Buying quality, the search can be worth it!
I am not sure if quality is going out of style, prices are just getting ridiculously high for mediocre items or if it is just me, but I am finding it a lot harder these days to find the quality products that I actually want to spend my money on. This is true in many areas of our daily life as well as photography and it can be really frustrating!
As an example a couple weeks ago I went out to buy a hat, I bought another Tilley that I love, and at the same time I wanted a vest for shooting, hiking, walking, etc. I knew what I wanted and looked every place in Lethbridge that may have sold such a vest. NOTHING!! Finally I went to a sports store that cannot figure out if they sell shoes, sports equipment or clothes. What should I find but a vest like I was looking for. There were a couple small issues with the vest I thought I could live with:
1) Not enough pockets
2) Pockets were not very deep
3) Was not made out of cotton.
Three was the big one. When I talked to a salesperson they told me that cotton was out “Nobody uses cotton anymore as there are so many other materials to use”. Unfortunately I fell for the line on cotton and bought the vest, for a lot more money than what I wanted to spend. Wore the vest home and the fit was okay but I was just not happy with it. So I did some research and found that a company in Australia made the vest that I wanted. Now I would rather purchase things locally then to do it over the Internet, but sometimes you just have to buy where you find the product you want. So after a lot of consideration I decided that I would order the vest online. Placed the order, paid for the product, and waited for its arrival. In the meantime I returned the vest that I had bought locally to the store and was told that I would never find a vest made of cotton. I informed them that I did find such a vest, and that it would be here within two weeks and for less than what it cost me to purchase one locally. Well to make a long story short my vest showed up and it is exactly what I was looking for.
So why the long spiel about shopping for a vest? The same thing tends to happen when we’re looking for camera equipment. We try shopping locally and we do not find what we’re looking for, so we either settle for what we can find or we give up looking. There’s no lack of places that will sell you camera equipment, but most of this equipment seems to be the cheap stuff or the knockoff products. Again I’m not one to advocate shopping online, as I think this does a lot of harm to our local retailers, but if you need a product and you cannot find it locally then don’t give up. One product that I hear from a lot of people that they have problems finding locally is a good tripod, they either find the discount store cheap ones for $19.99, or they find one in a camera store that is for $999 (Nice tripods if you’re doing video, but not required for still photography). There seems to be nothing in between a lot of times and this can be very frustrating. So before giving up, in fact before even going out and shopping, do a little research on line to find out what is available. Educate yourself on availability, what features are available, and what is a reasonable price to pay. Then armed with this information head out and look for the product that you want and need. Ask at our local camera shops if they can order in the product, or if they are unwilling to help, then go online and have one shipped in. Only by being an informed consumer will we be able to get the product that we want and need at a price that we are willing to pay. If we keep buying the garbage that is being presented to us, retailers will continue to offer it.
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