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View Full Version : B&H Megastore --- what the fuck kind of way to run a store is this??


fusoya
09-16-2010, 04:52 PM
Today for the first (and LAST!) time, I went to B&H Megastore (bhphotovideo.com), a giant electronics store near NY Penn which I've walked by many times, but never entered. I saw on their website that they had dual layer blu-ray blanks for sale for $7.95 (you can't get those for less than $12 anywhere else).

I should have known what I was getting into when I saw that they had a "we're closing early today for Yon Kippur" sign at the entrance.....

Anyway, of course they were sold out on the product I wanted to get, but they had a relatively cheap $18 spindle of single layer Blurays, which I decided to pick up as long as I was there. I bring them to the register in the computer hardware section, and the cashier told me that I was supposed to leave the product hanging on the rack, and that it would be brought to me at checkout. I'm already confused. I then take out my credit card and he told me that I pay downstairs, but he needs to process this sale first. I'm even more confused. Then he asks me for my phone #, so I give him a fake #. He says I'm not in the database, and he needs my address too. I ask him why, and he says "internal processing purposes, incase you need to return the product". I remind him I'm buying blank discs, so I can't even return them. He says he needs my address in order to complete the sale, so I give him a fake address too. He gives me a receipt and tells me to go downstairs, and then takes back the spindle and told me I will be given the product at checkout.

I do so, and go to the sales cashier area. This is where I give them my receipt and pay. I'm then given a SECOND receipt, which gets stapled to the first one, and am directed to the pickup area. Yes, for a 1 lb box of blank discs.

So I get to the checkout area, and give them the receipt. Surprise, surprise, the discs aren't ready for pickup yet. I have to wait there another 5 minutes before somebody brings down the same goddamn box which I could have carried down myself.

What the fucking christ is going on with this store??? If this were Best Buy, I would have been out of there about 10 minutes sooner. It's not just me either - this is how ALL of their business is done. Is this some insane anti-shop-lifting method? Well congrats B&H. You stopped me from shoplifting an $18 product. But that's the last $18 you will *EVER* get from me. It's no wonder nobody has EVER recommended your store to me before, and I will tell all of my tech-saavy friends and coworkers (and I know a TON of them in this city) to never shop there either.

Contrapuntal
09-16-2010, 04:54 PM
I should have known what I was getting into when I saw that they had a "we're closing early today for Yon Kippur" sign at the entrance.....What should that have told you?

MTCicero
09-16-2010, 05:05 PM
I should have known what I was getting into when I saw that they had a "we're closing early today for Yon Kippur" sign at the entrance.....What should that have told you?

That it's run by a bunch of hook-nosed, money-grabbing jewboys, is what fusoya was saying.

muldoonthief
09-16-2010, 05:06 PM
I should have known what I was getting into when I saw that they had a "we're closing early today for Yon Kippur" sign at the entrance.....What should that have told you?

They're preparing for an attack by Syria?

Algorithm
09-16-2010, 05:07 PM
My understanding is that they don't have an actual POS system - all sales, including those at their warehouse, are done through their website.

wolfstu
09-16-2010, 05:13 PM
My understanding is that they don't have an actual POS system - . . .

Actually, the premise of the OP seems to be that their system is a POS.

Diogenes the Cynic
09-16-2010, 05:14 PM
I should have known what I was getting into when I saw that they had a "we're closing early today for Yon Kippur" sign at the entrance.....What should that have told you?
That they don't know how to spell.

fusoya
09-16-2010, 05:15 PM
My understanding is that they don't have an actual POS system - all sales, including those at their warehouse, are done through their website.

Wait, so are you telling me that when I was at the first desk, that cashier was logging into their website and placing an order for me??? Screw that shit. I'm already HOLDING the product I want to buy.


What should that have told you?

That it's run by a bunch of hook-nosed, money-grabbing jewboys, is what fusoya was saying.

Yes, with emphasis on BOYS. (http://bhsexdiscrimination.com) One more reason I'll never shop there again. Come to think of it, I don't even remember seeing any women CUSTOMERS there......

Labrador Deceiver
09-16-2010, 05:17 PM
What should that have told you?
That they don't know how to spell.

Naw, they were closing early for a Kippur way over there.

fachverwirrt
09-16-2010, 05:23 PM
I should have known what I was getting into when I saw that they had a "we're closing early today for Yon Kippur" sign at the entrance.....What should that have told you?

What should that have told you?
That they don't know how to spell.

Also, apparently, that they can't read a calendar, since Yom Kippur starts tomorrow.

Southern Yankee
09-16-2010, 06:19 PM
I've been to that store many times. Their process is... unique. But they have a great selection and usually good prices. They do keep Orthodox Jewish hours though, so no sabbath business. Here's a YouTube video (http://youtube.com/watch?v=dmN6pBEfSIQ) that shows the store and their "system" for moving the products around the store.

BoBettie
09-16-2010, 06:44 PM
Sounds like a store we had in NY called Service Merchandise, which I think is long out of business. When you wanted something you had to bring a slip to the check out, get a receipt and then go wait for them to send it down the chute where the worker would get it and match it to your receipt. Crazy.

Fang
09-16-2010, 06:47 PM
I'm still waiting for the OP to explain what this is supposed to mean:

I should have known what I was getting into when I saw that they had a "we're closing early today for Yon Kippur" sign at the entrance.....

JKellyMap
09-16-2010, 06:50 PM
It's just not the place I'd go for a small purchase like that. But for a big purchase (expensive binoculars you'll use for a lifetime, etc.), it's ideal. For that kind of item, one doesn't mind taking a few extra minutes to deal with their unusual purchasing system.

fusoya
09-16-2010, 07:03 PM
It means that a good portion of the NY population is Jewish, and yet this is the first and only general-interest store I've ever seen outside of Borough Park that keeps sabbath hours (I thought it was strange that even their WEBSITE is closed on Saturdays), so I knew things were going to be run differently than most NY stores on the inside too. Just like my neighborhood has stores, and then it has the POLISH stores.....

I can understand the back room distribution process for large and expensive items. J&R (which I DO WHOLELY recommend as a great NYC electronics store. So don't confuse the two!) does that as well. But J&R still keeps their shelves stocked with the inexpensive and small items, and lets you carry them to a cashier where you can check out without being sent to two other parts of the store first.

It's just bullshit how I can't just walk up to a register, pay, and walk out with my purchase, especially considering it was sitting on a metal rack on a wall, and not behind glass. And I thought the "having to give your name, address, phone #, SSN and blood type to buy batteries" was something that Radio Shack phased out back in the 90s.

The prices aren't THAT good that it's worth my hassle to go over to 9th Ave and go through these shenanigans. When the time comes that I'm ready to buy my next $500 camcorder, I'm sure J&R (or newegg) will give me just as good of a price.

Baal Houtham
09-16-2010, 07:22 PM
In the early 1980s --when I began buying serious photo equipment-- the best prices were from the east coast stores that advertised in the back of Modern Photography.

The print was microscopic and every ad had to be read carefully because every store seemed determined to screw the unwary consumer.
--There were unlisted shipping rates.
--There were prices that only applied to Fujinon mount lenses.
--There were off-brand lenses trying to sneak by as brand name lenses.

There were a dozen merchants that apparently viewed that business model as holy writ. And then there was B&H Photo.

Amid 20 pages of dodgy deals, B&H played it straight. No tricks, and shipping charges listed in the ads. So, I ordered from them and never had a problem.

Now, 25 years later, they're the most successful of the east coast dealers, and according to their (so-so) Wiki entry, America's largest non-chain camera business.

It makes me believe in the power of good over evil.

I don't care for their extreme religious diligence, and it sounds like the OP had a bizarre shopping experience. But in general, I view B&H as the Good Guys.

friedo
09-16-2010, 07:30 PM
B&H is fucking awesome and the OP is a gigantic retard.

Yeah, their system takes a little getting used to, but it moves the merchandise quickly and efficiently. It also allows you to buy many things from many different departments without having to lug all the shit around. Each department is staffed by experts in that area who can point you to the right product or order up an obscure part from the warehouse and have it delivered directly to the checkout.

Also, their used department gave me a fairly good deal for a bunch of old Leica and Mamiya lenses I had laying around.

dzero
09-16-2010, 07:41 PM
. . . I'm sure J&R (or newegg) will give me just as good of a price.
I deal almost exclusively with newegg - even though I have to pay sales tax since they have warehouse in NJ.

