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I returned empty-handed, but…

October 16, 2006, 11:31 PM

Yes, I’m sad to say that I returned from Charlottesville empty-handed, having gotten no shoulder strap for my camera bag, and no battery for my Lappy. Sad times on both counts. I went all over the place, too. I went to Office Depot, to Best Buy, to Circuit City, to Ritz Camera, to Target, to JCPenney, to Belk, and even to Wal-Mart in a last-ditch effort. It turns out that no one sells replacement shoulder straps, and I looked in camera sections, luggage sections, and even the ladies’ handbags to see if I could dig up a stand-alone strap. No dice. These stores would have been more than happy to sell me a shoulder strap with a bag attached to it, but I neither want nor need a new bag. Big Mavica’s been living in its current bag for three and some years, and it’s quite happy with its living space, thank you very much. Ritz Camera came closest, selling replacement straps. However, they were designed for the camera itself, and not for the accompanying bag. Big Mavica’s strap presently has no issues, and so I wouldn’t think about replacing it at this time, though they certainly had some nice ones.

Note that I didn’t go to Batteries Plus, though, to get a battery for the Lappy. I can’t say that I didn’t try to go, but when I got there at 7:30 PM, they were already closed. So that was a wash.

And like so many times when I go out, I get recognized from my job at Wally World. You see, we get a lot of people from Charlottesville, because the Charlottesville store is not a Supercenter, and ours is. But at least when I get recognized, they always tell me how nice and helpful I was when they were patronizing the store. It would be something else if they told me I was Mr. Crabby Pants or something. I do have days at work when I get crabby, don’t get me wrong, but the customers don’t see that. The only time in recent memory that the customers could sense something wrong was the day that I ate a banana on my lunch hour that for some reason didn’t agree with me, and I was feeling really bad afterwards, and I looked like I was feeling bad, and the customers picked up on it, with one even asking me if everything was all right. I think I ended up taking like six Tums for that, in an attempt to feel better. I did end up feeling better before the day was out, though.

But I digress.

So when I got home, having come up empty in Charlottesville, I hopped online, and went to Froogle to find a replacement shoulder strap for the camera bag. Dad had already found a replacement battery for the Lappy online, so my mission there was to see if I could get a better price, and I didn’t find anything. When I searched on Froogle for the shoulder strap, however, I came up with lots of results. Some fit the program, and some didn’t. Some, as expected, wanted to sell me some luggage with the strap. But I ended up finding my replacement strap in an unlikely place. I found a strap made by XS Scuba that seems to be a direct replacement for my old strap with the broken clip. Check it out for yourself. Weird, if you ask me, but it looks like it’s going to work. My only complaint is that these online companies really rape you on shipping. Scuba.com, the company I bought the strap from, charged me around six dollars to ship a four dollar strap. I think I paid $9.90 altogether, which was within the range that I was willing to pay, but I was still a little annoyed about the shipping. But with my not being able to find anything in a real store, what is one to do?

As you probably guessed, I much prefer shopping in an actual establishment versus shopping online. I get to wander around and hunt for stuff, tackle salespeople, and actually feel the item before it potentially leaves with me. With online shopping, you can’t feel the item, and images of the product are often inadequate. So as a result, you don’t always know what you’re getting. I’ve had some wonderful online purchases that have been great for me, such as my old printer that died recently, but some have been quite disappointing. I remember one time buying a carrying bag for my old Razor-style scooter. It was awful. The site showed “Razor” on the bag, but when I got the bag, it said “Roraz” on it. Then it also fell apart within days due to shoddy workmanship. The stitching came out, and the zipper broke. I ended up throwing it away.

So we’ll see how this shoulder strap works out. It should be here before too long.

Web site: Kotie.com, your virtual scuba instructor. Ask her anything. Some of the responses are downright amusing.

Song: Theme to The Bruce Williams Show, which I was listening to on my iPod in the car.

Quote: Haven't I said enough already?

Categories: Shopping