What happened was, I wanted to buy a Ricoh GX00 and, in North America, there’s only one place to do that: Adorama (gotta love that name), a New York camera store with online pretensions. It didn’t work out well, but while we don’t know yet if the story has a happy ending, it certainly has a silver lining.
When I unboxed the camera and charged the battery and turned it on, it didn’t turn on. Which is to say, the LCD on the back didn’t light up. Eventually it did, but then sometimes it didn’t. I learned that if you gave it a few gentle thumps the LCD would eventually turn on and then it would take some pretty damn good pictures (see here and here).
But the required thumping kept getting harder and I could see where this was heading, so I called up Adorama. After a few busy signals and a half-hour on hold, they told me to fuck off and die, because it was more than 14 days since they’d shipped the camera. “Contact Ricoh.” Hey, Adorama, the feeling is mutual.
So I went poking around and called up the Ricoh office in Vancouver. The good news is that after only a couple of minutes of navigating the voicemail menu I got a human. The bad news is that she said “We don’t sell that product. Call Ricoh USA”. Which I interpret as “Fuck off and die”. Hey Ricoh Canada, the feeling is mutual.
So I went and poked around Ricoh’s US website. I found the Sales and Service Locations page, and there was a drop-down menu to identify the product. The bad news is that the list of products didn’t include digital cameras. Which I interpret as “Fuck off and die”. Hey Ricoh USA, the feeling is mutual.
Then I noticed this text halfway down the page, way below the fold, that said “SALES/SERVICE LOCATIONS FOR DIGITAL CAMERAS” with a phone number, so I called it.
On the second ring, Brandy picked up the phone. She was friendly and intelligent, wanted to know the exact model and where I’d bought it. She said “You have to send us the camera. The smartest thing is I email you the forms with our address and the stuff to fill in. What’s your address? And give me your phone number in case it bounces.”
So I did and she did and the camera is currently on an airplane heading for Chandler, Arizona, along with the forms and the proof-of-purchase. Unless they’re lying, this should be a freebie warranty job.
The Lesson · At one level, it sucks that Ricoh built a defective product, and it sucks that Adorama wouldn’t deal with the problem, and it sucks that Ricoh Canada wouldn’t deal with the problem, and it sucks that Ricoh USA makes it hard to find the right place to go.
But in the twenty-first century, the fact that I eventually found a phone number that an intelligent human being answered seems to override all the stuff that sucked. What does that say?