They’re Not Running On Full Charge

, , , , | Right | June 15, 2017

(A thirty-something woman comes into the camera shop, pushes past some other customers, and slams a camera bag onto the counter, brandishing a receipt.)

Customer: “I bought this camera yesterday! AND IT’S BROKEN!”

(She thrusts the receipt in front of my face, and jabs her finger at the date. It’s worth noting that when we sell a camera, we always open the box and check that it’s working before the customer leaves the store.)

Customer: “I want a replacement, and an upgrade to a better camera!”

Me: “Sorry to hear that, ma’am! May I please have a look at the camera?”

(The customer issues a massive sigh, opens the camera bag and shoves a little point and click camera at me. I turn it over at I notice that the battery door is ajar. I open the battery door.)

Me: “The battery is in upside down.”

Customer: “What?!”

Me: “The battery is in upside down, and so the battery door won’t close. One second.”

(I used a bit of tape to remove the lithium-ion rechargeable battery, turn the camera on, check it’s working, and then hand it back to her. It has about 50% charge.)

Customer: “So you’re not going to give me an upgrade?!”

Me: “Sorry, madam, but I can’t do that. If it were broken, I would happily give you a replacement, or a refund, but I couldn’t give you an upgrade. As it is, the camera isn’t broken. When you removed the battery, you put it back in upside down.”

(She does a job of looking over the camera, takes bunch of photos, and finally seems happy that the camera is working. I think everything is sorted. It wasn’t. Just before closing time, she comes in again, and makes a beeline for me.)

Customer: “IT’S BROKEN AGAIN!”

Me: “How can I help?”

Customer: “When I turn it on, It gives an error message, and then turns off again! I want you to UPGRADE me to a better camera!”

Me: “Again, sorry, I can’t give you an upgrade, but I can replace or give you a refund. May I please see the camera?”

(She hands me the camera. I turn it on and it says “battery exhausted.”)

Me: “Oh! This message just means that the battery is flat. Once you recharge the battery using the charger, or plugging the camera in, she’ll be right!”

Customer: “What do you mean, I have to charge the battery? Doesn’t it just take photos?”

(I stare at her for a long moment.)

Me: “No, madam. Like your mobile phone, you need to recharge the batteries when they go flat.”

Customer: “You mean I have to plug it into the wall?!”

Me: “Yes, that’s right.”

Customer: “But it just takes pictures.”

Me: “…and that uses electricity. When the battery goes flat you need to charge it.”

Customer: “I wasn’t told that when I bought it yesterday! I want a camera that doesn’t need batteries or charging. Now are you going to give me an upgrade, or do I need to speak to your manager?!”

Me: *sigh*

1 Thumbs
  • Gary Z

    I mean, there are plenty of cameras that don’t need batteries. They need film though.

    • Rebecca Charlton

      If they have a flash, they need batteries still.

      • Rebecca Putman

        The very old flash bulbs / flash cubes didn’t need batteries. Check out this YouTube video:


        • Mushroom

          I resent you saying my 110 is old. However, since the film for the cameras that didn’t need batteries for replaceable flashes — and those replaceable flashes — are mostly off the market…

        • Lev Borovoi

          But she wouldn’t want to buy new flashes all the time.

          • Rebecca Putman

            Back then she wouldn’t have had a choice. Buy new, or never take indoors pictures again.

      • Lev Borovoi

        Also auto focus and auto exposure.

      • Nic

        You don’t have to use the flash, though!

    • Leah

      My first camera that I got in 1996 when I was 8 years old needed batteries. Not sure you’ve been able to buy a camera that didn’t need batteries for some time now…

      • denim

        Flash cubes and flip flash didn’t need batteries to trigger them.

  • Matt A Krueger

    if this woman is as stupid as she is loud, then you have one hell’a fight on your hands

    • Lou Miller

      She’s not stupid. She’s trying to run a scam to get a more expensive camera by complaining and causing a scene hoping an employee/manager will cave just to get rid of her. Something employees/managers do far too often.

  • Deadpool

    Here you go. An upgrade that doesn’t take batteries, just like you requested.

    • Beat me to it.

    • danielle

      HAHA yes!

    • Siirenias

      Those things are probably collectable by now.

      • Jami

        Nah, they still sell them at WalMart.

        • Siirenias

          Really! I thought film was dead.

