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She’s Playing Hardball

, , , , | Right | February 26, 2021

I am working at a retail portrait studio. A woman brings her young son in for an appointment and I’m going over the details of their session.

Customer: “…and then I want a picture of him throwing a baseball at the camera.”

I know we have a foam baseball available, so I agree, and we get started. I hand the little boy the foam baseball.

Customer: “No! It has to be this one!”

She hands the ball to her little boy.

Me: “Ma’am, that is a real baseball. I can’t let him throw that toward the camera.”

Customer: “Oh, relax, it’ll be fine! Throw it, [Child]!”

He throws it, but I have to put the camera down and duck out of the way.

Customer: “You missed it!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m serious. I could get hurt, you could get hurt, the equipment could get damaged… I can’t let him throw the baseball at the camera.”

Customer: “He’s not even three yet; he can’t throw that hard! It’ll be fine!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we cannot do it. He can hold the ball, but if you want him to throw a ball, it has to be the foam one.”

She calls me a name under her breath, but I choose to let it slide.

Customer: “Fine. I guess you don’t care about serving the customer. We can let him hold it only, but you can bet I’ll be leaving a negative review!”

She hands him the real baseball and I pick the camera back up and get ready to photograph again. She waits until I’ve taken a couple of pictures of him holding it.

Customer: “Okay, now throw it, baby!”

He throws the ball at me as hard as he can, and his little aim is dead on. He breaks the lens hood on the camera, sending it flying back into my face and giving me a black eye.

Customer: “Did you get it? Tell me you got it!”

Me: “No, ma’am, our session is over.” 

Customer: “What?! I had a whole other outfit!”

Me: “No. The camera is broken and now I have to fill out an incident report.”

I get up and exit the room, and she follows me, screaming.

Customer: “I’m not leaving without my pictures! I want to finish the session!”

I am trying really hard to stay calm, but I’m literally shaking as I speak.

Me: “I am ending the session. Your images will be sent to our corporate office so they can assess this violation of our safety procedures. They will contact you if they can release the photos.”

Customer: “You f****** b****! I will have your job!”

Me: *Putting my hand on the phone* “If you don’t leave, I’ll have to call security.”

It turned out that I didn’t have to call them. The woman started screaming bloody murder — seriously, horror movie loud — and the optical department next door called for me. Security escorted the woman and her bewildered son out of the store. She never got her pictures. I felt so bad for the poor kid, who didn’t do anything but try to listen to his mother’s directions. I hope he turned out okay.


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