8 Confessions Of A Ritz Camera Sales Employee

Apparently there are still some people who buy electronic and camera items in real-world-stores and sometimes they go to Ritz Camera.

If you’re one of these people, you may be interested in these cat-out-of-bag-lettings of an ex-Ritz Camera sales force member.

Even if you don’t patronize Ritz Camera, some of the tips and tactics to watch out for may apply to your other shopping excursions as well.


So, here I am out of a job due to termination from my former employer Ritz Camera. I was a model employee I followed the dress code to the letter, always arrived promptly on time or 15 minutes earlier. I achieved the highest sales in my region twice in the 8 months that i worked there. After a short argument with a corp. manager I was terminated. So, here I am racked with guilt I am here to confess the sins of Ritz camera

1. Ritz camera employees are commissioned
Why is this number one you ask? Because you must understand what drives us as employees. Ritz employees make commission on everything in the store, we make the most money on our damage protection plan employees get 10-15% of the total cost. So if you have a Nikon D-80 and you get a two year damage plan we get 60 dollars. multiply that by a few customers and you’ve doubled your paycheck in one day. We will be your best friend while we get you a camera that you can’t afford and won’t fully understand how to use.

2. Never ever develop nudes, ever!
This may seem pretty common knowledge however some people do it anyways. Lab techs have an unwritten rule “If she’s hot make copies!” lab techs aren’t authorized to copy anyone’s photos however it does happen. So if you have some shots of your wife in a lovely nightie don’t process them or they will end up in a lab techs hands or worse, the internet

3. “Of course the damage plan covers that.”
Don’t be fooled Ritz employees love to up-sell the damage plan touting that if you throw your camera out of a car while moving if you can bring us back the serial number we can get you a new camera. That would be amazing if that was true, I drop my Nikon SLR of the empire state and Ritz will give me a new one, that will never happen. Don’t listen to the employee no matter how much he tries to relate to you stand your ground and say no. Yes, people do come in with completely destroyed cameras expecting that in 2 weeks they will have a brand new camera, I hate to tell you this but you will never see that camera again.

4. Free SLR cleanings are only for the outside
This is often used to get people to buy SLR’s often the employee will say that you can get a free sensor cleaning if you get a damage protection plan. That’s not true you get a “free cleaning” and the cleaning is defined as cleaning the outside of the camera only! No internal cleanings are preformed by any Ritz employee in location. Basically if they say “oh yeah we do sensor cleanings for free in store” that’s a lie… it’s sent to a separate company to be cleaned and that takes anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months.

5. Ebay is Ritz Camera’s dumping ground
Ritz often sells outdated cameras on Ebay for cheap, it states that if you have any issues you can go to any Ritz store and exchange the camera or return it. We were told by the corp. office that if anyone comes in to exchange any item we are to refer them to customer service. If you find your self in the unfortunate situation of having a broken outdated camera that you bought of RitzEbay, i hate to tell you this but you are utterly screwed. The customer service center will not help you at all. Most of the CSR’s are not able to offer any kind of compensation for your camera. if you see a sweet camera on RitzEbay just remember if it fails its up to you to front the cost of repair

Now here are a few tips…

6. Always wait for an ad to come out, this is when you will save the most and get the best deal. If there’s no ad running that week prices will be the same as best buy or any other electronics store.

7. If you’re doing a large order ask for it in an hour, we say we can do it in an hour. If we can’t and you have to wait the manager will take off 10% for the order being late.

8. Always upload your own photos never have an employee do it. I say this because of two reasons. If you need your photos quick and you leave them with the sales associate to develop he won’t. Also if you upload your photos on your own and edit them the lab tech won’t get the chance to go through your photos while he or she processes them.

— BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. doodbugboodles says:

    Wow, this reminds me why I went digital.

  2. pockygt says:

    Well, I worked a Ritz Camera for a while up here, and these are accurate, but not much of a confession. Maybe my store was just more honest than this guys.

