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Open Letter To Photo Town

Dear Photo Town,
Hi. How are you? I hope you’re doing great!
The reason I’m writing is because people sometimes ask me where they can buy photography gear on Guam and even though I would love to be able to refer them to you, as you are the only shop that actually stocks bodies, lenses, and accessories (military bases aside), I just can’t bring myself to tell people to buy from you. Oh, I tell them Photo Town is a good place to go and test drive a camera or a lens you might be thinking about buying because your sales people are real friendly and helpful and don’t mind if you fit their lenses on your camera and try them out. One of them really seems to know her stuff and is good at recommending alternatives. All very good reasons to visit your shop and check out your gear. But not buy.
041406b.jpgWhy? Because your markup is crazy high.
How high is crazy high? Let me break it down for you. I really need to buy a flash. The Nikon SB-800, to be specific. I checked online at three different retailers and the average price is around $315. I told my friend Mike that I’d check Photo Town and if the price wasn’t that much higher, I’d just buy it from you. So I called you this morning (thank you very much for being open on Good Friday) and the nice lady on the phone told me you have what I need and that the price is $480.
Do you see what I mean about crazy high markup?
You are what you are I guess. You reserve the right to charge whatever you want and not care what your competitors charge. But I think you should know that Guam consumers are getting smarter everyday and judging by the many online retailer packages I see people walking out the post office with, I believe more and more people are ordering online because there are more choices and it saves them a buck or two. I’m saving $165 by ordering online instead of buying from you. That’s just crazy!
So I just wanted to let you know that as someone who really tries to support local businesses on Guam, I simply cannot afford to support yours. Sorry.
Happy Easter!
Josie Moyer

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6 Responses

  1. Kate says:

    Hey Jos,
    I totally agree about the mark-up. It’s insane. I understand their need to recoup the cost to purchase, ship, and retail the items, but for goodness sake, could they not try to put their children through medical school on our one purchase? I’ll be here in Hawaii for another 5 months at least in case you happen upon an online retailer that doesn’t ship to Guam…we’ll show those pesky shopkeepers!

  2. disneymike says:

    I do my best to support local dealers as well. I have bought equipment from my local Nikon dealer on numerous occasions when his price was not too much higher than B&H Photo online.
    I do understand that I can’t expect him to always match the price offered online. I also realize his price is higher because of the cost of keeping and maintaining a brick and mortar store. And of course I appreciate the intanglible value of testing and evaluating equipment in person before purchasing. One must also keep in mind the dealer cost is often higher for a small mom and pop photo store versus a giant online business.
    So, in a nutshell, I will and have supported local businesses even at a greater cost due to the service and attention they can give, but I do agree it’s difficult to remain loyal if the difference in price becomes excessive.

  3. mikesan says:

    Hey Josie,
    My thoughts exactly… their mark up is rediculous. Even if they have a sale of 20% off, their prices are still outrageous. I wonder how much equipment they actually move in a month. Maybe they would sell more if their prices were lower. hmmmm… what a concept.
    I did the same… I went into Photo Town to wrap my fingers around the actual equipment then said “thank you, I’ll be back… I have to save some money….” , never went back to buy anything.

  4. Ang says:

    it isn’t just photo town and camera equipment, i order about 75% of my supply equipment from off island vendors and actual equipment because of the warranty at times, i was shocked it was better, companies in general who provide any type of equipment are just out of hand.

  5. bert says:

    before i ordered my canon 350D. i called photo town and asked if they had any in stock. i figured if its on island why order it?
    the salesgirl tells me they did have it in stock at $1200. say what?!?! $1200 on an $800 camera?

  6. Heath says:

    I agree. its one thing to support your local area but when they want to mark up the price by 50% or more! I have to ask “what are you thinking” cause any one that is smart know that you should charge that….. price of item+ shipping+3-5% mark up=you sell more items!
    not doing the standed 15-25% mark up.

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