No, wait: The most amazing thing is that I have often gone into B&H to purchase a specific product, only to be talked into something cheaper. For example, once I went in to buy a field video monitor to use for some interviews I was conducting. I expected to pay $600 until the salesperson said, “Why don’t you just get one of these cheap consumer portable DVD players? They have video inputs, they work just as well, and they’re under $100.” This was no accident. “The entire premise of our store is based upon your ability to come in, touch, feel, experiment, ask, and discuss your needs without sales pressure,” B&H’s website says.
But wait: The conveyer belts, the prices, the smart salespeople, the fact that they recommend cheaper products almost as a rule — none of these is actually the most amazing thing about B&H. Really, the most amazing thing is that because the owners of B&H are Orthodox Jews — Hasidim, in fact — the store closes every Friday afternoon for the Jewish Sabbath, and on Jewish holidays. Moreover, B&H’s website, which reportedly accounts for 70 percent of sales, shuts down, too. Bhphotovideo.com is, to my knowledge, the only major online retailer that closes for 25 hours every weekend.