‘Don’t Disappoint Your Clients,’ Says Jewish Photo Store Whose Doors Will Close During Half of September

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.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Manny

    They deserve to lose business. Period. Keep your religious beliefs to yourself…

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Eh, telling people why you’re closed for so much of the month isn’t a big deal IMO. I’d be far more annoyed if they were closed and didn’t tell me why.

    • Jim

      It’s their website to run how they want. They’re not telling anyone else how to run a website.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.McElhiney Redorblack Nigelbottom

      Did they try to make you join them at their synagogue? Demand you wish them a good sabbath? Scatter quotes from the Torah throughout their website? Refuse to do business with other faiths or atheists? How is telling your customers you are going to be closed on xx days because of your own holiday preference not keeping their religious beliefs to themselves? Should they just close the system without notice so you can bitch about that?

      • Manny

        No, of course not, that’s not part of Judaism to go around trying to convert people, we have evangelicals for that! The point is we live in a secular country with a capitalist mindset. By closing due to owners religious beliefs (i’m sure there are non-jews working there), then it sends a message, just like Chick-Filet does. I have a right to choose where I get my electronics and chicken sandwiches.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Businesses can choose to close whenever they like.

    But I object to the power of the government being used to enforce some religion’s preference over whether non-members of that religion (like me) can legally buy whiskey, cars, etc. on a sabbath day that is not my sabbath, and making it illegal for non-religious businesses to sell to customers on those days.

    “Blue laws” need to go away.

    • Jane Williams

      Allowing stores to sell whiskey, beer, cars, etc. on a Sunday does not require anyone to buy them, but gives those who would like to the choice to. Laws based on religious beliefs are just plain stupid.

    • Monika Jankun-Kelly

      I agree businesses can close as they wish. However, I do wonder why the Jewish owners don’t simply hire non-Jewish employees who could work during Jewish holidays? It’s not like there’s a shortage of employable non-Jews. Perhaps it is a small family business? Then not a problem. If it’s larger, I wonder a bit about religious preference in hiring policy.

      [edit] Or perhaps their clientele is mostly observant Jews, so they have no business pressure to be open on other days? I’d have no problem with that.

      • naath

        Some Jews believe that hiring non-Jews in order to evade the rules about when Jews may work is cheating (some Jews disagree). Which may be why they have not hired someone to do such work.

        It’s their business, they can run it how they like – but that doesn’t mean I’ll shop there.

        • Jeff

          This is one of the weirdest traditions in judaism: rules-lawyering to make things *more* difficult. Normally, when people are bound by an arbitrary set of pointless rules, they look for loopholes and workarounds so that they can avoid having to follow those rules. In judaism, the trend seems to be the opposite: look for loopholes that make the rules *stricter*.

          • corixan

            It just falls into the category of falling on the side of caution. You don’t want to disappoint God by accidentally misinterpreting something, right?

            Anyway, A quick example where there’s a loophole that makes something easier involves the commandment prohibiting carrying items outside of your home on the sabbath as it constitutes “work”. Many communities (including the one I love in) have a rope (or power lines, or some other arbitrary perimeter marker) around the town, and define home turf as anything within that perimeter, so you can carry as you please within that area.

            And in the community I was raised, you couldn’t ask non-Jews to do things for you on the Sabbath; you couldn’t ask them to turn on the lights in the synagogue, you couldn’t ask them to press elevator buttons for you, etc., but if they just happen to choose to do it on their own… that’s ok. In this case, maybe if they had some dedicated employees who didn’t mind not being paid, and didn’t mind just turning up at work without any management telling them to. (Though employees working without management, eesh.)

  • Mario Strada

    I learned about this quirk when buying a camera long ago. But usually if I am buying mail order anything it means I am not in a hurry to get it.

    What I don’t understand is why not hire secular employees and keep the store open.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      I’m guessing that as a practical (hah!) matter, they don’t want some problem to crop up that has to go up the line to someone who won’t work on those days.