  3. TPK says:

    I always have a hard time thinking of a reason to not buy my camera equipment from B&H…

  4. Buran says:

    @TPK: B&H has been great except for the one time they held my order for “verification” for several days when I used a one-time use credit card number — but my shipping address WAS on file with my card issuer! Good thing I wasn’t in a hurry on that item. Penalizing customers for protecting themselves from fraud, as long as the card you use has the shipping address on file as valid, is ridiculous.

    And it wasn’t my first order from them either. Not by far.

  5. TPK says:

    @Buran: Good to know, I haven’t used a one-time number with them before! I guess it was a “who can be more careful” contest. :)

  6. crnk says:

    @Buran: I did have them mess up an order once before…sent the wrong type medium format film, but they were amazing with arranging the exchange. I still use them, and haven’t had anything else that even resembled a problem.

  7. junkmail says:

    B&H is the only photo/video store that gets my money. Period.

  8. TSS says:

    I go to a local, family-owned store in Huntington Beach. They are awesome. (Bill’s Camera, if anyone else lives behind the Orange Curtain.)

  9. ddhj says:

    Another vote for B&H.
    I have had very little trouble with these guys. And what little issues i had was resolved quickly.
    I always imagine my little item making its journey around in that little basket through the store before getting packed up.

  10. arachnophilia says:

    i shop at b&h and adorama, personally, but i have on occasion dropped some money at ritz. like when i needed a flash — THAT NIGHT. the extra money was worth being able to use it NOW in that instance. otherwise, internet for me.

    i think the people at ritz realize this. they know their prices are higher. i wouldn’t be surprised if that worthless damage plan was what was keeping them afloat, actually.

    but yeah, not really much of a confession for the more photographically savy. granted, it might be very useful information for people who don’t realize that someone sees your pictures when they develop them. which is probably a surprising percentage of the average camera-weilding population.

    also, maybe the op can answer this for me. what, exactly, is ritz’s deal with pushing the off-brand crap? do you guys have profit-sharing with quantary or something?

  11. Lordy says:

    Hell if i know about the profit sharing…quantary is just sunpacks alt. brand same company just different name…i have no clue why.

  12. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Not much reason to shop b&m for cameras these days anyhoo. Read the reviews at megapixel.net or dpreview.com then talk to friends and buy online.
    We had a local (regional?) chain in NE Ohio that wasn’t terrible though. Now down in sunny FL, we have Wolf instead (ha) of Ritz, same store, different name. Although the folks at Wolf/Ritz are typically more knowledgable than those fine BB ‘camera specialists.’

  13. hop says:

    b and h also has an awesome catalog…..our ritz in this area is in a boscov’s store…..i’ve purchased a few things there,with no pressure to buy service contracts….they are a little more expensive that on line…lately tho, my large purchases have been on line and so far have had no problems….

  14. B+H and Calumet Photographic. Stay away from Adorama.

  15. John Stracke says:

    Never ever develop nudes, ever!

    Er…duh? I mean, even if the staff isn’t scummy enough to make copies, how can you possibly expect that nobody’s going to see the prints? Somebody’s got to put them in that little envelope. If you want your pictures to stay private, get a digital camera…and keep your computer secure.

    @arachnophilia:

    they know their prices are higher.

    I have actually found one case where Ritz had a better price than I could find elsewhere. I needed a high-speed 2GB SD card, and they had a really good price on a Lexar. (Unfortunately, I can’t actually remember the price; it was something like $40, at a time when the best I could find online was about $50.) However, they also had a house-brand card, at half the speed, for about twice the price.

  16. CaptainRoin says:

    @Buran: B&H has a weird policy about the shipping and billing addresses being the same or else you have to call. I’ve had to do it before, but they are always nice about it.

    I also returned a Panasonic LX1, because it’s a crap camera, after I had used it around the house for a few days. It was super easy to return.

  17. mac-phisto says:

    awesome confession! these stories are easily my favorite part of consumerist. even if some of this stuff seems like common sense (don’t develop nudes), i always like to know the insider scoop (b/c yes, the rumors are true).

