If you’re a photographer, you could do a hell of a lot worse than to shop at New York’s Adorama and B&H Photo. Both are excellent, ultra-reputable stores at which I’ve happily spent many thousands of dollars over the years.
But truthfully, a lot of my photography budget goes to Amazon, Hunt’s, and Beach Camera these days — and to other online stores that do business when it suits me, instead of them.
What’s the problem with Adorama and B&H? It’s not that the owners are observant Jews. It’s that in their case, being observant means they effectively freeze their web and retail operations during so many days of the year (for religious reasons) that non-Jewish customers will have to double-check whether these places will actually take/fulfill orders on a particular day.
This is the September schedule that I received from Adorama earlier this week. Of the 28 days shown, the store and the printing lab will be closed on half of them.
During Jewish holidays and every Sabbath, B&H even disables my shopping cart: apparently, fully automated computer servers, too, are subject to religious commandments. Moreover, I guess God simply won’t stand for the disgraceful spectacle of a guy buying a camera bag when he should be at home lighting the menorah, dancing the horah, and reading the Torah. Or whatever.
Long live Amazon and other places that take orders 365/24/7. I have no idea what Jeff Bezos‘ religious beliefs are, if any; what I do know is that he respects his customers enough to keep those convictions private, out of the sphere of commerce.
Or maybe Bezos just doesn’t like to turn customers away, preferring to make money for himself and his stakeholders, and to further grow the business and create jobs. What a concept.
Don’t get me wrong. As far as I’m concerned, entrepreneurs certainly have every right to run their business according to whatever convoluted schedule their chosen religion dictates. If the Great Juju on the Mountain commands store owners to shutter their place during half of what most people would consider normal opening hours, no skin off my back. The same goes for Christian-owned stores that close every Sunday and for Christmas. In an open and free marketplace, we have choices … and exercise them I shall.
P.S.: “Don’t disappoint your clients,” Adorama, with an amusing lack of self-awareness, cautions its photographer clientele in the holiday announcement above.
Excellent advice, that.