    • Ophelia

      Yeah, that’s what had in mind too. Or maybe one of those old-fashioned cameras that needed that tray of powder. Wouldn’t exactly be an “upgrade” for her though.

  • Sionyx

    “Okay, that’d be a 35 mm, maybe SLR, or maybe you’d like this 110? Oh, and I’ve got this LOVELY box camera. Now you can still get 35mm film and folks still develop it, but I’ll have to look up where you can find 110 or plates. And you’ll need to be VERY careful with your lighting so you don’t use up your flashbulbs, those are even harder to find these days than the film. Can I interest you in a light meter to help out with that?”

    Or you can plug in your dang battery, woman. It ain’t that hard.

    (In another universe, I handed this post to my camera nut father and let him be his glorious sarcastic self. But I picked up enough, Daddy!)

    • 白大福

      A DSLR will kill this lady, “Why can’t I take photo when I can see the image!”

      • NessaTameamea

        “and why cant I zoom in??? This thing cost five times as much as my small cam, and that one had 40x zoom! And I think something’s loose inside, it makes this weird clicking noise everytime I take a photo.”

        An analog SLR would be even worse. I wouldn’t want to be the one having to tell her that yes, she has to change the film every 24 pictures and no, she can’t see them immediately after taking them.

        • 白大福

          I think most entry level of DSLR comes with zoom, unless you are talking about those power zoom…Sometimes I go to camera store just to watch these people and laugh…

          Here are some I got for this year.

          “Why the battery is so large and heavy, can you cut it a half for me? What do you mean it won’t work!? Will it work if I talk to your manager!?”

          “I drilled some holes on this lens(one of those kid zoom) so I can gather more light instead of getting a large aperture lens. Now it is broken! You owe me a new lens!”

          “I know my DSLR is not waterproof, so I only put the lens part into my fish tank, now it won’t turn on.”

          “I know you have some old display lenses not for sale, just give them to me for free.”

          “My camera said not enough memory, so I removed the lens and replaces the film, and it is still saying the same thing. (This one I went up and took a look, yes, an old 35mm film cut nicely and placed in front of the sensor.)”

          “I want this camera…no, I am not buying it, just give me a scissor and turn around please.”

      • denim

        He didn’t say DSLR. He said SLR. There’s a massive difference.

        • 白大福

          Of course he did, and I didn’t say he said about DSLR. I just add in DSLR will kill that lady. I am not stupid enough to think they are same thing.

          • denim

            Whew. I feel relieved.

  • Mushroom

    me: You need to speak to my manager. Because I need the comic relief.

  • Marina Dribnenki

    Digital cameras are DIGITAL. Digital means that they use computer technology. Computer technology needs electricity. Get an SLR if you don’t want that.

    • Jaxad0127

      Digital SLR exists. SLR means one lens with a mirror that redirects light from the lens to the view finder except when actually taking a picture, which means the view finder shows what the lens does (unlike other systems). Newer digital systems (like in smart phones) just keep the sensor active and reproduce its image live on the screen.

    • Leah

      Every SLR on the market today is also digital and also needs batteries.

      (Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me if in some little niche collectors store you could still buy old school non-digital SLRs… so let’s say 99% of SLRs on the market today).

      • Amanda Galli

        I have my uncle’s 35mm SLR in a closet somewhere…

      • Philacook

        Not so much a niche market.
        B&H Photo in NYC shows 15 high end (Leica, Nikon, Voigtlander) 35mm cameras, 8 medium format cameras starting at $1500 (and two of those come without lenses), 40 large formats, and 103 Holga and Lomo cameras(very inexpensive but fun). All film.

        • NessaTameamea

          Deleted my comment because you proved me wrong. I actually read about the holga cams and totally forgot about them until I read your comment! Shame on me! Now I have to look at the holga lenses for Nikon again…

          • Philacook

            I’m just an old sticker.
            I had a film camera up until 6 years ago, along with my DSLR. Got tired of film being scarce and processing being so very expensive.
            Love my Canon 70D.

    • Clay

      That’s not actually what digital means. Anything digital just means it’s based on discrete numbers. You know, like you count on your fingers, aka your DIGITS.

      • Marina Dribnenki

        That’s only one definition of the word. In this case, it is referring to computer technology.

  • Denton Young

    “May I direct you to an antique store, ma’am? They may have a Polaroid and some film still in stock, if you’re lucky.”

