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What bugs me with B&H - Switching to Amazon


OliKMIA
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21 hours ago, OliKMIA said:

However I'm getting more and more annoyed by their super strict religious policy which make them close many weeks per year due to Jewish holidays. The latest was a one week closure for Passover. I didn't pay attention and order just before the celebration and my product arrived 2 weeks later.

Now I totally understand and respect their religious position. It's the way they are but on top of that I recently got a lot of comments deleted after leaving mixed reviews on their website. It was nothing trashy, just objective point of view and reports of real flaws (eg. the micro jitter issue on the Panasonic 14-140 lens that make the image stabilization useless in video).

There seem to be two issues here -- our schedule and deleted product reviews. One at a time. B&H's schedule is on our site at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/HelpCenter/HoursOfOperation.jsp.There are two week-long events but in general I think the comment, "many weeks per year" is hyperbole. We appreciate some days we're closed do not conform to mainstream US or Christian holidays but they are unavoidable. We take pains to ensure customers are aware of each event well in advance with notices on our site, our Facebook profile, Twitter, our email newsletters etc. You wrote, "I didn't pay attention..." I am sorry you did not but I do not think it is reasonable to hold that against us. YMMV

Reviews get vetted by PowerReviews before we get them and are then vetted again by us before they're published. Once they are, anyone can click to flag a review for any reason at all. That immediately takes the review offline until it can be vetted yet again. If you have an issue with one or more particular reviews please email henryp[at]bhphoto.com and I'll be happy to inquire.

19 hours ago, Geoff CB said:

Almost their entire in-house staff is Jewish. ...

Once upon a time, 20 years ago this may have been true but today our staff is as diverse as NYC itself.

19 hours ago, Django said:

LOL i take it OP's never been to the brick & mortar store .. FYI, the staff isn't regular type Jewish.. they're mega orthodox Hasidic (basically Amish level Jewish). Staff actually live in a reserve in NJ and have a special bus bring them into work every AM! May come as a surprise to many but strict Jewish observances is fairly common among NYC businesses.. The upside I guess is they remain open on Christian holidays.

Some employees are Hasidic; some are non-Hasidic orthodox Jews; some are less observant or non-observant Jews. Some are Christians or Muslims or
Zoroastrians. At least one is an outspoken atheist. There's no "reserve in NJ." There are communities in NJ and in suburban NY and in Brooklyn where like minded families tend to live near one another for support and convenience. The buses are run by a private company with no relationship to B&H or to our management. Some smart person saw a business opportunity and began a bus service. Anyone who wishes can by a one-day or monthly ticket and ride. I don't but I'm the atheist and I don't live near the bus routes so I use Metro-North. Regarding Christian holidays, we're closed Christmas Day.

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22 hours ago, OliKMIA said:

However I'm getting more and more annoyed by their super strict religious policy which make them close many weeks per year due to Jewish holidays.

The closings are irritating but it's a heavily Jewish store in NYC.  Fairly normal for the camera biz in that city.  I find it irritating the way I find it irritating when Christians close on Sundays... or close early.  But that is hardly a reason to stop shopping somewhere.  It's a hazard of living in a diverse semi-tolerant country.

First of all Amazon is an abysmal alternative.  B&H and Adorama focus on photography and videography.  You can actually get someone on the phone who has some clue about those specific industries/hobbies.  I still buy medium format film.  I buy from multiple outlets to do my best to keep them healthy and focused on selling film at reasonable prices.

It is beyond insanity to quit shopping at a specialty store like B&H over something like a schedule... which they go out of their way to post.  You seriously want Amazon of all places to be our only alternative?  Man, I'll wait two weeks if I can get 220 rolls of film at a reasonable price.  Think about what you are saying.

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@henryp Thanks for taking the time to comment here and give us additional information about your work at B&H. I appreciate your effort. I've noted your email in case I have an issue with the comments in the future. For the rest, who belongs to which group and how many employee believe in X or Y is off topic for me.

@damphousse The reasons behind the closing doesn't really matter. In fact It's because I really like B&H that I'm sometime "irritated" about it. Actually I bought a bunch of filters this morning at B&H. My point is to get others people opinion, not to engage any battle or confrontation. All good.

@forofilms Yes I saw that before but I honestly don't know the case in detail. Both party present valid arguments. I'm not qualified to have a valid opinion on this matter but I definitely look at the trend and future court decisions if any. 

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I have bought many things from B&H and have been happy with their service to date. Having said that I could see how this closure could be irritating.

@OliKMIA, Was the closure incorporated in the calculated shipping date? If it was then their is nothing really to complain about. If it wasn't then their is your fix for any future complaints @henryp.