They are not bleeding edge in terms of what they carry, but damned close. When a new line of chips comes out, they may not be the first to have them in stock, but they will within a couple of weeks and at pretty near the 1000 lot price.

You still need to comparison shop for items that are not solidly within their computer-related bailiwick. I grossly overpaid for a couple of desk lamps for example. But they save my invoices back till the beginning of time and they are completely searchable. that has come in handy when reselling computer parts or just trying to figure out where all my money went.

gaffa
09-16-2010, 07:49 PM
It means that a good portion of the NY population is Jewish, and yet this is the first and only general-interest store I've ever seen outside of Borough Park that keeps sabbath hours (I thought it was strange that even their WEBSITE is closed on Saturdays...
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is over four days - Thursday through Sunday. And their very expensive show floor space is roped off on Friday afternoon and closed all day Saturday.

fusoya
09-16-2010, 07:54 PM
Oh, I get it. B&H only wants me as a customer if I buy LOTS of stuff? Go to hell. There's no good reason why you can't have an express lane cashier.

Frank
09-16-2010, 08:44 PM
Yeah, their system takes a little getting used to, but it moves the merchandise quickly and efficiently. It also allows you to buy many things from many different departments without having to lug all the shit around.
It's a catalog showroom then, like the aforementioned Service Merchandise? Right down to demanding your phone and address to sell you a pack of batteries? You know, there's a reason Service Merchandise, and Best, and Paysaver, and etc., and so on are no longer in business.

Vinyl Turnip
09-16-2010, 09:02 PM
I'm still waiting for the OP to explain what this is supposed to mean:

I should have known what I was getting into when I saw that they had a "we're closing early today for Yon Kippur" sign at the entrance.....


Look on the bright side: the longer you wait, the more you can stoke your fire of indignant outrage.

Tamerlane
09-16-2010, 09:04 PM
Best place to shop for camera gear online even if you're only browsing, simply due to the completeness of their photographic inventory ( I've also bought binoculars from them ). They don't always have the absolute best prices, but they're generally competitive and their reputation is sterling. The can be a bit abrupt with "New York manners" on the phone, but I've done 90% of my business with them via the internet and never had any complaints. However I have never set foot in their physical store.

I don't really consider them an electronics store like Best Buy, so much as an optics store that also sells electronics.

Dewey Finn
09-16-2010, 09:19 PM
It means that a good portion of the NY population is Jewish, and yet this is the first and only general-interest store I've ever seen outside of Borough Park that keeps sabbath hours (I thought it was strange that even their WEBSITE is closed on Saturdays), so I knew things were going to be run differently than most NY stores on the inside too. Just like my neighborhood has stores, and then it has the POLISH stores.....
I'm surprised that you're surprised that the store observes the Jewish Sabbath. In my experience, a bunch of the camera and electronics stores in the New York area do so.

Rhythmdvl
09-16-2010, 10:26 PM
I'm still waiting for the OP to explain what this is supposed to mean:

I should have known what I was getting into when I saw that they had a "we're closing early today for Yon Kippur" sign at the entrance.....


That it being this particular holiday meant he wouldn't be getting his smoked Kippur for breakfast.

Finagle
09-16-2010, 10:55 PM
Just use their website next time. Every time I've ordered from them, I've gotten my shipment within two days, and I live near Boston. They're a very reliable photo store with a good reputation.

And yeah, wth is up with the Yom Kippur comment?

Skywatcher
09-16-2010, 11:26 PM
Sounds like a store we had in NY called Service Merchandise, which I think is long out of business. When you wanted something you had to bring a slip to the check out, get a receipt and then go wait for them to send it down the chute where the worker would get it and match it to your receipt. Crazy.Common practice for catalog-based department stores like Service Merchandise, Best Products, and (at least 15 years ago) Sears.

mhendo
09-16-2010, 11:53 PM
I'm surprised that you're surprised that the store observes the Jewish Sabbath. In my experience, a bunch of the camera and electronics stores in the New York area do so.Yep. From the Adorama website:The Adorama Retail Store will be closed for the Sukkoth Holiday from Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 2:30pm and will reopen on Sunday October 3 at 9:30 am.I love B&H, even though i do agree that it would be nice if they had a sort of express area where you could grab small stuff and proceed straight to the checkout with it.

E-Sabbath
09-17-2010, 12:07 AM
Basically, B&H is an evolution of the E J Korvette model. It's just a different kind of system. A catalog warehouse, with clerks up 'front' and a warehouse out back. Little obscure, but given that they're dealing with multiple-thousand dollar items and _really_ high traffic, it works for them.

Jackmannii
09-17-2010, 12:30 AM
I should have known what I was getting into when I saw that they had a "we're closing early today for Yon Kippur" sign at the entrance.....This is why I do all my shopping at Wal-Mart.

Those suckers will be open for the freakin' Apocalypse.

drachillix
09-17-2010, 02:03 AM
Those suckers will be open for the freakin' Apocalypse.

Yeah, unless the apocalypse breaks out in china first in which case Walmart will be empty before we even realize the world has gone to hell.

GuanoLad
09-17-2010, 02:57 AM
But in general, I view B&H as the Good Guys.No. The Good Guys (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Guys_%28Australasia%29) is someone else.

AHunter3
09-17-2010, 05:30 AM
There is or was a similar store sometihing Street Photo (e.g., 42nd Street Photo but I"m not sure that's the right street). Prominently orthodox, very efficient but esoteric purchase process. good prices.

mack
09-17-2010, 07:07 AM
Just use their website next time. Every time I've ordered from them, I've gotten my shipment within two days, and I live near Boston.

I do the same thing, and I live across town. It's just easier than making the trip over there and shipping isn't any more expensive than it would be to get the item to my apartment by other means.

B&H also has excellent pro audio and computer departments. I get most of my electronics and software from there. They have a lot of depth and most of the time they have what I want in stock.

If they do run into trouble it's not going be for lack of sales but because of their labor practices. (http://beta.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2010/aug/31/bh-photo-employees-say-not-everything-picture-perfect/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wnyc%2Fnews%2Flocal%2Frss+%28Local+News+from+WNYC+Radio%29)

The store was sued in 2007 by Hispanic employees who work in the warehouse and were paid less than their Jewish co-workers. The company settled without admitting any wrongdoing, paid out $4.3 million and agreed to regular monitoring by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Currently, seven women are accusing the company of paying female staffers less than their male counterparts -- and reserving the coveted sales positions almost exclusively for men.

Mama Zappa
09-17-2010, 08:25 AM
Sounds like a store we had in NY called Service Merchandise, which I think is long out of business. When you wanted something you had to bring a slip to the check out, get a receipt and then go wait for them to send it down the chute where the worker would get it and match it to your receipt. Crazy.
Yep - I remember the place. They typically had one display item for you to look at, and the actual stock of the item was in the back somewhere.

The OP's description reminds me of the one time we had to have dealings with the Washington DC beaurocracy for parking passes. IIRC, we had to bring our paperwork to one person who looked at it and stamped it. Then to another person who looked at the stamp and took our fee. Then to a third person who gave us the actual parking pass. Fortunately, the time we went it wasn't busy, so none of the lines we were in were more than one or two people deep.

Anyway - I agree, the "system" described by the OP is really messed up. Even if they really really prefer to operate like Service Merchandise did (and with Manhattan real estate prices, a way to have more of their store in unmarketable sub-basements etc. can be a significant savings), there are certainly a lot more steps than are really needed. For example ANY cashier should be able to handle all steps except the physical pickup.

corkboard
09-17-2010, 09:02 AM
Oh, I get it. B&H only wants me as a customer if I buy LOTS of stuff? Go to hell. There's no good reason why you can't have an express lane cashier.

Actually, I'm sure B&H doesn't give a fuck whether you're their customer or not. They've been doing things that way for a long time, and every time I've been in there the store's been very busy. It's the best place to go if you want to actually pick up, feel, use, and sample the product- like a camera. The salespeople are extremely knowledgeable and helpful- try getting anything close to product knowledge from any of the mooks at Best Buy.

And yes, they keep the sabbath. Is that a problem?

Musicat
09-17-2010, 09:25 AM
I'm sure I would feel the same way as the OP if I had that experience; I used to regularly ignore the Radio Shack requests for name & address in a militant manner (I live at 123 Fake Street, Dude, and what's it to ya?). But I have quite an admiration for B&H's online store. They ship fast, they have the best prices for some products, and they have provided useful pre-sale technical help on occasion without high pressure tactics. Their product line is amazing and their big printed catalogs, fun to drool over and good references.

