Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shopping = Product + Service

I'm looking for yet another digital camera. I have two technically working but somehow wrong cameras on my bookshelf, and my recent Canon has bitten it. The previous two cameras eventually produced pictures that were burned out/lightened in the center of every image, which was no good. One of them has a lens cover that won't shut. My current camera, the photo button is desensitized so pressing it halfway to focus it doesn't work anymore: you have to press very hard to get it to take a picture, and it's a gamble as to how the image will come out.

I'm going to look up programs in the city for recycling old cameras, because I know these things are unsafe to just throw away. I'd like to give them to a niece or nephew to play around with, but I'm afraid they'd resent me for dumping such a piece of crap on them. Kids aren't stupid, they know when they're getting a deal and when they're inheriting someone else's trash.

Shopping online is usually my go-to modus operandi, but this time I want to talk to someone who knows cameras. I'm going to walk down to National Camera Exchange and ask them for a recommendation. My concern is that they are actually a very good store (I won't say "boutique") for the serious camera enthusiast. I'm concerned they won't have anything in my price range: I don't want to spend more than $100 for a simple, small, slim camera I can whip out in traffic without a fight.

Recently, my bulbous and clunky Canon demonstrated a new trick: first, it refuses to dislodge from the front pocket of my jeans. Second, just before it does come free, the battery door opens, ejects the batteries into the middle of the street, then closes and locks again. That stupid battery door is hard enough to open when I'm sitting in a chair, both hands free, and with all my attention focused upon it, yet somehow it pulled this stunt.

I could trot over to Target, there's a large outlet not far from my new office. They would have a large selection. I could ask a clerk for a recommendation and there's a chance their eyes wouldn't glaze over, some small spark of a synapse swimming through their soupy cranial mist to find a receptor. I'm saying I don't think they'd be as versed in their inventory as would the fine folks at National Camera Exchange, but the stock would certainly be in my range.

I could wend the Skyway to Gaviidae and the Radio Shack therein. Slightly smaller stock, fairly good odds of an employee who knows his stuff. The argument against Radio Shack and Target is that these are not local businesses, not in the same way National Camera Exchange is... Well, actually, "National" is a weird word to have in the name of a local business. Quick research assures me they are at least Upper Midwest-centric, and that's fine. The same research also indicates there's a possibility I could trade my old cameras in, perhaps to facilitate the purchase. I wonder if that applies to my cameras? They may be undesirable recent digital cameras no collector or industry would be interested in, but you never know. I'll ask whether it's worthier to sell them to the store or trade them toward a new purchase. Probably the latter, which means that I won't have a new camera by the end of the day. But it's a deal that neither Target nor Radio Shack could afford me.

Or it's the potential for a deal. It is the dream of a butterfly asleep on a blade of grass.


amanda said...

we gave maggie the crappiest digital camera in the world and she freaking loves it. and she can drop it all she wants. keep it around your house for the kids to play with!

Christian said...

That's actually a really good idea. I can put the kids in charge of photos, and upload them into a shared gallery. That would be a kick.