Hello my friend! No worries - I'm not going to annoy you with a lot of
details about photography.
Instead, I will tell you a true story about me buying a camera in Asia ....
About the adventure of buying a camera in Asia
A while ago now in 1994, during a trip to Asia, my wife and I visited Hong Kong
when it was still a part of the British Empire.
This visit was a long wished for "dream" of mine, and I was keen to
do it before Hong Kong would again be part of China.
We arrived in Hong Kong late at night flying in from
Shanghai (Chinese Mainland), falling into bed very tired after we had finally
gotten through immigration, sorted out our luggage and checked into our hotel
for the night.
The next morning we woke up and left our hotel at Kowloon
very early, heading straight to the harbor to take a Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island
and on to Aberdeen.
After an exciting day there a must do visit of "The Peak" we came
back to Kowloon, to start right into our next adventure, otherwise commonly
known as window shopping.
What shall I tell you ... Im not sure how it is today, but
I assume that it has not changed much since then ... It was like diving into
shoppers heaven. There were innumerable small and large shops and the rates
were extremely low compared with those in Europe. While my wife spent ages looking for clothes, jewelry and
travelers souvenirs and gifts, I was taking time to check out all the electronic
stuff, eventually deciding that photographic equipment would be the most
interesting thing to go for.
At this time I owned a Nikon F 301 with a standard Nikkor 50mm and a Tocina
28-200. Maybe some of you will turn up your noses a little when you read this,
but I have to say that I really liked this combination. And at last I bought it
as it had also fit my budget. Just then I thought how it might be time I
switched to auto focus system and I was falling in love with a Nikon F 801s.
Right after I had made this decision, I started to ask for local rates
one. As you may have guessed, I ended up with a very stressed Kerstin
and me having
more than a few more than curious experiences about business practices
in Asia. You wont believe this, but in one shop the owner had
the nerve to ask me to lend him my credit card so he could use it while
up the camera for me!
It didnt take long for me to figure out that buying a camera here has to be
done very carefully. Its just that prices were really great and quite a few
were less than half of what Id have to pay at home.
Very late after an incredible visit to Kowloons night market if you only could
see what Asians are able to sell
;-) - and what was on offer there - we ended our
day exhausted, and headed back to the hotel. (My last thought was to give it a
new try the next day).
So the following day we left our hotel very early to catch up with friends
staying at a different hotel on Kimberley
Road. While waiting in front of the entrance, I spotted
another photo shop, right there
Right after I passed the entrance I recognized that this shop was somehow
different than the others. It didnt have the normal neon light advertising and
was very quiet, filled with lots of used and new cameras and equipment. It was
a wild mess of a place, and Id really need awhile to find the model of my
choice. Just going to the panel and looking for the price was an ordeal. It was
then that I started to feel that it was curious that no one was coming around
to assist me
After having to ask for assistance, a very friendly man explained the camera to
me and then offered me several used and new bodies, all at different rates.
Because I was only interested in a new one, I told him that I was worried about
not having a guarantee in case a problem arose in the future. As an answer he
offered me an international warranty certificate for free, which is normally
sold for $HK 100. As you certainly can imagine, we couldnt come to an
agreement on this, and at that, I left the shop again.
The rest of the day was spent asking about this international warranty
certificate at other shops ... only to see a lot of astonished looking faces
... which made me finally trust this specific shop.
|New day, new game!!! First thing I did on this third day was
to go again to this shop and ask for "his" actual price. I should
mention that this was to be our last day and we were scheduled to leave Hong Kong later during the evening. Unfortunately he was
not willing to sell the body for the price I had mentioned to speed things up,
and again, I left the shop very disappointed. You cannot imagine how disappointing
this was for me. After this experience I was sure that I would not buy in any
other shop. And now the time was running out for me to make my deal. Was it
really important to fight for this $HK 200 difference as both our prices were away
from each other? But in Asia, you have to
learn the rule that every final deal made higher than 50% on the first offered
price is a waste of money. I was not willing to break with this rule. |
Just!!! .... We had already picked up our luggage and left the room. In another
45 minutes we had to head off to the airport when I decided to give it one last
try. After a short run to the shop which was just two streets away, I went
directly to the guy and offered him his last chance to make a deal with me.
There I was, fighting for my breath, while he seemed to believe that I was offering
about another $HK 100 off. Shaking my head, I replied that I would not pay one
cent more than the mentioned sum. I believe it took nearly a half minute when
he said that he now had to ask his boss: a woman sitting in a corner of the
shop feeding a baby, from which he returned with a smile: Yes Sir, you own a
new Camera :-))
For anyone interested, I made this deal at:
David Chan Co. Its at the junction of Kimberley Road and Carnarvon
Road in the Tsim Sha Tsui district.
I had a lot of fun and highly recommend this shop to anyone looking for a fair
and serious camera dealer in Hong Kong. As far
as I know, this shop still exists until today. At the end I had saved something
like 45% compared to our local offers where I live in Germany. Not to forget: And I never
did need that international warranty!!