The term ” chiseler ” may not be in common use any more but the practice is a daily occurence in the camera trade. Every offer to sell is countered by an offer to buy…at a lower price…with as many extras that can be spotted on the shelves behind the salesperson as can be put into one sentence. I think the champion I encountered while behind the counter was the individual who wanted a free memory card, free cleaning outfit, free spare battery and free tripod. All this on top of a 33% discount. The intriguing thing was that every demand was a separate item that he regarded as justified because he had seen it offered – one by one – in different advertisements from different shops on the internet.
It is disconcerting to be engaged in what seems to be a standard sales consultation and to have it deteriorate into a series of demands backed by wheedling and percentage calculations scribbled on the back of envelopes. It may have been the meat and drink of commerce in the chap’s native country…and perhaps might have been stimulating to the old chap who founded the business as a form of mental exercise, but for an employee who was expected to maintain both profits and polite relations it was a thin time.
It was heaven, however, compared to the business of dealing with on-line orders from other parts of the country or the world that wanted quick returns based upon closely timed Paypal or other third-party financial transactions. We learned not to process anything that had disparate addresses or names until the official organisations had sent the money and it had well and truly landed on the shop’s bank account.
This caution drew the ire of on-line customers who were trying to pull a swifty and caused them to explode in threats and attempts at bad publicity. The directors of the company were always very polite about it….albeit firm…but I was always a little disappointed that I was not allowed to write the emails back to the con-merchants. I think I would have been able to do some classics…
To be fair to the greedy, some camera shops in the past were equally guilty of sharp practice. Bait and switch was not unknown for advertised camera outfits and some shops were never really able to fill orders for things that they took money for…in fact some ended up going bankrupt or running away from their premises before their customers were satisfied. Thank goodness the firm I worked for was never like that. We might have occasionally had the computer system completely foul up a sale, but it was never a deliberate thing.