Friday, February 26, 2010

The cost of doing business

I just approved a repair order for one of the Nikon digital cameras I use.
Now I'm old enough to remember nickel candy bars, when a dollar bought four gallons of gasoline, and a meal of a hamburger, fries, and a drink at the Golden Arches was 46 cents.
So maybe I can be excused for once in a while thinking "Wow, but that's expensive."
The camera failure was nothing cataclysmic. It wasn't dropped, drenched, or otherwise destroyed.
In the middle of a shoot, it simply quit working.
Without getting too technical, the camera display registered "FEE" meaning that for whatever reason, the lens was not communicated with the camera body.
I cleaned the contacts, switched out lenses, etc., to no avail. Whatever gremlin was at work, it wasn't one that I was going to track down.
So I packed the camera up and shipped it off to California.
I got the estimate back the other day: $224. With shipping and handling, the total came to $253 and change.
I'm suspecting that there was nothing real serious wrong with the body, that $224 is the minimum charge for merely unpacking the camera and taking a quick look at it.
And I'd bet that since the shutter and most everything else still functioned, the "fix" will be a simple one, albeit one that I wasn't going to figure out.
While the repairman is at it, he'll clean the camera up, make any other adjustments, as well.
The camera originally cost $2,000 so all in all, the repair/refurbish fee is reasonable. For some people, a couple hundred bucks is just walkin'-around money anyway.
I only work for a newspaper, I don't own it so I'm one of those guys who feels pretty flush if I'm carrying an unbroken twenty in my back pocket.
I approved the estimate and am impatiently awaiting the return of the camera body.
Oh, just more thing: The factory warranty on it ran out six weeks ago.
Imagine that!

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