The Smaller The Screen, The Bigger The Problems

, , , , , | Right | October 16, 2018

(It’s nine pm when a man comes up to the photo lab counter. I ask him if he needs help and he does. I walk him over to a kiosk and start showing him how to work it.)

Me: “All your sizes for photos are at the top; currently we’re on the 4×6 size. Also, each photo that you select will have to be cropped to a 4×6. If you don’t do it now, it’ll have you do it before you checkout. It’ll be a lot smaller, though, so it’s easier to do it right when you click on the photo that you want.”

Customer #1: “Wait! I have to crop every photo?!”

Me: “Unfortunately, yes, or else it won’t let you check out. Each photo has to be cropped to the size print you want it to be.”

Customer #1: “That’s f****** ridiculous! Can’t I just send it to you guys through my email and have you do it?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, we can’t do that.”

(He slams in his chair and leaves, taking the phone cord we lend to customers to use at our kiosks with him. Then a woman sitting at another kiosk calls me over.)

Customer #2: “Ugh. The computer is all messed up!”

(Somehow the checkout page is now only an inch large, and I have no idea how she did this. I try everything I can to fix it, but nothing works.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I think the computer is broken. Perhaps we could work with another one?”

Customer #2: “Ugh. Whatever.”

(She then moves to the next kiosk over. Then the man next to me asks for help.)

Customer #3: “So, would a DVD be done before you close?”

Me: “We close at 9:30, so I would think so!”

Customer #3: “Also, it never asked for my name; how would you know it’s my order?”

Me: “It should have asked for your name when you checked out. If it didn’t, then the order wasn’t placed.”

(This happens everyday; a customer hits a wrong button when they’re done and instead of being sent to checkout, they delete their order without knowing it.)

Customer #3: “Can you check?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, I haven’t received your order. Looks like it wasn’t placed.”

Customer #3: “So, what do I do now?!”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but unfortunately if it didn’t ask for your name, then the order wasn’t placed. So, we’re going to have to reorder your DVD.”

(He picks a kiosk and starts scanning his photos. He puts four pictures on the scanner, and one isn’t picking up.)

Customer #3: “What’s going on? It’s not getting one of them.”

Me: “It seems to work better when you do one at a time; I know it takes longer, but a lot of people have more luck with it that way.”

(He then puts two in, and it still only picks up one photo.)

Me: “Yeah… Looks like it’s being stubborn; maybe try one at a time?”


(He then storms out. The woman from before calls me back over.)

Customer #2: “How do I get the underscore?”

Me: “Press shift.”

Customer #2: “Oh. I did control and it made the screen smaller.”

(So, that’s how she messed up the computer!)

They’re Just Not Getting The Picture

, , , , | Right | September 28, 2018

Customer: “Hi, I have a photo order for [My Name].”

Me: “Okay!”

(I find her order and scan it. She then quickly puts it in her cart.)

Customer: “All right! Thanks!” *starting to leave*

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, you have to pay for them back here.”

Customer: “What?”

(I point to the sign on the counter that reads, “All photo orders must be paid for at the photo counter.” This is a relatively new rule.)

Customer: “That’s ridiculous! I didn’t have to buy them here last week!”

Me: “I’m sorry, the rule was put into place a month ago. It’s to prevent theft. A lot of people have walked out the door without paying for their photos.”

Customer: “I don’t want to have to swipe my card twice! This is ridiculous!”

Me: “I’m really sorry.” *noticing she picked up prescriptions* “But, it’s the same thing with our pharmacy. When I started working here, you could pay for them at checkout, but because of too much theft, now you have to pay for them at their counter.”

Customer: “But still!”

(This happens everyday. It’s been over three months since they enacted the rule and every single day, someone gets mad at me that they have to buy their photos at our counter.)

The Perfect Picture Of Entitlement

, , , , | Right | July 27, 2018

(I work in a department store’s photo lab. Our main printer is down again, and we’re on our backup, which is three times slower.)

Customer: “I want to know how long it will take to get my pictures.”

(I’m up at our computer, which displays our orders. Hers is taking a while to go through.)

Me: “Looks like your order hasn’t shown up yet; how many pictures did you have?”

Customer: “About 30 or so.”

Me: “Okay, the order I have up before yours is 200; I will pause that order and let yours go through.”

Customer: “I have to wait until their order is done?!”

Manager: “She said she’d put your order through first. That way, you won’t have to wait so long.”

Customer: “Why does this always happen to me?! You guys are always on backup!”

Me: “Ma’am, your pictures should be done in twenty minutes, max. I’m putting your order on top priority.”

(I almost felt bad putting hers before the other order. Those customers came back in for their photos and ended up having to still wait because they weren’t done printing. They were super polite about it, too.)

Not Restoring Confidence In The Sale

, , , , , | Right | May 29, 2017

(I own a custom photo lab/frame shop/studio and do lots of restoration work on photos, something we’re very well known for. A first time client comes in with an old print that has quite a bit of damage and will take a good amount of work to restore. After looking at it I tell him what we can do and the cost.)

Me: “This is going to take a while to repair; there’s lots of damage. We’re going to have to rebuild part of the face on two people and fix the discoloration in several places. The cost for the Photoshop work will be [total].”

Client: “That’s a lot of money; I don’t know if it’s worth it.”

Me: “Well, it’s a lot of work. Only you can decide if getting the image restored is worth it. The memories that go with it are the reason most people want them restored.”

Client: “Tell you what we can do. You restore it and I’ll take a look to see if I’m willing to pay for it and how much.”

Me: “No. If you want it restored you’ll need to pay in advance now.”

Client: “I’m not paying until I see it and then I’ll decide what I’ll pay.”

Me: “Doesn’t work that way. You have no idea the amount of time I will spend and the skill needed to make it look right. This is the price; it’s your choice to pay it or not. But the work only gets done once you pay it.”

Client: “I know it’s all a computer doing it for you. All you do is click the fix button and it’s done in five seconds.”

(This is a bad thing to say to someone like me. My wife will tell you how I yell at TV shows that make it seem that all you have to do is click and the computer not only enhances an image but does all kinds of impossible things automatically.)

Me: “Sorry, that’s not how it works. All the artwork to restore is done by hand; there are no secret plug-ins that do it automatically. If you don’t want to pay the price, then we’re done talking.”

(He ranted a bit more trying to convince me that he understood my job far better than I do since he saw it on a TV show, and they just clicked a button and it was instantly done. I held my ground on the price and not doing the work unless he paid in advance. I knew if I had done the work he would have pulled the “The work is done, so you might as well get what I offer for it than nothing” stunt. It’s good owning the place. I can tell people to take a hike when needed.)

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Not Always Right/Related

| PA, USA | Right | April 5, 2017

(I’m the customer in this story and I’ve called the photo store.)

Owner: “Hi, how may I help you?”

Me: *using a fake old-man voice* “Hi, I need to get some color prints made.”

Owner: “No problem. 35mm negatives?”

Me: “Yes. I took these years ago. The prints I have are just gray and fading.”

Owner: “Black and white negatives?”

Me: “Yah, that’s why I want them printed as color.”

Owner: “Um… you can’t get color prints from black and white negatives, sir.”

Me: “But it’s color print paper, right?”

Owner: “But… you see…”

Me: *voice slowly returning to normal* “But you really shouldn’t take silly requests from your brother-in-law.”

Owner: “Oh, hi. Hah, I’ve been asked stupider things.”

Me: “Really?”

(Of course, this was many years before NAR. I’ve learned a lot since.)

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