    • WallofSleep

      There’s a buttload of stuff orthodox folk can’t do on the sabbath, including a prohibition against using electricity or engaging in trade for some sects. Some sects allow for the hiring of gentiles to preform forbidden tasks on the sabbath, and I think pretty much all sects allow for violating any of these “laws” if it is necessary to save a human life.

      Please note that I am by no means an authority on this sabbath stuff, though. Unless we’re talking about the “Black” variety.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWf1rX0HBr0

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        You pretty much got it, looks like. Technically, using electricity and engaging in trade are known by all sects to be against the rules, but some sects just say (at least some of) the rules are silly/pointless/antiquated and don’t follow them. And yes, any and all rules must be broken to save a life.

        • http://www.devitaylor.com/ Devi Taylor

          So if using electricity is against their orthodox beliefs, why is their website still online during those times? The server hosting their site draws electricity to maintain it.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            It’s really damned hard to take a website off the ‘net temporarily, actually. So they just freeze everything to do with buying and selling, looks like.

            I’m no expert either lol! I grew up in one of those sects that thinks most of the rules are pretty silly so we didn’t follow them.

            • TheBlackCat13

              Shutting down a server isn’t all that hard.

              • Derrik Pates

                But that’s not what they’re doing. They’ve apparently got a feature added where they can disable ordering when they don’t want to be taking orders (like, apparently, half of September). That takes extra effort. Normally the website would just work any time, and the orders would be filled when someone was there to do it.

                • http://www.devitaylor.com/ Devi Taylor

                  They may have had a commerce management system specially programmed to do that. It’s really not that hard to write a snippet of code that will let you close the order form whenever. In fact, I would imagine most commerce programs have that functionality built in already.

                  I totally understand how improbable and difficult it is to completely take down and erect a website on a whim. I guess the point I was making was if following their orthodox beliefs were so important to them, they would have found a way to do it. It just seems like religious people always manage to find some loophole or rationalization around the things they don’t want to do and that irritates me.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                I doubt they run their own webserver. They probably buy space on a hosting site.

          • The Other Weirdo

            Electric manna. Makes it totally okay.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.McElhiney Redorblack Nigelbottom

            The rule is against working, not using electricity. So, if it is on or set on a timer so that you didn’t have to ‘work’ on the Sabbath to use it, it’s fine. This gets as intricate as the Talmud at times. Check this site out for the intricacies some have settled on for standards. http://www.star-k.com/kashrus/kk-cooking-SM.htm

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              The rule is against lighting fires, which is built off the rule of not working.

      • Stev84

        However, many of them cheat by setting timers for electrical devices or set their elevators so they automatically stop at each floor. The ban isn’t on using electricity, but on pushing buttons.

        • UWIR

          My understanding is that there is a prohibition on starting fires, but not on using fires that have already been lit. So if you light a fire on Friday afternoon, and set it up so that there’s enough fuel to keep it going without having to add more on Saturday, you are free to warm yourself by the fire. Electricity is considered to be “fire” for these purposes, so you can turn on a light bulb on Friday evening, but can’t turn it on or off on Saturday.

          • 3lemenope

            [removed by author]

          • ANONY

            As far as insane religious rules go, that one’s got to be one of the more nutty ones I had not previously heard of. Yes, the supposed creator of the ENTIRE UNIVERSE cares whether you turn a f**ing lightbulb on or off on a particular 7th rotation of the planet you happen to live on. It makes perfect sense, in the land of delusion.

            • Tom

              Even worse, some of them seem to think that said creator of the entire universe will actually be duped by such blatant legalistic cheating as setting timers or building huge fires ahead of time, or leaving the elevators running.

              • Ewan

                It’s not really cheating. The logic, such as it is, behind the idea of a sabbath isn’t that these things are bad in themselves and shouldn’t happen, it’s that the believer shouldn’t take time on the sabbath away from religious thoughts to deal with them.

