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Shopping for Digital Cameras & Electronics - Where I'm coming from.

Hopefully, this page will give you an idea about shopping for electronics in Singapore. My PERSONAL opinions, recommendations are based on personal experiences. Many moons ago, I use to get paid for taking photographs. I did mostly food and people. Then I stopped altogether. Singapore was not the most conducive market for a photog..

The gadget freak in me peeked with the advent of Digital Cameras. It satisfies the need for immediate gratification in most of us, capturing the moment and reviewing through the LCD immediately after. It allows you to correct any mistakes made instantaneously. The learning curve is a whole lot less steep and you learn the finer points of photography much faster.

For me, I just like looking at my vacation pix when I'm taking a break from work, remembering the stories and funnies behind all the pictures of our bunkies or simply as reference pictures when I am trying to recall some details. Memories get fuzzy. Considering that the cost of a travel holiday runs into the thousands, fuzzy memories is a bit less that what I want. I want nice sharp pictures.

Shopping for Electronics in Singapore.

Depending on where you're coming from, UK, Norway, Sweden, Europe in general, or heading to, Singapore could possibly be a gadget freak's paradise. The only items I'd unreservedly encourage the purchase of in Singapore would be electronics. They are far cheaper compared to the few countries I've mentioned and comparatively cheaper regionally. If you're heading to Oz, Malaysia, Thailand, get your electronic fix here. You'd save a few bucks. If you're heading home, to the UK, Norway, Sweden etc. go max out your credit card. Even if you decide not to want whatever you bought, sell them at a discount and you'd still be smiling your way to the bank.

BUT keep in mind the old maxim of caveat emptor, or "let the buyer beware," still applies. Most stand alone shops DO NOT have refund policies.

If Singapore is an electronic mecca for the technophiles, then Sim Lim Square would be the holy grail. That building is best avoided by the technophobes as the immensity and seemingly endless range you find there is, well, endless. From the thread sized cable ties to the SATA harddisk cables, gold plated speaker connectors to the latest mega pixels state of the art digital camera and DV equipment. It's really easy to get lost in the whirlpool of confusion. Choices, choices and more choices.

Being a typically asian society, bargaining is part and parcel of the shopping experience. This is where it gets tricky and in some instances down right hairy. Be warned, the old maxim of caveat emptor, or "let the buyer beware," still applies. Most stand alone shops DO NOT have refund policies.

Know what you want.

Firstly, it's always good to know what you're looking for exactly. Even though it's not always possible for a myriad of reasons, try to keep it within the ball park. It's a good idea to do some research so that you'll pick up the signs if some sleazy sales person tries blowing smoke into your face. Remembering a few factoids comes in helpful. It gives the impression that you're not letting on how much you know, or rather, you don't. But don't give your hand away on the first set.

Know how much to pay.

If you're coming from the UK, Norway, Sweden or the likes, prices may seem like giveaways. As much as possible, try getting a benchmark of the price for the model you're interested in at a reputable departmental store like Mustapha's or Harvey Norman's. The items you're interested in will most probably be price tagged. Thereafter, armed with the necessary information, we go to war in the Mecca of Electronics, Sim Lim Square.

What you're likely to face:

Nothing is more irritating then a pushy salesperson who tries to unload excess stocks, well, except maybe meeting those whose ignorance about electronic is only exceeded by their willingness to show it.

In terms of percentages, the likely hood of you getting the run is in the high 90's. Bargaining is not what it's hacked out to be anymore. Nowadays, it's something attune to being tedious and frustrating. This page stems from the numerous encounters my bunkies experienced and more often than not, scammed. It's very, very irritating, especially when they come back all worked up and distraught.

Personally, we work hard at providing an enriching and happy experience. Unhappy incidents just cheapens and undo the effort and sweat we have put in. Most of these recurring incidents are always from the same few shops. Undoubtedly, there are those that go above and beyond the call of duty. But these people end up having to bear the brunt of mistrust generated by the irritating few. It's a vicious cycle.

Shopping around usually results in confusion. Shop keepers nested within the tourist shopping districts, has a really annoying habit of winding you up. Very often, when asked for prices, they would either give you one that is ridiculously high or one that is below their cost. It appears that they get their kick out of winding you up.

