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Thread: Photo Continental

  1. #1
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    Photo Continental

    On Monday I went to photo continental to purchase some developer and came across some very old looking Kodak DK-50 developer. Not knowing anything about it I asked the staff who told me to wait (around 15 minutes) till somebody was free. I was then told that nobody in the store knows anything about the developer and they went online to find some information. They eventually came back with some time sheets from digital truth and said that they had contacted the manager who does not know how old the developer is or where it came from. By then I had started talking to an older guy also browsing the section who told me that he used to use DK-50 for extreme pushing back 50 years ago and that the powder in the packets would be long expired. The paper packets themselves were turning a dark brown on the edges, though the staff told me that it is sealed and would be fresh I ended up going home with some D-76 and Microdol-X and a bit annoyed that not a single sales person in the store knew squat about what they were selling. I know photographic sales would be 99.99% digital these days but its not like I'm asking about a niche product in a broad environment - Its the biggest photographic store in the southern hemisphere! (As proudly displayed outside) I kind of have an expectation that the staff would be able to help me regarding any aspect of photography.

    On an unrelated note, where can I get Diafine in Australia?
    Last edited by Krzys; 05-08-2009 at 11:12am.

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    Administrator (Site Owner) ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krzys View Post
    its not like I'm asking about a niche product in a broad environment
    Yes you are
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    no offence, but thats a pretty ancient piece of knowledge in photographic terms you are wanting answers from, not to mention you spoke to a man who used it 50 years ago!?

    as a former camera retail person myself, we are quite knowledgeable with a broad range of photography related stuff - but to expect someone to know some niche information is stretching it.

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    Developer is a niche product?... in a photography store... I know my expectations may be high but that is just appalling.

    If a specialty store, photography in this case, is selling a product, I completely expect the staff to know about their products and have an ability to 'sell' it to me. They are on commission in there after all, right?
    Last edited by Krzys; 05-08-2009 at 2:34pm.

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    Drive into a Holden dealer with an EH http://www.ehholden.com.au/infhis2.htm#Ehhis and ask them to rebuild the carby etc?
    They will have a good look and unless there is an enthusiast you are not going to get any help.

    Its just an ancient curiosity to most.

    Edit: In reference to the old developer.

    Edit2: http://photo.net/film-and-processing-forum/00Mm1a just for curiosity.
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    What if it was the biggest Holden dealer in the southern hemisphere to meet any of your Holden automotive needs (proudly advertising)...anyways I don't need to know the chemical compound which makes up the developer or anything special, just granularity and accutance. Eg: 'This developer is good for pushing film with minimal grain' or 'Its only good for slower films'. Simple stuff you can find with a google, as I did when I got home.

    Edit: and as you did too Kym:

    Simple read and you could say 'most use it for sheet film as there are grain issues'
    Last edited by Krzys; 05-08-2009 at 2:48pm.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I think your answer is written in your OP:

    Quote Originally Posted by Krzys View Post
    .... Not knowing anything about it I asked the staff who told me to wait (around 15 minutes) till somebody was free. ....

    If you don't know about the stuff, and you're heavily into developing film, how can you expect someone else to know the technical details of about a product that they obviously have forgotten even exists in their shop.. they are after all sales assistants, not information gurus.


    Go to a Landrover dealer and ask them about a 1959 series II stationwagon, and what accessories it came with as standard.....

    I'm sure you'll get a similar experience!

    ask them about stuff that they regularly sell, and they'll most likely know(although that's open to conjecture in itself ) ... stuff that's expired long ago and someone used 50years ago is most certainly a niche product!

    There's also the contentious issue that you thought that they were selling the stuff, as opposed to an alternate version of events in that you were looking to buy the stuff.

    if it was cheap, you can only try it out I guess?


    EDIT:: LOL @ Kym .... as I was typing about Landrovers, he was typing similarly related ideas about Holden cars
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    If I went to a major Holden dealer who said 'all your Holden needs' I would expect that to mean current and recent models - not ancient.
    Most manufacturers have parts for up to 10 years and after that first come best dressed.

    The real point is that your expectation of the Photo Continental staff was unreasonable.
    No one knows everything and when it gets to niche products knowledge gets thin.
    This is not going to improve in the film space; in fact it will get difficult to even get product in 5-10 years.

    The good news is you were able to google an answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    how can you expect someone else to know the technical details of about a product that they obviously have forgotten even exists in their shop.. they are after all sales assistants, not information gurus.
    It wasn't on the shelf late last week. So its an old product that is new to the salesmen and new to young photogs like myself. If they expect to sell it then they better know a little something when people ask 'hey Ive never seen that old developer here before'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krzys View Post
    It wasn't on the shelf late last week. <snip>
    At a guess someone cleared out an old store room so they could fill it with shiny new digital gear

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    At a guess someone cleared out an old store room so they could fill it with shiny new digital gear
    As they should

    If I took a computer from even 15 years ago and asked your average computer tech about it I am sure most of them would struggle to know the details on at least some of the parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krzys View Post
    I kind of have an expectation that the staff would be able to help me regarding any aspect of photography.
    That is a big ask of any retailer.

    Step into our largest specialty hardware retailer in the country and try and get any help at all, you will then be very appreciative that the staff at PC even bother to try and help.