                Now, clearly, refusing to take the time out needed to turn on a light is pretty silly, but using a timer switch set in advance does actually meet the requirement of not personally spending any time ‘working’ on it on the sabbath.

  • popeyoni

    I’m a customer of both Adorama and B&H, and since they are excellent in every other respect, I will put up with this annoyance. Of course, I will go to Amazon when these two are closed.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Umm… You realize that that’s not “putting up with this annoyance”, right? That’s “shopping elsewhere to avoid this annoyance.”

      • popeyoni

        Yes, but what I mean is that I still give them my business on the days that they’re not being annoying. If they didn’t have such great customer service I would have dumped them for good a long time ago.

  • A3Kr0n

    I used to like B+H, dang it! I got my fancy camera there after I found out the first place I ordered from was a sham, and cancelled it. I was just starting to like our new Hobby Lobby, too, until someone pulled the plug on that. Well, it’s my choice, and I choose not to go there, or B+H. Wait! Don’t Christians like to black list places, too? Damn! Now I can’t use any religious judgement when choosing a store to prove I’m more tolerant than they are. This is confusing. I’ll just get stuff from Amazon.

    • allein

      We just got a Hobby Lobby a couple towns over. I’m not really a crafty type person but if I need crafty type stuff I have both Michael’s and A.C. Moore closer so I am unlikely to be tempted to go there. Though I may have to go in just once next time I’m up there.

      • A3Kr0n

        I’ve been going to Micheal’s for years before Hobby Lobby came here. I know where stuff is at Micheal’s, too, but… it smells funny.

        • allein

          When I do need something I usually go to AC Moore since it’s a little more convenient (it’s near Target and Wegman’s where I find myself at least weekly, and I can easily detour on my way home from work), and also it’s next to Petsmart (talk about smells funny) where I can check out the kitties up for adoption that I can’t have and sometimes find dogs whose people let me play with them. :)

        • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

          Yup — Michael’s smells distinctly of *pfeah* potpourri.

          There’s a very nice non-franchise art supply store in town so that’s where I go for serious supplies like canvases or acrylic paint, but I’ve been known to do emergency Michael’s runs at 8:30 on a weeknight for odds and sods to finish a project.

          • allein

            There used to be an art store around the corner from where I live now, but it’s been gone for at least a few years now.

      • Timothy R Alexander

        I hate the hobby lobby. mostly cause every time I walk in looking for a new hobby to take up, theres nothing interesting.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        I am so ticked off over local hobby stores. The two little hobby places closed down. A.C. Moore is in the wrong direction as every single other place I go to and in the middle of a giant mess of gibberish they call a highway system. Michael’s recently closed down and was reopened as a Hobby Lobby, and now HL is building a second store like four miles from the first!

        • allein

          I never understand how stores like that get enough business to open two so close together. I only know the HL is there because I was driving past the entrance to the shopping center and they had a little “Opening Soon!” sign stuck in the grass next to the stoplight. Kohls is the main store in there since the grocery store closed a couple years ago so I will find my way up there again eventually (even though I never find anything at Kohls, but I still have a gift card from Christmas to spend). I might stop in just for the hell of it; I will not spend money there, though.

          There is a little independent hobby shop about 20-30 minutes from me that has a toy store on one side and the hobby shop on the other, but it’s more like “geek/nerd” hobby stuff than what you’ll find at Michael’s – models and miniatures and gaming stuff, and upstairs there’s a whole train section with a big train set in a glass case with buttons all around the base so you can turn on lights and sound effects and stuff. You won’t find yarn and fake flowers there. Last time I was there they were running some kind of card game tournament.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      C’mon, I’m sure if you search hard enough there’s something monstrous about Amazon. Give it a go!

  • Evan

    How is this relevant to friendly atheists? As long as they aren’t a government agency and they aren’t hurting anyone (for example: not developing photos of a same sex marriage) whats the problem?

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Sometimes things are merely interesting, amusing, or indicative of religion harming even its adherents to no good cause. There doesn’t have to be a problem, exactly, for it to be relevant.