  18. mikeatnight says:

    I would like to see a confession from Broadway photo rep. These guys are the scum of the earth. Never ever buy from Broadway photo. Look them up on resellerratings.com
    http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Broadway_Photo

  19. Mojosan says:

    Sweet Moses I love the “confessions” posts. :)

  20. Michael Bauser says:

    Hey, I used to work for Ritz Camera, too! (Technically, I worked for Kits Cameras, a competitor that Ritz bought and left the original name on, because Kits had a better reputation than Ritz. It was a little confusing for customers, because the local stores all said “Kits” on the outside, but “Ritz” on the inside.)

    I’ll agree with all these confessions except maybe #3. When I was with Kits (I left in 2001), the service plan was still basically no questions asked — as long as the serial number was recognizable, the camera was repaired or replaced. It’s possible that’s changed since I was there, though. (Or maybe Kits was using a different repair service than the rest of Ritz.)

  21. mayhemsennet says:

    Alright, I saw this article and simply HAVE to post a response.

    First, I am a manager at a Ritz store and have been with them for about 3 years. I have to say, I am not sure if this is just the case of a disgruntled employee or just one who worked at a horrible location with horrible management (or both) as all of these statements are way off base.

    1) Commissioned. We get hourly pay plus commission. Hardly anything wrong with that. Sure, I make more money the more you buy, but my financial stability does not depend on it. How helpful are those non-comissioned Best Buy employees?

    2) Developing nudes. Sorry, policy is no copies of customers finishing. It is a terminable offense. At a store with a good manager and good crew, this will never happen.

    3)Damage plan covers that. IT DOES. Ritz sells one of the only fully comprehensive warranty/damage plans around. I have had a customer bring in a demolished camera that was thrown out of a moving vehicle by their child. We *replaced* it with a new one. It is not an over the counter replacement though, you will have to wait about 3-4 weeks. But it is covered. The plans do work.

    4) Free sensor cleanings. Free sensor cleanings AND INTERNAL cleanings of cameras are covered under the Ritz damage plan. I have sent plenty of these in to know. NO sensor cleaning, cleanings, repairs are done at any Ritz store location. All of these things are sent out to a local repair facility that is equipped to handle such things.

    5) Ritz does sell a lot of items on Ebay. Honestly, never had to deal with a return/exchange from an ebay Ritz sale. I would assume you would deal directly with the Ritz Ebay team and not a store location.

    6) Wait for an ad. Sure you can. But Ritz also offers 30 day price protection like every other store on earth. So no issue.

    7)One hour orders. Ritz policy states we can do orders in an hour depending on lab work load. If I have 2000 digital prints ready to print and you come in asking for an hour, that may not happen. It depends on how busy the lab is and what we can fit in first. Sorry, but you will not get any discount because our lab is doing huge business. You will have to wait a bit longer. Sorry, name of the game anywhere. More people in line, you wait longer.

    8) What? First, our locations have self serve kiosks for the customers to upload pictures themselves. My location has four. Plenty to go around. Second, if say they are full and a customer just needs to get one of everything, we can easily take their memory card and do that for them when the kiosks free up. If you have an employee who takes a customers card and does NOT do this, that employee is NOT doing their job! Plain and simple. Once again, sounds like poor employee or poor management, if that is the case.

    Ritz is a great place to do business. Do stores vary from one to the other in caliber of service and knowledge? Of course. The 8 points from this particular ex employee though need to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

  22. oldhat says:

    I’ve read stories where Ritz plan-protected cameras were replaced and/or repaired even in (gasp) foreign countries. South Africa, Mexico, Europe, etc.

    There is little to no fine print on the protection contract. Not like, say, Circuit City or Best Buy…they are total shit. Look at the camera funny and everything is void.

    It is pricey but does it work? Never mind the throw it off a building scenario…in the real world? I got the sense that it is legit.

  23. I once took a photo to be enlarged to an 8×10 at a Ritz. All but one of the kiosks was broken, and that one kiosk had a man going through 300 vacation pictures, so I asked the (obviously disinterested) guy behind the counter to do it.

    I assumed that a human being would look at the enlargement and do something aesthetically pleasing with it, not just hit “8×10″ and let the image get cropped wherever. I figured service like that was why I was going there instead of a drugstore.