    • Wendigone

      She’d find a way to jam the film cartridge in wrong or complain about having to replace it every few pictures.

      • Denton Young

        That’s her problem.

        • Wendigone

          Definitely so, but she’d likely try to make it someone else’s. (Though I think she’s scamming rather than actually as stupid as she seems, anyway.)

          • Denton Young

            I think this is a case where Hanlon’s Razor applies.

        • denim

          Yes, but with this story, and how he didn’t refund her money and kick her out, as he should have, this story is likely to have a sad ending.

    • Dana Corby

      There’s actually an active, mostly online community of old camera buffs, and you can get film without too much trouble. It’s the developing thats a PITA.

      • Denton Young

        Hence, the suggestion of a Polaroid.

  • Jackie Fauxe

    Did you cut out the ending to spare us another story of management caving to an unreasonable customer, OP?

    • Siirenias

      I’m hoping for a sequel.

    • Alan Liber

      This is Australia – with any luck the manager laughed at her.

  • Just hand her some paper and crayons. They’re still ready to find.

    • JDS

      Or a stone tablet with a chisel.

    • Scot MrSpellcheck Rogers

      Beat me to it. Well done! 😉

  • The Aussie Bloke

    I feel ashamed that this happened in my country (though thankfully not my city, or state!)

  • 白大福

    I will personally slap her face with my tripod.

    • sacke5

      Why not use the tripod to punch her face? One for each eye and one for her throat…

      • 白大福

        That’s work too, but slapping does give better satisfaction then punching with the tips of the legs.

  • AsaeAmpan

    Ma’am, I get you’re an overly entitled PoS who had very very poor parents but this is the real world, shut up and move on.

  • Vira Vandom

    Dunno the real identity of NAR-Deadpool, but they’re killin’ it with those comments.

  • Kitty

    Well, I can give you a Camera Obscura. It doesn’t actually use film; it requires to trace a picture before taking it… oh, and there’s that little sideeffect of people owning it calling about misfortune into their lives or getting driven insane by it, but I’m not giving it to you. IT’S MINE!

    • Mike Rosoft

      So you really can’t give it to me. False advertising!
      (Edit: On the other hand, you *are able* to give it to me, but aren’t going to do it. That makes sense.)

    • Kathy Plester

      Fun fact – you can use a camera obscura to take actual photos. The easiest way is to use a small box – like a shoe box. What you do is take a piece of photographic paper (what they develop the negatives onto), tape it to the back of the box, take the box out, put it down, pull down the flap that seals the pinhole, leave it there for so many seconds (like 20-30 I think, depending on light levels etc), then cover the hole up, and take the paper to be developed. The image will be negative (you can fix this) and have motion blur unless you take something stationary but yeah – you can take pictures with a box with a hole in it. They’re called pinhole cameras. Basically the same trick that allows it to project the image can also be projected onto the paper and burn an image into it. It is a lousy image and you can only do it with black and white pictures (as far as I know). But yeah a completely battery free camera is available.

  • JDS

    What an insufferable cow. I would have taken the camera away and said “madam you are to stupid to have this, so here is a Fisher-Price play camera for you, enjoy!”

    • Dsru Bin

      The Fisher-Price cameras have batteries.

  • Dhoonib

    Nearly a decade ago I had a lady walk into my store and dropped a laptop on the counter. All she said was “It broke.”
    I turned it on and the battery light flashed. I asked her if she had the AC adapter.
    “You mean the plug?”
    She handed me the “plug” and the computer came on fine. Explained to her that the battery was dead and needed to be charged.
    “It run on batteries? What it take, like double A’s or like C’s?”
    I about quit right there.

    • emax4

      If she didn’t have the ability nor time to read the manual, I’d give her a refund but never sell her a laptop again. It’s not worth the headaches.

      • Dhoonib

        This happened about a decade and the computer was at least five years old at the time.

  • KashyaCharsi

    Technology is wasted on her, let her operate rocks and sticks.

    • Huck Perry

      Lady: “I smash rock on stick. Stick broke. FIX IT!”

  • Joe Weatherford

    I have a ball. Perhaps you’d like to bounce it.

  • Lev Borovoi

    Asking for a camera that doesn’t need batteries is so petty! I want a genie that grants all my wishes! And you will give it to me for free! NOW!