Another possible solution is for B&H to just open a mega store in Vancouver for me... I mean everyone to shop at ;). that would definitely solve all problems for everyone ever. I am definitely making this suggestion for everyones benefit and not just for me. lol

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And an EU warehouse while you're at it, although, don't open shop in Austria, everything's closed on sunday, even in the capitol and they must have the most national holidays ever over here. That's annoying. :bawling: When you go out and buy groceries and you're like 'what the hell, everything's shut, what occassion this time?!'. Another flippin' excuse of a holiday that didn't mean much where I'm originally from.

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3 hours ago, henryp said:

There seem to be two issues here -- our schedule and deleted product reviews. One at a time. B&H's schedule is on our site at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/HelpCenter/HoursOfOperation.jsp.There are two week-long events but in general I think the comment, "many weeks per year" is hyperbole. We appreciate some days we're closed do not conform to mainstream US or Christian holidays but they are unavoidable. We take pains to ensure customers are aware of each event well in advance with notices on our site, our Facebook profile, Twitter, our email newsletters etc. You wrote, "I didn't pay attention..." I am sorry you did not but I do not think it is reasonable to hold that against us. YMMV

Reviews get vetted by PowerReviews before we get them and are then vetted again by us before they're published. Once they are, anyone can click to flag a review for any reason at all. That immediately takes the review offline until it can be vetted yet again. If you have an issue with one or more particular reviews please email henryp[at]bhphoto.com and I'll be happy to inquire.

Once upon a time, 20 years ago this may have been true but today our staff is as diverse as NYC itself.

Some employees are Hasidic; some are non-Hasidic orthodox Jews; some are less observant or non-observant Jews. Some are Christians or Muslims or
Zoroastrians. At least one is an outspoken atheist. There's no "reserve in NJ." There are communities in NJ and in suburban NY and in Brooklyn where like minded families tend to live near one another for support and convenience. The buses are run by a private company with no relationship to B&H or to our management. Some smart person saw a business opportunity and began a bus service. Anyone who wishes can by a one-day or monthly ticket and ride. I don't but I'm the atheist and I don't live near the bus routes so I use Metro-North. Regarding Christian holidays, we're closed Christmas Day.

Henry, since you interjected in the discussion and indicated that you have a diverse population of employees, do you care to comment on the lawsuit filed by the US Department of Labor accusing B&H of discrimination against women and minorities, including the practice of segregation?

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/29/us/bh-photo-lawsuit/

The article states that "B&H has been sued in recent years by Hispanic and female employees who charged the company with similar claims.The company settled a similar discrimination case with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $4.3 million in 2007."

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1 hour ago, forofilms said:

Henry, since you interjected in the discussion and indicated that you have a diverse population of employees, do you care to comment on the lawsuit filed by the US Department of Labor accusing B&H of discrimination against women and minorities, including the practice of segregation?

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/29/us/bh-photo-lawsuit/

The article states that "B&H has been sued in recent years by Hispanic and female employees who charged the company with similar claims.The company settled a similar discrimination case with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $4.3 million in 2007."

In their announcement regarding the amicable 2007 settlement, the EEOC said: “We commend B & H for working cooperatively with us to resolve this matter without protracted litigation,” said EEOC New York Trial Attorney Lou Graziano. “We encourage other employers to follow B & H’s example of resolving discrimination cases expeditiously and in good faith.”

Regarding the suit by women alleging discrimination, see http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/other-courts/2011/2011-ny-slip-op-33861-u.html wherein it says the plaintiff's "failure-to-promote claims are devoid of factual support." That case was then dismissed.

The CNN article says workers were "relegated to "separate, unsanitary and often inoperable restrooms." The allegations being made are unproven and untrue. There are not and have never been separate restrooms. The restrooms are as clean as those in my house. There are no "substandard conditions." Every person I know older than 14 has a cellphone with a camera. If there were separate unsanitary restrooms we’d have seen photos of them in various social media. There has not been one. Non-employees who have visited our warehouses reported seeing clean, safe, well-lit working conditions and restrooms as sanitary as those set aside for customers in our retail store.

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Regarding why it makes sense to do business or not do business with a company, I/my company has been doing biz with B&H since we started over 20 years ago.

I'm as agnostic regarding businesses as I am regarding a higher power. That said, while I/we certainly do a good deal of business with other companies for various reasons - I've done  far more with B&H than with any other entity for our film and audio post studios as well as film and audio prodution. It would be fair to say I've spent a reasonable house mortgage with them over these years.

I've never been treated with anything but respect and never experienced anything but great service. I've never had a single issue with their policies, products or staff. They're probably the best stocked and informed company in the world, all things considered.

I say this as a pretty dogmatic non-dogmatic person, who believes that the world is a better place when we respect each others differences (as long as they do no harm) and as someone who regularly needs an item for a deadline a day or so before it arrives. I've learned to work with B&H's occasionally "unorthodox" (I know) schedule because of the quality of the business relationship we've had over the years.

It's hard, in any field, to say you've never had a bad experience with someone or some business when operating at demanding levels over many instances. I can say that about B&H. 

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