    I was wrong, and didn’t discover it til later due to being in a rush. Wound up with an ugly enlargement and should have asked for a refund. Took it to a kiosk in a CVS and did it myself.

  24. suckonthat says:

    #2, whether or not is is strictly against policy, is totally true. I have had many friends that work at photo development places (one of them at Ritz) and at their frat house there was an entire wall of stolen pictures. Not all were nudes, some were just really funny. Not that I am condoning that action or anything…

  25. arachnophilia says:

    @CaliforniaCajun:
    what’s wrong with adorama? i’ve bought from them a few times, and never had a problem.

  26. swampito says:

    I stopped by Ritz Camera in DC yesterday, in a hurry to get some prints that I could use to apply for a travel visa. I had digital files that I had done in Photoshop so that I could print regular 4X6 prints and then cut them up into eight passport-sized photos.

    I asked the guy on duty if he could print them out on the spot for me, and mentioned that I needed them to apply for a visa. He said, “Oh, you want passport photos? I can do that for you.” I explained that I already had the file set up for passport size and just needed regular 4X6 prints. I couldn’t believe what he said next: “Well, since they’re passport photos, I’m still going to have to charge you the passport price of $14.95.” I took my USB drive back, thanked him for his time and left.

    Is this standard policy at Ritz? It really makes no sense. Almost any big store o online service will print whatever you like and charge by size not content. It seemed like Ritz was trying to take advantage of me just because I was in a hurry. Fortunately, there was a CVS down the block, where I was able to make my prints on a self-service kiosk. That’s the last time I will go to Ritz to get prints done.

  27. MikeTheKat says:

    I purchased a Nikon P2 from Ritz, a few days later the display went crazy and it was not dropped or damaged. I took it back, they returned it as defective and gave me a new one. I do have the all powerfull warranty (its my wifes camera). I will say though I asked about Nikon DSLR lens for my D70 and they wanted to offer mye an off brand, saying they don’t offer Nikon but these are good too. Sorry not buying it. Still they did take care of my other camera problem.

  28. Nachoman says:

    You are right on with your confessions. I used to be a manager at a Ritz Camera and what you mention is right on. When a customer would come in we would “push” them to what is termed a 10-5-1 camera so we could make more money. Its not better than another camera, it just makes us more money. We would mention accessories that would also make us more money; anything that made us more money.
    As for the nude pictures, we had a customer who worked as a bouncer in a strip club and his pictures were for all of us to see. Though we did copy or upload them to the net, we could all see them. Now image your wife or someone else you don’t want to everyone to see out for everyone to see, that would go on all the time.
    Oh yeah, wait for an ad, and get the low price because without it they are just a high priced as everyone else.
    Last, they advertise pictures in seconds, I can tell you there is no way in hell they can print pictures that fast, they had trouble printing orders in an hour. Yes, if a customer had an order for a hour and the order was not going to be done I would first talk to the lab tech then get a new ETA, then I would give them 10% off. (The customer needed to bring it up though because corporate told us to not freely give the discount, what up bunch of cheap-skates)!
    Also, they sell a pre-paid $.19 card for 500 prints, get that and nothing else. It’s cheaper and you save money, do not let them talk you into their IRC card.

  29. Nachoman says:

    When you go into a Ritz store ask whoever is working; if you can find someone, usually there are sitting on their butt somewhere else, who will be looking at their pictures because you are usure what is on the roll or what the pictures are. The new stores have the lab right next to the register so customers can see the lab and pictures. When the person lies and says that only the person developing the pictures will see those pictures will see them, ask them what assurance will you give.
    What Ritz needs to create and what everyone who drops off pictures is a bill of rights for picture development. They need to assure people that every persons pictures will not be looked at for public consumption. They try to upsell photos for enlargement by looking at them, they need to stop that, they finger through each and every one of your photos to see which photo would be best for an enlargement or for something else. That’s wrong, that’s like a molestor walking around a playground walking around a school.

    Ritz needs to stop this and we need to force the issue.

  30. shopout says:

    I worked for Wolf Camera a long time ago, before Ritz took over. I was fired too, but the reason was so flimsy, I was able to gain unemployment compensation. I had become very unpopular with most of my fellow salesmem because I was honest.