    • http://www.devitaylor.com/ Devi Taylor

      I would say this article falls into the category of general interest/fluff. It can’t always be about blatant attacks against the constitution, bigotry, or extremism. Hyperfocusing on that stuff is a good way to drive yourself insane.

  • Stev84

    I can obviously understand this with small one-person operations that people run out of their own homes. But when I go to the B&H website, the first thing it screams is “Visit our new NYC superstore”. As if they don’t have enough gentiles on staff to run things.

    • Mark O’Leary

      They aren’t permitted to hire non-Jews to do the things they are forbidden to do themselves.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        That depends on the specific interpretations made by the Jews in question. Some do that very thing.

      • Stev84

        Then why do they have a word for such people:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabbos_goy

  • NG

    I prefer Adorama because they don’t close the shopping cart on the weekends. I think the whole closed cart on Jewish holidays/sabbath thing is crazy but both companies otherwise are responsive to customers, have good prices and are reliable. However, I usually buy used because lens prices are so crazy and the camera forum I lurk on has a robust, safe marketplace. I don’t shop at Amazon, but that’s not a relevant story, and not because of their always open policy.

  • Guest

    You know what I don’t like about this? All those employees who are *not* Jewish lose money/hours during this “break”. And yet, when their own holy day (say, Christmas or Ramadan) comes around, they have to work. I feel like it’s just the decent thing to do when you employ people, to not favor your own religious traditions. Take off if you have to, but let someone else run the show for you.

    • rustygh

      Are you playing with us just so someone else would say it?
      Ill be your huckleberry, this place doesn’t hire non Jews.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.McElhiney Redorblack Nigelbottom

        How do you know that? I was raised Jewish and the synagogue we attended had a Catholic secretary (one of our neighbors). As a Jewish Atheist, I have to take off all the days my Christian bosses would close down… and when a practicing Jew, didn’t get my holidays off. Also, when known to be either a Jew or an Atheist, I’ve had several shop owners quite openly tell me that they couldn’t hire me because their faith wouldn’t allow it. Do you have any evidence of this here?

        • Jesusdoppelganger

          I’ve been to their bricks-and-mortar storefronts in NYC. Granted it’s been about 10 years ago; but the employees I saw and interacted with we’re almost certainly not Gentiles.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.McElhiney Redorblack Nigelbottom

            They only hire Hassidic Jews and Amish… keeps the work clothing standards simple :)

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      You … do realize that Christmas is a national holiday, and a great many people get Good Friday off as well? My parents always complained about having to take days off for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when their Christian colleagues got their holidays for free.

      Lets fix that first, mmkay, then worry about employees who get extra time off/not enough hours due to religious holidays they may not share.

      • allein

        My company gives us 3 floating holidays so at least people don’t have to use vacation or personal time for things like that. On the other hand, it still means those of us who don’t use them for non-standard religious holidays essentially get 3 extra days (I usually use them for Black Friday [so I don't have to leave the house] and Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve, though a few times I have essentially just used one as an extra personal day. The only difference from other PTO is you can’t take half a floating holiday.).

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          That’s sort of works, but it still means the Christians effectively get more holidays than every other religious person. They can still use those three floating holidays as they will (as in your example, Black Friday) instead of saving them for things like Eid or Diwali or Yom Kippur. It still doesn’t actually fix the problem of Christian privilege. Honestly, I don’t know that it needs to be fixed, but it exists and it would be nice if people (in general, not you) would at least acknowledge that!

          • allein

            Exactly. But it’s better than having to use your regular PTO. It’s also something only the corporate and distribution center employees get; the company’s store employees don’t get the floating holidays. (They also only close the stores on 2 days, Thanksgiving and Christmas, while the distribution center is closed I think 6 additional days, and I believe the corporate offices get a couple more than that.)

  • the moother

    …lighting the menorah, dancing the horah, and reading the Torah…

    Well played, Sir… Well played.

