I’ve looked at the photo trade in Australia for the last 40 years from a number of angles – as a retail customer, as a retail seller, as a wholesale customer, and as an advertising writer. And of all divisions of it, I think the wholesale sales staff have the most difficult job – they are caught between several rocks and a number of different hard places all the time. I wonder they keep their equanimity.
Actually, I have seen them lose it on a few occasions. To their credit they pull themselves up smartly and become humble again, but it must take a terrible toll on their insides. I hope they can turn to drink and inappropriate behavior every so often.
They used to be the ( rather gristly ) meat in the sandwich between what the manufacturers said and what the retailers asked. Then they superadded direct contact with customers and now have a third stream of greed to deal with. They are bound to tell people what the German and Asian companies put out as their truth…and you have to remember that you may be dealing with cultures that have a soul of iron…or bamboo. Truth in the normal British definition may well stop at Dover. We like to think it picks up again at Fremantle, but there is a lot of verbal geography in the space between.
So, with slightly dodgy information, the wholesaler makes promises to the retailer. The retailer might use that properly or might twist it further. And the retail customer may also try to turn it to their advantage, or at least to support their own fantasies. All very well if the promised goods come at the promised time for the promised price – all very bad if there is any delay or change in price. The manufacturers are safe beyond the sea but the local wholesale division is not – and they cop the flak.
Yet they still keep doing the rounds and promoting and dealing. and in that I salute them for people of more patience than I would have. If their accounting practises and cataloging are sometimes inexplicable they can at least be given the excuse of either sincerity or dark humour.