    It was on paper the best job I had ever had, but the company was extremely ethically challenged. I felt like a “used car salesman”. All but one of the other five salesmen, including all of management, should have worn masks. They were very good at the art of BS, which made it difficult for me because I sold based on facts.

    I qualified my customers, and never tried to load them up with product that they did not need. There is a joke amongst commissioned salesmen (albeit such salesmen are a dying breed) about “Spiff Magazine” giving a product a good review. The joke refers to items that pay the salesman (and the company) well.

    We were encouraged to rip the competition, like Ritz. We were also encouraged to rip certain brands, especially ones that we carried but that were not as profitable as others. For example, I heard a salesman tell a customer that Canon had the highest return rate due to defects. He then went on to sell an Olympus. He was lying. The Olympus made him far more money than the equivalent Canon.

    The selling price is not necessarily indicative of how much the salesman makes. For example, I made more money selling a $300 “Fuji” than a $1500 Nikon”.

    One thing to be careful of is the custom packages that are put together. For example, you buy a Nikon, but the package includes generic lenses. Generic lenses can be a very good deal, and you can buy many fine generic lenses, but they are included because they are far more profitable than the camera brands’ own lenses. You need to do your homework on package deals containing generic lenses. If you buy a Nikon with generic lenses, you need to know that the generic lenses might not work on future Nikon cameras.

    This is also true when buying a lens by itself. I guarantee that if the salesman works on a commission that he will try to sell you a generic lens. It will cost you less, but keep in mind compatability issues.

    Lastly, the other sales people routinely stole deals. If a customer whom I had assisted returned on my day off to make the purchase, somebody else would normally write it up for themselves. They even tried to do it a couple of times when I was helping more than one customer at a time.

    I am glad that Mr. Popken posted his comments.

  31. shopout says:

    I forgot to mention that nude photos and video, as well as those of celebrities were guaranteed to be copied by employees in the photo finishing department to take home or pass around.

  32. rowrtay says:

    wow,

    as a wolf/ritz camera manager who is tired and at times disgruntled myself let me first say that i would love an employee who was:

    “a model employee I followed the dress code to the letter, always arrived promptly on time or 15 minutes earlier. I achieved the highest sales in my region twice in the 8 months that i worked there”

    the model ones i have i try to keep, and the ones who are substandard i try to lose. the employment world is a funny place. if you fire a substandard employee with good cause, but you forget to dot the i… have fun in court. we do our best, but sometimes the bad ones slip in (do you have a coworker you think should never have been hired?)

    i don’t necessarily think that this former employee is blowing smoke, but my three years of experience and my wife’s eight years says different. i would suggest that any store anywhere is only as good as the people who staff it. in my store (we are encouraged to treat customers the way we would as if it was our store), my policy is to take care of our customers to the best of our ability.

    in order of my concerns:

    1) we NEVER remove/copy a customer’s work. that is illegal, wrong, and grounds for immediate dismissal.

    2) we try to do every order as fast as humanly possible. we are limited by how fast our machines develop or process orders, but we try to do everything in less than an hour. it is my policy to promise the quickest turnaround for any order with everything expected going wrong. that is if i think your order will take five minutes to finish, but i expect my paper to run out (a fifteen minute process to fix) i will quote you twenty minutes just to be on the safe side.

    i would rather tell a customer 20 minutes and have it ready in 5 than to tell a customer 5 minutes and have it ready in 20. all of my store’s work is to the best of the store’s ability all of the time.

    3) actually most associates in my area are not commissioned. we do make extra money on some items versus others. some companies pay more for us to sell their cameras. some companies pay more to put advertisements in magazines or on tv. in the end everyone wants you to buy their camera.

    4) we do match our own prices/specials/deals within thirty days of original purchase. in my store all you need is a receipt and i will take care of you, but by all means take advantage of whatever we have going on that week.

    further more, we always price match any local competitor (sorry not online scam artists). as long as the local competitor has the item in stock and has a lower price than us, we will charge you the same amount. we have to make a same deal to same deal price match-camera to camera and memory card to memory card.

