I have never tried heroin, but I imagine my most recent experience might be close.

The entrance to the land of temptation. If I am Hans, this is the Gingerbread house.

The entrance to the land of temptation. If I am Hans, this is the Gingerbread house.

We had spent several days wandering the streets of NYC. Amongst our many destination stops was B&H Photo Video. I have been buying stuff from this mail order place for at least 20 years and have seen it grow to one of the dominant dealers of camera gear. My relationship with B&H could be described as love/hate. On the hate side would be the fact that I like to support local. B&H has the cards stacked against local dealers because local dealers, while they can match price, also have to charge sales tax. For whatever reason, mail order places can avoid this. Also, when I buy something, I like to be able to touch it and shake it around a bit. I can”t tell you how many times I have order the “jumbo large production bag” and when it arrives I discover it will barely hold a small towel.

The only gentile employee I think I saw...

The only gentile employee I think I saw…

Another “hate” is the strict adherence to all orthodox Jewish holidays. I suppose on one hand I respect their devotion to their religion. On the other hand, it is inconvenient for me, especially during Passover  when they shut down for 10 days. That always seems to be the time when I want to buy something and they have the best price. In fact, most of the east coast video dealers observe the same holidays. I just got an email from Filmtools.com reminding me they are not Jewish and are open for business.

Unlike a lot of stores,B&H is well staffed with people who know what they are talking about, and friendly.

Unlike a lot of stores,B&H is well staffed with people who know what they are talking about, and friendly.

Now for the love… B&H has the best prices on gear, always. You might find some off brand site with a lower number, but you will almost always get screwed. Any place that undercuts B&H has some sort of scam going on. I could tell you various stories of finding great deals, only to have them explode like poop into my face, and my mouth was open. Gross.

So when we began to plan a trip to Manhattan a few months back, B&H was one of my destination choices. I thought it would be fun to see the physical store, no big deal. We arrived around 10:30am on a Sunday morning. Tripods and jib arms filled the front display window. The first big display inside was all the latest and greatest cameras that are available. I was not in the market for anything but was excited to see them. After about 10 minutes I decided I had seen enough and it was time to go. Then I remembered maybe the used department might be fun to see. On the way to that the lighting department caught my eye.  I went straight to the LED lights and lost my mind. Within 10 minutes I had bought 2 IKAN panel lights. My heart was racing and dopamine surged through my bloodstream. We paid and went out of the front of the store. I felt like I had just rode a roller coaster. And I had to go again.

Do you wanna touch me?

Do you wanna touch me?

So back in I went, this time I bought two bags for the lights. Headphones beckoned me. I had still not seen the used department. Lights flashed and my pulse quickened. A thin sheen of sweat covered my forehead. I had to get some fresh air and collect my thoughts. The cool air outside calmed me. Yet, I was drawn back in, just one more time. I knew there was something else to see or touch. It turned out it was the bathroom. In New York, bathrooms are kinda rare to the public, so I used the one at BH and called it good for the day.

The checkout process was smooth and efficient, like a modern slaughterhouse.

The checkout process was smooth and efficient, like a modern slaughterhouse.

I wish we had one in Kansas City. Being able to touch and test gear is a wonderful thing. I suppose that is a bygone era. Even a local dealer would be hard pressed to carry the amount of inventory that B&H does. The whole experience makes we want to go to the fantasy land of NAB next. I will write a review of the lights when I get them. They are a few weeks out due to shipping and passover.

and a good deal was made...

and a good deal was made…

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