  • Dana Corby

    Direct her to the nearest antique camera club. Brownies were wonderful point n shoot cameras, no batteries required. And wish her good luck finding film.

  • Kathy Plester

    Here’s a box with a hole in it with a stack of photo paper. No batteries needed.

  • Kathy Plester

    Reminds me of a customer I once got who believed he wasn’t using any electricity because his bulbs were solar powered (Because they were LIGHT bulbs – powered by light), his TV was satellite TV and therefore powered by the satellite not electricity, and his phone (that he was calling us from) was powered by phone lines and therefore he was using no electricity so we shouldn’t be billing him.

    • sacke5

      Well, the phone land lines have it’s own power supply, so in that sense he was right. The rest? LMAO

      • Kathy Plester

        This is not entirely true. Some land line phones MUST be plugged into the power, particularly if they are cordless or have answer phone functions. Really old, basic phones can run on just the minimal power of the phone line.

        • sacke5

          Not completely true. If you have cordless phones, you can either change the batteries when they run empty or have a charger connected to the mains. I’ve had answer machines that are battery powered and that didn’t need to be plugged in.

          • Kathy Plester

            No but my point does still stand, some phones need to be plugged in to work.

  • Max

    “Ma’am, getting an ‘upgraded’ camera will not solve the problem of you being too daft to use batteries properly.”

  • Kay Lee

    A camera is not a she >=[

    • Donnell Hanog

      She is if you’re a photographer. In fact, all machines are ‘she’.

      • sacke5

        Reminds me of the “Why ship are she”-joke…

      • Kay Lee

        Only if you’re an idiot.

        • Donnell Hanog

          It’s equal parts tradition and affection. The idiocy is getting offended by it.

          • Kay Lee

            Pointing out the stupidity of people too dumb to tell the difference between a living being and an inanimate object is far from being offended. That being said, I am always grateful when dbags show their colors right off the bat to limit my interaction with them, so you keep on doing your thing.

          • Donnell Hanog

            Man, you must get absolutely LIVID when you read poetry, huh? No one said machines were living things, or that there was no difference between the two. Again, referring to machines as ‘she’ is equal parts affection and tradition, not a mistake or an inability to recognize that machines. We know ships and machines aren’t living things. You making a fuss over a distinction everyone here is already well aware of sounds a lot like getting offended to me.

          • Kay Lee

            Don’t read poetry and don’t know why you think it’d make me “livid” when I am the furthest thing from upset, as I’ve told you repeatedly. I guess you just don’t catch on too quick. If you understand that machines aren’t living things, then it says a lot about you that you consider them female; none of it good, and some of it straight up disturbing.

          • Donnell Hanog

            So, personification is disturbing, then? Guess it shouldn’t be surprising, considering you admit you don’t read poetry. As to why you’d be livid, poets use metaphor and personification all the time, which means there’s a lot of speaking of nonliving things as if they were living.
            In case you’re too dense to get it, it’s not literal. It’s not a commentary on women (unless you mean to say they’re reliable and will do their best to lend a hand if you treat them well, and will not tolerate abuse). It’s not someone being unable to tell an inanimate object from a living thing. It’s not a sign of disrespect (in fact, those who hold to that tradition often treat the machines better than themselves). It’s not a sign of looking down on women (people tend to only personify things they love).

  • Cathrope

    Do they even make cameras that use film still and don’t need a battery?

  • Kirishima Touka

    A camera that doesn’t need batteries or charging sounds like somewhat of a downgrade to me. But that’s none of my business.

  • Anthony Christopher

    Give her the upgraded camera, but charge full price. It’s not broken, she just wants a better camera for cheap.

  • zizania

    My husband has a fully-manual Nikon. I don’t think he wants to sell it, though.

  • Preston Garvey

    While we wait for the manager to come tell you the same thing I just told you, here’s the location of a settlement that needs out help.

  • technomage1

    Why do I suspect that she was back in later after the poster went off shift demanding an upgrade since the camera didn’t wirelessly connect to her computer. Or that it didn’t take film.

  • Richard Da Bunny

    When they make idiot powered batteries this lady will be all set.

  • shileka

    You’ll have to speak to Benjamin Franklin, or maybe Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, either way to speak with them, kill yourself

  • Anderlie

    I really wish they’d stop inserting ‘ma’am’ into every story from Australia. Nobody says that here.