Grumpy Dad (GD) and I always try to buy each other one present that we actually want for Christmas and this year my present will be a new camera.
After making this decision we did what most people do and researched what we wanted online before heading out to the shops to actually see and touch the cameras we had been looking at. At first we went to Currys where I discovered that the camera I thought I wanted wasn’t for me and although I did find a camera I liked, Currys had no stock and the sales assistant seemed to know little about cameras, besides what was written on the ticket. As a result we decided that it was time to go to a specialist supplier.
The shop that immediately came to mind was Great Western Cameras in Swindon Town Centre. This independent camera shop has been in business for as long as I can remember, but I hadn’t been into the shop since the days of film cameras, when the store was full of wire baskets of cartridges and an intimidating selection of old fashioned cameras. The clean, bright and modern store of today couldn’t be more different to the 90s store of my memories. The displays are well laid out, making it easy to see the cameras and accessories on offer and the walkways are wide and uncluttered, making it easy for customers to browse without getting into each others way.
As neither GD or myself know a great deal about cameras I went straight to the front desk to discuss my needs and ask for help. I informed the sales assistant that I wanted a bridge camera suitable for taking family photos, blog photos and photos of music gigs and concerts. I also told him about the camera I had chosen at Currys, which I now knew was out of stock everywhere. The assistant listened patiently to my requirements and googled the camera I mentioned to find out the specifications and price. After a moment he informed me that he knew just what I needed and pulled a shiny red and very sexy camera out of the display case.
Not content with just showing me the camera, the sales assistant popped a memory card into it and invited me outside so that he could demonstrate exactly how good it was, spending at least 10 minutes instructing me on how it worked and what it was capable of. He even had me take a few photos myself so that I could see how it felt and exactly how good the quality was, even in my inexperienced hands. The demonstration didn’t end there. The sales assistant remembered that I wanted to take photos at music venues so we moved inside to a small studio, where he demonstrated that the camera could take bright, clear and crisp photos, even in low light.
By the time this demonstration was complete I was convinced that the camera was everything I needed, however there was a small snag. When the assistant had looked up the camera I had previously been interested in, he hadn’t realised that the Amazon price had been inflated by the Christmas rush and so the camera he had shown me was considerably more expensive than I had anticipated spending. As a result the assistant offered to match the best online price he could find, which was much appreciated, he then respectfully left GD and myself to discuss whether we wanted to go ahead with the camera. It didn’t take long before we decided we did, with the stern warning from GD that I could have it but I had better use it!
The fantastic service we had so far received continued as assistant patiently lead me around the store, giving me advise on cases and explaining the difference between the different types of memory cards available. Importantly, knowing that he had already sold me a camera which was outside of my budget, he didn’t try to milk it by suggesting premium accessories or unnecessarily large memory cards. Instead he used his expert knowledge to suggest items which would give me the best result for the cheapest price. This was very much appreciated and a consideration that I wouldn’t necessarily expect from a sales person.
As the final cherry on top of this already exemplary service, the assistant offered to set the camera up with date and time, so that it would be ready to use straight out of the box and polished it to a shine before re-boxing it perfectly and offering a few more words of advice for setting it up.
On the whole I found the service we experienced at Great Western Cameras to be miles above average. The shop assistants were not only knowledgeable, but also really listened to what their customer wanted, a skill which is impressive in itself. Throughout the whole process I never once felt as if I was being sold to, for selling sake, rather that the assistant wanted to sell me something that I would want/need. As a result, I can’t recommend this store highly enough and will definitely be returning in future whenever I require anything camera related.
You can visit Great Western Cameras at 4-5 Market Street, Swindon Town Centre, or you can find them online at