No Wiser

It was hot today, with very little breeze. The streets were hot, the air was hot, the buses were baking. I was only working in the morning, and fortunately in a fairly cool (in all senses of the word) building so tucked my little TG3 into my bag and when I finished working trekked off to the West End and the camera shop where I bought it four years ago. I’m not going to name and shame that shop, but after today, it is not likely to receive more custom from me. I shall return to the London Camera Exchange on the Strand.

I’m not being entirely fair I know, but I was disappointed in the whole thing.

So. I trotted into the shop and was met with smiles. I got the camera out of my bag and explained that I was trying to work out what the problem was: a battery that had run its course; a poor connection with the charger; something more serious. I also explained that when plugged into the charger it lit up as though charging but didn’t.

I was therefore somewhat disappointed when the assistant plugged the camera into the charger and turned to me with a slightly triumphant look when the orange light comes on.

I was blunt, there’s no other way to describe it, but it was a long time since breakfast and I was hoping to get this sorted and have some lunch soon. “That proves nothing,” I said, “it’s doing what I told you, but either the battery isn’t charging or the problem lies somewhere else.” He looked more irritated than crestfallen. This continued as he searched for a charger case that the battery would sit in. “I didn’t get one of those with this camera,” I said, channeling Job quite successfully, “there was only the lead.” His irritation was now apparent.

I made an effort. “Do you have a charged battery we can put into the camera to see if it works, as if you do we can isolate that the problem is with the battery or the charger rather than the camera itself.”

He told me he couldn’t unwrap a new battery unless I was going to buy it. My smile became more fixed. “How about taking a charged battery out of the display camera?” I suggested, through not-quite-gritted-teeth.So that’s what we did, and the camera sprang to life. And with it the assistant seemed to find new enthusiasm. Maybe he hadn’t had breakfast. I had, and I was finding it hard enough. Like a magician he produced a universal charger and we popped my battery into it. 0%. Hmm. A few minutes later it hit 5% then 10%. Maybe it wasn’t the battery. I was getting interested. The assistant was applying his brain. Always a good sign. He wondered if the connection as dodgy, so though plugged in and lit up, the connection was not good enough to charge the camera. The manager wandered over and asked if I’d tried another cable. No I explained, though I’d have expected him to know this, it isn’t a standard connector and I only have one.

My assistant – by now we were both behaving like Sherlock and Dr Watson, united in our search for the truth – suggested I go and have some lunch and come back in an hour, by then we would know if the battery could take a full charge. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but it seemed time worth spending., and as I say i now had my faith restored in the assistant If the battery charged then probably what I needed to do was buy a universal battery charger. He said he might not be there when I got back.

I’ll spare you the hour I spent in around Oxford Street which is not my favourite place in the world. I did see some sandals I liked, but even in the sale they cost almost £50 which I though was a bit steep. Back to the shop. My assistant was nowhere to be seen, at lunch. Another assistant came forward. I explained the situation. She located the charger and removed the battery without looking at the reading. I stifled a tut. “What does it say?” I asked. She looked at me as though I was asking the impossible. “How charged is it?” She replaced it and looked at me with a bright smile, “20%.” I did not reply with a bright smile. “That’s not very encouraging,” I said, “so it looks like the battery has had it.” To be fair, she could probably have just sold me a new battery there and then, but as we stood there the charge leapt to 30% then 40%. “The thing is,” she explained, “this is right by the till, and we’ve probably been nudging it and breaking the connection, so the battery may be fine.”

So basically nearly two hours had passed and I was no further forward. This new assistant seemed to think she was about to make a sale, or that I might be happy to wander around for another hour in the hope that no one nudged the connection again.

I did neither. What I didn’t tell her was I was not prepared to hand any money over to this shop, and had determined to return to the London Camera Exchange and trust to their undoubted professionalism to save the day. I should like to think my assistant will also find employment there. I’m sure he’d find and keep his Mojo in that environment.

Also, I much prefer the district around the Strand to Oxford Street.


6 thoughts on “No Wiser

  1. I get so frustrated with incompetent help. The company I get medical supplies from sent my most recent order to our Florida address without asking, even though they have my Michigan address as my primary one. My neighbor in FL tried to give it back to the UPS driver, explaining that I wasn’t living there, but he wouldn’t take it. I called the supplier and, after explaining what had happened, he said in a bewildered voice “What should we do?” I explained the obvious to him – but it never happened. Because it was the second order in a row that they messed up and didn’t fix, I am changing my supplier to one that is local. Urrrrr!!!!

    • This is ringing a vague bell about something I ordered that was mis delivered, and certainly your sense of frustration is something I recognise.
      I had not thought about having to order your own medicines; I suppose that’s another we are shielded from with the NHS. I hope your new supplier is more efficient.

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