From the Archives: The Tale of my First Digital Camera

My first digital camera was a bargain, all because I was mistaken for an employee.

Vancouver, British Columbia, 2005. I'd just moved to the lovely but rainy city from the UK and felt that now was an apt time to document my experience with something other than cheap drug store disposable cameras.

So with this in the back of my mind, I ventured downtown and found myself inside of a well-known Canadian chain of electronics stores hoping to get my hands on some different digital camera models to try out.

It quickly became clear that photography was to be an expensive hobby. The manager of the photo counter was surprisingly reassuring, and mentioned that if price was an issue, he had a returned, open box Fuji A345 compact that he could let me have with a little discount. Not knowing how to use the thing, I nervously fondled it, before taking at least two beautiful pictures of the floor.

I gave the camera back to the manager and sheepishly said that I'd think it over and be back in an hour. He said that'd be fine, but that he was finishing his shift in ten minutes or so. He put the camera to one side and beckoned me behind the counter, to show me where he was going to keep it for me. It was a small shelf. I'd seen one of those a few times before, come to think of it. I nodded politely.

Whilst I was there, and possibly hoping to complete the sale later, he also decided to introduce me to three of the other staff members at the photo counter, not mentioning to them why I was being shown around. I shook hands, said hello and left it at that.

An hour or two passed and I returned, eager to buy the camera. On my return one of the staff members at the photo counter recognised me, asked if I was going to be covering a few shifts at this location in the future, and mentioned that he'd seen me working at the Broadway St. store a few times. Before I had a chance to correct him, the caffeinated conversation shifted and he asked what brought me back to the store once more.

I mentioned the camera that the manager had put aside for me, and the open box discount. He took it upon himself to throw in a XD memory card and a pack of AA rechargeable batteries and even gave me employee discount on top of what I already had. In total, I paid something like $50. I shook his hand again and walked out of the store with a smile on my face.

I spent the next few weeks getting to know the camera, snapping everything and nothing of significance in the foreign land that I found myself in.

The little thing lasted two years before it went to the big megapixel in the sky, but it probably marks the point at which I began to seriously enjoy taking pictures. I can safely point this out to be one of the best purchases of my life.

Once I actually saw my Canadian doppelganger in line at Blenz. He even ordered the same drink as me. I chalked this down to a glitch in the Matrix.

Adam Simmons

September 5, 2011

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