    5) our damage plan. we cover everything you can do to a camera with the exceptions of:

    fire, theft or loss, cosmetic damage, incidental damage.

    buy our damage plan. it is more expensive than our competitors because we cover more. we could charge more but people wouldn’t buy it, or we could charge less and go bankrupt. seriously. our repairs are guaranteed. we take a little longer to fix cameras (it is not an over the counter replacement) because we have to have an authorized repair person fix it. it may take a month or more to fix your camera, but would you trust that your camera was fixed correctly if it only took week (including shipping)?

    we also repair cameras which don’t have our damage plan. it takes the same amount of time to repair a camera without our plan and usually costs three to five times the cost of our damage plan.


    any store is only as good as its people. any chain of stores is going to have the occasional bad apple. let me apologize as a one manager out of 1100 or so.

    i am sorry if you have had a bad experience with us.

    we are a company of people committed to helping you capture your memory and archive it for posterity. you will not find people more enthusiastic and helpful than us.

    store manager,
    wolf camera

  33. Nachoman says:

    ROWRTAY,

    You stated that it is illegal and that you never remove a copy of a customers work. How can you prove that? Has an employee of yours ever made a copy? What about stairing at a picture or joking about a picture on the screen?

    My question to you, what is your definition and what is the companies definition of “local” concerning the price match? Is it the city, the state, what is it?

  34. Pineology says:

    As a former multi-year employee of the Ritz empire, I can honestly say that the happiest days of my life are the ones since I resigned from my position. I don’t miss having to put my job before my family every holiday season, no matter how large the bonus check.

    Being the size of company that it is, Ritz is much like the Applebee’s of the specialty camera world. With thousands of employees at thousands of locations, it is impossible to guarantee a consistent delivery of service. With stores staffed by employees (including management) who have little education beyond high school or community college, it is best not to have high service expectations.

    Always remember, that the bottom line for any company is to earn a PROFIT. Naturally this is done by pushing the most profitable items, and this does not include high end equipment. Accessories, warranties, membership cards, key chains that clean your lenses, etc are the bread and butter of sales profit for any company selling camera/video gear and equipment.

    Salespeople have bills to pay, goals to meet, and managers to satisfy. Thus, salespeople will usually emphasize the product they are told to. This item also frequently has a per unit bonus for the upper echelon of management.

    If you want the best camera or printer or whatever to suit your personal needs, do the research yourself and buy online.

  35. am0131 says:
  36. am0131 says:

    @rowrtay: I work for Ritz, and I can’t believe what I am hearing from former employees! The damage protection covers ANYTHING!!! Not like Best Buy, which doesn’t cover impact or water submersion. Heck, you can hit the camera with a hammer right in front of us, and we’ll replace it (yes, in 3-4 weeks, but it’s better than nothing). We also offer classes on how to use your camera. We are trained to sell you the camera that fits your needs, not ours. Rowtray is absolutely right about all of this. Also, we now guarantee our one-hour service for smaller orders. If you want 75 prints in an hour, great! If we can’t do it, they are FREE! Also, I work in a store that is now home to TEN kiosks, and we always have an employee stationed there to help out.

    I am, however, glad to see that some people still have faith in our company. Thanks for standing up for us.

  37. Nachoman says:

    Ritz Camera will soon be bankrupt. They cannot buy cameras in a large enough quantity to pass the savings onto consumers. Why should I go to Ritz pay more for a camera when I could go to Walmart or another mass merchandiser pay less and get the same service. Ritz, just like a mass merchandiser hires high schoolers, don’t try to say they don’t. I know as a former manager. As for prints I can go to Walgreen get prints for .19 or Sam’s Club for .19, why should I go to Ritz and get prints for more? The prints may look a little better but as cameras get better, we don’t need special shops to take care of our prints.
    Ritz cannot compete and will lose out. They do not have any competitive advantage and will die out.
    All of those who are standing up for the company should be finding jobs.

