I visited two stores recently – one in which I had worked and shopped and one in which I had only shopped. I had friends in both camps, and a need for particular things pertaining to photography. My needs were catered for in both venues, and I purchased and chatted and drove away more than satisfied. But there was one disturbing aspect of my visit; apart from the staff I was practically the only moving soul in the place – they were both devoid of customers.
This in the middle of the day – the traditional rush hour that denied staff any lunch break and was a madhouse of telephone calls. There was a silent dignity about both shops at noon Tuesday, reminiscent of a tomb.
Can we have arrived at such an economic pass that there is no-one save me willing to buy things? Are we waiting for Photokina to announce the second coming of something? Is there some poison in the air of East Perth than no-one wants to tell us about? What?
All businesses have doldrums. Some are seasonal, some are organic. Some are overcome and some overcome the businesses. I cannot say why there should be such a non-rush hour in the photo trade in Perth. If it is on-line sales, then someone is selling a crock – I tried on-line from New York and found it a worrisome waiting game. If it is the downturn in mining or the effect of terrorism or the loss of the really crisp bacon we got before the war, then it should be more evident in other places – and I still see Target and Bunnings and Baker’s Delight with lines out the front.
I personally think it is because the trade has been fighting amongst itself on the basis of new, newer, and newest for so long that they have accustomed their clients to only respond to that. If there is a hiatus in the flow of shiny wet toys, the punters are now just sitting there lumpen and switched off.
Well, I shall do my best to trumpet the old as well as the new – ideas as well as products. Inspiration as much as discount pricing. For myself, there is an ever-expanding plane of knowledge about photography and I will cover only a very small amount of it. I welcome this – something new to learn all the time. The joy of it is sometimes the learning is absolutely free of charge.