A sour bite from a big apple

The view across the Hudson River is spectacular, especially at night. The Empire State looms large and the new World Trade Center towers pink over the skyline. It’s calm. It’s quiet. It’s serene. And  for a built environment, it’s gobsmackingly gorgeous.

I’ve long since been a lover of New York. The accents, the busyness, the sheer size of everything. And although it’s been ten years or so since I was last there, I didn’t think it could grow to dislike me. I’m finding it difficult though to divorce one bad experience and stop it from colouring my whole perspective.

You think too much. You don’t think at all. Both accusations have been levelled at me over the years with neither one nor the other reigning supreme. I had a mission: to buy a camera for a mate. I had a budget. I knew what I looking for. And I wasn’t expecting to be scammed. On 34th and 7th Avenue, there’s a camera shop. Lots of cameras. Nice lads working inside. I had a great chat with one of them. We talked of what I wanted and we bartered. He came down from €499 to €269 + tax. Now, I hear you shout with incredulity, that should have been my first wake-up call. But I say again, in my defense, I wasn’t expecting to be scammed.

He said he’d dump the box as I was travelling and it would be better for customs. How nice, I thought. When I got back to the flat, I googled it so that I could send a picture to BP of what I’d bought. That’s when my stomach turned to lead and I felt completely and utterly betrayed. The self-same camera was on the manufacturer’s site for $139. Of course the receipt said ABSOLUTELY NO REFUNDS. Why hadn’t I noticed that earlier? A little research into NY consumer law showed that I had little chance of getting my money back.

I was gutted. The bright lights were no longer nearly as bright. And the view from where I was sitting had tarnished. Back I went the next day, this time with my mate ST and her smart phone. I breezed in and said a big hello to my old friends, having since decided that stupid was the way to play it. I said that I must have taken home the wrong camera yesterday as the one I had was available for a lot less than I’d paid for it. There was some mutterings about refurbishments until I mentioned the Fuji site. So they offered a replacement – a full exchange. No cash, of course. I came away with more camera for my money but left a piece of me behind.

I’ve spoken before of my gullibility. I know that I can be too trusting. But I simply refuse to believe the worst of anyone, unless they’ve given me reason to. What would the world be like if we didn’t trust each other? I dread to think. But then again, don’t these blokes have daughters, sisters, wives and girlfriends that they would  hate to see treated the way they treated me? Why is it always one rule for me and my brethern and another for everyone else?

I despair. New York will never quite hold the same magic for me. I’m sore. I’m sad. I’ve let it go – there’s no point in dwelling on it. But in case you’re in the vicinity of 34th and 7th Avenue, steer clear of that camera shop!

34th Street Camera and Computers, 460 7th Avenue.

9 replies
  1. peter finnigan
    peter finnigan says:

    I think that theres’ enough lessons here for a self help book! I didn’t quite understand whether if after the initial large discount (which sounded impressive) if they then just substituted a cheaper camera or whether they were asking a very large initial price for a much cheaper camera.
    Returning with a savy pal and fronting them out (in a pleasant way) brought the right result though!………congrats.
    For me the most important point about that whole episode was the business of trust…….alright they initially caught you out and you will have learnt from that but to let the experience lead you to behave like a miserable, old cuss not trusting anyone ………then you would have really been robbed.

    Reply
  2. Catherine
    Catherine says:

    Mary I must be even more gullable. I thought that shops often hike the prices up (compared to websites – even their own). Your own response however was wonderful – you are a true ambassador.

    Reply
  3. Arturo Provosto
    Arturo Provosto says:

    Mary,
    It is better to be scammed now and then than to loss a trusting heart. (by the way, a heart specialist did an inside the blood vessel look at my heart. He said that even though he could see by the scars that my heart has been broke many times it is still strong & pure. And you are one of the breakers of my heart.) I have bought more than several cameras in Manhattan. The best and most ethical stores are J&R Electronics Inc. 23 Park Row New York and B&H Camera Video 420 9th Avenue, New York, NY. B&H is by far the most ethical. They do not do business on Saturday (shabbot) even on the web site. They have great used and reconditioned deals. I know this information is way too late for you to re-kindle your NYC love affair. I have found (as did you) that confronting the scammers with their perfidy they quite often make partial amends.

    Arturo

    Reply

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  1. […] and outdoor restaurants. Yes, I could definitely live in Hoboken, if for nothing more than the view across the Hudson and the 24/7 PATH to […]

  2. […] and brighter people. A city where everything and anything goes. After my minor altercation with the camera people, we spent the day in the Village, wandering from shop to shop with the occasional cosmopolitan in […]

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