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Radio 5 Reporting Jessops Going Into Administration.

Pete e2
13 18.7k 96 England
9 Jan 2013 7:45PM

Quote:You could always see what the shop paid for used kit, as the first few numbers of the items code was the buying in price.

Giving away that special secret now Rob Wink

Which branch did you work?

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9 Jan 2013 7:50PM
I remember one time a guy came into our store to do a part-exchange. Normally that was something we would pass on to the main branch in the city, but as he was a regular customer and they did not have the particular kit he was looking for in stock, we decided to make the exception and go ahead.

He then produced a leica (cant remember the model) and a load of lenses and accessories. Consulting the guide book we had for costing part-exchanges, it was ridiculous how little we could offer him. Insultingly little, i'd say. However, he knew how the market was and respected us for our photographic knowledge and customer service skills and the sale went ahead.

We were one of the smaller branches in the city, made up of around 5 full time staff and up to 4 part time (at that time). Almost all of us had a photographic background or were studying photography, and most customers realised that we werent fighting for sales to get a commission, but that we had a genuine interest and knowledge about the products and photography itself.

I popped into my old store just before Christmas to see if they had a bag to go with a camera i had bought for my daughter and there was only one of the original staff left. He then told me that pretty much everyone working there now was part time and had little or no interest in photography. While i was in i also noticed that most people buying were basically coming in and asking for a product, paying and then leaving. There was none of the chat ad helpful advice that we used to pride ourselves on, where we would talk people (especially those new to digital) through the camera and its features. Around the time i stopped working for Jessops, this was a change that was being implemented. Get the sale and get them out almost.

I cant say this is the same in all stores, but there has certainly been a big change in the service over the last 10 years or so. While online retail has obviously had a huge effect on the business, i think the clinical approach also alienated a lot of the die-hard customers too, who now go to the smaller independants and/or shop online
robob 11 1.0k England
9 Jan 2013 7:56PM
Manchester, I wasn't there too long. My head got cabbaged trying to remember all those silly codes to enter on the system when selling something. Apparently they were self explanatory, never to me. I think I remember one FUVE120. Velvia 120
9 Jan 2013 8:00PM

Quote:Manchester, I wasn't there too long. My head got cabbaged trying to remember all those silly codes to enter on the system when selling something. Apparently they were self explanatory, never to me. I think I remember one FUVE120. Velvia 120

Haha, i thought they were easy to remember. I later worked for Calumet briefly, and their codes were a nightmare! Mostly random numbers and letters
Pete e2
13 18.7k 96 England
9 Jan 2013 8:04PM

Quote:There was none of the chat ad helpful advice that we used to pride ourselves on, where we would talk people (especially those new to digital) through the camera and its features.

That's the bit I enjoyed most (although digital hadn't been invented) We had some great customers who regularly frequented the store. I not only shared my knowledge but learnt a lot from the fibre based printers who'd bring in their latest print masterpieces or the pro who used Sinar 5x4 who taught me the Scheimpflug principle on the back of a receipt one day when he came in for his regular order of Fujichrome RDP100 5x4 (in stock!). I also remember when autofocus came out the uproar from the manual focus brigade who were adamant that you couldn't rely on it. A few years later their eyes started to give in and they switched, tails between legs. Same happened more recently with digital.

Quote:Haha, i thought they were easy to remember.
me too. Although most of the staff couldn't get their heads round them and always asked me or Glynn ...who used to have competitions to see who could recall the most obscure items. Some of the Jessops eye cups were illogically coded and papers were tricky ones. A simple one that is stuck in my memory as I typed it out millions of times is JEPHR1003536!
Leif 9 722
9 Jan 2013 8:11PM

They did have knowledge of retail, but I think the photography aspect, and understanding the photographer's mind is what was lacking.

They tried to go mass market, rather than concentrate on the true enthusiast. Emulating Currys rather than Park Cameras. So yes, I agree with you.
9 Jan 2013 8:13PM


Would that be the old Jessops 100iso 36 exposure 35mm film, Pete?
SlowSong e2
6 4.8k 29 England
9 Jan 2013 8:18PM
Reading all the above posts reminds me of the times before Jessops became boring. I used to buy chemicals and paper there, there were always lots of filters, bags and stuff to sort through and the staff were knowledgeable and helpful. I even won one of their competitions. I remember going into my local shop on a Saturday and people being three deep at the counter - really! Lately I thought they'd get back on their feet because of sites like Amazon now not having the tax free status they once had. Their prices and Jessops became the same so if I was to make a purchase I'd have gone via the shop rather than on line. Sadly though, it didn't last long enough. And also, I thought Jessops would have picked up the drop off when Jacobs closed. But alas, that didn't happen either.

It's a great shame and I can imagine manufacturers must be quite worried about how things are going. Especially after the years they've had with the tsunami etc. And thousands of staff out of work too. No-one wins here.
robob 11 1.0k England
9 Jan 2013 8:25PM
I think digital killed demand. There's no reason to visit shops like Jessops anymore as we don't buy film, paper and chemicals. Or at least I don't, I've gone from an Etrsi with 3 lenses and 5d with a couple of L series lenses to an iPad and iPhone, I can't even remember the last time I got prints of any of my pics. I just don't have the interest anymore and I think it's down to digital.

