From today's SMH, it looks like the latest greatest from certain Aussie retailers is that they want to charge a $30 'explanation fee' to handle a camera (http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/c...130-1o5lu.html).
With pricing issues off to one aside, I think these retailers are creating such a hostile environment which would steer clear many a real potential customer. Personally, I have experienced walking into a local camera shop and the first question the assistant asked was "What camera do you have?" and then the next "Did you buy it in Australia?". Is that baited or what? I had then just bought my very first DSLR whilst I was on my Hong Kong trip. I could not have been savvy then about shopping online through , , etc.
Nevertheless, the sales assistant gave me one of those funny looks. So I was frowned up as a 'second-rate' customer simply because I was overseas on a trip and bought a camera?? Sheesh! For me, that was already completely unacceptable, and dissuaded me from Aussie retailers.
This explanation fee takes it to the next level, to assume that every single person is a 'second-rate' customer until proven otherwise. So it is now fair dinkum to treat your customer like garbage if they might not buy a product from your store?
Now for the record, all of my lenses have since been purchased via direct import. I also have no qualm with stating that I have no current intentions ever to buy a camera or lens from the local b&m store.
HOWEVER, these retailers forget that they have customer service and word-of-mouth reputation to uphold. There is so much photography knowledge in this forum, and I am sure that your friends approach you for gear advice all the time. Direct import is not for everyone. So sooner or later we are asked by family or a friend to recommend an Aussie retailer, which in the last advice I gave I sent a girl from work to Ryda and JB Hi Fi. Now if you are one of these retailers charging an 'explanation fee', hell I am going to send them anywhere else but your lousy b&m - I don't care if you are the cheapest.
Have these Aussie retailers completely lost the plot?