Saturday, June 17, 2006

Shades of Grey - Part 1

I have cam'itis. No, it's not a transmitted disease so you're OK. I spent alot of time on boats while growing up on the waters of the Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast in BC. We had a great boat - The Blue Doll. But we would always stare wistfully at the bigger, better, newer, flashier boats than ours and dreamed of "upgrading". My Dad called that foot'itis - you always wanted one larger than the one you had or just bought. I have a Nikon D100 camera and had been staring wistfully at the D200.
It's such a popular camera, that Nikon manufacturing hasn't been able to keep up with the demand and all of the shops were "out of stock" for months. I found a small shop online called Radio Active Deals that said they had some in stock. So I called them up and talked to "Allen" and verified that it was a US model camera and not a grey market version.
What's a grey market version you ask? Well, it simply means that the camera (or lens or whathave you) was not brought into the country by a Nikon authorized distributor, but by someone else. In bypassing the distributor, the item can be sold much cheaper. Nikon USA has taken a particularly strong stance in this area and will not warranty or service a grey market item under any circumstances. You can't pay them any amount of money large enough to service it. Sometimes, that's OK. But for little ol me on an island at least 2500 miles from the nearest camera service center, I want to be able to send it to Nikon USA and say "fix it". Now.
So Allen says "Yes, of course it's a US model camera". I say "Are you sure?" and he confirms that it is. "Well, how come you are the only folks in town with some in stock?" and he says, "Well, because we're a smaller shop and don't have the turnover that the larger places do, and we have only 2 left so you should order it right now". {Oh my gawd do people really expect that sales crap to work?}
So I tell him that I need to think about it and will call back which makes him very happy. I wait 1/2 hour and talk to Greg and decide that I'll go for it and order one. But I'll reverify that it's REALLY a US model before ordering. I call back and ask for Allen and ask him again about it being a US model which he confirms. I ask if it comes with a 1 year warranty from Nikon and he confirms this and then get's mad at me for not believing him. "We're not like those other New York shops - we pride ourselves on our integrity and customer services".
So I give him the credit card number and order it. With an extra battery. And wait anxiously for the tracking information to arrive in email. I watch and watch as UPS wings my new toy across the ocean to my doorstep. On Tuesday April 18, 2006 I wait at home for the magic brown bus to beep beep beep backwards down my driveway. I open the package and pull out the yellow box and ... and ... and ... it's a grey market version. The side of the box is covered in Japanese characters and it says D200(J) above the serial number.


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