  • Dylan

    I used to work with a competitor of B&H, and they do more than just stop orders on holidays. They also drop their prices on some items immensely on those days to give their competition a hard time with price matching.

    • jdm8

      Did they really do that? Wow, that’s a dick move.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Lowering prices is a “dick move”? Which planet do you live on?

        Last Spring I ordered stuff from Quality Bath. Their web site was closed for Passover weekend or some such, but they posted an announcement something like “Come back at 8 PM Saturday for our great holiday sale.” Their prices were lower than anyone else on the Internet – along with no handling or shipping charges (having low prices but jacking up phony S&H charges is really a dick move.) i got a great deal on great merchandise, and I got great service too. I can only wish more merchants would make such “dick moves.”

        • GubbaBumpkin

          To be absolutely clear, in my experience with Quality Bath there was no bait and switch. They advertised low prices, and they delivered. I have no idea who Dylan’s former employer was, and cannot address whether they were also meeting their advertised prices.

        • Derrik Pates

          It’s a “dick move” to lower prices when you’re not going to be even selling to customers, so they can’t place an order anyway, just to screw with your competitors.

          Edit: Assuming that’s an accurate statement.

        • jdm8

          I don’t think you’re following the accusation here. They don’t necessarily sell it at that price, but it’s a move to force other shops to match the price that they themselves might not actually need to honor.

          When they’re out on holiday and shut off the shopping cart, they lower the web site price to an unsustainable price. Then before they turn on the shopping cart, they can raise the price. It’s just a way to push other merchants out of business without taking a loss themselves.

    • UWIR

      I’m having trouble understanding what you’re saying. They drop the prices, but then they don’t take any orders at those lower prices?

      • allein

        If I’m reading right, I’m guessing they put up an advertised price that essentially causes any competitors who price match to lose money if anyone buys that item?

        • Dylan

          Pretty much what allein said. I had B&H’s policies to so many people trying to get them to understand why we weren’t going to take a loss on the items they wanted to price match.

      • phantomreader42

        Isn’t that illegal fraud? Or a bait-and-switch scam?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.McElhiney Redorblack Nigelbottom

    I don’t have any more problem with this than I do about dealing with China shutting down for a month annually for a national ‘holiday’. Or for Christian owned businesses that are not open on Sundays. Or for a secular business I’ve dealt with that closes for two weeks each year to take all their employees on a vacation to Hawaii. Businesses make decisions that are based on their own wants and needs as well as the customer’s wants and needs. Our wants as customers don’t mean a business must be open and sucking up to us 24/7. Yeah, it is a valid business model, but it sucks for the poor schmuck working the graveyard shift just so you can order a lens filter in the middle of the night on a whim.

    • Rachel Warner

      Agreed. At least they notify their customer base ahead of time when they will be closed. This gives the customers a chance to find alternatives and plan ahead.

  • C Peterson

    Interesting. I wondered why there were so many times the B and H site was up, but not available for taking orders. I just assumed they had a flaky ordering system. Didn’t occur to me the problem was flaky owners!

    I’ll still order from them, of course, but I’ll have no problem going to another source if I’m in a hurry. It certainly reduces my loyalty to them as a supplier to find myself inconvenienced not by a technical failure of a web server, but by a mental failure of the owners!

  • ANONY

    I’m not a photog, but I do buy computer/electronic stuff from B&H, and I havent been overly inconvenienced by their holiday schedule so far, but I can imagine if they were closed for half a month I might be.

    One of the reasons I like them is I can specify that my order will be shipped via the way *I* want it to, whereas with Amazon I am at the mercy of their shipping department. I receive packages via Postal shipping *ONLY*, I can NOT accept via UPS or FedEx. If Amazon would let me mandate USPS shipping on order, I’d do business with them.

    • ANONY

      Of course, it would help of Amazon’s order process didn’t suck. You cant even SEE shipping options without creating and logging into an account, and you can’t get a final review of the total before giving them your CC#.

