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|Friday 26th October 2012, 19:26||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2012
Buying birding optics in Dallas
I recently went through exploring, selecting and purchasing a spotting scope in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. I was amazed to find ... at least from all the sources I could come up with ... that there are NO stores in the DFW area where one can go and do side-by-side comparisons of these expensive pieces of glass. If one is spending hundreds if not thousands on this one purchase, only a fool would buy a scope without first at least looking through the eye piece and comparing it to other scopes.
Bass Pro Shop does not carry a large line of spotting scopes, nor do the local Wild Birds Unlimited shops.
One big box store, Cabela's, does stock quite a few scopes, but they are set up to service hunters primarily, and they do not have scopes set on tripods around the store for one to compare (well, a few, but mostly their low quality Cabela brand optics). Depending on the patience of your sales person, you can get them to pull out of stock a few scopes and set them up for you, but they are clearly not set up to do this (surprising!).
I did find one other outfit called "SWFA" located south of Dallas in Red Oak, TX, that carries a lot of different brands of scopes. SWFA is a hunting supply store that caters primarily to mail order customers. If you narrow your choice to a reasonable number of scopes they have in stock, they will let you come in, set them on a tripod, and do a comparison. The folks are patient and easy to deal with. They offer a 5% discount for a cash purchase or check, partially offsetting the state tax they have to charge. I wound up buying a scope from them after looking a several.
Amazing that the DFW area does not have an optics store that handles scopes set up to cater to the buyer who wants to comparison shop. All scopes are what what we used to call "fair trade" meaning there is no discounting on any of the brands. Right now SWFA is the best alternative I could find for looking at scopes in the DFW area.
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