Rule of the thumb, head to where you see the most locals. You would want to avoid those with an excessive number of staff with nothing better to do except sitting at their counters doing nothing other than trying to entertain themselves, and usually at you expense. Yes, it's irritating.

Eitherways, with their ridiculously low prices they will have you going back thinking you're got the best deal possible, only to eventually realize that you're not going to be buying peanuts. You'd be inundated with tunes of colorful excuses:

The Art of Colourful Excuses
The real meaning behind
Feigning Ignorance:
" I'm sorry I thought you asked for this OTHER model. "
At that price, i might as well give it to you free, idiot.
" Oh? That was the price for the display model, it's sold already, but we do have a brand NEW one just displayed. This one costs... "
Winding you up:
" We just ran out of stock. But if you wait for 5 years... "
Ok, since I''ve 7 hrs to go before work finishes...
If you decide to wait:
" For that price, you should actually be looking at this other model... "
Real idiot.
Change of wind directions:
" Why would you get THAT? My profit is higher for, oops, what I mean is that the rest of the world is getting this really great model... "
It means exactly that.
" That was the package price, you need to get it together with THE package ... "

If I were to sell all the other accessories I could make back... KA CHING!

Accessories have huge profit margins. Becareful if you don't know exactly what you're getting. It's the best source of profit for the shops. Price variations for the same type of product of different specifications can differ by 3-400%. Eg: 256mb ranges from $60ish-$200ish. You generally get what you pay for. My recommendations would be to get technology one or two generations back, that way, you're not paying a premium for cutting edge tech.

Recovery and lining pockets:
" Now all you need is a wide/tele lens, the adapter to fit, a memory card to keep a gazillion pix, a 14 kg tripod to hold a 800 gm camera, battries to last 20,000 shots, filters to make you Herb Ritts/Ansel Adams, external flash that fries the brain of your subject, card readers compatible with photolabs on Venus. All that will just cost a measly 10 times more than the camera... "
" In Sterling/Euros/Usd/seashells/bones it's just only blah, blah, blah, you're saving 5 whole perecnt compared to home... "
Everything is cheaper compared to home, but by how much? Don't jump the gun. There are good deals to be had. Compare prices IN SINGAPORE. Shop where the locals do. Mustapha's at Serangoon has decent pricings. Excellent for BENCH-MARKING. You'll notice it's geared towards locals.
Warranty Issues:
" Warranty? It's not necessary. This little plastic camera with 2,000,000 photocells (2mp) in a sensor the size of your pinky's nail can last through the terminator's return.
Maybe It's just me, With 2,000,000 photocells (2mp) in a sensor the size of your pinky's nail, nothing can possibly go wrong? But what do I know? I'm paranoid. Remember, he'll be back...
Taxes and Stuff

" The total comes to just only blah, blah, blah. "

" But wait, that wasn't what we agreed! "

"Yes it was! But now it's including GST, Credit Card charges, COE, ERP, lousy service Tax, You're an idiot and I'm gonna scam you for all you're worth tax... "

GST of 4% is normally not included. You can claim back 3'ish% only if you're flying out of Singapore.

Certain shops charge an additional 2-3% if you're using your credit card. Use it only if your card insures your purchases.

If you wish to seek redress against a retailer

Singapore Tourism Board has a list of errant retailers. Complaints can be lodged with the STB by calling the Hotline at 1800-736 3366 (toll-free in Singapore).

If you wish to receive some form of redress within 24 hours (depending on the complexity of the claim), you can also lodge your complaint directly with the Small Claims Tribunals (SCT) at: 2 Havelock Road, #05-00 Apollo Centre, Singapore 059763. An administrative fee of S$10 is payable to the SCT.

Choosing a Digital Camera

There's a good chance that you'd be over whelmed by choices. There's more than 23 different brands all with different models catering to different budgets and specifications.

More to come...

What to look for.
Models and makes to check out.
Pros and Cons.

Note: This page is progressively built, it's not completed. I'm just trying to provide as much informatin as possible, as soon as possible.


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