  38. captbobby says:

    Some more information about Ritz Camera. The Ritz store that I work at, added the ESP (damage protection) to the price of the camera. 95% of our customers are from other countries, just visiting. International Warranty, yes this is how they take advantage of the customer. When you walk out of the door, you have no coverage on your camera unless, you buy our International Warranty!

  39. Nachoman says:

    captbobby you have shed light on an new thing that is happening at Ritz. They are doing this for two reasons: 1) To take advantage of foreigners, especially those who do not have the greatest understanding of the English language and 2)Becuase it employees could not sell the ESP or put another way customers were not dumb enough to buy it. This just proves to me how desperate the company is to make money and how much trouble they are in.

  40. GinaJapanty says:

    Ok, this is silly. I’ve worked for Ritz Camera for years and I’m currently employed and a store manager there. Truthfully, yeah it can be a drag to work for. The hours are long, and hard work. But the accusations that are in this are not true for all stores and if these are your personal confessions than that sounds like a pretty good reason why you were let go.

    I have never seen a lab person take nudes and before I was the store manager I was a lab manager. This is hogwash.

  41. devotchka says:

    As a current employee of Ritz Camera (soon to be former employee)… I will say that some of my co-workers are the manipulative “car salesmen” type that are described above, but, C’mon, we work in sales. I don’t include myself in the above category and I think it’s ethically wrong to sell people junk they don’t need. So I, and many people like myself, try to assess what the customer needs and go off that. There are people in this world who try to manipulate people for their own benefit– just use your best judgment try to get a read for the person. If they seem like a douchebag, they probably are.

    I will say that I do truly Hate my job most of the time– due to the people I work with and for– but the customers are what make my job tolerable. I, and many others, really do try to go out of my way to help a customer (jerks excluded).

    As for the Damage Protection Plan (aka the ESP)– yes, it makes us money to sell this to you– but so does the damage protection plans at other places. If you have a problem with the service, honestly, if you just complain to the District Manager you’ll get your way (if it’s within reason)– my DM caves very easily. Pertaining to International customers– it’s actually harder to sell them an ESP than anyone else. Most foreigners aren’t going to buy something or sign something they don’t understand. Really it just comes down to the integrity of the salesperson.

    I kind of resent the comment made about the employees’ lack of education– I’ll admit, it’s somewhat true– but honestly, it was just in bad taste to mention. I currently am enrolled at a university, but not everyone had the same opportunities I do. But i will also like to add that unlike most places, Ritz camera employees are trained (somewhat– still more than other places) on the cameras and video equipment we sell. We’re expected to know basically every item we sell inside and out.

    Last but not least– Nude photos. I’m just going off of the people that I know and have worked with– honestly, WE DON’T WANT TO SEE YOUR NUDE PICTURES. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to print out down right pornographic material– I gain no pleasure from seeing such. If you want to talk about perverts– it’s the people bringing in nude prints. I’m NOT saying that everyone who wants a nude picture is a pervert– but there are people who derive pleasure from watching myself and other coworkers print out these pictures (it’s just disgusting and creepy).
    I’ve worked with mostly younger males (in their 20s) and even they DO NOT want to see these kinds of pictures. And most of us definitely aren’t going to print them out for our own person use– but again, their are incredibly screwed up people in this world, and for that I apologize. If you truly have a problem with other people seeing your personal/private pictures, DO NOT print it at Ritz. We do and will go though your prints– not cause we’re pervs or because we want to sell you on enlarging your best print– we do it cause we want to make sure your pictures don’t suck. I personally have spent over 2 hours correcting the color/saturation/brightness/contrast of a man’s wedding pictures– cause no one else would. He’d been to two other places who just printed out his terrible pictures and handed them over– even though they we truly terrible.

    People who work in sales aren’t always up to par on ethics. They have a job and need to convince you to spend your hard earned money– and as much of it as possible. One good thing about Ritz is usually the people will sell you stuff you need and will explain why you need it and how to use it. Most of us know what we’re talking about (for the most part), and strive to know more. The more we know, the better– and the more we sell. Looking stupid or ignorant is not one of my top priorities, so I will try just about anything to prevent that from happening, which includes spending my own time educating myself about the things we sell– and I’m not alone in this.

