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Developing Film Is Becoming A Lost Art

, , , | Right | September 9, 2021

We have a customer who brings in a twelve-exposure film to our camera man to be processed.

Customer: “How soon will it be back?”

Coworker: “Thursday.”

Customer: “Boy, I’m glad I didn’t bring in a twenty-four- or thirty-six-exposure film, that would take forever to come back!”

Makes sense to me!

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Paid In Full Has A Different Meaning To Cheapskates

, , , , | Right | August 20, 2021

At the photo lab, we make custom wedding albums. We design, print, bind, and do everything from start to finish, including retouching images and creating one-of-a-kind artwork for them.

I get an order for one, and they want a lot done with it. I tell them the cost and they agree. It’s for someone I personally know, so the normal deposit before we start is waived since they ask if they can just pay the full amount upon delivery. I tell them the full amount is due when the album is finished, and they assure me they already have the money set aside.

I design the album and do the artwork and they love it. I order the cover they want and start printing it. A week later, the cover comes in and everything is assembled and ready for delivery. I have reminded them multiple times at each step about having to pay when it’s picked up, and each time, they’ve told me they had the money ready to go. I email them to say it’s ready. I get this reply.

Client: “That’s great. We don’t have the money right now, so can we pay in installments?”

Me: “If you want. You will get the album after the entire balance is paid in full, though.”

Client: “Well, we don’t know when we’ll be able to pay off the full amount, and we really want to show it off at a family event next week. You’ll get lots of work from it, I’m sure.”

Me: “The agreement was that you get the album when paid in full. It’s company policy to never let anything out the door until it has been paid for.”

Client: “It’s just that we don’t have any money right now and don’t know when we will. We told all our relatives that we would have it at the party and they are really looking forward to seeing it. Can’t you bend the rules for us? You own the place, so you get to decide. We’re friends; you can trust us.”

Me: “I don’t change the rules for anyone, sorry. If you want the album for the party, it will need to be paid for. I take all major credit cards if needed.”

Client: “It’s just that we don’t have any money right now and we got rid of credit cards. Don’t you think this would make a wonderful gift for us?”

Me: “I do think it would be a very generous gift. And if you can find someone willing to buy it for you, you can thank them for it.”

Her parents came in the next day and paid for the album. They were rather mad about doing so. I’m sure they were told I was ripping them off or demanding more money than agreed to. But if you agree to pay and promise you have the money, then you need to pay. I don’t put up with people claiming to be friends trying to scam me. I haven’t talked to them since.

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Really Making Your Peers Look Good

, , , , , | Right | August 3, 2021

In between college semesters, I work at a photo center in a popular chain drug store. I generally work the evening shift, from late afternoon until about one in the morning. Keep in mind, we are not a one-hour photo development station. Usually, due to the sheer amount of orders we receive on a day-to-day basis, we never guarantee photos until the next day. We even have signs stating this policy behind and on the counter. As always, customers never read these.

A couple of young men — missionaries from a local church I attend — placed an order this afternoon. It is now 9:30 in the evening, and the two men come walking in. Having served a two-year religious mission myself, I am well aware of the strict set of rules that young missionaries are required to follow. One of those rules is that they must be back to their apartment by 9:30.

Customer: “I need my pictures. I placed my order earlier.”

His tone is rude and demanding, which is very unbecoming for a person in his position.

Me: *Trying to sound polite* “Yes. I remember you coming in earlier to place your order. Unfortunately, as the sign says, we don’t guarantee same-day printing.”

Customer: *Getting angry* “But I was here earlier. I placed my photo order first.”

I’m not sure what he means by “first.” I assume it’s his way of trying to force me into printing his order.

Me: “I’m sorry, but there were many other customer orders in front of yours and it will not be ready until tomorrow.”

Customer: *Even angrier* “No, no. I placed my order first! I was here earlier today.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but there isn’t anything I can do.”

Customer: “Go print my photos now! I was here earlier today! I put my order in first!

Me: *Getting tired of his tone of voice* “Aren’t you guys supposed to be back at your apartment by now?”

Customer: “It’s our P-Day.”

This is another term for their “day off”.

Me: “I’m pretty sure, according to the rules handbook, that P-Day technically ends at six, after which, you’re supposed to be out teaching. Not to mention, you’re supposed to be in your apartment by 9:30 at the latest no matter what the day is.”

Customer: *Waving a dismissive hand at me* “What do you know? Get me my pictures.”

Me: “Actually, I just returned from my own mission service a year ago, so I know the rules very well. Also, if you would like, I could discuss this incident and your rude attitude with the bishop of our congregation, who also happens to be my father.”

The customer turned pale as a ghost and his companion pulled on his arm for them to leave. They never came back into my photo center again.

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De Thingz, Not De Tingz

, , , | Right | April 29, 2021

Caller: “I got slides I need made into digital things.”

Me: “I can help with that; we do that all the time.”

Caller: “So, you got a machine for making them into digital things?”

Me: “I have a scanner; I can scan the slides for you.”

Caller: “Great, I want to borrow it.”

Me: “Borrow?”

Caller: “Just for tonight. I’ll bring it back tomorrow.”

Me: “Um… No.”

Caller: “Fine, I can rent it if I have to.”

Me: “No… I can scan them for you; that’s part of what we do here.”

Caller: “How much is that?”

Me: “It’s [price] per slide.”

Caller: “What?! I have like two-thousand slides; that costs too much!”

Me: “Still less expensive than buying a scanner like I have, and it will take far longer than one night to scan that many. You can break them up into batches. Most people find they actually don’t want all their slides scanned.”

Caller: “I can rent one; you’re crazy.” *Hangs up*

No, you can’t rent one. And even if you could find one to rent, I can assure you that you will have no idea what to do with it to make “digital things.”


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There Will Be No Photo Finish

, , , , , | Right | April 16, 2021

I work the photo counter at a drugstore. I’ve been there a long time, and I know the systems very well. A customer comes in to pick up her photos. I start the transaction by asking for her last name, since we sort by last name for anything smaller than poster size. After searching through the last initial bin:

Me: “Hmm, nothing’s here with that name. Is there any other name it could be under?” 

Frequently, especially for women, an order will be under their maiden name, but they’ve gotten married and haven’t updated their information in the system.

Customer: *Getting irate* “No. It should be [Customer’s Last Name].”

Me: “Okay, well, let me pull up my system and we can look it up another way.”

I log in and ask for her phone number, a method that usually works. Sure enough, her name pops up, but I have no recent orders for her.

Me: “Hm. My computer says you haven’t placed an order recently. Would you like to try another phone number?”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I know I placed an order! Find it!”

If an order doesn’t exist in the system, it literally can’t be printed. Sometimes there’s a delay in downloading files, so I try that next.

Me: “Well, sometimes the system is a little slow. Unfortunately, since I can’t find it in our bins or in the system, you may need to come back lat—”

Customer: “No! I placed an order! I don’t care what your computer says; you will find it!”

I don’t appreciate being screamed at, so I remove every photo order from the bin and move them to the side after reading out the last name, clearly showing her they are not hers.

Me: “As I said, it’s not here. It’s not in my system to be printed, nor is it completed. Did you hit ‘submit’ on your order? A common problem is people not finalizing their order; it’s easy to m—”


She gets on her phone to look for the confirmation email while flinging curses and insults my way. When she finds it, she begins screaming again, until she suddenly stops.

Customer: “Oh, for f***’s sake, I submitted it to [Other Drugstore].”

She walked out muttering to herself, without an apology or a thank-you. She didn’t have the decency to even look embarrassed. I tossed an irritated “You’re welcome!” at her back.

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