Today was, well, an interesting day. I am quite certain we have all had one of those. Allow me to rephrase that, too many of those!
Do not fret, however, I am not planning on giving you a play-by-play (phew!) I simply want to write and say – I love it when it rhymes – do not go to Sears to have your kids’ portraits done. Well, not the one in Promenade anyway.
Ouch! What a horrid thing to do, to bash something or someone outright! Trust me, it is merited. I am not one to go about bashing on a single experience, oh no! It takes quite a bit for me to completely dislike something.
We have been going to this same Sears Portrait Studio for almost 7 years now, 4’s age, and it wasn’t always as bad as today. Sure, sure, I know it’s not a hoity- toity studio, but it was fair, price and product. It wasn’t until 4 years ago that it started going downhill.
We took 5’s One Year pics there and the girl was quite inexperienced. She chopped off 5’s head, her legs, too much to one side, little things like that, but what she lacked in experience she made up for in patience and great customer service skills. She was great with our daughter, took many shots, a few different backgrounds, props, you name it, and she smiled throughout. The experience was not bad, just the pics were 😉
We went back the following year and were quite disturbed by the lack of customer service. I called the manager the next day and received a half-hearted apology. We did not go back until 6’s First Christmas this past year. The reason? Great coupon via email! Couldn’t pass up 6 free sheets of pics and a 10×13! The photographer was good. Patient. Good pics. A bit pushy to sell, but that’s his job. We didn’t mind. The manager that was there, she was another story. She did not acknowledge us for about 6 minutes. She had us go into our session well over 15 minutes after our appointment time even though there was a photographer not busy, oh and sans apology. When it came time to pay – yes, 6 free sheets did not begin to cover all the adorableness of 4-6! No bias’ of course 😉 – she did made us wait again and was quite obnoxious. Thus, we had not gone back until today. Reason? Great email offer.
We arrived and had to wait again about 5 minutes for acknowledgement. We were given out a form to fill out and waited another 5 minutes. In all fairness, the woman said she’d be with us in a moment, she failed to mention how long the moment was, AND she was training someone. Though it looked more like the newbie was just shadowing, she was rarely addressed or asked to be hands on. I must also insert here that she was busy helping another client when we got there, they both were, one talking the other shadowing. This same client was being helped 10 minutes later.
After having waited about 15 minutes and holding a baby who was starting to get loud and cranky, she left this client and told us to follow her into the studio. I kid you not, the session was less than 10 minutes!
She told the new girl to pull down a dingy white drop. She then instructed me to place the baby on the X. I did. She handed him a teddy and took a pic. She walked over turned him to the opposite direction, pic. Gave him another teddy, pic. Switch side, pic. Soccer ball, pic. Chair, pic, Teddy on chair, pic. Baby standing against chair, pic. Baby on tummy, no pic. He wouldn’t stay. This is what took time. He wouldn’t stay. Thus, she took one of him on all fours and that was it. She said come back in 20 minutes.
Now, I was a bit irritated. She never asked me which background I wanted. What props. It was literally RUSH, RUSH! But I took a deep breath and told my husband, “Hey, we are getting a few free pics, right?”
23 minutes later, she is still with this same client from when we arrived! Talk about special treatment. I do apologize for how this is going to come across, but had we spoken the “right” language, perhaps we would have gotten the same treatment.
Alright, that’s unfair! Perhaps they were related, though it did not seem to be the case, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt.
Any who, she told us to wait. Surprise, surprise.
We waited for a few minutes, baby started getting fussy so I walked around ensuring she noticed. She finally sent newbie to us and told her to write what pics we liked and sizes.
Now, as a parent, you have a very difficult time narrowing pics. They’re your babies! They always look adorable! Come on now, we are blinded by love! And this is how they get people to buy portraits! Well, usually, not in this case. We liked 3 images. That’s how bad the others were.
We chose the pose for the freebie and told her that was all we wanted. Newbie got the woman, who was STILL with the special client. We were told to wait. I had to Breathe!
Finally, she comes over and asks if we chose our prints and sizes. I explain that we only want the prints in the email offer, and this is when it totally went south.
“Did you print out the coupon,” she asked.
“No, it clearly states show email or mention the code,” I say .
“I know what it says, dear. We send them out. You should have printed it out.”
I proceed to show her the email and explain that the last time we were there we also just showed the email. She then proceeds to tell me that the guy was just “trying to help me out.” She repeats this to the new girl, that the guy was only trying to help us out.
And this is when my blood finally started to boil!
I too repeated myself. I read to her what the email stated or tried to, rather. She waved me off without listening.
As she printed out our order, I fortunately saw a phone number for the district manager, district 407.
I called while we were still there.
No answer. Left a message, we will see what happens.
The point to my rant? Do not shop 99 cent only stores, shop Gelson’s!
And that reference is thanks to Paul Brogan, Marriage and Family Therapist in Encino, California 😉
He is Awesome!
What it basically means, just in case you didn’t go to Paul Brogan, is that if you are used to 99 cent only standards, then those will be the standards to which you are accustomed, for others as well as for yourself.
When you become a Gelson’s person, you expect more, much more of yourself and of others. Your standards are increased, exponentially.
Okay, so that advice was in regards to oneself not to shopping, but it still applies, in a literal sense. You get what you pay for!!