    I’m not trying to defend Ritz Camera the company– one of the reasons why I’m leaving is that they really don’t care about screwing over their employees. People who work hard and have ethics are looked down upon and sometimes punished for not doing everything according to the “Ritz Camera Way”. But generally the lower level employees have yet to be corrupted, and typically are good people.

    I will say that I am not a model employee– I have screwed up numerous times… but I am only human. I don’t follow the dress code exactly like I should, I arrive late to work sometimes, and I have genuine disdain for nearly everyone I work with and especially for. But, again, if it wasn’t for the customers and joy I derive from bringing them happiness and satisfaction, I would have gone disgruntled postal-worker crazy long ago.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Um. This is ridiculous. I work at Ritz.
    And no, our prices aren’t higher. We price match locally and refund the difference with a printed ad.
    Also, the Extended Service Plan WILL replace your camera but it’s not protected from loss, theft or fire.
    No one (in my lab at least) even WANTS to look at your nudes. I don’t care who you are. It’s awkward.
    Oh and lastly, this dude was probably stuck with a bunch of shitty sales people who don’t know how to properly ask what the customer needs and wants in a camera.
    Thankyou.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I have been working at a ritz store for a few months and while some employees are sales hungry they are mostly old employees. Newer employees don’t get that big a sales incentive. I have also seen the protection plan actually work well for a lot of people who screw up their zooms with sand and stuff like that which a manufacturer will not cover. Some of our deals this winter make it a better deal for me to buy an slr in cash for myself rather then using the employee discount or ordering direct from the factory.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I’ve worked at a Ritz for over two years and only about half of this is true. I don’t know what shitty Ritz you worked in, but no one I have ever worked with has ever been that shady. Don’t get me wrong, I literally hate to corporate office of Ritz because they are all underhanded slimy corporate pigs, but the employees have nothing to do with that. I’ve never seen a lab associate take someones nudes, a repair take 4 months, and large orders honestly cannot be done in an hour so asking for it or making a big deal out of it is rude.

  45. Anonymous says:

    “if you upload your photos on your own and edit them the lab tech won’t get the chance to go through your photos while he or she processes them.”

    Just so you know, even if the customer uploads the pictures themselves and edits them themselves…I still see their pictures. Lab Technicians are supposed to go in and color correct every picture that comes through. So I don’t know what store/lab you came from, but it doesn’t sound as if you had any experience in the lab at all.

    About the cleanings, managers who have been trained to clean sensors are able to clean an SLR in-house. The Repair Center in Beltsville DOES clean sensors.

    As for the ads and the 1-hour orders, I agree. The ads give better prices than employee discounts do. And my lab is hardly ever late on our orders, maybe once in a while if we have technical difficulties with our lab–like consistent paper jams in racks 4-6 and we have to dig down in the developer to fish out that jammed paper.

    And the only complaints I’ve ever had on an ESP is that it takes more than two weeks to have the covered camera repaired–but what do you expect? Ritz Camera stores all over the U.S. take in an unimaginable amount of repairs per day and send them to the few repair centers they have. It’s not surprising that the repair centers get backed up and can’t push out a repaired camera in two weeks. And I have sold a camera to a customer with an ESP. That customer accidentally drove down her driveway OVER her camera bag, crushing her Nikon D40x and two lenses(that she bought with a 2-lens kit and had BOTH lenses AND the camera covered under the ESP). She brought it in along with her ESP copy that had my card still stapled to it. I got the serial numbers by piecing the bottom parts of the camera together, filled out the repair form, and the next day sent it off. Two weeks later we were shipped another D40x and the 18-55 and 55-200 lenses with the customer’s original ESP and repair form. Now I would say that’s a pretty damn good deal.

    I’m not defending Ritz Camera because I love working there so much, far from it. I’ve been there for four years without a raise and I’ve had to deal with management issues that a regular employee shouldn’t have to deal with such as payroll entry, weekly scheduling, ect. However, I won’t say something about the company if it is untrue. From my experiences working there only a few things that were said are true for all Ritz Camera stores. I don’t know which store you came from, but it had to have been very poorly run if what you say holds true.