Yesterday I finally took my camera to get repaired after months of simply whining about it and assuming nothing could ever happen because I’d lost the warranty. I bought the camera in Hong Kong in March (international waters) without researching Things I’ll Need If It Breaks because nothing ever breaks, right? Wrong. The camera broke a month later during my second trip to Beijing and for a remarkable four months now I’ve done nothing about it.
Well, after my aneurysm-inducing trip to Hangzhou I decided something had to change, so I checked Panasonic’s website to see how they could help. They couldn’t. They referred me to their Chinese website, which is in Chinese. So I sent their American office a pleading e-mail explaining that if their only advice to me were to figure it out with Panasonic China they might as well sugest I go f@#k myself. No, I didn’t really say that!
Someone who could write English sent me an e-mail from Panasonic China the next day suggesting I do a bunch of things I’d already done, and when I mentioned that, gave me the address for the nearest Panasonic fixer-upper-place. Simple as that.
I took a bus and a taxi out to this place yesterday, found out “Oh, do you have the receipt or warranty? We need that.” Took a taxi back home, threw everything ever onto my floor, found the receipt in my desk, took a taxi back, and handed it to the woman.
“No stamp,” she motioned and brought forth a pile of other documents, exhibiting official red seals. “I no have,” I entreated, “They not give me!”
“Can’t help you.”
CAn’T heLP Me??!?!?
I shoved the papers forward, saying “I’ll give you money! I’ll give you money!” to which she quickly replied, “Ok, ok!” Apparently she meant “I can’t help you for free without this official stamp that we put on every single thing you’ve ever bought in this country to show that you bought it in China because it is our goal to stamp every piece of paper on Earth.” They stamp a lot in China.
So I only sort of almost broke down in tears in front of a strange woman, who actually turned out to be quite nice and offered my irrational self tea and biscuits.
Does Oprah have a show on this? Setting yourself up to be stressed out by having the life skills of a six-year-old? I’d love to catch that episode.
Tips for buying abroad:
1) Get an international warranty. They have these. I saw it on someone else’s camera.
2) Try not to buy from the first hole-in-the-wall shop you come across when stepping outside of your hotel.
3) Get shit STAMPED. It’ll save you money (for the record, I’ll be paying roughly 30-40USD for repairs and replacing my broken memory card reader).