Great Scopes, Inc. [greatscopes.com, High Point, NC, (877) 454-6364 toll free] is a problem-solving, customer-oriented company. It sells one line of goods — microscopes; John Lind goes out of his way to make a deal that keeps a customer happy.
My problem was simple: I wanted — needed — to learn the skills necessary to do a relatively narrow range of lab tests on our pets and on animals brought in for treatment and return (“wildlife rehabilitation”). This entailed relearning long-forgotten lab and especially microscopy skills, and most especially meant getting a microscope. I had a nice one as a child, but I had long since given it away; every other microscope I'd used had been in a school lab; I had never bought one.
Add to this: It seems that between one thing and another, there are no “instrument stores” in Manhattan — no place to go, kick the tires, get an education. On the other hand, the number of firms selling microscopes on the 'net is substantial. All the old names in scientific apparatus (Edmund, Ward, &c.) are there; lots of specialty companies are there. The cost and the variety are substantial enough that making a decision about a brand, and a quality level and a company is not trivial. After agonizing, I had more or less fixed on a good German name brand, from a fairly close-by specialty dealer, a “demo” unit that was selling well below new price. It did not seem to me likely that it would be beat-up, and so on. I called, ready to order; the folks weren't home that day.
OK, so I could call back, and I could do some more shopping on the 'net in the meantime. Quite by chance, I navigated to Great Scopes, Inc.. The first thing I saw was a buyer's guide. BRILLIANT! I might actually know what I was doing after reading all this. This proved the case, and led me to look further.
What I found, looking at the product offering, was a comprehensive line of microscopes and related products. Each was carefully illustrated with a click-for-larger image (surprisingly, that is not always the case). Each was comprehensively described, along with variants within the model line. The prices were competitive with other offerings; in fact, subsequent checking confirms that Great Scopes generally has the best prices for the particular brands and models it offers. If that isn't enough, Great Scopes has a price-match policy.
The Big Question now reduced to which model. I wanted binocular viewing and I needed a 100x objective, and generally I wanted the features of an entry-level clinical microscope. Since I am used to looking at the center of the field anyway, fancier plan objectives weren't a high priority. Great Scopes offered me two attractive choices: the M1 top-of-the-line student model or the Revelation III entry-level clinical model. The M1 is a wee bit smaller; it costs $100 less, but otherwise these microscopes have comparable features. I thought the M1 would do for me nicely. I confirmed my choice with Great Scopes “scopemaster” John Lind, and he made it easy to do the deal, even upgrading the basic accessories kit — slides — at no extra charge.
So I was set. Then I get a call from John saying, whoops, we goofed and the scope you ordered is not in stock; we'll upgrade you to the Revelation III at no extra cost. Not a problem, thought I. But just to keep things interesting, it appears that the M1 was in stock, and the next day, there it was. I unboxed it, put it up on the desk, checked to make sure all the bits and pieces were there and worked and waited to see what would happen next.
“Next” was a call from John Lind saying, well there you are, but we'll still upgrade you if you want it. Talk about making sure I was a happy customer. In fact, I was very happy to have what I ordered; I find lighter is a good thing as I get older. Then too, what the picture doesn't show is some slightly better (in my view) control placement for the light intensity. I also like the reversed nosepiece (the place where the objectives are). [Don't what an “objective” is? Go to the Great Scopes site and read the buyer's guide....]
Nor did the deal end there. John Lind has done some additional above-and-beyond hand-holding, and so has LW Scientific. This is a deep relationship, which means I can have confidence that any problems I have will be solved.
The Revelation III
I've had the microscope in place for several weeks. I have been using it extensively. I have found it everything I expected to be and more. I like the company that makes it; I like the dealer that sold it. I can confidently recommend Great Scopes as a place that will provide top products at a competitive price and will keep the customer happy. This is the finest kind of business relationship.