Edit. I shouldn't really be on this site as I don't even own a camera. Haha!
Pete e2
13 18.7k 96 England
9 Jan 2013 8:26PM

Quote:Would that be the old Jessops 100iso 36 exposure 35mm film, Pete?
one of the easy ones Wink
Now what about Agfa Record Rapid Warm Tone fibre based 20x16 pack of 10 Wink
SlowSong e2
6 4.8k 29 England
9 Jan 2013 8:29PM

Quote:Would that be the old Jessops 100iso 36 exposure 35mm film, Pete?one of the easy ones Wink
Now what about Agfa Record Rapid Warm Tone fibre based 20x16 pack of 10 Wink

Stop with this photo-porn! You'll set me off. Grin
9 Jan 2013 8:33PM
AGFRRWTFB201610 or something like that
Pete e2
13 18.7k 96 England
9 Jan 2013 9:05PM

Quote:AGFRRWTFB201610 or something like that

Ah yes you were there later than me - the brand was just two letters when I was around.

Quote:Stop with this photo-porn! You'll set me off.


Maybe we use this thread for the happier memories? I've certainly enjoyed the memory jog. Everyone - what was the best buy or experience you had at Jessops...when, how, why etc?

Mine was a Hasselblad 500CM, almost as new in its box. I'd dreamt of owning one for years and when it arrived from the requested branch it was wonderful. Staff prices where something like cost plus 10% plus VAT if I remember rightly. This item had been bought in for lower than book price and was a right bargain. I traded in an old Powerflash head...giving myself max allowance as I knew I could sell it and make plenty for the company and someone would still get a bargain. I added a 50mm Distagon, 210mm Sonnar and 80mm Planar over the following year. Lovely kit.

Favourite new item was a Rotatrim 24in cutter - still use that now to trim stuff - rarely mounts and prints which I used to use it for.

Phew moment (all staff based) getting to the last crate of a delivery on a really busy day.

Best moment. Winning internal Sigma photo competition that got me to meet Michihiro Yamaki, Sigma founder and CEO, and a free three day trip to Photokina in Germany.

Funniest moment. Alan Jessop being stopped from coming round the back of the counter by one of the Saturday staff. He used to turn up unannounced in a blue army stores style jumper with patches on the arms and just lift the counter barrier and walk through to the back. Not on this day, Jane (the staff member slammed the barrier back down and stopped him)

Complicated moment...doing "transmission" at the end of the day in the early days of computerised stock. We used to hear that old fashioned processing screech as the fax modem whirred away transmitting the day's sales and orders to HQ and often spent ages on the phone trying to make (and keep) connection.

Worst moment...rude customers! Two spring to mind those who'd bought something and didn't understand it, broke it and then said it was the shop's fault. Or those who wanted to sue us (after watching Ester Ranson) because we'd processed their two films onto one! When in fact they'd loaded and exposed it twice but couldn't understand it was their fault and you couldn't develop two films onto one.

Over to you staff or customers...both will have interesting stories Smile
9 Jan 2013 9:21PM
Although i decided to leave to work elsewhere, i mostly really enjoyed my time working with Jessops. That was mostly because of the customers. I'd never really worked in that side of retail before, but had been a camera and photography geek for years and i loved (and still love) helping others choose a camera or piece of kit to suit their needs.

I particularly remember one elderly couple coming in a few times to decide on a camera to take on a trip to China to visit family. They told me their budget and what a certain other store said would be good for them. I eventually talked them through the features that suited their needs and found them a better camera at a cheaper price and they were thrilled. They returned after their trip with several full memory cards for processing and i sat one lunchtime with them showing me all their holiday snaps.

One of the funniest moments was Billy Boyd (one of the hobbits in Lord of The Rings) coming in while back in Scotland between films and looking for a Canon 'Elf' (it was known as the Ixus in the UK). Needless to say we all were in stitches about the hobbit looking for an elf. Maybe you had to have been there...

One of the weirdest moments was when we got the digi-kiosk installed where folk could come in and insert their memory card and choose images to be printed from the touchscreen. One late-shopping evening a girl came in and asked for help using the machine. It turned out the pictures were, erm, compromising pictures of her and her boyfriend. And she had a queue behind her!

Worst moment would be some of the customers that just seemed to come in to see if they could outsmart you. Although the inter-branch rivalry and bitching was a bit of a pain too. and of course the deliveries that come in an hour before closing when you are busy trying to get everything finished off and then unpacking several crates in a tiny stock room with no air conditioning!

And of course, the discounts helped too! During my time working there i decided to go digital. When i started work one morning i had decided to buy a (then) decent bridge camera, but by the time my shift finished i had bought the Nikon D100, lenses and some accessories. Spent faaaaaar more than i intended, but hey, there was a discount!
SlowSong e2
6 4.8k 29 England
9 Jan 2013 10:19PM
Actually, it was Jessops that got me into processing and printing my own Cibas. I'd given them a roll of slides to print for an RPS submission but they cropped them really badly and I didn't like them. So I decided to do it myself. Well that was an adventure, quite a costly and long drawn out period of my photo-life, and a steep learning curve. But I'm glad I did it, and if Jessops hadn't cocked it up I wouldn't have done it. So I suppose a backhanded compliment, but welcome nevertheless.

I loved those concertina bottles for storing chemicals in. Bought loads, whether I needed them or not. And the stocks of film, all in lovely stacked rows. So many to choose from and all with their own personalities. Oooh, lots of lovely memories.

I've slagged off Jessops in the past, but only since they started stuffing compact cameras to the masses to the detriment of everything they used to do. When they were good, they were excellent. It's a sad day.

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