In which customer service is mostly underwhelming for cameras

I've put some serious miles on my camera since I bought it last August.
Still, I think this

was a little premature, given that's it's not a year old yet.

It's not a photo of a very black leaf. It's a black blob. Looks sorta like a geoduck, or maybe Mick Jagger's lips. Certainly, it doesn't look like a picture of Mimsy, who was supposed to be the subject of the photograph.

So, yes, the day before we leave for a week in the most beautiful wilderness area on the planet, my camera broke.


But, wait. I purchased an extended warranty. I'll just return it to the place I bought it and they'll replace the camera. Easy-peasy?Not.

Stand in line for 10 minutes, check.

Be told by some poor disempowered wage slave that I've stood in the wrong line, and need to go stand in another line, check.

Stand in second line for 20 minutes, check.

Be told by disempowered wage slave #2 that she can't do anything and that I need to contact the manufacturer directly, check.

Decide that "lower prices" are not enough to justify the political incorrectness and just plain bad service of this vendor, and disavow it forever, check.

(At the end of time it may be just Walmart and the cockroaches, but they will never get another penny from me!)

I contacted Kodak via their live chat. Sloooooooooooooow.




Eventually, a nice boy in the Philipines picked up the line and we figured out that they will send me a box so I can ship my broken camera to them so they can verify that it's broken and then they will eventually either fix it or send me another camera.

Are you thrilled yet? Are you ready to race out and support the vendor that sold me this camera?


So let me tell you what I did: I returned to a place where, in the past, the customer service has been outstanding.

Three years ago I broke a camera (still under warranty, I'm not always hard on cameras, I swear!) and took it back to the store:

The person at Staples took my camera, turned it on, verified that it was broken, and told me that since they didn't carry that exact camera anymore, would I please accept an upgrade? Then he handed me a new camera.

No forms. No 30 minutes of overseas computer chat.
He handed me a new camera. And he thanked me.

So today I returned to Staples. I bought a new camera, with an extended warranty. I talked to the sales person, who verified that if I break this one (unlikely, I actually am pretty careful with them, but you never know), I can bring it to any Staples store and they will hand me a new camera.

What else can I say? I know where I'll be taking my business from now on:
That was easy.
(I do have another post ready, but I'll send it out tomorrow. For tonight, I'm taking my grumpy-but-at-least-I-have-a-new-camera-self to bed!)


  1. Well, it's a very nice new camera! Don't forget to snag your old memory card out of the broken one before you send it to Taipei or where ever the repair shop is.

    I hear you on Walmart. I only go about twice a year, when I have a long list of random stuff to buy and not enough patience to go to 5 separate stores. And every time I go, it's horrible and I wonder why I'm there...

  2. ahh, return policies!

    target is on my bad list cuz their return policy is for crap.

    COSTCO, otoh, is awesome. you know, you don't even need a receipt, and there is no time limit. so, we used our microwave for years until one day it caught fire. i brought it back to costco and they accepted it without questioning me about the fire, and they gave me the money i paid for it. apparently they know every item they've ever sold, so you don't have to prove anything.

    i just had an awesome experience - trusting my instinct that the company has integrity - i contacted merrell (hiking shoes) and said my shoes have holes after less than a year, and i have no receipt. they sent me a new pair - to germany for free. i just had to photograph my old shoes and tell them the serial number. i love it when companies have values, respect their customers, and take pride in their stuff.

    btw, i think you must be kind of hard on cameras!


  3. Lytha, I <3 Costco so much! I haven't actually returned anything yet - nothing's broken so far!

    I really love the sheer randomness. Would you like a blender? A gallon of whiskey? A kayak? A new bra? Some smoked salmon? All of it is at Costco, this week only - next week it'll be all different.

  4. Nice new camera!

    I had the same experience with my Sony, which I bought at Best Buy. I have used online chat several times. Once I had to send it back -- and it was expensive to send, too.

    I have many moral reasons not to shop at WM. But the reality is, with Mr. Fry being dreadfully underemployed for the last 2.5 years, WM is the reason we can afford groceries. The retailer we love to hate.

  5. Wow, what a bummer and then a high five for Staples!

    Who knew ?

    HAve fun at Renegade!

    I agree Costo is the place to go for us too.

  6. Oh gosh, a BLUE camera? Why would you show me such a thing?

    ...I may have to support my local Staples in the near future.

  7. True thing: Walmart had the SAME camera as the blue one I bought at Staples. It was $3 cheaper at Walmart too. And it was PURPLE.

    And it's still there. Walmart very clearly demonstrated that they do not need my money, so I'm cheerfully taking it elsewhere!

    As for Costco, they are a LOCAL company for us in the Swamp. Costco is a kind neighbor too--the store donates unsold books to our library for book giveaway programs.

    Walmart 1
    (because Leah Fry is right: when you're broke, you need cheap even when they treat you badly)

    Staples 10
    (because they have a good warranty policy and also the spambot that commented made me laugh)

    Costco 10
    (because randomness and good return policies should be encouraged)

    Merrell 10
    (because getting things in Germany has been a hassle for lytha, so we want to encourage companies that ship there!)

  8. I, too, have moral issues with WalMart, and refuse to shop there. I even got a gift card from someone a year or more ago, and have never spent it, cause I never go there... Maybe I'll have to have a contest on my blog--But still, I don't want to encourage anyone else to go there, either.
    Glad you got what you needed (even if it wasn't purple!).
    We start baling this afternoon, so I'm not sure if I'll make it down to Renegade. Maybe...


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