Digital camera bait and baffle

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

My theory, based on experience, why some advertised products like digital cameras are not in stock even if you arrive early at the store.

annoyedI planned to write again about the warehouse, “bait-and-switch ” enterprises that advertise digital cameras online at unrealistically low prices. The low prices lure unsuspecting people, who order the camera and then are badgered into buying overpriced  accessories, including those that typically come in the camera box.

My closing thoughts would have suggested that people shop only from the websites of reputable merchants, or shop locally at well-known electronics stores.

That advice still stands.

Reputable merchants can baffle

Though reputable merchants may not “bait and switch,” watch out for “bait and baffle” schemes. They lure you into their store through an ad and then try to convince you to buy something other than the item that brought you to the store in the first place.

I’ve been shopping for years at a national chain that sells digital cameras and other items and supplies. Like most large U.S. retailers, they do their main advertising on Sundays. Their advertising periodical, which is inserted into Sunday newspapers, highlights sales items and other specials for the current week.

While sipping coffee and reading the supplements one Sunday morning, my eyes fell upon an ad for a digital camera model on sale that I was planning to purchase. I got dressed and made a special trip to the store, arriving there about an hour after it opened.

They didn’t have the camera in stock! No, not one!

“How could that be?” I asked. “The camera was featured in an advertisement that just came out this morning!”

“Don’t know, but I do know that we don’t have that particular model in stock,” the salesperson replied.

I asked if I could buy the display model.

“No. We can’t sell a floor model unless we have the box it came in.”

“Please get the box.”

“We can’t find the box.

“Why can’t you find it!?”

“Because an employee obviously put it where it shouldn’t be.”

Baffled and angry, I walked out of the store.

I was angry, not simply because the camera wasn’t in stock but because I experienced the same scenario several other times with this particular company. And other retailers do it too.

I personally believe that some stores do this on purpose. They advertise a product that isn’t in stock (or have only one that sells to the first customer) and then count on you buying another item that may not be on sale; maybe one that gives them more profit.

Other retailers will get my business.

Before making a special trip for an advertised product,  I’ll call ahead to make sure it is in stock. I’ll be lucky if the salesperson can answer that question.