Crappy Service: A Snapshot

June 21, 2010

This isn't my new Nikon, but I have one like this. It uses film. Remember film?

I’m a pretty good shopper. I do my research, read product reviews and weigh my options before I spend my money, and that’s when I’m trying to decide between Diet Coke and Coke Zero. When it comes to bigger purchases, I tend to take my time. Once it took me five years to buy a new car … it turned out to be a K-Car, but that’s another story.

So I finally went to Future Shop today to buy a new digital camera. The old one finally caked out, and my relatives say Facebook has gone downhill since. So I started doing my research.

I had settled on the make and model I wanted — returning to Nikon after a decade with Canon digitals — and found it for a reduced price at Future Shop, a big electronics retailer where everyone is hip and you can get an MP3 player for five bucks.

After waiting around for a while for someone to show up at the camera counter, a young guy wandered over from where he was watching a big-screen TV with Alice in Wonderland on it. He asked if I wanted anything. I told him what I wanted, he had one in stock, and I said “sold.”

Then he asked if I wanted an SD card for it. “Sure,” I told him, because I can always use a new SD card. I grabbed one off the rack and he said that was a bad idea.

“That one’s too slow for this camera,” he said, handing me a more expensive one. Okay, I thought. I didn’t know SD cards had speed ratings, but it’s only a few more bucks.

Then he asked if I wanted the extended warranty.

  • The last time I bought an extended warranty at Future Shop the store wouldn’t honour it when the item malfunctioned, saying it wasn’t covered. Most of the time, the regular warranty does the job. AppleCare is the rare exception.

I told him no, especially after he said it would cost another $70. So he whipped out what I think was meant to be a solid sales pitch:

“We get a lot of these back for repair, and this way you deal with us, not with Nikon. It makes sense to get it.”

“You get a lot of these back?” I asked. “So, you’re basically telling me it’s going to break?”

“Yeah,” he said. “It definitely will.”

“You’re already telling me it’s crap? So why should I even buy it?” I asked.

He looked surprised.

“Forget it,” I said. And I left, wondering what Nikon thinks of that approach.

Down at the mall, I found the same camera for the same price at Black’s, a small photography chain here in Canada. The clerk was friendly and happy to help out, and actually in the store when I arrived, and never mentioned buying an extended warranty.

“I hear these are prone to breaking down,” I said.

She shook her head. “No way. These are great!”

So I bought a few extra SD cards and a tripod.

Stupid Future Shop.



  1. I have a lovely Olympus OM20 film camera, it’s awesome :)) I also have an adaptor to use the Olympus lenses on my Canon dSLR, which certainly saves a lot of money in the lens department!

  2. I have a piece of cardboard with a pinhole in it, and another piece of cardboard that I hold behind it. The damned extended warranty cost $200!

  3. The thing about Future Shop is the sales people have quotas on extended service plans. So it’s in their favour to lose a sale rather than make a sale without an ESP attached. They’re also told to “say anything it takes to make the sale.” Would that include lying? No, they would never tell the staff to “lie”. Is lying included under “saying anything”? Well, yes.

    It’s the same deal at Staples which is why I quit that job which was meant to get me through two years of uni before the first semester even started.

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