Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Boom time

My 2 year old printer, which cost me $400 new, broke down a couple of months ago. Every time I tried to print it spat an ambiguous error message at me. I'm a little bit handy with a screwdriver and so I went about poking and prodding it to see if I could find the source of the problem. Unfortunately, to no avail.

I rang Canon to find out who was the "authorised repairer" in my area and was given the number of a local office machine retailer. When I rang them I was told they would look at my printer for a non-refundable inspection fee of $90 and, if I decided to go ahead with the repair they would charge for that on top of the inspection fee.

I said I thought this was a little extreme and was promptly told they didn't care. They had enough business and enough people willing to pay the inspection fee that my business was meaningless to them.

In the end they did me a favour. I hunted around on the net and found a forum dealing with the same error message. A couple of respondents managed to "fix" the problem by turning their printer upside down and banging and shaking it violently. Having nothing to lose, I gave it a go, and it worked! No $90 inspection fee and no need to buy a replacement.

Over the last few days I've been visiting car dealers. It's time to trade our old 6 cylinder, V6 four wheel drive. It's costing us too much in fuel and repairs and we're opting for a smaller, 4 cylinder SUV instead (while I've still got some of my redundancy to spend!).

While most of the dealers were keen to do business with us, I did come across one who didn't seem to give two hoots whether or not we bought a car from him. His best deal was only marginally (talking less than a couple of hundred dollars) better than the recommended retail price on the car manufacturers national website.

I'll pay recommended retail for a can of baked beans at Woolies but not for a new car.

I think there's a link between the car dealer's and the office machine repair centres attitudes. It has something to do with the fact our economy is currently booming. People are happy to part with their money without too much thought given to whether or not they are being taken for a ride.

The problem with this kind of thinking - something the two other car dealers I visited seemed to realise - is that boom times don't last forever. There will come a time (some are saying its almost here) when people are going to be less inclined to pay through the teeth for everything and more inclined to remember where they got a good deal in the past and the way they were treated by the people behind the counter.

Something to think about!


Anonymous said...

Do you really need to sell your old car? Have you tried turning it upside down and banging and shaking it violently? I've heard it can help.

The Creature said...

Ha! Yeah, hadn't thought about that. It's worth a try. It might be difficult to find a suitable handhold though!