I have just witnessed the pinnacle
of retail sales
, and it is B&H Photo/Video. This has to be the smoothest
retail operation on either coast, in any of the Lower 48
, and I will even venture to say that they can't give us a better store across the pond
. But you don't want to hear me rave without substance, do you?
Everything is bolted down, and you don't actually grab what you want. This does two things. First, I bet these guys don't even know what the word "theft" means. Second, all of their inventory is in an underground warehouse that, as far as I can guess, runs under Manhattan for about a mile in either direction. This enables them to display more items, because you don't have any clunky boxes in the way, taking up space. If you want something, you tell whoever's helping you that "I want this." He will then ring up the item, and it will literally fly up from a hidden platform behind his desk. My theory is that a special race of hobbits lives in the warehouse, and they have been specially trained to get whatever they're told to get in a short amount of time (of course, That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.)
B&H is geared towards the prosumer. This ain't Best Buy. Only high-quality, high-end equipment is in stock. Case in point? Televisions. As was reported by my mom (yes, this was a family affair), they only carried two Sony TVs, but plenty from Sharp and other companies. They didn't have nothing but Handicams in the digital camera sections, oh hell no. There was one section of professional cameras that had $3,000-$4,000 models. Of course, this was right next to the rows and rows of accessories, lights, lenses, etc. This place is a filmmaker's wet dream.
Best service in the world. I shit you not, despite what WickerNipple may have you believe. You walk into the store, and there are customer service people everywhere, and they know what they're talking about. All I had to do was look at a tripod in a puzzled manner, and a salesman was right there, helping me out. You don't have to wait to get service, the service practically comes to you. When going over shipping (to avoid what was going to end up being an expensive sales tax), one guy assured my dad that if our package doesn't arrive on Wednesday (the day before I leave for school), they will overnight it so that we get our goods on Thursday morning. Very smooth.
Their inventory system is badass. Stuff appearing from hidden platforms, then being put in boxes, attached to hooks, and carried along a path to the cashier/pickup area... madness, absolute madness. They should sell a guided tour of the warehouse area. I know I'd pay for it.
So, if you're ever around 9th and W. 34th and you feel like spending a lot of money, step inside B&H. You won't be dissapointed.