Musings: Three Years Hence - June 10, 2007

Since I first wrote the webpage for my website here at Spring Lake, N.J., I’ve wanted to write a few follow-ups/corrections, and additions to that first venture three years ago. So I said to the wife, “Let’s go to Spring Lake!” She was ready in seconds and booked us at a very nice B&B, The Spring Lake Inn on Salem Ave, two blocks from the beach. Well, the B&B’s at Spring Lake are all very nice, this one has a very nice porch where I can sit and use my laptop (they have wireless internet, so that’s a super plus for me). My wife goes to the beach and sits in the sun or strolls the six blocks of Main Street where there are lots of artsy stores, not quite like New Hope, PA, but very nice and high class – and I get time to write for the website.

My work repairing/refurbishing folders takes up so much of my time, that writing at home is just not “relaxing.” Spending about 3 hours per day searching the internet and answering e-mails about this and that camera, while still fun, leaves little incentive to sit down and write more text about cameras. Hence, it’s in the tranquility of Spring Lake that I can sit down uninterrupted and write.

Since I started my retirement “business” of repairing/refurbishing classic folders, I have usually been swamped with repair orders, there are usually at least 15+ cameras sitting in a pile waiting for service. As I often state in my eBay auctions, I try to stay on top of things and get the repairs done as soon as possible, but I do not do this as a 9-5 job. Often I will have work to do on the internet – or the garden calls. Rather it’s, “honey, could you do this, it’ll only take 10 minutes“and a day later I’m still doing this or that chore…

When I receive a camera for repair, I usually do not open the package until I am ready to work on it . The package arrives and it is marked with the date of arrival and stacked with that month’s arrivals. It’s far too easy to “lose” a camera when it is unpacked and sitting along with the 400+ folders I have in inventory. Much better to leave it in its box till I am ready to work on it. It is usual that a camera will sit waiting its turn for two to three weeks.. and sometimes more. Overall though, I find that my turn-a-round time is less than the industry average. I sent a Contax IIa out for service and was told that the wait time would be something like 14 months!!!! I thought at the time that that was a tad excessive… But then got to thinking realistically. There are really only a few of us doing this type of repair work today. And to keep from going batty, you can’t do this 12 hours a day, everyday. For me at least, this IS a hobby. I do it because I like doing it – not because my livelihood depends on it. Most of the “profit” from this hobby goes into materials (especially new bellows), spare parts (cameras), and tools. I spend about $15,000 a year just on postage, and another $13,000 just for bellows!!

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