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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.