    The perception of the shopping public, that someone in any retail outlet, let alone one as big as PC's, is going to have an intimate knowledge of EVERY product in the store is just totaly UNREALISTIC.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkChap View Post
    That is a big ask of any retailer.

    Step into our largest specialty hardware retailer in the country and try and get any help at all, you will then be very appreciative that the staff at PC even bother to try and help.

    The perception of the shopping public, that someone in any retail outlet, let alone one as big as PC's, is going to have an intimate knowledge of EVERY product in the store is just totaly UNREALISTIC.
    damn straight Mark!

    the staff at PC even took the initiative to go online and search and do a print out for you - and PC is not exactly a quiet store, far from it - is excellent customer service.

    When any other store staff could have easily brushed u off and concentrate on other customers with better sale potential - than to bother their time and effort with finding something antiquated.

    I think in your ideal world of camera retail, each staff member should undergo a bachelors degree in Photographic Knowledge and History - a 5 year uni course before they can commence their casual

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    Slow down there. I stated what I expected, some simple information on why the product exists and why I would want to buy it.

    the staff at PC even took the initiative to go online and search and do a print out for you
    I asked them to do it

    than to bother their time and effort with finding something antiquated
    well then they shouldnt sell it
    Last edited by Krzys; 05-08-2009 at 6:19pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krzys View Post
    Slow down there. I stated what I expected, some simple information on why the product exists and why I would want to buy it.

    I asked them to do it
    and they did it. People would ask me sometimes to go online and search info for them, I just smile and write the web address and tell them do it - I will only do it when the shop is empty and I have no other customers waiting. If I were to spend my time googling info for customers every day, imagine the loss in sales and profit over time.

    still good customer service regardless if u had asked them or not

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    As far as im concerned if they are going to sell an uncommon product then they should expect to get some questions, as I said before, for example "What is that?" followed by some information as to why the customer would buy such a thing. I can understand a salesman not knowing what its for if they found a load of ancient 31.03mm filters but this is a developer. Something people can and still use and will query about.

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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krzys View Post
    As far as im concerned if they are going to sell an uncommon product then they should expect to get some questions, as I said before, for example "What is that?" followed by some information as to why the customer would buy such a thing. I can understand a salesman not knowing what its for if they found a load of ancient 31.03mm filters but this is a developer. Something people can and still use and will query about.
    Ok so lets see if I have this right -

    It's OK to NOT know about an ancient filter - (Because you didn't want a filter)

    But it is NOT OK to not know about some ancient developer - (because you did want developer)

    I am pretty sure the guy chasing an ancient filter wouldn't give a rats about that ancient developer you were interested in.

    Any way I have had my say, and will leave it there now,

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    Im not trying to say its black and white. What I mean is that an old, probably rare filter can only be used with the old and probably rare lens. Where an old developer can be used on any b&w film (or any paper/c41/e6 if you are ambitious)

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krzys View Post
    Im not trying to say its black and white. What I mean is that an old, probably rare filter can only be used with the old and probably rare lens. Where an old developer can be used on any b&w film (or any paper/c41/e6 if you are ambitious)
    so they found the stuff cheaply in some firesale from a specialist film photography business long since gone due to the onwards march that has been the digital revolution. It probably came on a pallet also loaded with many other antiquated items, and they PC probably got a few items of value for about $50 for the pallet.. which barely covers the cost of transportation of the pallet!

    Now they have this stuff that has been superseded for some 50 odd years, but may still be of some value to someone.. somewhere... some day!


    I really can't see why a rare filter can't be used in digital photography.. but I can sure see how redundant developer is for the newer technology.

    I think the problem here is that the OP simply refuses to understand the issue in it's entirety, and only see his POV.

    Woking in the transport industry you get to see some pretty weird things.
    Not all that long ago, at my brothers work he had to store 10 pallets of all kinds of optical/electronic/photography gear.. tons of the stuff .. literally!
    It went to the highest bidder in the end, but as the man who organised the load of rubbish said.. help yourself to any of it, it's already been paid for by the insurance company.

    The delivery went to some photography related company(I'll have to ask my brother) who probably sold most of the rubbish via ebay, or through any shops they may have had(I just can't remember the name of the business the pallets went too).
    of the thousands of items, many kit consumer lenses the only thing worth salvaging was a nice pair of binoculars. all the lenses were badly water damaged and or dust ridden.. and this was way before I got back into photography and you may have even still been in early high school?? From what I saw of it, it was useless junk that some retailer may have profited from

    Krzys.. you're incorrectly assuming that these people may actually be wanting to sell the stuff.. where in fact it may have just been surplus stock and they either only recently found it, or just want to try to get rid of the garbage! If it's taking up room and not selling it's basically garbage to a retail store.

    Your inability to see an alternate reality is a limitation that only you have to live with, not us.

    As a film enthusiast, if you can't figure out what it is you want from a product, or what a product is and/or it's shelf life, then maybe it's time for you to upgrade to digital too?

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    If you find a filter just larger than a bottle cap and find a way to use it in digital photography then go ahead.

    As a film enthusiast, if you can't figure out what it is you want from a product, or what a product is and/or it's shelf life, then maybe it's time for you to upgrade to digital too?
    You have to start from somewhere, I am learning. I don't see digital as an upgrade, just a different medium for a different purpose. Photography is aesthetic and I like the look of film. Now if only I could afford paper

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