I hate shopping! Back in the “old days”, when you actually went shopping, I had a few rules that I followed:
- Know what you want before you go.
- 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!
- Pay cash unless you absolutely have to use plastic.
- 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.
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?”
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.