The curse of the box shifters

My Fuji 56mm f/1.2 finally arrived today, three days late courtesy of WEX photographic and Parcelforce. It was delivered to the wrong depot then dumped in a van in the early hours of Saturday, left there until it was delivered at lunchtime today. The packaging was split, the lens box was battered, though the internal packaging protected the lens and it's fine.

Three out of my last four purchases from WEX have been screwed up. The 56mm was the second one that Parcelforce didn't deliver on time, which makes the fourth in all that this has happened to my orders from WEX in the last year. You'll not be surprised that I'm not buying from them again. Earlier this year I pre ordered a Fuji X-T1 via their website. They weren't supposed to take the money until it was delivered, but due to, what they say, was a computer screw up the money WAS taken. It was returned to me eventually but Paypal sat on it for a week and for seven days I was out £1300+. 

And with the demise of the local photographic store this is the future. The curse of the box shifters. Now I'm getting pretty tired of some call centre operative apologising for my inconvenience and refunding my postage charge for next day delivery. (Which is more of a hope than a promise these days.) Plus some disclaimer about how it's not their fault but the couriers. WEX are good at this and it seems they have lots of practice. This is simply not good enough but it may be something we have to get used to. 

If I can I buy from Jessops and Calumet, where I can phone up, check something is in stock, or book it for the next day. That way I get to see the goods before I part with my cash. But both companies are struggling financially. Jessops has re-emerged after a bankruptcy with a much cut down number of stores. Calumet US has gone belly up and I'm wondering how long the UK branch will survive. So all that buying on the internet is leading to a situation where we are the mercy of inefficient unreliable warehouse managers and their overworked underpaid delivery company drivers. Is this what we want? Well it's not what I want. If I can I buy from a store, but then as my long time contact at Jessops told me, it's the box shifters who have the volume sales and they get the first deliveries of everything. So the stores get the new products as and when companies like WEX have taken what they want. 

It's a crummy system and one where expertise and experience have left the building long ago. Anonymity rules and we are supposed to put up with it. But then I guess we all voted with our wallets to say we didn't want stores anymore, we want cheap. And from my experience with WEX and Parcelforce, cheap is exactly what I got.