  • Robster

    The store owners won’t be totally relaxing like normal people at holiday time, they’ll be out in the garden, spreading some menorah on the garden to nourish the flowers, catching up on a couple of missed scary horah movies and reading the torahism guidebook for religious loonies.

  • Colin Rosenthal

    There’s no religious justification for being closed on the middle four days of Succos. And from a business point of view it’s pretty crazy as well.

  • Mark O’Leary

    You’re free to shop somewhere else, employees are free to WORK somewhere else, and the owners tell you about their schedule well in advance so you can make your own plans and choices. No surprises, no theological harangue, no imposition on anyone else, just friendliness, courtesy and professionalism. And still you manage to find something wrong with it. You are not an atheist; you are just a jerk. Please get out of the atheist blogosphere.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Please point to anything in the post to which your criticisms apply.

      • Mark O’Leary

        Please look up the definition of “private.” The writer wishes the private owners of this private business would keep their private convictions private. According to my dictionary, his wish is already granted.

        I wish my fellow atheists would make more substantive complaints. This is just petty whining.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          The entire post can be summed up as “They can do what they want, but they’re making me take my business elsewhere.” That’s the entirety of his complaint about them. He specifically says that they are free to close when they want.

          Inconveniencing one’s customer base to this point isn’t keeping things “private”.

          It’s a fluff piece, but there is no whining. You seem to be conflating “whining” with “lightweight and not relevant to your interests”.

    • Dave S.

      Excuse me, who’s the jerk here? You disagree with Hemant so your response is ‘shut up and get out of the blogosphere?’ Ill look up the word ‘private’ – you look up the word ‘jerk’. K?

      • Mark O’Leary

        Hemant didn’t write it. You are not helping your position any by failing to actually read the original post.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          And therefore, having found that irrelevant error, you are now able to justify ignoring the actual point.

        • Dave S.

          You’re right Hement didn’t write it. Care to address the content now?

          • Mark O’Leary

            There is no atheist argument here, unless you think other people’s private decisions about what to do with their private property and their private time is somehow your business. In which case you may be a Republican.

      • Hannah

        Just going to point out that Hemant didn’t write this article…

    • Tom

      Assuming “somewhere else” always exists, of course.

    • Mark O’Leary

      If this were a government agency closing on a religious holiday, there would be grounds for objection, but this is a private business sending out a courtesy notice to its customers weeks in advance. They are doing exactly what any reasonable person would do. The fact that some people find it inconvenient is only relevant to the businesses themselves, who presumably have taken into account the possibility of loss of some customer goodwill. But there is no atheist issue here. The Jewish High Holidays are thousands of years old, as is the practice of Jews closing their businesses during those times. If you’re just finding out about it now, that scarcely makes any difference.

      Many atheists say they just want religious people to leave them alone. Well, that’s what most Jews want too.

    • allein

      “atheist” and “jerk” are not mutually exclusive.

      (Not that I think Terry’s a jerk for expressing his opinion.)

    • phantomreader42

      Employees are not, generally speaking, in a position to just leave their job and find another one immediately without difficulty. Especially not in this economy.

  • Nicole Introvert

    When you run your own business like B&H you have the right to do with your business hours as you please. It’s nice to actually see something that hasn’t caved into the “I WANT IT NOOOOWWW” culture regardless if it is for religious reasons or not.

    We have restaurants around me that close for an entire month at a time because the owners are not from the US and want to go visit family and friends back home. And I think it’s awesome they do that. They give such excellent customer service and understand how to budget so these breaks don’t hurt the business.

    • Terry Firma

      “When you run your own business like B&H you have the right to do with your business hours as you please.”

      A point I made specifically.

      A very large contingent of Adorama and B&H customers are photography pros. When I have to replace a faulty radio trigger or need a specialty lens for a particular assignment, that’s my business on the line. If your new point and shoot arrives on Wednesday instead of Monday, that’s too bad. But if my replacement trigger shows up two days after the job I need it for, I have to scramble for workarounds and I may end up looking bad in the eyes of the client. Bye-bye client.