And no, their web site is not closed on the Sabbath, just the order-taking part of it is. Annoying and strange as a business model, but I can live with it. Once I couldn't, and ordered from someone else -- that's the chance they'll have to take if religion intrudes into business.

My understanding is that they don't have an actual POS system - . . .

Actually, the premise of the OP seems to be that their system is a POS.That would be Point Of Sale or Piece Of Shit? :)

Anaamika
09-17-2010, 09:36 AM
Just being annoyed that a business closes for Yom Kippur is not in itself an anti-Semetic comment, as many of you seem to be implying. I myself am ...less than pleased that businesses close for any religious holiday, to be honest. I'm not saying they shouldn't, absolutely not, but I reserve the right to be :dubious: when I see such a thing. Christmas I'll give them a pass since it's become so secular, and everyone needs a winter holiday, even us godlessheathens, but say for Easter? There are lots of people who are willing to work on that day, I'm sure. Hindus and Muslims and buddhists.

As for the store, that would piss me off, too. You don't need my address or my phone #, and I certainly don't want to have to wait five minutes for the thing I could have just carried downstairs. So I for one will say thnak you to the OP - now I can avoid B&H.

Captain Midnight
09-17-2010, 09:58 AM
I did not think any store asked for one's phone number and address anymore after Radio Shack.

The cumbersome ridiculous receipt bullshit you had to go through is pretty much security on their part. There has always been a theft problem in this business, a lot of it, unfortunately comes from employees. (It burns my ass when an employer openly states this fact openly, but it is sadly the truth.) Retail runs on small margins of profit, especially now. So, they will do whatever they can to slightly inconvenience the customer. There are also (I'm sure) certain employees who have the power to get the really expensive shit from the back. Again, internal security.

I wouldn't have too much of a cow giving them my address and my name. I would tell them my phone number is private. If they don't like that, I'll walk. I doubt "in this economy" they will make too much of a stink.

Yom Kippur? Were they all Jewish? Did they try to cheat you? Did they show Woody Allen films in the video department? (I don't like Jews, but hey, Woody rules.) It's New York man. In San Francisco, they close earlier when the Satanists sacrifice a virgin on the alter of Goth. New York aint shit!

E-Sabbath
09-17-2010, 10:55 AM
Anyhow, it's a regionalism. There used to be a lot of stores that had this model in the area. B&H is probably the only survivor I can think of that isn't something like a carpet store or something.

Labrador Deceiver
09-17-2010, 11:04 AM
Anyhow, it's a regionalism. There used to be a lot of stores that had this model in the area. B&H is probably the only survivor I can think of that isn't something like a carpet store or something.

BrandsMart is really big in the Atlanta area. Similar model, but they'll haggle with you. The prices are very hard to beat.

Ann Onimous
09-17-2010, 11:19 AM
It was your first visit, and you're upset because they do things a little differently than any other store? I'm sorry, but I can't understand your outrage.

Furious_Marmot
09-17-2010, 11:21 AM
Having only bought from them online, I have to agree with all the nice things that everybody has said about B&H. Buying in person sounds annoying, but if it allows them to keep prices down, so be it.

As for the bitching about religiously motivated shopping inconvenience, consider Sunday. It's one half of the days off that the average person gets; you'd think that businesses would try to make the most of it. Instead, we get shortened hours or just locked doors, giant traffic jams near churches, and fucked up rules about buying alcohol. When you buy something online on Sunday, does it really get processed and shipped that day? Not usually in my experience. So what's the difference if one company has a different 'nothing gets done' day than most others?

I should've known what I was getting into when I saw that 'closed on Sunday' sign at Chick-Fil-A. Motherfuckers, I just want a chicken sandwich on my day off, not a fucking spiritual revelation!

mhendo
09-17-2010, 12:01 PM
And no, their web site is not closed on the Sabbath, just the order-taking part of it is. Annoying and strange as a business model, but I can live with it. Once I couldn't, and ordered from someone else -- that's the chance they'll have to take if religion intrudes into business.As an atheist, i have no particular interest at all in observing Jewish (or any other religious) holidays, but i actually find it kind of refreshing, in these modern times, that a company is willing to refuse to take people's money at certain times in order to follow the religious or cultural beliefs of its owners and employees.

Hampshire
09-17-2010, 12:13 PM
Didn't it seem odd to you that for every item they sold they only had one on the shelf? Did you think they really only stocked one of each item? Or that after you bought the one off the shelf someone would immediately run in the back room to get another to replace it?
Maybe it's just me but if I was shopping and there were no stock of items lying around it would kind of set off a common sense flag that it may be a showroom/warehouse setup.

Diogenes the Cynic
09-17-2010, 12:14 PM
What's refreshing about it? I find it annoying, as a customer, to be deprived of the ability to buy something I want because of someone else's religious beliefs. Do you also find it refreshing not to be able to buy beer on sundays?

Vinyl Turnip
09-17-2010, 12:20 PM
BrandsMart is really big in the Atlanta area. Similar model, but they'll haggle with you. The prices are very hard to beat.

I went into a BrandsMart to buy a battery one day. It was my first, and will be my last visit. It was the architectural equivalent of a migraine headache: a deafening, phantasmagoric nightmare in day-glo orange and neon blue. I wouldn't go back inside the place if it were hailing fireballs outside. What a horrible, inhuman experience.

suranyi
09-17-2010, 01:33 PM
What's refreshing about it? I find it annoying, as a customer, to be deprived of the ability to buy something I want because of someone else's religious beliefs. Do you also find it refreshing not to be able to buy beer on sundays?

Then shop somewhere else on Saturday. Nobody's forcing you to buy there. Store owners can close their store on any day they like, for any reason they like.

mhendo
09-17-2010, 01:49 PM
What's refreshing about it? I find it annoying, as a customer, to be deprived of the ability to buy something I want because of someone else's religious beliefs. Do you also find it refreshing not to be able to buy beer on sundays?
If my ability to buy beer on Sundays is curbed by government-mandated "blue" laws or other state-imposed restrictions, then i find it annoying. But this is different.

If private business owners, for whatever cultural or personal reason (be it religious or secular), decide that they want to close their business in order to actually have a life and to do the things that are important to them, then i say good luck to them.

In a world where so much is driven by money and by a consumer mentality of "I should be able to have whatever i want whenever i want it," i actually do find the willingness to put personal principles and beliefs before money to be somewhat refreshing.

Vinyl Turnip
09-17-2010, 02:23 PM
Then shop somewhere else on Saturday. Nobody's forcing you to buy there. Store owners can close their store on any day they like, for any reason they like.

That's all well understood. Is he allowed to find it annoying, though?

Just asking, because I find it annoying sometimes and I'd hate to be breaking any kind of rule by giving my opinion.

elmwood
09-17-2010, 02:26 PM
What's refreshing about it? I find it annoying, as a customer, to be deprived of the ability to buy something I want because of someone else's religious beliefs. Do you also find it refreshing not to be able to buy beer on sundays?

Blue laws are mandated by a state, county or local government. Sabbath hours are established by the business itself, and not mandated by the state.

elmwood
09-17-2010, 02:34 PM
The OP's description reminds me of the one time we had to have dealings with the Washington DC beaurocracy for parking passes. IIRC, we had to bring our paperwork to one person who looked at it and stamped it. Then to another person who looked at the stamp and took our fee. Then to a third person who gave us the actual parking pass. Fortunately, the time we went it wasn't busy, so none of the lines we were in were more than one or two people deep.

There was a hotdog stand that used to be in suburban Buffalo that had an ordering system that seemed quite .... well, Soviet. You ordered hot dogs in one window. You picked them up in another window. French fries and onion rings - another two windows for ordering and pickup. Soft drinks - same thing. After you got everything, you carried the tray to yet another window, and paid for it. The old farts in the area are actually nostalgic for the place, fondly recalling that place on Sheridan Drive where one had to go through seven steps just to get a hot dog, fries and a Coke.

alphaboi867
09-17-2010, 03:05 PM
It sounds like the OP went a department store in the Soviet Union. One line to select merchandise, another to pay for it, and a 3rd to actually receive it. Counter service all the way. :dubious: Which makes sense; if your goal is to employ as many people as possible with busywork.

IvoryTowerDenizen
09-17-2010, 03:14 PM
The OP's description reminds me of the one time we had to have dealings with the Washington DC beaurocracy for parking passes. IIRC, we had to bring our paperwork to one person who looked at it and stamped it. Then to another person who looked at the stamp and took our fee. Then to a third person who gave us the actual parking pass. Fortunately, the time we went it wasn't busy, so none of the lines we were in were more than one or two people deep.

