Mail Order Camera - 7/22/06
This fall, Sam, Jake (an old college friend with whom I did sketch comedy, and who directed one of our May plays), Dan (another Northwestern friend who now works for Google) and myself are starting a viral video comedy website. You know, short videos and audio and stuff that makes people laugh. More on this later.

To aid in this endeavor, we're buying a new video camera. As you can see here, it's a little nicer than dad's old VHS-C camcorder. It shoots about the highest quality digital video out there. It has a feature to make your video look like film. It also costs about $3,000.

Now, we don't have $3,000. So we did what anybody does who wants a nice piece of equipment for far less that you're supposed to pay for it. No, not steal it. We went to the internet.

With a little searching and cost-comparing, we were able to find several online shops selling the camera we wanted for far less than the normal price. Some of them under $2,000. No tricks. New camera, mint condition, no baby spiders using it for a nest.

Then we found out why. Apparently, all cameras are manufactured in Taiwan. Or in some microscopic country so third-world that Taiwan goes to it for cheap labor. Plus: labor is cheaper, and thus, so is the camera. Minus: it takes 3-4 weeks to get here.

You'd think that if the American store I bought it from sold these cameras regularly, they might keep a couple of them around, but nevermind that. 3-4 weeks? Um, is this the 18th century? Taiwan may be far away, but it's not on Mars. They have airports. Are they putting it on a boat? I'm not an oceanographer, but I'm pretty sure they make ships faster than that these days. I'd assume they already have the camera built, or at least mostly built... is it that hard just to finish one up and throw in in the mail in a couple days? I am still paying $1600.

One place told me it was going to be 5 months. This I completely don't understand. How could it take anything that long to cross the ocean? Are they going to put it in a bottle and float it across. A team of monkeys could randomly type the instruction manual faster than that, purely by coincidence. Even if they hadn't even started building the camera yet, I feel like they could mine the ore, forge the metal, assemble the camera and pack it on the back of a whale, and it would still get here faster than 5 months.

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