The Sales Gimmee

DSCF6742Hang on – shouldn’t that read ” Sales Gimmick “?

Nope. The title is right…because over the last year a new trick has emerged in the camera trade that fully justices it; the pre-order.

Pre-orders for camera equipment are the new procedure by which a retailer gets their customers to cover the costs of stocking the goods before said retailer has to pay out. It is done before the goods are available for sale. From anybody…

This is not the same as the lay-by or the hire purchase – those transactions have the items to be sold either ready for collection or in the hands of the customer. Of course there may be extra fees involved with this.

The pre-order is accompanied by a deposit, and in some case this deposit is substantial – hence the business of it enabling the retailer to pay the wholesaler. Unlike the older form of pre-payment when the retailer ordered something that was readily available from the wholesaler, this new exchange is frequently made without the wholesaler even having the goods….they are still to be shipped from the manufacturer.

The whole Tammany ring is sustained by product releases on the internet followed by unveilings and promotion nights when trade representatives take single examples of the new gear out to show it off to the punters. I suspect in some cases that some of the gear has been barely working – I remember being cautioned by a trade rep not to push the shutter button on the new camera he was touting…

Lead times…or lag times, if you want to be accurate about it…can be anywhere from several weeks to several months. The retail customer’s money is out of their hands for that period on the promise that the something good they saw at the beer and camera night will be arriving soon. It is in the hands of the retailer and wholesaler earning more money for them. I am sorry to say that there have been instances recently of shops closing up their premises and people changing from expectant customers to unsecured creditors…*

What to do? Well, go to the beer and camera night and fiddle and faddle all you wish, but rein in your lust for the new gear and wait until it actually appears in a substantial quantity in the shop. This will ensure that you earn money with your money, that you pay a fair  price, and that the initial crashes and gasoline explosions that accompany any new camera release are finished before you start to fly it.

  • And unsecured creditors generally get nothing but a look of sorrow for their troubles. Sometimes they get a look of disdain. The look they never get is a look in…

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