There was a hotdog stand that used to be in suburban Buffalo that had an ordering system that seemed quite .... well, Soviet. You ordered hot dogs in one window. You picked them up in another window. French fries and onion rings - another two windows for ordering and pickup. Soft drinks - same thing. After you got everything, you carried the tray to yet another window, and paid for it. The old farts in the area are actually nostalgic for the place, fondly recalling that place on Sheridan Drive where one had to go through seven steps just to get a hot dog, fries and a Coke.

The one across from the Putt Putt? Ted's, I think???

mhendo
09-17-2010, 04:05 PM
That's all well understood. Is he allowed to find it annoying, though?

Just asking, because I find it annoying sometimes and I'd hate to be breaking any kind of rule by giving my opinion.He's welcome to find it annoying.

But remember, his first contribution was in that post was a response to my post, in which he said: "What's refreshing about it?"

I assume, if he's allowed to find it annoying, i'm allowed to find it refreshing.

He also drew an inappropriate and irrelevant comparison between government-mandated blue laws, on the one hand, and the personal decisions of a private business owner, on the other.

mhendo
09-17-2010, 04:06 PM
It sounds like the OP went a department store in the Soviet Union. One line to select merchandise, another to pay for it, and a 3rd to actually receive it. Counter service all the way. :dubious: Which makes sense; if your goal is to employ as many people as possible with busywork.Actually, if you would step inside B&H and just watch how many people they serve, and how efficiently the system runs, i think you'd probably rescind your silly comparison.

One good thing about the system is that it reserves most of the fairly simple, procedural work for staff members with an appropriate level of training, leaving the more expert staff members more time to spend actually helping customers with technical and other product selection issues. The camera people who work there really know their shit, and while i've never purchased a computer or a television from them, i've heard others say that the computer and electronics people also know what they're talking about.

If you want a store where every employee is simply an interchangeable cog in a machine, equally (in)capable of ringing up your sale and telling you about the specs of the latest piece of gadgetry, you can always go to Best Buy.

IvoryTowerDenizen
09-17-2010, 05:02 PM
What's refreshing about it? I find it annoying, as a customer, to be deprived of the ability to buy something I want because of someone else's religious beliefs. Do you also find it refreshing not to be able to buy beer on sundays?

This happens every day to non-Christians in the country!

Saturday is my sabbath, so if I want to do my weekend shopping I am limited to stores that are open on Sunday or break my sabbath. My favorite shoe store has a sign on it's door on Sunday's saying "closed- Sunday is for families". Well, not my family! I deal with this all the time. Hell, my ability to celebrate just about every holiday I have is influenced by other people's religions (my kids have an Easter break, but not Passover; Good Friday off, but not Rosh Hashana etc). So I deal with it and get along with my life. So can you.

SirRay
09-17-2010, 05:40 PM
you can always go to Best Buy.
No, "You Go To B&H!" (I only heard that commercial a few thousand times).
Us New Yorkers got used to Sabbath hours (well, I did anyway) via 47th St. Photo back in the '80s (they even had a branch in East Meadow, Long Island, near enough for me to pick up then (kinda) state-of-the-art computer components at (kinda) reasonable prices. I think they did have a few women working the counters at that location. I don't remember their Manhattan store operation that well, but I think it a bit convoluted like B&H.
Now I understand that 47th St Photo is still around, but as a shell of it's former self (the East Meadow branch closed over a decade ago, probably longer) and B&H is top dog.

Dewey Finn
09-17-2010, 05:48 PM
Even earlier than that, my father shopped at Willoughby's back in the 1970s. I think J&R Music World observes the Sabbath. Even the upstate New York (well, around Kingston) electronics store from which I bought a short-wave radio back in the mid-90s observed the Sabbath. My point is that I don't know why this is such a surprise to the OP.

Zebra
09-17-2010, 07:55 PM
It sounds like the OP went a department store in the Soviet Union. One line to select merchandise, another to pay for it, and a 3rd to actually receive it. Counter service all the way. :dubious: Which makes sense; if your goal is to employ as many people as possible with busywork.Actually, if you would step inside B&H and just watch how many people they serve, and how efficiently the system runs, i think you'd probably rescind your silly comparison.

One good thing about the system is that it reserves most of the fairly simple, procedural work for staff members with an appropriate level of training, leaving the more expert staff members more time to spend actually helping customers with technical and other product selection issues. The camera people who work there really know their shit, and while i've never purchased a computer or a television from them, i've heard others say that the computer and electronics people also know what they're talking about.

If you want a store where every employee is simply an interchangeable cog in a machine, equally (in)capable of ringing up your sale and telling you about the specs of the latest piece of gadgetry, you can always go to Best Buy.


Bingo. This is why B&H is Mecca for photographers.

The system is different but I'm willing to bet that they lose very little to shoplifting or employee theft. I shop there often and they have never screwed up and gave me the wrong stuff. It's also very nice to say go in and pick out the film you want, then browse the lighting equipment and such only to pick out a some gels a half hour later. But get a slip for the gels, go to the very fast and efficient (and frequently female) cashiers and when you pick up your stuff it is all together.

Adorama keeps the same hours as B&H but isn't completely like B&H in inventory control. Some items you pick up and take the register, some you don't.

gaffa
09-17-2010, 08:40 PM
Bingo. This is why B&H is Mecca for photographers.
Mecca? I thought they were all Jews.

I've bought from B&H and I get two of their catalogs in the mail, the Pro Video and Pro Audio ones, and they are huge. I'd be shocked if they have less than a million different SKUs. They have BluRay discs, but they also have $94,000 broadcast cameras. (http://bhphotovideo.com/c/product/638987-REG/Sony_HDC1500444SFT.html) So their system is optimized for the person who is buying the thing that costs $2000 rather than the thing that costs $20. Their system works great is you are buying a whole bunch of stuff.

fusoya
09-17-2010, 08:48 PM
Didn't it seem odd to you that for every item they sold they only had one on the shelf? Did you think they really only stocked one of each item? Or that after you bought the one off the shelf someone would immediately run in the back room to get another to replace it?
Maybe it's just me but if I was shopping and there were no stock of items lying around it would kind of set off a common sense flag that it may be a showroom/warehouse setup.

No, it didn't seem odd, because that wasn't the case. There were actually SEVERAL of all of their brands of blank media in that section (with an empty metal rack for the Maxell BD-R DL discs I originally came in there to buy). They obviously keep their stock of those products on the floor, rather than in a back room. If I only saw one of each, or they had an empty box, or it was behind glass, then I would have expected the actual products to be kept off the floor.

Also, for those of you who are trying to turn this thread into an anti-religious business rant, that's not what I meant by my comment. It is, at least in my personal experience, EXTREMELY unusual for any stores or businesses in NYC to close on Jewish holidays, unless it's in a predominately Jewish neighborhood. B&H is across the street from Penn Station in midtown.....if you want to turn this into a "oooh, fusoya's an anti-semite!" then let me ask why those gold-loving Jews would actually close down such a popular store on such big shopping days in the first place, and lose even MORE sales?

But no, this rant is just about how shopper unfriendly their piece of shit POS system is, particularly for products which are NOT stocked in a back room.

Ludovic
09-17-2010, 09:01 PM
What's refreshing about it? I find it annoying, as a customer, to be deprived of the ability to buy something I want because of someone else's religious beliefs. Do you also find it refreshing not to be able to buy beer on sundays?

This happens every day to non-Christians in the country!

Well, that changes EVERYTHING! If it happens to non-Christians too, I guess it's okay!

elmwood
09-17-2010, 09:15 PM
The one across from the Putt Putt? Ted's, I think???

Pat's, which is long gone.. Ted's just requires you to order your hot dogs, fries and pop separately; you pick them up and pay for them all at once.

IvoryTowerDenizen
09-17-2010, 09:32 PM
The one across from the Putt Putt? Ted's, I think???

Pat's, which is long gone.. Ted's just requires you to order your hot dogs, fries and pop separately; you pick them up and pay for them all at once.

Pat's, that's right!- I knew Ted's was gone. I loved Pat's!

E-Sabbath
09-18-2010, 03:47 AM
Well, it's your right to be annoyed. I suggest you not be so annoyed, though. Relax, move a little slower, explore the store a bit. It all works pretty okay.

Captain Midnight
09-18-2010, 04:27 AM
Having only bought from them online, I have to agree with all the nice things that everybody has said about B&H. Buying in person sounds annoying, but if it allows them to keep prices down, so be it.

