In our living room we have track lighting on the celing but don't have a lamp near where we are often reading while looking out the window. Thus we went out to "Lightology" on Chicago avenue to look for something to buy.
Lightology is a cool store. When you walk up to the story you can see wacky and "arty" fixtures on three stories - it looks particularly good at night.
Most of the lights are obscenely priced... like in the high hundreds or thousands. Our tube lamp here, about 5 feet high, was on sale and pretty reasonable in terms of cost.
So I walked over to one of what I thought was a salesman sitting at a desk. The guy didn't want anything to do with me. I said:
"I'd like to buy a light"
He looked at me with a pained expression and called for a salesperson on the intercom, like as if I threw up in the aisle at WalMart or something. I guess he was a 'lighting consultant' and not a sales person. Who knew?
The woman next to him at the desk was on the phone but she soon had pity on me and was quite polite. She took my order and then I understood that not only were the sales consultants not selling lights (remember, there is nothing but lights in the whole damn store), but that the light store didn't actually STOCK lights. She gave me a form and directions to their warehouse and said I could pick it up - it was open on Saturday, which was a good thing. The lighting warehouse was perilously close to Chicago's worst intersection but traffic wasn't that bad, after all.
I like my light but boy, that has to be a high margin business. My shuttle PC (bare bones) was about the same price as that light, and the light is basically 1) a bulb 2) a ceramic tube 3) a controller / dimmer. I can't imagine that the components for that light cost more than 10 bucks in China, a bit more if from the states. Contrast that with my little PC which has about 1 million parts and does a lot of things other than turn on and turn off.
In any case, although I like my light, it seems like purchasing a light is WAY more complicated than it ought to be. Our productivity in retailing seems to be a bit low...