Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Gear Shopping -- Part Deux

OK, first of all, yes, I bought the rain pants.  I'd been hoping for more input from the Great Journalling Community, but really, once Wil (Olddog299) invoked the word "diflucan" as a possible downside to not having them, the decision was made.  You must have had a lot of experience debating women, Wil. 

The bad news was that when I went back to REI to buy them and exchange the sixteen dollar undies for sixteen dollar undies that fit, I found they didn't have any sixteen dollar undies in my size.  I therefore returned the drawers.

There was an up side -- between the refunded panties and a discount they credited me because something I'd bought on Sunday went on sale today -- the rain pants were pretty much covered. 

Then again, I bought so much other stuff there today, it isn't like I came out ahead pricewise or anything.  I keep telling myself that I'll have all necessary gear the next time I go someplace, but, really, I know I'll be back at REI again.

Strange, it wasn't so long ago that I first set foot in an REI -- to buy a gift for a friend.  I was instantly offered assistance by at least four employees, because I had that "confused City Girl in an adventure gear store" look on my face.  You know that face you had the first time you went to Price Club and saw 96 rolls of toilet paper in one package?  Yeah, that face.  And now -- I got my REI card, I can tell the women's clothing from the men's without asking, and I pretty much know my way around the place.  Scary.

I mean, y'know how comfortable I felt there?  I actually bought some items that I didn't need for this trip, but saw 'em on sale, and figured I can use them for other things.  Holy cow.  I'm impulse buying at REI.

When I got home, I thought I'd unpack some of the stuff I bought this weekend, and when I did, I made an unfortunate discovery about the binoculars.

Did I mention the binoculars?  I wanted some.  I saw some foldy compact binoculars at Eddie Bauer for like $80, and thought maybe I could do better at the camera store.  So I go to the camera store (I was in a mall) and asked for help with the binoculars.  The employees were much more interested in selling lenses and digital cameras -- the only "help" they'd give me is taking out a pair of binoculars and letting me try them out.  I tried one pair and they were crap.  I gave them back and asked to see the next pair over, the Minoltas.  They hand me the Minoltas and they're terrific.  Best binoculars I've ever looked through.  Crystal clear image, good magnification -- I am sold on these puppies.

"How much?" I ask, thinking that if they come in anywhere in the less-than-the-ones-at-Eddie-Bauer neighborhood, I'll buy them.

"I don't know," comes the helpful reply.  "I'll have to go in back and get the box."

Five minutes pass.  Ten.  I have to get the heck out of the mall and meet someone at the theatre in about five more minutes, and these people are killing time trying to find the box.

With about 30 seconds to spare, the woman comes running out from the back with an empty Minolta box.  "This is the only one," she says.  Fine.  I'll take the floor model.  She scans the box and comes up with a price of $35.

I'm stunned.  I say the only thing I can:  "I'll take 'em."

She jams the binoculars in the box.  She can't entirely make them fit and I don't entirely care.  I'm late.  I tell her so.  I pay her and take the binoculars home.

OK, here's the problem I just discovered -- the magnification listed on the binoculars is different than the magnification listed on the box.  They're, um, better.


I will always, always tell a merchant when they've made an error in my favor.  Absolutely.  Without question.  That's how my parents raised me and that's the way the world ought to work.  People shouldn't take advantage of other people's mistakes.

I go online to the store's website to see how much I should have been charged.  They do not even list the model I actually have.

I surf around the net and discover that ... well, first thing I discover is that some people totally rip you off for binoculars.  I mean, one website had the binoculars (i.e., the model I actually bought) listed for like $125.  I nearly soiled myself until I noticed they had the cheaper model (the model the store thought they were selling me) for $110.

While I have no way of figuring out exactly how much this store should have charged me, it looks like I should have paid somewhere between $8 and $15 (or so) more for the binocs.

What gets my panties in a bunch about this is that I'm supposed to leave on my vacation on Saturday, and I don't have the time between now and then to haul back out to the mall with binocs, box and receipt, and point out to this woman that she undercharged me by an unspecified amount.  Especially when she is likely to respond by not having the right box and therefore not being able to correct it.  I'm envisioning myself standing in the store negotiating a price for the damn things.

Ugh.  Maybe I'll call them tomorrow and see if I can't resolve this on the phone.  Morons.



olddog299 said...

You're way too honest for your own good.  You paid the asking price... now live with it. You are just going to piss off the real manager you get to talk to on the phone and the weekend "girl" will end up losing her job.

And realize that while you like the Minolta binoculars, sometime, somewhere, when you least expect it, you're going to meet a "Birder."  When you do, after the obligatory exchange of the rare species on your respective 'life lists', the conversation will turn to his/her binoculars.  Those innocuous looking Swarovski SLC's ($750 list) or Steiner Peregrine's at $850 or the Leica BN's at $1300.  Try them out.  See what really good optics can do for your viewing experience.  It will turn your world upside down. For real!

Good luck next weekend.  Have a lot of fun, take lots of pictures.  You are envied. :)

st0rmwhispers said...

Its the right thing to do.  ...sux though huh?