We were given a video camera before we went to Africa to pick up our sons. It was an early Christmas present from my family. What a gift! So... we took it to Africa and happily recorded all the footage of our journey AND most importantly the first moment we met our son (Brave Heart). (We couldn't record little Tender Heart because he wasn't "technically" ours). And what a moment... his little body... his gorgeous eyes...our tears ... our hold on him... and the joy. It was beautiful. And we captured it ALL on video so that we would have it FOREVER.
Well... not exactly. On our return home, we played the video for our family just once. And then suddenly... it turned off. And never turned back on. We went to Best Buy. Told them the story. Told them my family had purchased the extended warranty. Told them it was "I'll tear your teeth out one-by-one if you loose the memory" kind of important.
"Your warranty doesn't cover this."
"What does it cover?"
"It will cost you two fifty to make sure the memory isn't lost."
"Okay.. we can do that.... 2.50."
"No Sir... ahh... two hundred and fifty dollars."
"You can talk to the actual manufacturer and see if it is covered under their warranty."
"Okay... we'll do that."
So we called Panasonic. Talked to someone. They said.. "Here's what you do... bla bla bla."
So we did exactly what she told us. Documented everything. Call number. Reference number. And most importantly... a written and verbal explanation TO NOT TOUCH THE CAMERA IF THE MEMORY WOULD BE LOST. We would pay whatever it took to retrieve it if they couldn't.
We could care LESS about the camera. We wanted the MEMORY.
2 months later... the camera came back. I rushed to open it. Those dumb packing peanuts were flying everywhere. Turned it on. Nothing. No memory. No note. And I started to tear up.
My Mother probably called Panasonic 97 times. I probably called 47 times. My husband... 29 times. And all we got was, "I'm sorry for the inconvenience."
After so many phone calls... I sort of gave up. And then one day I went into Best Buy and asked to talk to the General Manager. He had twins also. And he was heart broken. He said he would try to talk to someone on "the in" at Panasonic. But one year passed... and we never heard anything back.
As this past Christmas came, it reminded me of that flipping video camera. Since then, we had returned that accursed piece of poo and bought a Canon. Panasonic was like a cuss word around here. And whenever we passed by Best Buy, there was a bit of anger, disappointment and sadness. So I emailed that Manager again... and this time I was a bit more PISSED.
"I'm no longer the manager at your local Best Buy... but I am going to get on this again."
"You better" (HA! I wish I had that much gumption... but what I really said was, "Okay, thank you.")
I finally got a call from a man named Gene at Panasonic. Here's the redemption.
Gene listened. He didn't speak. He listened.
He said, "I'm so sorry."
He said, "I'm gonna find out if we can save that memory. I'll do my very best."
2 weeks later, I got a call. It was Gene. He sounded very sad. There was no way to retrieve the data. He had found out just what happened. And it was gone.
And here's what struck me: his TRULY apologetic heart.
"I know that nothing we could do or say could make this any better. It is the ONE thing in life you don't want to loose. And it is the ONE thing these cameras are supposed to do. I would be devastated. And I understand if you never want to buy another Panasonic product for as long as you live. I'm so sorry for the way it was handled. Is there anything I can do for you?"
Yes. We want an all-expense-paid vacation for our entire extended family. We want a new car (both our vehicles are over 14 years-old). We want you to donate 10-grand to World Vision and to sponsor 25 children in poverty. Make it two hundred and fifty!
Well... we got a Panasonic TV. Should be arriving at our doorstep any moment. Our 'out-dated' TV was starting to "black out" every now and then. We are thankful.
But more importantly, we got Gene. And he was truly sorry.