As for the bitching about religiously motivated shopping inconvenience, consider Sunday. It's one half of the days off that the average person gets; you'd think that businesses would try to make the most of it. Instead, we get shortened hours or just locked doors, giant traffic jams near churches, and fucked up rules about buying alcohol. When you buy something online on Sunday, does it really get processed and shipped that day? Not usually in my experience. So what's the difference if one company has a different 'nothing gets done' day than most others?

I should've known what I was getting into when I saw that 'closed on Sunday' sign at Chick-Fil-A. Motherfuckers, I just want a chicken sandwich on my day off, not a fucking spiritual revelation!

I hate Sundays in the USa because of that, but I think it is changing a bit. But I do remember as a kid wanting one night to go to the mall, only to remind myself that it is Sunday and they are closed.

I have never understood why people like Chick Fil-a so much. Being closed on Sunday might be an inconvience to you, but it's nice that their workers get that day off. Usually people who work in retail and fast food are always working, with one day off or less, so it is good that they close.

Hampshire
09-18-2010, 10:51 AM
Didn't it seem odd to you that for every item they sold they only had one on the shelf?

No, it didn't seem odd, because that wasn't the case. There were actually SEVERAL of all of their brands of blank media in that section (with an empty metal rack for the Maxell BD-R DL discs I originally came in there to buy). They obviously keep their stock of those products on the floor, rather than in a back room. If I only saw one of each, or they had an empty box, or it was behind glass, then I would have expected the actual products to be kept off the floor.
.

That seems pretty lame then. Why stock your inventory on the display floor if customers can't buy from it?

fusoya
09-18-2010, 10:57 AM
I'm glad SOMEBODY finally sees what I'm BBQing here.

Zebra
09-18-2010, 11:31 AM
Because it is a HIGH VOLUME store. They had what, a half dozen on the shelf. They probably sell 10 times that in a day. So you either have people restocking shelves all day, getting in people's way or you go pull it from the stock room and hand it to them on their way out.

The check out process is shorter than Best Buy.

And if you don't like it. If you don't like that the owners practice their religion. GO SHOP SOMEPLACE ELSE! THE CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT!

Michael Ellis
09-18-2010, 12:02 PM
What's refreshing about it? I find it annoying, as a customer, to be deprived of the ability to buy something I want because of someone else's religious beliefs. Do you also find it refreshing not to be able to buy beer on sundays?

Oh shut the fuck up.

D_Odds
09-19-2010, 08:23 AM
Because it is a HIGH VOLUME store. They had what, a half dozen on the shelf. They probably sell 10 times that in a day. So you either have people restocking shelves all day, getting in people's way or you go pull it from the stock room and hand it to them on their way out.

The check out process is shorter than Best Buy.

And if you don't like it. If you don't like that the owners practice their religion. GO SHOP SOMEPLACE ELSE! THE CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT!While I agree that "the customer is not always right (http://notalwaysright.com/)", it doesn't apply here. He went to a shop once, was inconvenienced by intrusive questions and a check-out procedure that didn't make much sense. He ranted about it, and will likely never return (which means he will shop somewhere else). I'm a NY, I've passed B&H countless times but have never entered the store (I used to go to J&R when I worked downtown though). If that is how they handle small purchases, I doubt I'll ever shop there. Better that I know about it now, else I would have also been annoyed if I went to pick up a USB drive or some other inexpensive quick item. Maybe if I was into cameras, binoculars, state-of-the-art audio or something like that, I might consider jumping through the hoops, but I'm not. Obviously, the model works for B&H, but it doesn't work for every casual shopper.

As an aside, one of the reasons B&H has remained in business is that they are not outright crooks, like many of there brethren electronic stores (especially in Brooklyn) were (employment policies notwithstanding). Bait and switch, incomplete packages (such as digital cameras where you had to buy the battery, charger and initial memory card separate), and false items were the norm at many places. But they observed Sabbath, which just goes to show that religious != moral.

Zebra
09-20-2010, 03:50 AM
But which sabbath did they observe? Saturday, like B&H, or Sunday like the Pope?

His rant was basically, things happened that were very minor inconveniences and it was different than I expected, based on other stores. In other words, he was ignorant of how B&H works. He was ranting that his ignorance was fought. Which means he isn't really a doper now does it.

B&H works. It really does. Yes it is a surprise the first time but my God it is so fucking superior to every other store of its kind it is ridiculous. If you and fusoya want to stay away. Fine. It is your loss.

henryp
09-20-2010, 10:22 AM
Today for the first (and LAST!) time, I went to B&H (http://bhphotovideo.com)
We certainly regret having disappointed you and regret this encounter stirred so much vehemence. B&H has maintained the same (possible unique) in-store shopping experience for decades, dating back to our 17th St store which was too small to have anything out on display in any quantities at all. We appreciate this may be unique and know it's certainly not the same as shopping at Macy's or The Gap, but it's been effective for us and for the majority of our millions of customers.

We do close every Friday afternoon and all day Saturday and were closed all day 9/17 in anticipation of Yom Kippur. We do take the purchase portion of our site offline during Sabbath and holidays with Sabbath-like observance requirements and make every possible effort to alert customers to this as far in advance as is practical.

An aside to those who spoke favorably about us, particularly "Zebra," "Musicat," & "mhendo" -- thank you.

We do ask customers for name & phone number info, but it's not required. It's a convenience allowing us to match a current purchase to a customer's purchase history to facilitate any future store-customer interaction.

We have sales associates, not clerks, and many are (like me) drawn from the ranks of professionals in our fields and bring years (20+ in my case) of experience to the task. This helps each sales associate better assist each customer individually. BTW, none is paid commission. We'd rather a suggestion one makes to a customer be based on what seems best for that particular customer, not for the employee's pay envelope.

BTW, we will be closed for several days during September. Our autumn holiday schedule:
http://bhphotovideo.com/find/HolidayPopUp2010.jsp

E-Sabbath
09-20-2010, 10:43 AM
Welcome, Mr. Posner, and have a good day. Do poke around the forum if you have the time, perhaps you'll find something of personal interest.

D_Odds
09-20-2010, 11:02 AM
But which sabbath did they observe? Saturday, like B&H, or Sunday like the Pope?The majority of the crooked Brooklyn electronics shops observed Saturday sabbath.
His rant was basically, things happened that were very minor inconveniences and it was different than I expected, based on other stores. In other words, he was ignorant of how B&H works. He was ranting that his ignorance was fought. Which means he isn't really a doper now does it.That is an...interesting...take on the rant in the last two sentences. Let's just say my mileage varies on the interpretation.
B&H works. It really does. Yes it is a surprise the first time but my God it is so fucking superior to every other store of its kind it is ridiculous. If you and fusoya want to stay away. Fine. It is your loss."You can't please all of the people all of the time.' I've lived in this town for over 4 decades and have never had a need nor desire to visit B&H (same can be said for Saks 5th Avenue and other world famous shops). I certainly don't think of it as my loss. I do think that for a small, quick purchase, I wouldn't want to go through that. If I were an audiophile or photographer or astronomer, B&H sounds like a place I might like to go. But even when buying an item like a LCD TV, Consumer Reports and a few other sites will give me the price/performance information I need to make a buying decision (and if B&H has the best deal, I wouldn't avoid shopping there).

Furious_Marmot
09-20-2010, 12:04 PM
I hate Sundays in the USa because of that, but I think it is changing a bit. But I do remember as a kid wanting one night to go to the mall, only to remind myself that it is Sunday and they are closed.

I have never understood why people like Chick Fil-a so much. Being closed on Sunday might be an inconvience to you, but it's nice that their workers get that day off. Usually people who work in retail and fast food are always working, with one day off or less, so it is good that they close.

I worked for 8 years as an hourly employee on the pizza delivery side of the fast food industry, and I must respectfully disagree with you. While there are some people who enjoy having a set day off, the majority of hourly employees liked the scheduling flexibility and opportunity to work more hours that an open 7 days a week store had. The few occasions that the store was closed due to power outage, most of us were bummed out by the lost opportunity to make money.

I also never met a manager who was unwilling to work around people's schedule restrictions due to family, school, or other job obligations, or advance requests for days (or sometimes weeks) off. Similarly, there is typically a lot of shift swapping going on at a fast food place.

Guinastasia
09-20-2010, 12:38 PM
Yom Kippur? Were they all Jewish? Did they try to cheat you? Did they show Woody Allen films in the video department? (I don't like Jews, but hey, Woody rules.)

