Camera Shopping Redux

09 Feb
Camera package

The camera package I purchased …

I hate shopping!  Back in the “old days”, when you actually went shopping, I had a few rules that I followed:

  1. Know what you want before you go.
  2. Use the Yellow Pages. Find a store that is either a stand-alone building or is in a strip mall. Avoid “shopping” malls like the plague!
  3. Pay cash unless you absolutely have to use plastic.
  4. Get in. Get out.

Pretty simple, right?  That approach suited me to a tee!

I welcomed online shopping like Norm from Cheers welcomed his second beer!  Online shopping and I were made for each other.  Except for today.

I mentioned in my last post about wanting to talk to someone at a brick and mortar store before finalizing a camera purchase via their Amazon storefront.  I was interested in a camera “bundle” that included a few extra lenses, extra batteries, and a bunch of other accessories. (Oh yeah … and a camera!) There were enough inconsistencies in the listing that I thought the deal was too good to be true and might not be honored after the purchase info had been sent to the store.  When I called over the weekend, I was given the number of their “Amazon sales rep”, who was out until today.

The package I selected included an 18-55 mm VR lens with an option to buy either a 55-200 mm or a 55-300 mm VR lens (“VR” stands for “vibration reduction”, which compensates for shaking if you’re holding the camera in your hand instead of mounting it on a tripod).  I chose the bigger lens after reading a couple of online posts about the extra zoom being worth the price difference which, best I could tell, was about $250.  But when upgrading to the bigger lens in this package, the price only increased by $30!!!!!  The total package price came to $750.

I went to two other camera websites, both of which are known for offering great deals.  In both cases, the best price I could get on comparable bundles was $1,150 … $400 more than what I was looking at on Amazon.

customer service

I think I talked to the girl in the middle …

So that’s the background to the phone call.  And I tell you what … the phone call sure didn’t go the way it had gone when I played it out in my head.

After about 12 rings, I got some young woman on the phone, told her that I was interested in a bundle and that I wanted to verify the price and the bundle contents before finalizing things.

Phone girl: “Well, the bundle contents are listed in the description”  (sort of exasperated, like I had interrupted her morning coffee)
Me: “That’s the point, there isn’t a list.  The list you’re talking about appears on every other bundle but this one.
Phone girl: “(sigh) What’s the ASIN number?”
Me: “B00OG372US”
Phone Girl (after a “hold on” and a few minutes of breathing):  “Yeah, I see no list, but the picture is there. You’ll get what’s in the picture … and the description does say ’22’ items, so what’s the problem?”
Me: “Well, depending on what option you select, the photo doesn’t always match the number of items in the description, so I’m just trying to make sure before I make the purchase as to what the 22 items are.  That’s one issue.  The other issue is – I wanted verification on the bundle price with the 55-300 mm lens because that’s just a very good price and it didn’t quite make sense to me.”
Phone Girl: “Why wouldn’t it make sense?”
Me: “Because the 300 mm lens is a $400 lens.  And the $750 price for that bundle is only $30 more than the bundle with the 200 mm lens even though stand-alone, the lens itself is $250 more than the 200 mm lens. The camera and the 300mm lens alone retail at about $900, and you’re throwing in extra batteries, a charger, a carry case, tripods, filters and a whole lot of other stuff. Do you see why I’m wanting to verify that the $750 price is correct?”
Phone Girl: “No.”
Me: “Would you please just verify the price for me. Please?”
Phone Girl (at this point, really put out): “Hoooold on!”

After less than 15 seconds, she comes back on: “Yeah, $750. That’s the price.”
Me: “Thanks. you take care”
Phone Girl (reciting a script): “Thank you so much for calling. We appreciate your business. Have a wonderful day!”

So that was that! I doubt she talked to anyone else to verify the price – I wasn’t on hold long enough for that to happen. At that point, I was out of energy. And I didn’t even get to ask the other question I had …  I didn’t have the energy to ask her why the optional three-year “Drops and Spills” protection that was being offered on all the other configurations wasn’t offered on this one.  I think I would have lost it if she came back and said, “Because it isn’t!” Given the tone in her voice during the call, I’m pretty sure that’s the snarky answer I would have received (or something like it).  I hate dealing with people who either don’t like their job (and consequently, don’t do it well) or simply aren’t qualified to do their job, whether by intelligence, personality or skill-set.



The package is supposed to ship tomorrow.  Quite honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I get a notice from the storefront, saying there’s a mistake. Once Amazon notifies me that it’s shipped, I’m going to contact the store (not the Amazon sales rep) and ask if they can email a shipping doc of some sort that lists what they sent.  I really don’t want to wait until the package arrives to verify that the “too-good-to-be-true” purchase I made was “good and true”!

Deep down … actually, pretty close to the surface … I know I’m not sane. I know this shouldn’t have bothered me as much as it did.  I wish I could have just thought, “Man, that’s a good deal,” placed the order, and just let it go.  But. That’s. ME.

I have to now see if there’s any way I can get the “drops and spills” protection without going through her.

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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Planning


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