thing I want’. And in many cases it turns out that your local camera store is ‘the one’.
So next time when you look for something give your locals stores another chance. They may have nice surprise ready for you.