Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Finale to "Some Days" or "How Not to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"

So the day after my last whiny pathetic post I made yet another stab at getting Adelyn's picture taken, this time with success. I also learned a valuable lesson on how to successfully drive a business into the ground. Next time I have the urge to buy a quickie-kids-photo-where-they-run-the-camera-like-a-cash-register franchise, I'll remember it.

I returned to Kiddie Kandids on Friday, but this time I made an appointment. Despite all attempts at promptness, I hit traffic, construction and Jackson's willpower and ended up being late. I tried 3 or 4 times to call the studio to let them know I would be a few minutes behind, but got a busy signal every single time. I apologized when I got there and the photographer (that seems generous, I think "camera operator" is probably more appropriate term) said that "she was on the phone with her superior." Does "superior" translate into "boyfriend" in any English-related dialects? No matter. She was still finishing up someone else's photos when I arrived, so I didn't feel so very bad for being late.

We got down to pictures and, all in all, they went pretty well. Except that Jackson thought it looked like great fun, so he climbed down from the shopping cart and attempted to get in the picture with Addy. And distracted her so she looked at him instead of the camera. And generally interrupted the process however possible.

When I made the appointment, they informed me that the studio was under new ownership and a few things had changed. For one thing, they didn't print out your photos immediately any more: you had to wait two weeks and come back. That was definitely sad news, but hey, it still beat having to park at the mall, find the elevator at JCPenney's and wait 45 minutes when you had an appointment, right? I still got to pick out the photos on the spot. The difficulty was that there was someone with an appointment for pictures immediately after me and the other girl who was supposed to be working that morning hadn't shown up yet. So the camera operator asked if I could come back in 15 minutes to pick out the photos. Addy was getting fussy and wanted to nurse, so that actually worked out rather well. I went and nursed Addy in the mother's room (at least one plus for being in a Babies'R'Us store) and then went back. And waited. And waited. And waited. It was at least 30 minutes after I got back from nursing Addy that I waited just to get a chance to look through my pictures to pick which ones I wanted. You can imagine how patient and obedient Jackson was by the time we had puttered around a store for 45 minutes.

Finally, camera operator #2 showed up and she was able to help me look at my pictures. With only a quick "Sorry, I was detained," for my 45 minutes of confinement in a store with a two-year-old and a baby, we went on to the pleasant process of selecting pictures with a whiny two-year-old who refused to stay near me. "Just wait a moment please, while I put together some collages for you. Typically we do this during the 15 minutes while you are waiting," she added. I internally retorted, "I don't need to pay extra for fancy writing and a cheesy border. Just show me my pictures already. Finally we got to it.

"Let me show you our Premiere package," she began. "Actually," I interrupted her, "I just want four 8x10s please." She stared in disbelief, like I had just turned down a chance to purchase a Picasso for pennies and then proceeded with her spiel, adding only, "Well, just in case, let me show you our packages anyway." Translation: I am forced to try to sell this to you. It is my job. I don't care that you have a fussy baby and a whiny two-year-old, of whose whereabouts you are now uncertain. So I sat while she patiently explained that while the Premiere package was $999.99, it was on sale for only $459.99 and with the special discounts running right now it was a bargain at $429.99. She finally got to the last package and emphasized that this was the last package that included the CD with the digital images and rights to the photos. If you opted out of the wall portrait, it was only $199.99! I earned myself another shocked stare when I turned this opportunity down without a second thought. "But what if you want them someday?" she protested. Hmmm... maybe I'll take that money and use it on a real photographer?

I finally got to the photos themselves. I asked if there was any way to compare two photos side by side. There wasn't. So back and forth we went. I tried to go as quickly as I could in between breaks to race off and drag Jackson back from whatever part of the store he had wandered off to or lure him back with a toy. As I sorted past photos I didn't like, she would interject, "I really like that one. It's so cute." Or she would randomly butt in and say, "I think you should get this one with the fluorescent green border. It really brightens it up!" Well I don't, OK?

I tried to keep Jackson in the near vicinity by grabbing some toys or the floor model of a tricycle for him to play with and the camera operator had the gall to scold him at one point, "You need to be careful! This isn't a playground!" Well, he wouldn't be at the end of his rope already if we hadn't been waiting for 45 minutes (through the middle of his lunchtime) for you to show up for work! By the time we finished we had been there for two and half hours. With no lunch.

I finally got my four 8x10s, as predicted, along with a sheet of 5x7s and a free collage. That is, I got them ordered. I still have to go back and pick them up. So, how is that for being more convenient than JCPenney? I had to make an appointment, I had to wait around forever, I have to come back and pick the pictures up later. Well, at least I didn't have to go up an elevator....


Lara said...

I have such an aversion to the pushy sales tactics that I try to avoid them at all times. But then, I'm too nice (much like you) to say "NO. I do not want to see packages. I will not purchase them no matter how cool you think they are!"


I'm glad you survived.

Ranell said...

I am also glad you survived, and I'm sure those well-earned portraits are darling. That is one cute baby you have!

Kate said...

I loved the story and hated the situation for you. I guess the fact that I also have four kids of similar age makes it easy to identify with you. I just braved the Sears portrait studio on a similar errand. My "baby" is 13 months and this was his first trip, too. I also attempted our first family pics in almost three years. Not Pretty!