Today was opening day for the long-awaited Panafoto. John and I gave the new, young staff two full hours to get their act together before we descended on the store, waiving our credit cards and yelling “I’ll take that…and that….and THAT! WRAP IT ALL UP!!!!”
Okay, truth be told, John and I had been to the Price Smart down the street and as we were heading home we saw that Panafoto had finally opened for business, so we pulled in to check it out.
Located at the intersection of the road from Boquete to David on the Pan American Highway, this new electronics shop carries everything you ever wanted that either runs via an electric plug or operates on batteries. (Hey, it’s not THAT kind of shop with THOSE kinds of batteries, you kinky weirdos! I mean things like cameras, cell phones, laptops….get it?)
So we go trotting in there, just wanting to compare a few prices on things. OMG, the second we set foot in there, the staff descended upon us like a swarm of locusts. “Hola! Bienvenidos! Te ayude?” “No, lo siento, solo mirando.” Okay, my spanish still sucks, but basically they said “Hello, welcome! May I help you?” And we said, “No, sorry, only looking.” If I got it wrong, I welcome your letters.
Right in front, like everywhere else, they’ve got man’s best friend: 55″ big screens with HD. You have to get past those to get to most everything else: computers: Toshiba, Dell, HP, and –gasp!– all things Macintosh!!. My heroes!
Cameras, phones, appliances, printers, scanners, stereos. Anything for the kitchen is in this store. Cables, plugs, accessories, headsets, phone covers. Information overload.
Of course we had no intention of buying anything, until John remembered: “Hey, wait, we need a cord to go from your Mac to the TV!” Yay, the salesman who had been tailing us, Hugo, finally had a sale from us! We were his very first customer and he learned how (at our expense) to operate the store computer for the first time. And all for a $9.00 sale!
Selling is like at Best Buy: the sales person hands you an ‘invoice’. You take it to the counter to pay for it. After payment, they hand it over to a different set of people and they disappear into the back for a few minutes and then magically re-appear with the item you wanted.
Now, I’ve never been a comparison shopper, so I really am going to rely on my new Boquete friends to write about pricing. But I DO have one comparison. Before John and I moved down here, I bought a small Sony digital camera with a Carl Zeiss lens at Target. It was regularly priced at $149.99 (on sale for $99 for me). I saw them in a display case at Panafoto and they were priced at $225. You make the call.
Anyway, if you get a chance, run down the road (watch out for emerging pot holes!) to David, spend some time in Panafoto and then go eat a mundane lunch for too much money at the TGI Friday’s on the corner!