Wow, I'm shocked. :rolleyes:

gaffa
09-20-2010, 06:11 PM
Today for the first (and LAST!) time, I went to B&H (http://bhphotovideo.com)
We certainly regret having disappointed you and regret this encounter stirred so much vehemence. B&H has maintained the same (possible unique) in-store shopping experience for decades, dating back to our 17th St store which was too small to have anything out on display in any quantities at all. We appreciate this may be unique and know it's certainly not the same as shopping at Macy's or The Gap, but it's been effective for us and for the majority of our millions of customers.

We do close every Friday afternoon and all day Saturday and were closed all day 9/17 in anticipation of Yom Kippur. We do take the purchase portion of our site offline during Sabbath and holidays with Sabbath-like observance requirements and make every possible effort to alert customers to this as far in advance as is practical.

An aside to those who spoke favorably about us, particularly "Zebra," "Musicat," & "mhendo" -- thank you.

We do ask customers for name & phone number info, but it's not required. It's a convenience allowing us to match a current purchase to a customer's purchase history to facilitate any future store-customer interaction.

We have sales associates, not clerks, and many are (like me) drawn from the ranks of professionals in our fields and bring years (20+ in my case) of experience to the task. This helps each sales associate better assist each customer individually. BTW, none is paid commission. We'd rather a suggestion one makes to a customer be based on what seems best for that particular customer, not for the employee's pay envelope.

BTW, we will be closed for several days during September. Our autumn holiday schedule:
http://bhphotovideo.com/find/HolidayPopUp2010.jsp

I have to say, this is the first time I've seen someone from a store being Pitted come in an explain their position. Maybe it has happened, but I haven't seen it. I'll second D_Odds:

As an aside, one of the reasons B&H has remained in business is that they are not outright crooks, like many of there brethren electronic stores (especially in Brooklyn) were (employment policies notwithstanding). Bait and switch, incomplete packages (such as digital cameras where you had to buy the battery, charger and initial memory card separate), and false items were the norm at many places.
I've never fallen for those guys, but friends have. "Oh, you want the manual? That's part of the Deluxe Package, along with the power cord, remote and everything else." The OP should consider this a valuable life lesson "B&H is not the neighborhood bodega and has a system optimized for large quantities". In the same way you wouldn't expect the neighborhood store to be able to handle a whole shopping cart filled with $300 worth of groceries easily, B&H is not the place to buy a single spindle of blank discs.

Southern Yankee
09-20-2010, 07:04 PM
Today for the first (and LAST!) time, I went to B&H (http://bhphotovideo.com)
We certainly regret having disappointed you and regret this encounter stirred so much vehemence... [/I].


Since henryp's join date is July, 2010 he seems to have predated this thread. Perhaps it is a lucky coincidence that we have a member who is part of the organization being pitted. I think that would be very cool. If Mr. Posner is checking this thread it would be great to hear of he joined for other reasons and just happened upon this thread.

friedo
09-20-2010, 07:24 PM
Since henryp's join date is July, 2010 he seems to have predated this thread. Perhaps it is a lucky coincidence that we have a member who is part of the organization being pitted. I think that would be very cool. If Mr. Posner is checking this thread it would be great to hear of he joined for other reasons and just happened upon this thread.

I've seen henryp around before, posting very useful advice in some camera threads.

dzero
09-20-2010, 07:27 PM
I think closing Friday early and all day Saturday is fine. But then shouldn't you open up Saturday night? Especially in the winter around xmas when the sun seems to set at around noon. Seriously, for at least a month before and after the solstice . . . umm, xmas . . . umm, solstice, you could reopen at around 5pm and have at least 4-5 hours of productive shopping time.

Personally, I think y'all are just milking it and hoping you can get g*d to take the rap.

I'm kidding - but only about the last part. :cool: :D

E-Sabbath
09-21-2010, 03:30 AM
In that case, it's 'just' an example of what you go to B&H for. Experts who know what they're doing and are actually interested in their field.

Thanks for being around, henryp.

matt_mcl
09-21-2010, 04:23 AM
Coming at it from a complete outsider's perspective, that system strikes me as super, super weird. It reminds me of a store we used to have up here called Consumer's Distributing... they went out of business fifteen years ago.

But then, this *is* New York, where if you're one in a million, there are ten of you.

Southern Yankee
09-21-2010, 06:40 AM
Coming at it from a complete outsider's perspective, that system strikes me as super, super weird. It reminds me of a store we used to have up here called Consumer's Distributing... they went out of business fifteen years ago.

But then, this *is* New York, where if you're one in a million, there are ten of you.

Consumer's Distributing (or Distributors IIRC) and Service Merchandise were very similar retail models, but not anything really like B&H at all. The main difference is that B&H has sales people that are very well-trained/educated in their field and they sell high-end equipment. I'm not saying their system isn't a little odd compared to other retailers, but it's not a good comparison with the other catalog stores like SM and CD.

panache45
09-21-2010, 07:19 AM
What's refreshing about it? I find it annoying, as a customer, to be deprived of the ability to buy something I want because of someone else's religious beliefs. Do you also find it refreshing not to be able to buy beer on sundays?

Come on, I know you're not stupid enough not to see the difference.

And for the record, I've bought (on line) from B&H for many years, without a problem.

henryp
09-21-2010, 11:21 AM
We certainly regret having disappointed you and regret this encounter stirred so much vehemence... [/i].


Since henryp's join date is July, 2010 he seems to have predated this thread. Perhaps it is a lucky coincidence that we have a member who is part of the organization being pitted. I think that would be very cool. If Mr. Posner is checking this thread it would be great to hear of he joined for other reasons and just happened upon this thread.

I am forced to confess i do not recall what first attracted my attention to this forum. I do know it was a Google alert that brought me to this particular thread.

FWIW I have been online for B&H for 15 years or more. I date back to the era when CompuServe was where the internet cognoscenti hung out, when AOL was the new kid on the block and when Prodigy first offered Netscape Navigator to its members. Back then there were few forums and Usenet newsgroups were where conversations like this one played out. I know I joined dpreview during January 2000 and my first photo.net post was dated Mar 1998.

fusoya
09-21-2010, 11:40 AM
We do ask customers for name & phone number info, but it's not required. It's a convenience allowing us to match a current purchase to a customer's purchase history to facilitate any future store-customer interaction.

The sales associate in the computer section who I originally brought the package of discs to told me it WAS required to complete the sale. Rather than walk out (sorry, but I get enough circulars and random sales phone calls as it is), I gave a fake number and address.

B&H may be a great place if I want to buy a $3000 camera, but they still won't be getting any sub-$500 sales from me in the future. And it sounds to me like that doesn't matter to them anyway.

Telemark
09-21-2010, 01:00 PM
B&H may be a great place if I want to buy a $3000 camera, but they still won't be getting any sub-$500 sales from me in the future. And it sounds to me like that doesn't matter to them anyway.
They get all my business, online and very efficiently.

scr4
09-21-2010, 01:05 PM
I still think it's annoying that they shut down the online ordering system for holidays. Why can't they just record the transaction, with the disclaimer that they won't be processed until the next business day?

Of course it's their own choice, but they've lost a lot of business from me for this. I still order from them occasionally, but more often I'd just go to another web site rather than wait for the B&H site to start taking orders again. I bought more from them back when we used the fax machine for most mail-order, and I could fax them an order form any time, any day.

E-Sabbath
09-21-2010, 11:45 PM
I think they can't record parts of your credit card number, if they're not doing the transaction instantly. Credit card rules. No storing certain information.

MegaBee
09-22-2010, 07:08 AM
B&H may be a great place if I want to buy a $3000 camera, but they still won't be getting any sub-$500 sales from me in the future. And it sounds to me like that doesn't matter to them anyway.
They get all my business, online and very efficiently.

Same here, and they're the first place I recommend to people looking to purchase photography equipment.

henryp
09-22-2010, 10:51 AM
The sales associate in the computer section who I originally brought the package of discs to told me it WAS required to complete the sale. Rather than walk out (sorry, but I get enough circulars and random sales phone calls as it is), I gave a fake number and address.
He was mistaken. I am sorry. If I am able to identify your transaction I will know who here misinformed you and he or she and the sales manager can review this so we do not repeat this error.

