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.