Cameras, The Grey Market, Frugality and Naivety

Three years back, I purchased a Nikon D90 from a “dealer” I found on the web out of New York. Jumbo Packages it was called. (Still think it sounds like a porn movie title). It had the most “bang for the buck” of all the places I had looked at. I had checked out local retailers, internet sites, big name retailers…but ole Jumbo Packages could save me a few hundred on my purchase. After a few weeks of hymning and hawing…I decided to bite the bullet and just make a purchase and dropped a couple grand on a camera package: two lenses, the D90 body, a power winder/auxiliary battery holder, a tripod, a couple of memory cards.

When I received the “Jumbo Package” a large box with the whole kit and caboodle inside, I was like a kid on Xmas morn. All a goofy excited over my new tool that would bring my artistic talent out of my self-imposed exile and into the digital age. I noticed right off that there were some small items missing. I called Jumbo Packages and had difficulty getting thru on the help line so I called back on the “place an order line” and got right thru and voiced my concerns. They sent out the missing items. I realized at that moment that I had kinda been taken, but was so thrilled with the camera, that I just chucked it up to experience and figured I would take a loss on the little items. I wanted the camera and the lenses, and as I said, it was a start.

11, 000+ some images later (as posted on my Flicker) I was working a gig affiliated my corporate day job last week and the camera fell off a desk and “incurred an impact” which, is my way of saying I was a knuckle-head and knocked my camera onto the floor.

I sent the camera to Nikon USA repair in El Segundo CA and awaited the news on how much it would cost. I had an issue with a lens prior to this event two years ago and Nikon fixed it pronto and I had it back in my possession within 10 days.

Eight days passed and no word from Nikon. I called today and spent what seemed like an eternity on hold waiting (Nikon built it’s first pair of binoculars in 1918, 32 years before its first camera….ear worms, damn you!) Finally, I heard a live human voice identify himself.

I asked him what was happening with my camera and began to get an uneasy feeling as it took a while for Nikon Guy to actually find my repair order. I knew something was amiss…I could just tell.

And then he explained: “Um, ya, we have problem with this order. It appears from the serial number that this is a grey market camera. It’s a Nikon, but not sanctioned to be sold in the US and apparently, you bought it from an unauthorized dealer. So there is nothing we can do, we won’t repair it.” And suddenly I had a knotty feeling in my gut.

“So basically, your telling me I got fucking screwed when I purchased this?” I asked.

“Um, ya if I could use that language at work, I would say that.” Nikon Guy responds.

I apologized for my adjectives. Then begin to try to piece this together…but I just keep coming back to the fact I got fucking screwed when I bought the thing, so I stopped trying to figure out the what happened/why and figure out the how (to repair). Nikon Guy gives me the name of a place in Chicago that may be able to repair it. (after 20 minutes on the phone trying to get through to them I gave up and will try tomorrow.)

If the Chicago Connection can’t/won’t fix it, then it is dead and I toss away a grand. Or, maybe, that trip to Japan might be happening much sooner than I thought.

So I have to purchase another body so I can be up shooting. The last ten days without a camera I have been a moody, cranky, pissed off little shit…and that is probably the kinder-gentler way for me to describe my attributes. Without the means of my photographic expression…I am a prick.

What is funny to me is I used to spend money a lot more freely when I had a limited or non-existant supply of it. It is as if since I have gotten clean and sober, I have to keep what I have massed tightly, watch everything carefully. What the fuck is this about?? I still feel it is nothing but intrinsic of this planet and has no real value. Just get another camera and be done with it.

And the other thing that is quite comical to me was the reinforcement that there are sinister people in the world, pulling scams to make a buck. And little Joey walked right into one and opened his wallet. I am shocked, (laughs) Really? REALLY? Maybe this is one of the reasons I suck at certain aspects of my business and finances…I believe in being honest about it.

So from here on: I deal directly with Nikon.


ADDENDUM 4/27/2012: Untied Camera in Bensonville IL has quoted a bid to repair the D90.

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