Sunday, December 28, 2008

Doing the right thing. Not just karma.

OMG. I just spent my Christmas money. OMG. SO EXCITED!!!

I'd had the Wild Bird Center (warning, Cardinals) recommended to me, but I was a bit wary. Just because of money, mind you. Certainly I'd be able to find the binoculars I wanted online for a lot less, right? But nonetheless, I needed to see and feel and use the binoculars before buying. I was tempted to go to the store, figure out what I wanted, and then go home to price check. Of course that made me feel guilty, as well. Sigh. Conundrums.

I went today, picked out the binocs I liked best from their inventory and bought them. You gotta go with your gut, and frankly buying local makes my gut sing. Or something. (That's a positive response, by the way. I wasn't talking about my stomach gurgling painfully, something I've been way too familar with recently.)

I didn't know if the binoculars would be cheaper elsewhere, but the service I got was so pleasant that I'd have been a real loser to use the bird center's wonderful staff advice and not buy there. And let me expound upon their service for a second. I told them my price range, and they brought out a few different binoculars in that range. However, they did not tell me which ones were the most expensive, or in fact, any of the prices. They led me through a variety of exercises to see which ones I felt performed the best, and at no time did they push the more expensive ones on me. And I didn't even know which ones were expensive, mind you.

I picked the Nikon Monarch ATB 8x42 binocs. They were the lightest, the clearest, and the brightest of the ones I tried. The one downside is that the close focus was farther than the second pair I had narrowed it down to. But they were a lot less heavy. And they were clearer.

I did just Google the prices, now that I'm home. And you know what? They're within $10-$30 of typical online prices. OK.

Because? In addition to the expertise the staff gave me, they also chipped in a lens pen *and* a harness, which I was planning to buy. Apparently it wasn't in perfect condition (it was a return), but I didn't see anything wrong with it at all. Anyhoo, that's about $35 worth of extras they threw in.

Well worth it, in my opinion. Well worth it.

(The binoculars are so awesome! They're feather-light! They focus really close up! They're bright! They're clear! And what's rather amusing to me is that my first binoculars are the same brand, but a couple of steps down.)