Road Trippin’ – Prologue or What I Like About Amazon & Love About Walmart

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22752 – 978

Here’s the haps:

Dearly Beloved Fans, Friends, Fiends, Foes, Family, Foundlings, Figurative Foreigners, And Finally-Fridayists,

We have returned from a nice, relaxing trip that didn’t go exactly as planned but that was okay because we accomplished our main goal. We just did it in a relaxed and laid-back manner and have a few pics to share with you all. Actually, we have more than a few and my task will be to share with you enough of my favorites to be satisfying without oversharing but a blog is kind of about oversharing in some ways. As you know, I am not a photographer and certainly no professional by any stretch of the imagination and therein lies a tale.

TANSTAAFL! There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch! I have shouted this from the rooftops for years and years. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I know this. But, because this was going to be such an exciting trip I wanted to get a nicer camera. There was a “4K 48MP Vlogging Camera” on Amazon that caught my eye, regular $159 but with a $30 off coupon.

“Thump! Thump! Thump!” This is the sound of Herb banging his head repeatedly on the keyboard. When it came and I opened it up I immediately regretted it. It’s just a plastic hunk of junk. Oh, it came with some very nice-looking features and the big heavy lens that it comes with looks and feels impressive. The little quickstart guide that came with it was poorly written by someone whose third language perhaps is English and tells nothing about how to use the thing. I set out on a search to find out how to use its basic features and found that this thing is sold by multiple brands and real people who really use cameras and know them had seen it and bought one to try it out and all had the same idea I was forming, it’s junk.

What I like about Amazon is their easy-peasy return policy. I make a few clicks and I can walk into a Kohl’s store and visit the Amazon kiosk and it’s done. Plus I get $5 in Kohl’s Bucks for the next week. If it had been in my mind to return Gnoel, which I could never imagine doing, it would have been that easy as well. You do have to read the return policy on the items you buy because they do vary, but it was great. No hassle at all. Except now I didn’t have a camera.

So, I must be off to go to Walmart. I purchased a Kodak Pixpro AZ528 for under $200. I was excited, it took great pictures including some nice close-ups so I left the box and the receipt and all the little papers on the floor and away we went. It took some great pictures but then as we went along it started to go kaput. It wouldn’t turn on right and the controls didn’t seem to want to behave correctly. It may have been my own fault for not using the right kind of SD card but whatever the case it wasn’t working right and we had to take some pictures with our phones.

But, here’s something to consider. With the best and fastest service from Amazon Prime, you have to wait a minimum of one day to get the product you ordered. When you buy from a store in person, you can go talk to a live person. The ubiquity of Walmart meant that the small-ish town of Salida, Colorado, would have one of its stores there. Still, I did not have the packaging. Would they take it back even though I had no box and had bought it a hundred miles away? Maybe. Having worked retail much of my life and having worked for Walmart in the customer service department I knew what kind of customers get what kind of treatment. I trode lightly and spoke softly.

“Can I help you?”
“I hope you can. I have a problem. I bought this camera up in the Springs a couple of days ago and we’re on a trip to the Grand Canyon and it stopped working. I have the receipt on my phone but I don’t have any of the packaging. It’s all on the floor at home.”
“Oh my. Hmm…Let me call the manager.” After a relatively short time, she came back, “Would you mind taking it back to Electronics. The manager back there is Pat. She said she would have to see.”

Pat was a pleasant woman, a bit younger than me, who gave the impression of knowing what she was about. Nice, but tough. I explained my predicament to her and she looked thoughtful. “Are you wanting a refund or would you be willing to take an exchange?” My answer would tell her next course of action and she seemed pleasantly surprised when I said, “Oh if you have the same model, I would happily make an exchange.” We chit-chatted while she punched the information into her handled device. “I do have one. Just wait right here, Mr. Thiel.” She returned after a while with the familiar yellow and black box. “I need the packaging to return it to the manufacturer so what we will do is give you the new one with all the pieces you have and keep the old one and put it in this box.” We went to Customer Service and completed the transaction, after which I made sure to purchase the exact SD card specified. I still don’t understand that part.

TNT was needing to rest and was going out to the car. She had worked with the messed-up camera and said she would test the new one out. When I got out to the car she was very happy and said it worked exactly the way she expected it to work and really loved the zoom feature, among other things. I felt a little like Winston Smith at the end of 1984 as the bullet was entering his brain, but I realized, I love Walmart. Well, okay. That may be a bit too dramatic and somewhat untrue, except at that moment. I was relieved and happy. As you follow our trip you will see many of the pictures she took through the car window while I was driving, along with many others and I think they turned out pretty good. One of my problems will be to decide which pictures to include. Using Irfanview and one of its plugins I will be able to make the files a lot smaller and load quicker, which should help.

Coming up, Salida, Colorado


  1. Does anyone use cameras anymore (my tongue is in my cheek)??? I gave up on my camera, now just use my phone. Pictures aren’t great, though. I’m a Walmart fan, too. Shopping on Amazon is confusing at times, plus the new thing of having to see if it’s made in China. Sigh. Walmart was a good choice.

  2. That’s another reason why I hate Amazon (they are more distribution for third party knock offs than they are their own brand), kudos to Walmart for amazing customer service. We shop Walmart too.

    • That is true, also. I’ve always projected a retail vibe, I guess, like standing in a store that has uniform shirts and I am not wearing one and someone comes up to me and asks for help. That helps with situations like this a little bit, I think.

  3. Genuine customer service seems to be a vanishing concept. There seems to be an age cutoff- if the rep is over, say, 35-40, the “let’s figure this out ” mindset is more common. Under that age, they seem more interested in getting me to fit within their systems than finding a way to work around those systems (which are usually the problem). Glad you got someone who got it done for you.

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