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Editorial: Pictures

They walk into the store on a Wednesday afternoon, picking up the different products and setting them down again. They are trying to judge quality, balance, does this one feel better in the hand than that one. Does it seem like the knobs and buttons will break or lack the needed action? Is a three-inch screen that much better than a two-inch screen? After a few minutes, they have narrowed their options and carefully begin to study the different features.

“Can I help you?” asks the associate. They ask a few questions and the associate provides answers. The better choice is pretty clear now.

“Thanks for your help. We’re just browsing,” they say as they head toward the door.

“Sure. Have a nice day,” the associate responds.

The bell dings above the door and they are gone. Later, they will order the product from Amazon. It’s about 10% cheaper there and, for this purchase, 10% is not an insignificant sum of money. It arrives on their front porch on Friday. It’s exactly what they wanted.

This week, let’s say that product was a brand-new camera. Next week, we can tell the same story with a different product.

You might have heard that Creve Coeur Camera is closing its last stores. What a shame. They were iconic, a local stalwart for decades. They will be missed – at least in part – because the next time one of us goes to buy a camera, it will be harder. Sure, we can walk into a Target or a Walmart or a Best Buy and check out a few different options. But what about when we need to ask those detailed questions?

The internet, this thing meant to hold and share all of human knowledge, is slowly taking our experts away.

You certainly cannot trust the online reviews, and you should not trust the majority of online experts. Who are they accountable to?

You might run into that local associate from Creve Coeur Camera at Schnucks or Dierbergs, but that will never happen with the screen name who replied to your post on cameraquestions.com.

We know, this is all starting to sound a little bit “get off my lawn.” We are not trying to stop the train that is Amazon from careening down the tracks. Time marches inexorably forward, the beat goes on, creation requires destruction, etc., etc., etc.

None of that means we cannot be a little sad when it happens right in front of our faces. None of that means we cannot pause for a second to salute the store where countless numbers of us bought our first camera or had the pictures from our favorite family vacation developed.

Nor does it mean that we shouldn’t point out that the choices you make when you purchase things have consequences. Everything is available somewhere else. We agree that the price, quality and convenience of things matter. But community matters too. It’s that simple.

That community matters is the argument for shopping local. When you buy something from a local business it is better for the community. Period – and get off our lawn.

• • •

We would like to wish the ownership and staff of Creve Coeur Camera the very best in their future endeavors. You will be missed and  remembered fondly. Readers, please note that Creve Coeur Camera will be open until they have sold off their remaining inventory.

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