      Hence, Amazon. Never a problem. Delivery on time, every time. I like a business that makes me look good. Crazy, huh?

    • Stev84

      The restaurant comparison doesn’t really work since many restaurant depend on the work of the owner specifically. This store doesn’t. Their employees can easily run the operation with the owner being away and no one would even notice it.

  • phantomreader42

    At least they’re announcing that they’re going to be closed in advance, instead of screwing with people’s orders after they’ve already paid.
    But if what someone said about deliberately publishing artifically-low prices to screw over competitors who price-match is true, that makes the owners frauds and assholes.

  • Spuddie

    Never heard of a google search or the yellow pages? Can’t find a single professional camera store owned by people other than Orthodox Jews?

  • Brian

    Eh, its their right to be open or closed for whatever reason, just like its the right of the customers to take their business elsewhere. If they can manage to have a successful business while being “closed” so often, then more power to em i guess.

  • Free

    And….? The posts lately are a bit whiney. Wheres the beef? I am sure all of you enjoying the “Holidays” are not complaining where they are coming from. Again, this is America and for you to have a voice so does the next guy. No one tied a rope around an employees neck and said “work here or else”. “You will honor our holidays or else”. Let’s move on.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    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.

    I don’t have a problem with B&H Photo. They’re not forcing their beliefs on their customers, just being observant themselves. I’d also like to say that I have dealt with them and they have good prices and prompt service.
    I used to live in a city that was considering dropping its blue laws. A car dealership owner opposed the change, saying that his employees could use a day off. Well, it should be obvious that if the law went away, this dealer could go ahead and give his employees Sundays off, if he had the fortitude to withstand the competition.
    Well, B&H and Adorama have fortitude. Good for them.
    I’d also like to mention that Quality Bath is apparently Jewish-owned. I bought some stuff from last Spring, and got great prices on quality merchandise. They were closed over the Passover holiday, but you could place an order on their web site which would be processed after the holiday. Service was good too; one item came in the wrong colour due a change at the manufacturer, and they took it back with no hassle; even paid shipping.
    There are much worse things going on in the world that you could focus your attention on.

  • Lucas Clover Alcolea

    I’m reminded of the words of Jesus when I read some of the more absurd rules kept by Orthodox jews “Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men. For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washing of pots and of cups: and many other things you do like to these. And he said to them: Well do you make void the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition. For Moses said: Honour thy father and thy mother; and He that shall curse father or mother, dying let him die. But you say: If a man shall say to his father or mother, Corban, (which is a gift,) whatsoever is from me, shall profit thee. And further you suffer him not to do any thing for his father or mother, Making void the word of God by your own tradition, which you have given forth. And many other such like things you do.” Mark 7:6-13. It’s been close to 2,000 years and nothings changed….

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.McElhiney Redorblack Nigelbottom

      Why are you quoting the words of Jesus A) here, B) in relation to the actions of Jews who don’t believe he was the Savior any more than Atheists do? Do you think they should be following his followers writings rather than the ones they actually believe in? That is strange… I suspect a Christian wandered in… I noted in a previous comment that the Jews owning this store don’t talk about their religion… but Christians can’t seem to help wandering around proselytizing to people who certainly don’t want to hear it.

  • ecolt

    I agree that disabling online ordering is a bit excessive, but if the store owners want to close up for their religion’s holidays it’s their call. Don’t most places in the US close on, say, Christmas? And a lot (especially in smaller towns or the South) are closed every Sunday. My favorite Middle Eastern restaurant closes through all of Ramadan and for part of Friday afternoon. That’s their call. Judaism has a few more holidays, but part of religious freedom means the freedom to observe whatever holy days you choose. Plus, I have to say I didn’t mind terribly having a very observant professor at college since I got twice as many days off as anyone else.

  • Daniel Rutter

    The Orthodox Jewish thing is why B&H is often referred to in the photo community as “Beards & Hats”.

    I am unaware of any similarly entertaining nickname for Adorama.


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