Without writing a manifesto - here is a description of my trip to B&H today.
I have been researching tripods for about a week now and really am not sure what I want to get. I have a few models in mind but thought seeing the short list in person would help me make a decision.
I figured, where better to look at the selection than the huge B&H store. Hoped in a cab and made my way up there, not during lunch hour, not after work and figured I could look around without it being packed.
To be up front, I don't expect people to be super nice to me and understand that people are at work so I should be sympathetic (I'm used to having rough days at work).
I asked the first person I saw where I could find the tripods and was greeted with a vague point and he walked away before I could follow up. Ok, maybe they are busy and found it myself.
I hoped I would be able to talk to someone about the differences between some tripods, pro-con wise. The first person who approached me asked if they could help me and I explained my issues (carbon fiber vs alum, price points) - he flat out says, "So you won't be purchasing this today"
I responded that I have narrowed it down to a few finalists but I needed to see, handle them in person before making a decision. For the next 2-3 min I get one word answers and realized he saw no commission so I just said I would keep looking.
Next salesperson approaches me, I go through the same spiel and the friendliness drops right out of the conversation. I asked about the Gitzo's and how I was struggling to see how the price jump would be worth it, quality-wise.
The answer "If you have to ask how expensive they are, then they aren't for you." I said that I know how much they cost but are they three-times better than manfrottos?
He says, "maybe you should go to Best Buy, if you want to try-on tripods"
At that point I said "typical" and walked out.
I know that I wasn't buying thousands of dollars or merchandise but one would think that giving a range of $250-700 for a tripod wouldn't be deemed worthless.
Before anyone asks me, I am 30 years old, was wearing a suit and tie and don't think I look like a child there to waste someone's time.
I prefer to buy things online from Amazon, but since I was there I would have checked the price and if ~ to amazon bought it on the spot.
I know I will be flamed here for not "expecting a NY attitude" or "I would rather have low prices than someone be my best friend." I understand that this isn't Alabama, but I am from NY and didn't need a friend, I needed someone to help me understand the benefits of a certain tripod and maybe offer me a recommendation. Maybe I came to the wrong place, but I don't think those expectations were too lofty.
The funny part about all of this is that I was aware of the reputation that B&H has but thought that people were exaggerating and that it really couldn't be that bad.
Well, there it is - no real moral or point here just thought that my experience was so far removed from the average retail experience that I should share it with those that will care.