There Were No Children In The Wild West

| Cody, WY, USA | Crazy Requests, Family & Kids

(My husband and I own one of those photography studios where people dress up in Wild West costumes and get a sepia toned picture taken. Our sitting fee is based on how many people will be in the picture, regardless of their age.)

Me: “Welcome, how many people do you have in your picture today?”

Man: “Five, and one child.”

Me: “So six people?”

Man: “Five and a child.”

Me: “Six people, then. That will be—”

Man: *getting frustrated* “You charge for children?”

Me: “Yes, we charge the same for children and adults, considering we have to costume and pose them just the same.”

Man: “Even if they’re sitting on laps?!”

Me: “Does having a child sit on a lap for a photo make them magically morph into one entity?”

(Anybody who has to ask why a photographer doesn’t charge less for children has clearly never photographed children.)

Recovered For A Picture Perfect Finish

| NS, Canada | Bad Behavior

(A mother comes in with her children for a photo session. I’m directing the kids about with a ‘Hey, could you move over here?’ or ‘Could you stand there?’ None of the children seem unhappy, and we’re having a blast. The mother suggests the exact pose I’m about to set up for. I can’t help but speak.)

Me: *bursting out laughing* “Wow! That’s amazing! Get out of my head; it’s a really scary place, you know!”

(I think nothing of the comment, as it’s happened before.)

Mother: *tone darkens* “Oh.”

(She turns around, frowning, and begins fiddling with her phone. I set up the pose for her daughter and take a few variations of it to try and make sure I get it perfect. The daughter, a completely delightful ham, distracts me from noticing the absolute anger on the mother’s face.)

Mother: “I can’t believe you! You’ve completely spoiled the mood! My children don’t even want to do this and they hate being here.”

Me: *dumbfounded* “I’m sorry… What? Was it what I said about being in my head? It’s not meant as an insult to you…”

Mother: “I don’t care! You’re so terrible! Just give us the picture of the kids together. We don’t want anything else from you. You’re just a horrible person!”

(The kids seem stunned, and the daughter practically droops. They were just getting ready to get solo shots, something they were all excited for. If I have any weak point, it’s disappointing kids. I try to save the moment one last time.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m very sorry. If there’s anything I could do to make you feel better so we can get the last few pictures your kids seemed to want—”

Mother: “I can’t believe you! How dare you refer them as ‘my kids!’ They have NAMES you know! I can’t believe you’d say such a terrible thing to them. I want my picture, and I want to leave right now. I’m going to speak with your manager!”

Me: “Ma’am… I am the manager.”

Mother: “Wait, YOU’RE the manager? Oh, I’m going to customer services, then.” *turns to her children* “Can you believe it? This idiot is the manager? I can’t believe someone would be so awful and stupid to hire this sorry excuse for a manager. I can’t believe they let people like you work…”

(This goes on for a solid minute. I’m too stunned to speak. I get to the point I can’t take this mothers continued diatribe of insults and degradation in front of her children.)

Me: “Ma’am, I have to ask you to leave. No person deserves this level of abusive behaviour from any customer or person. I said one thing that normally wouldn’t be considered offensive, apologized for it, attempted to fix the problem and despite this, you chose to mistreat me. You’re already seeking to go above my head to report me for something pretty minor, so I haven’t got much to lose by asking you to leave and stopping you from using me for a verbal punching bag.”

(Her husband has just arrived on the scene as I finish my speech, so she turns to him.)

Mother: “Can you BELIEVE that? She’s telling me to leave! She doesn’t have that right! She’s just a terrible person!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’ve told you to leave, and I mean it. I will call security and have you removed.”

(I move to pick up the phone. Her husband shrugs his shoulders and reminds her that they need these pictures for someone other than her. Her body crumples and her tone changes entirely.)

Mother: “Please, this is for my son’s [relative] who’s [in a very far away place]. My son is going to [far away] university and we won’t be seeing him for a long time. It’s very important to them.”

Me: *hangs up the phone and sighs* “Fine, I’m going to put something together for them. But I want you to leave once I’m done.”

(I move around to gather a CD and put their session on it. Every time the mother looks at me, her composure crumples a little more.)

Mother: *meekly* “I could pay…”

Me: *I hand over the CD* ”Ma’am, I have never, ever in my time here have had to ask someone to leave like that. That was a terrible experience to have and your payment to me is to never, ever treat another human being like that again.”

Looking For A Stuffed Cash Cow

| Canada | Liars & Scammers, Money

(In order to drive business to our photography studio, we leave out stuffed animals for customers to ‘find’ and return in exchange for a free session and picture. The animals come with a silly poem with directions on where to go to collect their prize. A customer comes in, and places one of our toys on the counter.)

Customer: “I found your toy.”

Me: “Great! You’ve won a prize! You’ve won a free picture plus sitting!”

Customer: “What? You mean there’s no cash?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “I found your toy. I was under the impression there would be a reward.”

Me: “Erm… yes. The sitting and picture is the reward.”

Customer: “Well, I want CASH!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am; we’re not allowed to offer cash prizes.”

Customer: “Well I don’t have to take this! I brought your toy back, and you won’t pay me for it! You do it every other time! I can’t believe you won’t do it now! I’m calling your manager to complain!”

Me: “Well, I am the manager, ma’am. I’m quite certain I’ve never handed out a cash prize for this game.”

(The customer is now red faced and even angrier.)

Customer: “How rude of you! I’m calling your company to complain and get my cash!”

(The customer then shoves the toy across the counter, pauses to take the number for customer services, and storms out.)

A Beautiful Soul

| NH, USA | Awesome Customers, Family & Kids, Top

(There’s a photo up on the wall of the studio that has a coworker, a former coworker, and myself in it. People unfortunately usually comment on the former coworker’s appearance. A family comes in with four girls; the second oldest is about 15 and looks at the photo.)

15-year-old Girl: “Oh, she’s really ugly. Look at this ugly girl!”

Mother: “Don’t say things like that out loud.”

15-year-old Girl: “But she’s so ugly!” *turns to her five-year-old sister* “She’s ugly, isn’t she? See how ugly she is!”

Little Sister: “Um, I think ALL these girls are pretty!” *smiles and walks away*

(She made my day!)

Childhood Innocence, Adulthood Nonsense

| Germany | Crazy Requests, Family & Kids, Uncategorized

(I work as the cashier of a photographer. A customer and her husband walk in, asking for the photos of their children.)

Me: *handing them the photos* “Here you go. You have nice-looking children, by the way.”

Customer: “Thanks, but…can’t you, you know, make my daughter prettier?”

Me: “Prettier?”

Customer: “Yes, I mean, look at her!”

Me: “Madam, I am sure these photographs have been retouched well by my coworkers. If you have any complaints about their work, I can–”

Customer: “NO! I want this to be remade!”

Me: “What exactly bothers you about these photos, anyway?”

Customer: “It’s her boobs. You guys should have made them far bigger!”

Me: “You want them…bigger?”

Customer: “Yes! How hard is that?”

Customer’s husband: *quietly* “Honey, you do realize she is 8 years old?”