Not The Photo Finish You Were Expecting

, , , , | Right | September 12, 2019

(The membership-based shopping warehouse where I work does not have a photo center, but does receive photos that were ordered online. I am responsible for the photos as they arrive — organizing a list of photos that have arrived with phone numbers and names, finding a home for them, organizing them alphabetically by last name, calling the customers when the orders come in, etc. Just before Valentine’s Day, one woman makes an order for a photo, but doesn’t come in to collect it. In early March, one of my coworkers calls the woman and leaves a message.)

Coworker: “[Customer #1], my name is [Coworker], calling from [Store]. Your photos have arrived and will be waiting at the service desk.”

(A few weeks later, in late March, I call her again and leave an almost identical message on her machine. I call again after a few more weeks and finally reach her. It’s now May 1st.)

Me: “My name is [My Name], from [Store]. I’m calling for [Customer #1] about some photos we have been holding for you. If you still want them, I have them at the service desk. Or I can destroy them for you, since they are unpaid.”

Customer: “Well, what are they? It’s been so long I don’t even remember what I ordered.”

Me: “I honestly don’t know, ma’am. I didn’t open the package to look.”

Customer: “Oh, okay. I’ll be there to pick them up.”

Me: “Thank you, ma’am. Have a great day!”

(I hang up and think nothing more of it. Three days later, a woman comes to the service desk.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Customer: “I’m here to pick up photos.”

Me: “For whom?”

(She gives me one first name and two different last names which both start with the same letter. I grab my photo records and check for the last names she gave me. They’re not there. Just in case I missed a delivery on one of my days off, I open the cabinet where we keep the photos and look under the last names she gave me. Nothing. I turn back to her with my photo list.)

Me: “When did you order them? Sometimes th–”

Customer: “I don’t know. It’s been so long.”

Me: “What was the name again?”

(She repeats the two names she gave me.)

Me: “Well, I have something for [Other Name]…”

(I think it’s a long shot — same first name, but different last name.)

Customer: *frustrated* “Yes! That’s it!”

Me: “Oh, okay!”

(I grab her photos from the cabinet.)

Me: “These haven’t been paid yet. I need your membership card.”

Customer: “Which ones are they? I had to go to [Other Location] to get them; it took so long.”

Me: “Let’s open it together.”

(I carefully open the envelope and remove a small canvas and cardstock frame.)

Customer: “Oh, I’ll take that one.”

Me: “Okay, I need your membership card.”

(She thrusts her card at me and starts shifting impatiently, talking about how she came here with her dad several times and we never had her order. As I apologize for the inconvenience, I scan her membership card and the barcode on her photo envelope. As I do so, I notice the name on her card matches her photo order.)

Me: “Oh, you know, when you place an order, the name on it will match your membership. If you don’t change your name with us when you legally change it, it won’t update on your card or your orders. You know, that might be why we couldn’t find it before. But I’m sure we called you. In fact, I know I left a few messages…”

(Her expression darkens immediately.)

Customer: “I don’t see why you’re being so rude!”

Me: “I’m sorry? I’m not trying to be ru—”

Customer: “Yes, you are!”

Me: “Oh, no, ma’am, I’m definitely not trying to be rude. I was just—”

Customer: “No! You’re being rude!”

Me: “I— I’m sorry?”

Customer: “We tried! And you said! My mother had cancer!”

(Stunned, I try not to anger her further. I hand her the receipt for her transaction and she tries to snatch it from my hand, twice.)

Me: “I hope your mother recovers.”

(She yanked her shopping cart back toward herself and stormed away, still fuming. To be honest, I was freaking out a little when she left. Customer complaints do lose people jobs for no good reason, after all!)

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