A Professional Approach To Professional Photography

| ON, Canada | Crazy Requests, Criminal & Illegal

Customer: “I want to get these photos copied.”

Me: “Okay, I can copy these, but these ones here I can’t unfortunately, due to company copyright policy.”

Customer: “What does that mean?”

Me: “This is a professional photo, so I can’t copy it without permission from the photographer.”

Customer: “Oh, no, you can copy it.”

Me: “I’m sorry; I can’t.”

Customer: “But one of the people in that picture is dead now!”

Me: “I’m really sorry about that, but our company’s copyright policy is actually pretty strict; it goes until 50 years after the death of the photographer. I honestly don’t feel comfortable copying professional photos until they are at least 65 years old.”

Customer: “Well, this photo is 65 years old.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but this picture isn’t that old. I can do these photos for you, though.”

(I go through the stack of pictures and find some school pictures, which I put aside.)

Me: “I can’t do these ones, though.”

Customer: “WHY NOT!”

Me: “Because these are also professional.”

Customer: “No! They’re school pictures!”

Me: “Yes, that would be professional.”

Customer: “But these people died in 1992!”

Me: “Um, I’m sorry about that, but that doesn’t mean I can copy the picture.”

Customer: “YES, IT DOES!”

Me: “Maybe you didn’t understand me earlier when I said—”


Me: “Then why are you telling me this person died in 1992? That doesn’t change the fact that the photographer has to be dead for 50 years before I can copy it.”


Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t copy it.”

Customer: “Then why are you copying this one?” *points to a photo that looks like it was taken with a point and shoot*

Me: “Because it’s not professional.”

Customer: “Yes, it is! A photographer took that!”

Me: “Well, it didn’t look professional to me, but since you’ve told me that it is, I can’t copy it now.”

Customer: “WHAT?!”

Me: “I’m sorry.”

Customer: “NO! YOU CAN COPY IT!”

Me: “You JUST told me it was professional, after I JUST told you that I couldn’t copy professional photos.”

Customer: “I want to see a manager, then!”

Me: “Okay.”

(My manager proceeded to tell the customer EVERYTHING I had already said, and the customer yelled back at him everything he had yelled at me. He left in a huff.)

A Seedy CD

| CT, USA | Crazy Requests, Rude & Risque, Technology

(Part of the territory of working in a copy and print shop is you are going to see some ‘private’ photos sometimes. While you are allowed to refuse to print something you are uncomfortable with, most of us don’t care and just turn the print upside-down once done to avoid offending other customers. On this particular day, a regular customer comes in, who we all know manages a ‘gentleman’s club’ in town.)

Customer: “Okay, the image is on this CD, it should be the only one there.”

Me: “Okay. Let me just look at it on the computer before you go, so I know it’s the right one and it copied to the disk properly.”

Customer: “Okay.”

Me: *realizing immediately that I can’t describe this image in front of other customers* “Er… sir, do you want to come around the counter and look to make sure the image is correct?”

Customer: *very loudly* “IS IT A MIDGET STRIPPING?”

Me: “…  Yes. Yes, in fact, it is…”

They Just Can’t Cut the Mustard

| FL, USA | Bizarre, Health & Body, Rude & Risque, Technology, Theme Of The Month

(I’m working the copy desk when a customer walks in.)

Me: “Can I help you, ma’am?”

Customer: “Yes, I’d like to print some photos on my flash drive.”

(She hands it to me.)

Me: “Alrighty. I’ll just hook it up and we can go from there.”

(I connect the flash drive to my computer and open the folder for it, to find that there is only one photo on it: a photo of the customer naked and rubbing ketchup and mustard on her large belly.)

Me: “Uh…”

Customer: “Yes, that one. I want it blown up to poster size, and I want 100 copies of that.”

Me: “I’m afraid it’s against our company policy to print, er, photos of an explicit nature, ma’am.”

Customer: “Really? Oh, darn. Well, do you at least like the picture?”

Me: “Uh…”

Customer: “Then it was worth it to come here after all!”

The Art Of Listening Is Out Of Print

| Sacramento, CA, USA | Bizarre, Extra Stupid

(A customer approaches me, holding a USB drive.)

Me: “Hello! Got some printing to do today, I see. From your USB drive, there?”

Customer: “Hello! I need to print something from my USB drive!”

(I assume she didn’t hear all of what I said, hence repeating the bit about the USB drive, and continue.)

Me: “Alrighty, no worries! We’ll go over to the PC here and print. Will it be black and white, or color printing?”

Customer: “Black and white, and then I need to fax the pages.”

Me: “Sure thing! I’ll print them for you, and then you can use our self-serve fax machine by the wall there.”

Customer: “Okay!”

(The customer accepts her copies, and then continues to stand and look at me.)

Me: “So, you’re all set! Here’s your USB drive back.”

Customer: “I need to fax these.”

(By now I’m beginning to notice a trend. Apparently the customer doesn’t pay any attention to what I’m saying even when she’s asked a question.)

Me: “The fax machine is self-serve, ma’am, and it’s by that wall there. We also keep pens by the fax machine if you need to use one.”

Customer: “Oh, okay! But… have you got a pen I can borrow?”

(I repeat myself. Again.)

Me: “Ma’am, the pens are next to the fax machine which is by that wall. Just walk right down this counter and you’ll see the machine.”

(The customer sends her fax, then comes back to pay.)

Customer: “Can I check out here?”

Me: “Sure! Your total today is [price].”

(Just to be safe, I rephrase the total and repeat it to her, given how much attention she paid to everything I said before.)

Me: “That’s [total].”

(The customer puts her purse on the counter and rummages around a minute.)

Customer: “Wait, how much did you say it was?”

Trying To Lend Color To The Argument

| ON, Canada | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid, Technology, Theme Of The Month

(A customer comes to the counter with two sheets of black and white images she has printed from her computer.)

Customer: “Can you scan these and get someone to put all the pictures together so they go with the writing I have?”

Me: “Sure we can. Do you have these pages saved digitally?”

Customer: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Do you have them saved on a computer somewhere? Or on a USB drive?”

Customer: “Yeah, on my computer at home.”

Me: “Did you want to save them to a USB drive first and use the digital files? It would be a much better quality.”

Customer: “I don’t know what a USB drive is.”

Me: “It’s just a way of saving files so that you can transfer them to a different computer.”

Customer: “No. Just use my print out.”

Me: “Okay.”

Customer: “But can you scan them in colour?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “Because those are black and white.”

Customer: “So?”

Me: “We can’t scan them in colour if there is no colour to scan.”

Customer: “But they were in colour on my computer. So there’s colour in them.”

Me: “Yes, there was colour on your computer, but you printed them in black and white. So when we scan the black and white print out, it’s going to be in black and white.”

Customer: “But I want them in colour! I don’t understand why you can’t just change your scanner to the colour setting.”

Me: “I could change it to the colour setting, but there is no colour on this page to scan. It’s all in greyscale, so it’s only going to scan it in greyscale.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “Because a scanner just scans what it sees. It can’t pick up something that isn’t there.”

Customer: “But you have colour scanners!”

Me: “Yes, that is used to scan colour pictures.”

Customer: “I don’t understand why you can’t just scan it in colour!”

Me: “Because it’s not a colour picture.”

Customer: “Yes, it is! It was in colour before I printed it!”

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