"If you'd like a naughty nurse, please press 1 now. If you want a schoolgirl please press 2. If you'd like to speak to a strict teacher please press 3. If you want to access our Transsexual Pleasures line please dial 1-80 *click*."
You see my boss had an issue with gift deliveries of The New Yorker magazine and gave me a customer service number to call. Unfortunately he transposed the 1-800 prefix on to the 212 number. This lead to me calling a sex-chat hot line. Twice. I briefly wondered if the New Yorker had put an advertisement for phone sex on their customer service hot line as a way to drum up ad revenue but quickly dismissed that as unlikely. The Village Voice? Sure. The New Yorker's a bit more dignified than that. After the redial put me back in touch with Candy Striper and her menu of delicious options I handed the phone to my boss and asked him if he was sure this was the New Yorker customer service. He noted that it was not. I told him it was unfortunate that I didn't remember the number of his work credit card. He concurred. Much laughter was had by all.
That's one of the great things about working for someone rather than a corporation. In a corporation people are very scared that something like that would be sexual harassment. It's not. It's one of the things that makes life funny. I will integrate it into a script.
Perhaps more importantly than that, I bought a video camera today. Yes I know I've been talking about it for months, but I finally worked up the nerve to pull the trigger. It was a cheaper model than I had originally wanted but I made that decision because my family's financial situation has worsened over the past few months and because I think that the money we were planning on spending on the more expensive camera could be better spent on a nice boom setup and other essentials for the process. Getting a nice Mac notebook wouldn't be out of the question and would be a huge boon.
The course of events that led up to the purchase of the camera was pretty normal. Initially I was going to buy a cellular phone, and my friend Gabe and I decided that we would go down to Chinatown to check for deals, since the Chinatown stores are often cheaper than the white-guy shops we have up around Columbia. Well we went down there and didn't find any cellphones, since none of the Chinatown shops sold Verizon and the Nextel phones were all incredibly expensive. Verizon and Nextel are the only services that are decently consistent in New York City, and feature some roaming capability, which is important for me since I do intend to go to the country and Maine and similar places. While we were there, though, we saw a Panasonic Outlet store and decided to go in and browse digital video cameras. The guy at the counter's name was Keith and he was very aggressive. He was telling us about himself, asking us about what we wanted to do etc... He tried to sell us some junky cameras but he saw us looking at the 3 CCD stuff and decided to pull out some of it. We were impressed by one of the cameras that seemed to have most of the functions we wanted and was listed at $1700 dollars. The guy told us about how much he liked us and respected what we were planning on doing so he knocked the price down to $1389. We chatted for awhile, decided that it was a deal worth checking out, and told him we had to consult a third partner before pulling the trigger.
After we left the store we looked around for a cellphone place that sold Verizon and after failing at that we went back to his place to research the camera. The reviews were good, it was a relatively recent release but not so new that none of the flaws had been found and the cheapest price we could find from an apparently reputable company was $1249. We were getting ready to order from there but decided to go back to talk to the camera store guy first, since Gabe wanted to meet up with his girlfriend in that area anyway and Keith was pretty cool. At various points he informed us about his uncle the great photographer, his deal with Devo (that WOULD be the band that sang the "Whip it, whip it good" song) his status as America's #1 nude go-go dancer photographer (A lofty post that I think is rated by Nude Go-Go World magazine. I don't know what his world ranking is.) and the fact that he had over 750 SUCCESSFUL acid trips during the 1970s. Keith was a character.
We told Keith about the price we found on the Internet, he noted that a lot of Internet places aren't that reputable and Gabe countered by telling him that he knew that and we'd screened out sketchy Brooklyn based resellers of hot cameras. He turned to the display case, looked at the camera and the price tag for a couple seconds then turned back and said "$1250? Well that's a great price...Tell you what. I'll match it."
And we were trapped. Bartering is great but when you offer a guy a low ball offer to try and get him to come down and he matches it, well what can you do? We'd left the shop, done our research, returned, tried to bring him down, and he'd come down. We bought it there. I got dinged a little bit on some of the extras, a wide angle lens and a tripod were both a few tens of dollars more than they might have been on line, although the battery he sold us for the same price as online but a better brand that weighs less. That's okay. The camera is sufficiently good, was well priced, and it's charging right now in my kitchen. The extra money, and it was under $100, was worth it to buy it in person rather than online. First of all we got it that day. Secondly we have started to establish a retail relationship, and those are good to have. Third we got Keith and his glorious shtick, and most importantly we have someone to sue if we got fucked. A brick and mortar store in New York City. For those of you wondering about sales tax, the California place was charging it too so that wasn't really a consideration. Shipping was $8. Also not a big deal.
So we got the camera and I am excited. I've checked it out briefly and the picture is truly gorgeous. My friend Gabe and I had a scotch after we got back to my house, and he said that he was really excited because just having the camera around made the whole thing feel more real. He wants to produce some of the stuff I want to write and direct, and he has some connections, not to mention better business and people skills than I do. He was invaluable in bargaining and dealing with the various salesmen throughout the day.
Buying the cellular phone was significantly less pleasant. It took about an hour all told. As it turns out the problem was the quick succession of purchases. My little shopping spree looked very much like the sort of thing someone might do if they got ahold of a stolen credit card. I managed to convince the woman at the other end of the line that I was indeed authorized to use my own credit card despite the fact that they had my mother's birthday wrong so when I gave the right one it didn't match. Eventually I got the phone, and it's nice, and the reception's great, and although the camera's crappy I'll probably use it a bunch because I like having toys to fiddle with. Still the great retail experience at Keith's Panasonic shack was dampened by the hour of waiting at Radio Shack to buy a $50 cellular phone and get locked into a lengthy service agreement.
The long and the short of it is that I had a decent day of shopping, got some living in, and now own a great camera with accessories and a serviceable cellular phone with free nights and weekends including long distance.
If anyone wants a phone call from a tenor voiced somewhat nasal New Yorker this is your chance. If you give a fake number to a pizza parlor or a phone sex line A) I will not be amused and B) I will not be embarrassed because I've been calling way too many strangers and weird-breathing technonerds over the past month to really care.
Enjoy your annoying poll! It's my awkward attempt at being outgoing! Feel free to ignore it! Yay! Party time!
Do you want a phone call from a nasal New Yorker?
1 2 skip a few
What is your telephone number?
Is this your real number?
Are you serious? That ball was OUT
Yes yes yes!
There is no reality because reality is just a state of mind
The holocaust never happened
Do you think you're funny?
Funnier than you
No. The murder of 6,000,000 Jews? THAT'S FUNNY