Ok, so ya get the expensive stuff on the internet because you’re saving money, right? You get the small fiddly bits locally, because you can and because the rip-off Ireland phenomenon doesn’t screw you over as much as it would with say a camera body or a lens. So if you need a filter or a battery, a memory card or even a lens cap you can pretty much just walk straight in off the street and get it. Unless you live in Cork it seems.

Without mentioning any names, even though it’s blatantly obvious, it’s impossible to get alot of the smaller inexpensive stuff in Cork. Three times now I’ve been foiled in my attempts to get insignificant bits & pieces and it’s a case of three strikes, you’re out. First time was a filter, second time a couple of lens caps and most recently, this weekend I tried to get an off shoe flash cord. Sounds hugely technical but in reality it’s only a cord that connects a flashgun to a hot-shoe on the top of the camera. In other words, something that every shop should stock. Ok so maybe one shop might be out of stock, but all three??? I was even told in one shop that they’d have to order it in and didn’t have a clue how long it’d take. That normally means at least 2+ weeks.

Considering I can get pretty much anything I’ll ever be looking for within 3 days from ebay, it leaves me truly quizzed that anyone would bother to even try local shops anymore. In fact, if enough people were introduced to the ebay ways and means, would it spell the demise of local shops altogether? If I was to mount a part-time protest, could I possibly encourage these shops to stock up or die off?

When you think about it, what do they do?

  • Sell consumer point & shoot cameras
  • Sell pro-sumer cameras, dslr’s and the like
  • Sell pro level cameras
  • Sell accessories for all of the above
  • Bits and pieces like lenses, tripods
  • Print photos
  • Give advice to customers

So, with the exception of the last two items, everything else can be had on ebay for a fraction of the price. I’ve found that at least 75% of the time, a local shop will have to ‘order in’ the item you’re looking for. That means a wait of at least 1 week, often more. So, on an expensive item (like my lens on the right) I can save around €1k and get it into my hands in 3 days. As for getting prints, I always use Photobox. They’re significantly cheaper than anything I’ve ever found locally, can be just as quick and are 100% perfect quality. Advice? Has anyone ever gotten any useful advice in a local shop? Anything that couldn’t be found with just a few clicks on google? No, I thought not. With all this in mind, why would anyone shop locally? Why why why?!?

I would simply love to start importing camera gear and selling it at below Irish retail to anyone interested. Take rip-off Ireland outside and give it a swift kick in the family jewels. I’d even go as far as publishing a price list in the local media. For example, take a common photojournalist camera, the Canon 1D Mark II N. In Ireland, you’re looking at €4,000 ish. That’s a pretty conservative estimate too.. Or, from ebay, a smidge under €3,000.

So, anyone want anything?