It all started with my mom dropping her fancy DSLR camera, a Canon Rebel Xti, effectively breaking the camera. You can find it online brand new for around $6 or $700, down from the $1000 it cost when it first came out. My mom, being my mom, instead of getting the camera fixed for around $300, decided it was a great time to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of the camera that took video.
And then the camera sat, for months, on a shelf gathering dust while only needing a repair to be back in full service. My fiance had been eyeing a camera like this for some time, and had been very close to buying one brand new. After the initial eye rolling and raising of eyebrows upon hearing the fate of said dropped camera I put two and two together and picked up the broken camera from my mother as a gift, of which I am very grateful. My mom was pleased with her new camera and had no use for the old and broken camera, my fiance was delighted at the prospect of fulfilling a long held desire, and I was patting myself on the back for saving us a few dimes by getting the repair taken care of and eventually purchasing a new, refurbished lens.
Right away when I got back home to Seattle I started figuring out where to get the repair done. I had two options, the first was ship it to Canon for the repair or drop it off at my local camera repair shop. After talking to a few friends who were in the know about camera fixings I decided to take it to the repair shop. They couldn’t tell me immediately what the needed repair was or how much it would cost, but promised to call me in a few days.
During this time I started to look at lenses for the camera on amazon, and after talking to a lens sales guy at the camera store, I knew just which one I wanted. Of course I could pay full price for a new lens, but why do that when I could get a nice refurbished one, as good as new, for around $200. I had no remorse for not making the purchase from the camera store after the sales guy I looked to for information on which lens to buy informed me he couldn’t teach me photography. Clearly I was wasting his valuable time standing at an empty counter, with four other employees twiddling their thumbs.
While I was happily clicking around on Amazon looking at lenses I decided to check out what it would cost to get the entire camera with the lens it came with, refurbished as a package. $220 was what I found out, then the repair shop called to tell me that the mirror box was broken, and the repair bill would be $305. Suddenly, those pats on the back I was giving myself, turned to my own palm hitting my forehead. I had gone from savvy shopper, when I compared myself to my mom, to wasteful spender with one click of the mouse.
When these things happen, and they seem to happen more than I would like, I try to learn from then as much as I can, and not repeat the same mistake twice, definitely not more than 3x. That was a lesson learned the hard way, even while I write this I’m partially wishing I had never known I could get the entire camera cheaper. Hopefully when the next widget catches my eye I can dig just a bit deeper.