Friday, July 04, 2008

the story of the camera

Hey, Happy 4th of July everyone, hope you had a good one. We had a little BBQ tonight. It was pretty low key and smaller than normal but still a lot of work to prep for. I'm missing a poultry show this weekend up in Eureka. I miss seeing my buddies but even if the dates hadn't been a conflict I doubt I would have gone anyway just because of gas prices. It is weird to not be there though, that little summer show is one of my favorites. Gone are the days of me attending 7-8 shows a year. I have a feeling I'll be lucky to make it to maybe two or three of them this season. I think I will find myself cutting back even more on the birds, but it's a little early to say that yet...

So I have to tell you the story of the new camera, because it's a doozy. Remember before I left I said there was a situation causing me great angst but I didn't want to get into it yet? Well that was it.

I'd been wanting a digital SLR for years but couldn't afford one, and the requirement was that I not have to buy new lenses. And finally one came along that would work for me, and with the Adventure coming up I decided it was time to go ahead and buy it. So almost weeks before leaving I ordered the Nikon D80 from an online company that had it on sale for about half of what the local store sells it for.

A few days went by and I realized I had not gotten a shipping confirmation, which seemed odd, and sure enough in my junk folder was an email telling me it was back-ordered and they had cancelled my order. It was now one week til I left. I frantically searched the net and called countless stores only to find out the following things:
- the ones that had it really cheap included nothing with it, no instructions or cables or anything. They called that the "accessories package" and charged several hundred more for that (um hello, you can't USE the camera without those things)
- don't believe it when a website says it's in stock
- customer service on the phone pretty much sucked
- I think a LOT of those online places are all the same store. Same phone system, same hold music, same crappy service if anyone bothered to answer the phone, hung up on by many of them...

I finally just placed another order from another online company which had a really good review and to which I had received a referral from someone I know. I called the company to confirm that what I ordered was indeed in stock, but after about a half hour on hold they hung up on me, and then it was after hours, and I just had to cross my fingers. This was Friday the 13th... It was $150 more than what the original place had it for "on sale."

That Sunday morning I got an email from the company saying they needed to confirm my order and I needed to call them. Hmm, weird. So I did, and they confirmed my address and then the guy said something about did I realized it came with a 20 minute battery, and I said I'd ordered extra batteries anyway. He asked if I wanted to buy the warranty and I said no it comes with a 1 year warranty and that's what I want. He said "you realize that warranty is not good in the US, right?" Um, what?! He went on to say that I had ordered the "import version" (as in, the plugs don't work in the US, the menus are not in English, etc) and did I want to change my order to the US version. Ka-ching for an extra $100. Holy crap! So I'm thinking well stupid me I must have somehow clicked on the wrong thing, and I do some quick mental calculations and figured out it's still less than purchasing locally and I already had memory and batteries and I knew I'd kick myself if I went off on The Adventure without it, so I went ahead and ordered it.

I later checked the website to see how I had managed such a stupid mistake and found listed only the exact camera I had ordered, which said nothing about it being an import version, and the company was based in New York, so I really got pissed off and felt like they'd pulled a fast one on me.

So I sent an email saying so and asking for clarification and suggesting a refund for the false advertising.

And the next morning I got an email telling me my order was unavailable for 4-6 weeks. WHAT??!?!?! This was now Monday the 16th, and I was leaving the 20th. Irate, I got on the phone and after AN HOUR on hold I finally got through and demanded to know what was going on. The guy said the email must have been a mistake, since the camera shipped that morning and would arrive on Weds. As for the other stuff, he said when I placed the order there "should have been a popup window" that asked me to change my order when it saw that I had a US address. Well there wasn't. I was mad and pretty much let him have it, it didn't do any good but felt good to be bitchy about it. I just think that's such a crock and a really crappy way to do business. I would never order from them again, never never never. I'm going to refrain from posting the company name, as I don't want to get in trouble, but it rhymes with "Fraud-way Photo". Think New York.

It did arrive that Wednesday, and after taking it out to inspect it I packed it right back up to take along with me. I had no chance to play with it at all before I left, but I can't tell you how many times on the trip I said "I love this camera" and I am SOOOO glad I bought it, I would have gotten totally crappy shots without it. And it was fun that B enjoyed using it too. :-) I did bring the Coolpix too and took that on trail rides, as it's something I can shoot one-handed, where the D80 is definitely a two-handed camera.

So in the end, worth every penny but geez what an ordeal to get it here, it almost didn't happen. I was about to give up on it.

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