B&H may be a great place if I want to buy a $3000 camera, but they still won't be getting any sub-$500 sales from me in the future. And it sounds to me like that doesn't matter to them anyway.
I may be biased but I think B&H is an equally great place to buy either a $3000 camera or any sub-$500 item you may want. YMMV. And, based on many things, not least of which are the gratifying comments from others and my participation in this thread I think it's obvious it DOES matter to us.

I still think it's annoying that they shut down the online ordering system for holidays. Why can't they just record the transaction, with the disclaimer that they won't be processed until the next business day?
We're moving in that direction but until then we're obliged to block online orders during the Jewish Sabbath (Friday sundown through Saturday sundown) and for any other Jewish holiday with Sabbath-like observation requirements.

I think they can't record parts of your credit card number...
Quite right. The three or four digit non-embossed security code printed (usually) on the back, which is not part of the actual account number, may not be retained.

Spoons
09-22-2010, 02:22 PM
Coming at it from a complete outsider's perspective, that system strikes me as super, super weird. It reminds me of a store we used to have up here called Consumer's Distributing... they went out of business fifteen years ago.Consumer's Distributing was my thought too, as I read the thread. I don't know whether CD went under because of the inconvenience of buying things from them (and long ago, weren't they a place you had to have a membership?), or whether they just couldn't compete on price. But I'd guess that when even the Liquor Control Board of Ontario moved away from that retailing model, CD's days were numbered. In Ontario, at least.

I wonder if this kind of business retail model is common in the electronics (etc.) field. I recall needing some parts for project I was working on some years ago, and finding that the only electronics place in the Toronto area where I could get the particular items I needed had a retail desk whose weekday hours meant that I could only get there on Saturdays. And on Saturdays, they were only open between 10 a.m. and noon. And it was much as described here: order at counter A, pay at counter B, pick up at counter C. They could do it, I guess, because they were the only place in town where certain parts were available; and in fairness, their counter staff was quite knowledgeable. But it was, at times, quite inconvenient.

bdgr
09-23-2010, 07:24 AM
Today for the first (and LAST!) time, I went to B&H (http://bhphotovideo.com)
We certainly regret having disappointed you and regret this encounter stirred so much vehemence. B&H has maintained the same (possible unique) in-store shopping experience for decades, dating back to our 17th St store which was too small to have anything out on display in any quantities at all. We appreciate this may be unique and know it's certainly not the same as shopping at Macy's or The Gap, but it's been effective for us and for the majority of our millions of customers.

We do close every Friday afternoon and all day Saturday and were closed all day 9/17 in anticipation of Yom Kippur. We do take the purchase portion of our site offline during Sabbath and holidays with Sabbath-like observance requirements and make every possible effort to alert customers to this as far in advance as is practical.

An aside to those who spoke favorably about us, particularly "Zebra," "Musicat," & "mhendo" -- thank you.

We do ask customers for name & phone number info, but it's not required. It's a convenience allowing us to match a current purchase to a customer's purchase history to facilitate any future store-customer interaction.



Good to see ya here, Henry. I had to look twice to see if I was logged in to Fredmiranda instead of the dope.

Love B&H. You guys always do great for me.

bdgr
09-23-2010, 07:31 AM
I think they can't record parts of your credit card number, if they're not doing the transaction instantly. Credit card rules. No storing certain information.

I ran into the same problem with the coffee roasting business I had. My shopping cart system stored the cvv, and I ran the cards manually when i came into the store in the morning. but they credit card companies took offense at that, had to switch to a gateway system (more expensive per order).

Shecky
09-23-2010, 08:03 AM
Bought 3 things from them. grey market every time. Didn't care in the slightest.

Agent Foxtrot
09-23-2010, 09:54 AM
What's refreshing about it? I find it annoying, as a customer, to be deprived of the ability to buy something I want because of someone else's religious beliefs. Do you also find it refreshing not to be able to buy beer on sundays?
If my ability to buy beer on Sundays is curbed by government-mandated "blue" laws or other state-imposed restrictions, then i find it annoying. But this is different.

If private business owners, for whatever cultural or personal reason (be it religious or secular), decide that they want to close their business in order to actually have a life and to do the things that are important to them, then i say good luck to them.

In a world where so much is driven by money and by a consumer mentality of "I should be able to have whatever i want whenever i want it," i actually do find the willingness to put personal principles and beliefs before money to be somewhat refreshing.Agreed. This is one of the reasons I love Chick-Fil-A, aside from the fact (not opinion, fact) that their food is so good. The entire chain is closed on Sundays, since the owners are Mormon, and I really admire a company that is willing to sacrifice profits for their principles, whether I agree with them or not. I'm inconvenienced, yes, but I can wait a day to eat a chicken sandwich.

Onomatopoeia
09-23-2010, 01:15 PM
The main issue I have with places like B&H, which I've been to twice, and Adorama, which I've never been to but purchased from over the phone, is that they're rude to customers.

I needed a tripod case of specific, non standard dimensions, but had difficulty finding an outlet that sold it. Adorama's website showed the one I wanted. To be sure it was in stock, I called their consumer sales number and placed an order over the phone. The gentleman I spoke to was, let's say, brusk, but hey, I was finally getting my case so I was happy. When I received it a number of days later, it was the wrong model, which I guess I could have lived with, but it was also the wrong size, so my tripod wouldn't fit.

I called Adorama to send the case back and order a replacement. First, I was called a liar when I told them the model I ordered and the model I received. The rep then verified the model number and found the discrepancy...but didn't apologize for the mistake, or for disputing me. He then issued an RMA, but said I'd have to pay to ship the merchandise back. I asked to speak with his supervisor, but he said "I'm a supervisor." :rolleyes: He ultimately let me speak with someone else who authorized the RMA and prepaid UPS pickup, but made it seem as though I was stealing from them. Needless to say I didn't order a replacement case from them.

The upshot to this story is I subsequently found the case I wanted on Amazon's website, which I ordered. When I received it, it was the model and size I wanted, and it was shipped from, you guessed it, Adorama.

As far as B&H is concerned, I will never shop there again. Yeah, they have almost everything, but I guess you have to be willing to spend big bucks before they will treat you like a human being. Don't go there looking for a replacement camera battery, for example. Oh, they have them, but unless you also want to buy a DSLR you will be treated like scum and an absolute waste of their time. Hate them, and their stupid, archaic, Radio Shack rules. Do you really need my address for a $4.99 battery I'm paying cash for and can't return?

Bosstone
09-23-2010, 01:25 PM
Agreed. This is one of the reasons I love Chick-Fil-A, aside from the fact (not opinion, fact) that their food is so good. The entire chain is closed on Sundays, since the owners are Mormon, and I really admire a company that is willing to sacrifice profits for their principles, whether I agree with them or not. I'm inconvenienced, yes, but I can wait a day to eat a chicken sandwich.This is a dangerous line of reasoning if there's nothing more to it. It applies as equally to businesses that won't serve, let's say gay people, as to businesses that close down for religious reasons. They're standing on their principles, after all, even when denying a sale.

Onomatopoeia
09-23-2010, 01:31 PM
Agreed. This is one of the reasons I love Chick-Fil-A, aside from the fact (not opinion, fact) that their food is so good. The entire chain is closed on Sundays, since the owners are Mormon, and I really admire a company that is willing to sacrifice profits for their principles, whether I agree with them or not. I'm inconvenienced, yes, but I can wait a day to eat a chicken sandwich.Hahahah. I laugh. I can understand if you personally like Chick-Fil-A. I mean, people like haggis, so go figure. But to say that it is a fact that Chick-Fil-A's chicken is good, well, I think that calls for a comparative demonstration. I'm no chicken connoisseur, but I have had Chick-Fil-A a few times and it wasn't all that great. I'd rate it on par with Popeye's or KFC, which I also have no love for, but that's just me.

gotpasswords
09-23-2010, 09:02 PM
FWIW I have been online for B&H for 15 years or more. I date back to the era when CompuServe was where the internet cognoscenti hung out, when AOL was the new kid on the block and when Prodigy first offered Netscape Navigator to its members. Back then there were few forums and Usenet newsgroups were where conversations like this one played out. I know I joined dpreview during January 2000 and my first photo.net post was dated Mar 1998.
I thought your name looked familiar. I used to be on the CIS Photoforum as well, many, many years ago when the earth's crust was still cooling and user IDs were long strings of numbers with commas.

And add me to the apparently short list of people here that have had multiple happy experiences with B&H even when buying something as cheap and mundane as a tripod head or one bulk spool of T-Max.

bdgr
09-24-2010, 02:56 AM
.

