I have been looking around for a 2,200 ft 16mm take up reel; plenty new in America, but not here. CHC advertise some 2,000 ft reels, I thought I would take a chance and email Phil. I got a reply 'I have a 2,200 ft reel at £12, postage a problem', end of conversation. I got through on the phone and spoke to a lady and asked him to email me with the price of postage; 3 hours later nothing. I rang again, this time a young woman answered the phone and put him on. Phil said it's too big for letter post and parcel post is £15, and suggested I order one when I order something else. I told him I didn't have anything else to order at present. Then I asked him about other couriers, and suggested Parcel2go as one. He said he knew about them but it would take his time up looking. So he lost a sale.
I then took a chance and emailed Paul Foster, who replied that he could supply me with one for £16 post included. No problem. The reel is on it's way as I write.
There was a time when the private shopkeeper would look after his customers. With 3 or 4 people working for Phil I wouldn't have thought it was too much trouble for someone to look up the price, or look after the shop while he did it. Looking at his lists every month, he doesn't seem to be shifting his used prints that quickly that he doesn't have 5 mins to deal with an enquiry. It's not the first time I haven't been able to buy something from him because he couldn't be bothered. We have always been a minority interest and now we are an even smaller minority, so you wouldn't think that anyone in the business would turn down the chance of a sale. I hope members will remember this story next time someone tells us to 'Use him or lose him'.