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Buying a New Camera shouldn’t be this hard!

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Or how Jeff Bezos is taking over the world.

Let me show you how…

Buying a camera

Buying a new camera is straightforward, right? Wrong!

Buying a new camera should be straightforward but sadly, in 2019, it is anything but, that is, if you want to do it the old fashioned way by walking into a shop and buying one.

I’ve been buying cameras for the last 40 plus years and it’s always been pretty easy to part with several hundred pounds, some of which went to pay the wages of the helpful souls who stood behind the counter.

If you are a Millenial you may be wondering what a counter is.

Well it was a thing they used to have in shops. A long thing, kind of like a table, that shop assistants stood behind to serve customers.

In the unlikely event that a Millennial is actually reading this, they are probably stuck on the words ‘assistant’, ‘serve’ and ‘customer’.

Let me explain.


Someone who worked behind a counter in a shop where they used to sell actual stuff.

‘Stuff’ being the things people wanted to buy which, made them ‘customers’ (I’ll get to that in a moment).

When buying ‘stuff’ the assistants usually had knowledge of any specialist products they were selling and could therefore answer any questions about the said products, thus ‘assisting’ the customer and encouraging a sale.


A person who buys the stuff in shops and therefore pays the wages of those assisting customers. See, it’s a quite a simple concept.


This may be a little tricky for you to understand if you are quite young.

There is an art to serving.

It requires respect for the customer.

If you have any trouble understanding this, there is a very helpful phrase you can recite inside your head when approaching a customer, who will be, waiting hopefully, money in hand, at the counter.

This is the phrase – you may want to write it down and learn it, “Customers pay my wages, without them I have no job.”

It’s quite easy to have respect for customers when you get a grip on how their eventual choices can affect your life.

Having respect includes not writing people off because they are over 30 and also, understanding that us ‘old’ people could actually kick your sorry, skinny little asses if we weren’t worried about getting a police record so late in life.

Having respect includes not writing people off because they are over 30 and also, understanding that us ‘old’ people could actually kick your sorry, skinny little asses if we weren’t worried about getting a police record so late in… Click To Tweet

If you can’t respect us because we are so offensive to you, how about you try and respect the money we are spending? It keeps the economy afloat and you in a job?

To serve means you are able to answer questions about the products you sell.

Telling us to Google something in a tone that says you think we don’t know what Google is will only result in you eventually losing your job.

So ‘serving’ involves a little bit of Googling for you before you go to work. Get off your Play Station 4 Pro and LEARN about the products you sell.

I’m pretty sure no one over 50 has ever set foot in my blog so we’ll leave it there and get back to my rant about buying a camera in 2019.

I had no idea buying a new camera would cause such angst!

But oh my goodness it did.

My very first cameras were Nikons, fully manual and of course, with it being back in prehistoric times, we were using film and had a degree of talent.

We went out on tricky jobs, in difficult light and, shock horror, did not have the luxury of seeing our shots instantly.

Oh no – we had to understand a little thing called exposure and we had to know how to read the light in a given scene.

Anyhow – back to the actual story, or this will turn into a rant about the brilliant pioneer photographers and the donkeys they needed to carry all the equipment we now have packed into microchips.

Like so many other retired press and pr photographers, I want to give my left shoulder a break.

The days of not caring about the weight of my camera bag are gone and to be frank, unless you are shooting massive ad campaigns for billboards, who needs the bother of several prime lenses and three camera bodies? Not me for sure!

So – buying a new camera with an integral, very wide ranging zoom was my goal last week.

Easy. No it wasn’t. I decided I wanted either the Nikon P900 or the Nikon P1000. With one around the £500 mark and the other just under £1000, I wanted that camera in my hand BEFORE I shelled out a single penny.

Off I went to John Lewis where the sales assistants, I believe, have shares in the company and they are usually very polite and helpful.

And how very rude of me, but I interrupted an instense conversation going on between two salesmen. One older and one younger. Not sure the younger one’s mummy knew he was there but anyway…

…they ignored me as I looked around the island with all the DSLR’s and Bridge cameras, which is unusual I have to say. In the past, very polite young people come up and respectfully ask if they can help.

And in John Lewis, where I usually buy my Apple products, the staff know their shit – that’s why I go there.

Well that didn’t happen last week in John Lewis.

So I went up and interuppted the conversation by saying: “Excuse me……..

Gosh, how rude of me.

The older man abruptly stopped talking and turned to me.

The younger one sighed and cast his eyes upward.


Now this isn’t the first time a shop assistant has done that in my presence.

The last time it happened it was aimed at my mother and the assistant didn’t realise it was my mother.

I was so incensed I almost started a riot in the garden centre where my poor old mum was trying to buy plants.

But that is another story.

Back to this one – again. 😆

Unfortunately, the older man made the boy serve me and it didn’t go well.

Now I know the store policy is not his fault but I still wanted to shoot the messenger because of his shitty rude attitude.

No, they did not have either camera for me to look at at and yes, they could order them in for me.


I would have to pay for the camera/s in full before I could open the box/es to try it/them out.

So I’m stuck between two cameras – don’t know which one I want until I see how they handle and I have to pay for them before even looking at them?

“Yes” he said, without a shred of an idea as to the ludicrousness of this premise.

“Because once the box is open and you press the shutter, the camera is considered used.”


Just like other major retailers who don’t understand what they need to do to keep customers.

You need to have demonstration models IN STORE. Not just the handful of demos you have bolted to the stands. We don’t all want to choose from a narrow range of models.

So I’m clearly not buying a new camera in John Lewis and off I go to Jessops a few days later.

Meanwhile, in between John Lewis and Jessops, out of frustration, I very stupidly buy the P1000 model from Jessop’s online believing that I have covered all bases with my research.

I’d just competed payment when a very in-depth review of the Nikon P1000 came up in my YouTube suggested videos list.

And for the first time, I learn that this very expensive Bridge camera has a sensor no bigger than that of an iPhone camera, meaning, that it is not good in lowlight conditions.

Who knew? I mean who would have guessed this very expensive camera would have a tiny sensor?

There followed a mad scramble to find out how to cancel my order and a long wait to get through to my bank on the phone, only to be told they could not halt the payment unless the company sent them a fax with their shoe size on. Jessop’s probably doesn’t know it’s shoe size.

At that point, I gave up on the idea of getting a new camera and decided on getting an 18-300mm lens for my current Nikon body.

And oh the heartache that followed. John Lewis told me they had a few on order but had no idea when they would be delivered. All I could do, they said, was go on the website and ask to be emailed when they come in.

No. Thanks.

So off we went to Jessops in town.

OMG. Another boy who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about anything much at all.

I still wanted to look at the Nikon P900 and 1000 but no, they hadn’t got any.

‘We used to’, he said, as if it was some consolation.

“I can order you one in though”.

“And I have to pay for it first, right?”

Well of course I would!

This is God, I thought, telling me these Nikons are not for me. Give it up.

So I did.

At that moment, I decided to get the Nikon 18 – 300mm lens but guess what?

“Sorry, we don’t have any.” He flicked his fingers across the keyboard of the computer that’s in charge of the business now.

“We have 105 on order but they won’t be in for 28 days at least”.

Jeff Bezos – you win – buying a camera or a lens from Amazon is a whole lot easier than dealing with our High Street stores.

I am sitting here awaiting the delivery of my new lens – it was so simple with Amazon Prime and delivery isn’t costing a penny.

Thank you to Mimi and Debbie for their posts about how tech is affecting the world – you inspired me to share this tale.

Over to you – has anyone else had trouble buying a camera, or anything else for that matter, in an actual shop recently?

Don`t copy text!