As far as B&H is concerned, I will never shop there again. Yeah, they have almost everything, but I guess you have to be willing to spend big bucks before they will treat you like a human being. Don't go there looking for a replacement camera battery, for example. Oh, they have them, but unless you also want to buy a DSLR you will be treated like scum and an absolute waste of their time. Hate them, and their stupid, archaic, Radio Shack rules. Do you really need my address for a $4.99 battery I'm paying cash for and can't return?

I've bought a used memory card...I'm not kidding...before from B&H and was treated just as good as when buying a lenses or anything else. I've never had a complaint.

pulykamell
09-24-2010, 12:10 PM
It's no wonder nobody has EVER recommended your store to me before

That's odd--B&H has always been regarded very highly in professional photography circles. I almost exclusively buy my equipment from them (although mail order.) Their prices are among the best, their reputation is stellar, their shipping is prompt. What more can I ask for? The store experience is, well, an experience, but I've had nothing but great service there. Whenever I visit New York, it's one of my first stops.

bdgr
09-24-2010, 04:22 PM
It's no wonder nobody has EVER recommended your store to me before

That's odd--B&H has always been regarded very highly in professional photography circles. I almost exclusively buy my equipment from them (although mail order.) Their prices are among the best, their reputation is stellar, their shipping is prompt. What more can I ask for? The store experience is, well, an experience, but I've had nothing but great service there. Whenever I visit New York, it's one of my first stops.

If I ever make it out there, I will stop by there as well. Out here behind enemy lines in Texas, we have precious few good camera stores.

Cartooniverse
09-24-2010, 06:48 PM
If they do run into trouble it's not going be for lack of sales but because of their labor practices. (http://beta.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2010/aug/31/bh-photo-employees-say-not-everything-picture-perfect/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wnyc%2Fnews%2Flocal%2Frss+%28Local+News+from+WNYC+Radio%29)

The store was sued in 2007 by Hispanic employees who work in the warehouse and were paid less than their Jewish co-workers. The company settled without admitting any wrongdoing, paid out $4.3 million and agreed to regular monitoring by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Currently, seven women are accusing the company of paying female staffers less than their male counterparts -- and reserving the coveted sales positions almost exclusively for men.

This is without a doubt true. I am in the offices / phone sales centers on 9th Ave as well as the store quite frequently. The women are ghetto'd in a few aisles of desks. It is a fascinating way to treat one's co-workers. Or it would be if it was 1936. Since it's not, it's just raw in your face sexist bullshit.

And it's not going to change.

Here's a truthful tidbit for you: B&H Photo did in excess of $ 1 Billion in web sales in 2009.

:eek:

Cartooniverse

Eyebrows 0f Doom
09-25-2010, 01:35 AM
I've bought many small items there (under $20) and never had a problem.

Monty
09-25-2010, 03:01 AM
WHOLELY

I think it's the OP who can't spell.

D_Odds
09-25-2010, 10:22 PM
Coming at it from a complete outsider's perspective, that system strikes me as super, super weird. It reminds me of a store we used to have up here called Consumer's Distributing... they went out of business fifteen years ago.Consumer's Distributing was my thought too, as I read the thread. I don't know whether CD went under because of the inconvenience of buying things from them (and long ago, weren't they a place you had to have a membership?), or whether they just couldn't compete on price. But I'd guess that when even the Liquor Control Board of Ontario moved away from that retailing model, CD's days were numbered. In Ontario, at least.Confession time - my first "real" job (paying taxes, getting W2s, etc) was for Consumers Distributing. Worked there for about 3 years. It, along with our bigger competitor Service Merchandise, was not a membership club. It was, however, a poorly run business. When nearly every 20 year old working there could see how poor their execution was, it boggles why the senior execs couldn't realize it and adapt. Neither CD nor SM really had any chance for survival.

HelenOster
09-26-2010, 06:26 AM
The main issue I have with places like B&H, which I've been to twice, and Adorama, which I've never been to but purchased from over the phone, is that they're rude to customers.................I subsequently found the case I wanted on Amazon's website, which I ordered. When I received it, it was the model and size I wanted, and it was shipped from, you guessed it, Adorama......

At this point I can only apologize for the inconvenience that was caused; from the description of your experience I'm not surprised you feel the way you do, and if I was treated in that way by a vendor's representative, I would also be wary of shopping with them in the future.

I would welcome the opportunity to investigate the matter further; I'm able to pull the tapes of the 'phone conversations in order to ID the reps you spoke with, and ensure that this is addressed internally as required.

If you could spare the time to email me directly: [email protected], with your order number plus the date(s) & time(s) of your calls - and the number you called from - I will give this my immediate attention.

Once again my apologies, and I do look forward to hearing from you.

Helen Oster
Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

bdgr
09-26-2010, 06:28 AM
The main issue I have with places like B&H, which I've been to twice, and Adorama, which I've never been to but purchased from over the phone, is that they're rude to customers.................I subsequently found the case I wanted on Amazon's website, which I ordered. When I received it, it was the model and size I wanted, and it was shipped from, you guessed it, Adorama......

At this point I can only apologize for the inconvenience that was caused; from the description of your experience I'm not surprised you feel the way you do, and if I was treated in that way by a vendor's representative, I would also be wary of shopping with them in the future.

I would welcome the opportunity to investigate the matter further; I'm able to pull the tapes of the 'phone conversations in order to ID the reps you spoke with, and ensure that this is addressed internally as required.

If you could spare the time to email me directly: [email protected], with your order number plus the date(s) & time(s) of your calls - and the number you called from - I will give this my immediate attention.

Once again my apologies, and I do look forward to hearing from you.

Helen Oster
Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

HELEN! Good to see you here.

pikey pete
09-26-2010, 06:31 AM
Gotta catch Helen's back on this one. I've never had a problem with Adorama, and the people I know who have, got satisfaction.

Waterman
09-27-2010, 02:13 AM
I feel compelled to add my 2-cents worth and speak up for B&H!

I have purchased photo equipment from B&H for 35 years and they have always been straightforward with regards to orders. If the purchaser is not familiar with "gray market" versus "USA warranties" and other issues then it it is not necessarily the fault of the seller. I have contacted Adorama three times in past transactions and the salesperson (telephone sales) tried selling add-on equipment to the point of virtually telling me that without ordering the add-ins I would be making a big mistake.

While I have an obvious bias it is based on a long history with the company. I will also admit that I have never purchased anything directly from the B&H store but their prices, delivery, warranty coverage, customer service, etc has always been great.

HelenOster
09-27-2010, 01:36 PM
........I have contacted Adorama three times in past transactions and the salesperson (telephone sales) tried selling add-on equipment to the point of virtually telling me that without ordering the add-ins I would be making a big mistake.......

At this point I can only apologize; the behaviour you describe is completely out of line with Adorama policy and I would be grateful if you could email me directly with additional details in order that we can take internal action as appropriate: [email protected]

chorpler
09-28-2010, 03:11 AM
Agreed. This is one of the reasons I love Chick-Fil-A, aside from the fact (not opinion, fact) that their food is so good. The entire chain is closed on Sundays, since the owners are Mormon, and I really admire a company that is willing to sacrifice profits for their principles, whether I agree with them or not. I'm inconvenienced, yes, but I can wait a day to eat a chicken sandwich.

I'm not sure, but I don't think the Cathy family (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick-fil-A) would appreciate being called Mormons.

Agent Foxtrot
10-04-2010, 01:09 PM
Agreed. This is one of the reasons I love Chick-Fil-A, aside from the fact (not opinion, fact) that their food is so good. The entire chain is closed on Sundays, since the owners are Mormon, and I really admire a company that is willing to sacrifice profits for their principles, whether I agree with them or not. I'm inconvenienced, yes, but I can wait a day to eat a chicken sandwich.This is a dangerous line of reasoning if there's nothing more to it. It applies as equally to businesses that won't serve, let's say gay people, as to businesses that close down for religious reasons. They're standing on their principles, after all, even when denying a sale.True. You've got a point.

IvoryTowerDenizen
10-04-2010, 01:22 PM
This is a dangerous line of reasoning if there's nothing more to it. It applies as equally to businesses that won't serve, let's say gay people, as to businesses that close down for religious reasons. They're standing on their principles, after all, even when denying a sale.True. You've got a point.

The difference is shutting down on a particular work day affects all patrons equally. The reason for closing is irrelevant to the consumer. No individual group (such as gays) is being singled out.

BrassyPhrase
10-05-2010, 02:17 AM
What should that have told you?
That they don't know how to spell.

I think it's that "That kippur over there is making us close!"

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