Advertising vs. Reality
I just discovered Flickr. It's a brilliant site for photographers to post their digital shots to the web, and to allow people to comment on them. The reason it's taken me so long to get on the Flickr train is mainly because I don't have a digital camera. I've always had a 35mm SLR, so the idea of moving from that to a compact was not exactly appealing.
However, after spending a week in BC, taking photos with my roommate's Sony digital, I opened a Flickr account, and immediately wanted one. Today, I decided to act on my whim and make the purchase.
There aren't many places near my house that sell digital cameras, and I didn't feel like making a trip downtown, since I have to go there tonight. So, I consulted the part of my brain that stores advertising messages, and remembered that there was a "The Source by Circuit City" not a five minute walk away.
I had never been to said "The Source," as I still couldn't reconcile my hatred for their past company Radio Shack. The ads told me they were different, they told me they could change. And I decided to give them one more chance.
I walked in to the cabinet full of digital cameras and looked at the prices and specs. Having worked in a camera store, and been a photography nerd in university, I know what I'm talking about when it comes to cameras, so what was on the little cards didn't interest me all that much. I was interested in using one - to get a sense for the feel, the usability, the reaction time.
I stood by the cabinet for about three minutes before I wandered over to the counter in hopes that someone would acknowledge me. I stood there for another five minutes, while the salespeople talked to customers about how great it is to own an iPod (he wasn't buying one, he just had one) and tried to figure out how to work their POS system. The kids behind the counter (not older than 18, I'm sure) served people who had started waiting after I got there, sometimes taking two people to serve one customer. The other kid leaned against the wall while a guy looked at cell phones.
I waited, in total, almost 15 minutes in a not-very-busy store before expressing my disgust and walking out.
I went across town to go to another store and while I was there, went into another "The Source" to see if the results would be any different. Three people working. Three people in the 750 sq.ft. store. I waited five minutes without anyone so much as making eye contact with me.
All in all, Circuit City spent millions of dollars and months to convince me that they were the place to get digital cameras. Despite the fact that their campaign was boring and unimaginative, it still managed to place "The Source" in my mindspace.
It took a few minutes to lose a $500 sale that I was fully intending to make, and to make sure that I never shop there again.
If you meet someone on the internet who tells you that they look like a model, and they turn out to be 400 pounds and ugly as sin when you meet, there's probably not going to be a second date.
The Source isn't getting a second date.