March 30, 2014

Back in the day, I sold cameras for Macy’s while attending grad school. I loved doing this because I’d gotten an Olympus OM-1 as a college graduation gift, and photography was a passion.

This was also the time when nearby brick and mortar photo shops were starting to feel the pressure of big-city volume sales dealers operating successfully with no customer service personnel, but decidedly cheaper prices.

I remember selling a Minolta XG-M outfit to a customer, after spending an hour explaining the in’s and out’s of still photography, so that the desired purchase would be somewhat matched with competent use.

Upon completion of the sale, the customer said point blank that if she found the same gear in NYC for less, she’d be returning everything to Macy’s.  I informed her that indeed should could find a lower price in Manhattan, but the advice she’d received, for nothing, wouldn’t have been available.

The following week, the outfit was returned, for full-credit, and the mail-order, volume pricing won out.

Fast forward to Milford Photo, a brick and mortar establishment that manages to provide competitive pricing AND quality customer advice and service!

The huge mass merchants of “gear” have their place, and I use them too.

But the ability to shop locally and effectively still matters, and in an internet, Amazon world, Milford Photo, in Connecticut, has found a niche others would do well to emulate.

They don’t just sell the equipment, they share the love of the art.

Thus they have survived, and, indeed, thrived.







March 15, 2014

It is now being reported that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was deliberately diverted from its planned flight path, most likely indicating bad intent enacted on-board.

Perhaps the aircraft was purposely or even inadvertently crashed.  It is also entirely possible that the plane was landed, with a motive for using it and the passengers for purposes yet unknown.  Certainly, we would hope that for whatever reason, Flight 370 survived its disappearance.

Recalling the initial mystery in the events of 9/11, people couldn’t fathom that individuals would deliberately crash a jetliner into a building.  Prior to that, it was assumed that hijackings meant ransom demands, not suicide plans.

Truth is, sometimes good people can’t quite fathom what evil individuals are capable of.  It’s not easy for many of us to exercise sinister imagination.

In some ways this is a fine thing, but it does leave us a tad vulnerable, and one assumes the investigators looking for the missing plane will consider all possible motives related to the disappearance.

The families of those on that flight must be enduring tremendous anguish amidst the uncertainty, and I hope their loved ones will yet be found alive and unharmed.

The unknown is acutely painful, but as yet, it still leaves some tangible glimmer of hope.

It’s very sad when strong intellect is used for distorted purposes.  Yet good people can be just as creative as anyone bent on criminality, and those who are working overtime to solve this mystery may well need to do so by choosing to fully consider things they would never want to fathom.