Thursday, April 22, 2010

History and (of) My Digital Camera, part 2

Previously, on 'History of My Digital Camera:'

"I felt like a particularly gullible fool, a few days later, when I thought about the service plan Paul had managed to sell me. $80 for a four year warranty seemed excessive, but Paul explained how useful it would be..."

"I was devastated. Then I remembered my friend Paul and his four year, 80 dollar, extended warranty..."

And so my friends, I marched back into Best Buy, two years later. The goodbye at the geek squad between me and my beloved camera was tearful. The man said they would send it away for repairs. I wanted to cry. I just wanted to have my camera back. I had a big trip coming up, and I faced it camera-less. A couple of weeks later, I got a call from my friends at Best Buy.



"I'm calling from warranty service from Best Buy. Your camera is irrepairable, so please come in to get a new camera. We will select a new one based on specification and price."

"Oh my gosh."

"Er, ok, thank you, have a good day."

At that moment, I had the oddest mix of feelings coursing through my veins. There was euphoria, but also sadness. T1 had been a faithful friend for two long years, and now he was gone... Never one to mope, I researched digital cameras. After ages of looking and speculating, I chose the SOny DSC N1. It was a nifty little touch screen gizmo with some cool painting features. The cost of this camera was astronomical, at $450, but I figured that I would get to upgrade my exchange to this camera. I went into the store, picked up my gorgeous little N1, then went to the customer service desk to do the exchange. The customer service rep put it all into the system, then explained how the price was calculated.

"The original price for your old camera was 450 dollars, and this camera is 450, so your balance is zero. Do you want a service plan with that?"

This time I didn't need my buddy Paul to talk me into anything. If my "yes!" was too enthusiastic, the rep should have figured it out. I walked out of there, clutching a brand new $450 camera, having been set back a mere $80.

Here's where the story gets a little odd. I didn't love the N1 the way I loved the T1. It was a cool camera, don't get me wrong. The pictures came out great and the touch screen provided the extra "shtick" that my inner gadget freak craved. I don't know exactly what the problem was with the camera. Maybe I am simply impatient, or maybe I had already seen the best of extended warranties, but either way, it wasn't long before I started scheming about ways to get a new camera, compliments of Best-Buy.

But as hard as I willed the N1 to break, it wouldn't. It was the most rugged piece of equipment I have ever owned. In fact, two years ago, I fell while hiking in a park. I tripped over a rock and stuck out my hand to break the fall, as most idiots are prone to do. My hands, knees, legs and even my face were in terrible shape for weeks after the fall. My entire knee was skinned, and subsequently got infected. (I have pictures for anyone in the possesion of a strong stomach who doubts the severity of my injuries.) The strange thing though, was that N1 was in my hand. It went out to break my fall. It bore the brunt of it. And nothing happened.

It was at that point that I started to worry. I figured that N1 was going to stick around for the rest of my life. Nothing should have survived an impact like that one. "I guess it will be nice after the four years are up," I reasoned, "but until then I am going to mope about it."

The first lucky break came when the lens cover started to stick. It wasn't much to go on, but I wanted the camera to get some repairs, any repairs. I needed to start building my case. The Best Buy dudes took it way too seriously. They replaced the entire front of the camera, including the lens. The repairs totalled $230, none of which I paid. I had a warranty.

It was right around the time I got my camera back from that repair that I started to notice the deterioration in photo quality. I couldn't prove anything, but I was pretty sure the replacement lens was not the same super high quality lens I had originally.

Since then, my family has heard nothing but complaints about how badly I want my camera to break. But it seemed hopeless. I lent it to my one-year old niece, and it was fine. Then, one day, about a week ago, I burst into my father's study. "It's broken!" I screamed. "It's broken! It's finally broken!!" My father looked a littly puzzled. Under normal circumstances, my voice and words didn't fit. I held out my camera. "Look, the lens cover is stuck...[dramatic pause]...again!"

I felt like a lawyer preparing a case. I read and reread the service plan to figure out my best shot at getting a new camera, instead of another repair. Finally, I convinced my father to come along to Best Buy to work his magic on the Geek Squad dudes. And so we went. The guy looked at it, then told me it would have to be repaired. My father explained, nicely, that the last repair had messed the camera up, and we didn't want another bad repair job. A call to the supervisor later and...

"Ok ma'am. My supervisor said we can do an exchange based on specifications."

This time, they got a little smarter. They based my exchange on specification only, not price. I tried explaining that four years ago cameras were a lot more expensive, and that a camera like that would set you back a lot less in the modern era. The salesman smiled. He apologized and informed me that he couldn't do anything about that. But I recognized the smile. It was Paul. "Were you working here six years ago?"

He nodded. "Yes?"

"I am pretty sure you sold me my first ever camera. You did a great job, I spent a lot more than I ever intended to spend. And I still remember how impressed I was with your service."

"Thanks, you just made my day!"

"Glad to hear it! Now back to my camera, one of the main reasons I purchased that camera was the touch screen. I really want a camera with a touch screen..."

Another nod. "Yes, I guess you do deserve a touch screen. I guess this camera is pretty similar specs to the N1." He pointed at a camera. The camera.

Fifteen minutes later I walked out of the store holding a brand new Sony DSC TX1 and wearing a huge smile. And once again, I bought the extended warranty.


grinfish said...

love this story.

G6 said...

So now when are we taking an amateur photography class together?

Frayda said...

good story! I really enjoyed it!

Feivel ben Mishael said...

Great story!
I bought a laptop with the service plan and when it had the same problem twice they just straight up refunded the value I paid for it on store credit. I got a new one but didn't have the cash on me for the service plan again... and I forgot to come back within 14 days. So now I'm willing extra hard for nothing bad to happen.

Something Different said...

GF- me too. Lol

G6- After our outing... ;-)

Frayda- THanks!

FBM- Yeah, I am starting to wonder if I am nuts for not buying the service plan with my laptop...