November 21, 2008

Picture Perfect

Most companies that take kids' school pictures are known for offering high-quality photographs at reasonable prices. The studio contracted by our school district also boasts an added bonus: fantastic customer service.

My daughter's pictures were taken in mid-September. In mid-October, she came home from school with a picture envelope that contained exactly zero pictures. In place of an explanation or apology was a small sticker that read "Due to a malfunction, it will be necessary to retake your package."

The next day, I called the photo studio and spoke with a very nice woman with a smoker's cough named Pam who told me that due to a "digital mishap," my daughter's picture was accidentally deleted from the photographer's camera.

Frankly, this news came as a relief. I had seen some of my daughter's classmates' pictures and I had decided that I could do without a portrait of my daughter holding a plastic apple and leaning against a fake bookcase filled with fake books.

Pam's offer to retake my daughter's picture at the photo studio was a nice gesture, but not a viable option. The studio was several miles away and Cameron was in the NICU at the time. After explaining my situation, Pam did the right thing and offered me a full refund, which she said she would put in the mail that very afternoon.

Day 7: Pam was very glad that I called back to check on the status of things because she had misplaced my mailing address and didn't know where to send the check, which was sitting on her desk right in front of her in an envelope ready to go. Now that she had the information that she needed, she would be able to send the check right out.

Day 14: No check. Pam apologized profusely for the delay, but things were crazy busy at her photo studio and she forgot to mail the check. She was super duper grateful for my reminder phone call and told me that she would drop the check in the mail the next morning.

Day 21: Still no check. Pam swore on her ex-husband's grave that she would mail the check that day.

Day 23: Pam was out of the office, presumably mailing the check.

Day 25: Pam got a nice but firm voice message from me telling her that I expected the check by Day 27 or else I would feel justified taking my complaints to the school principal and PTA President.

Day 26: Pam called and told me that she mailed the check on Day 22.

Day 30: Pam received a phone call from me informing her of the bad news that the check that she mailed 8 days ago (and had to travel 5 miles) had yet to reach its destination. Pam informed me that it wasn't her fault that 1) the post office isn't delivering my mail 2) that I am impatient. She also wanted me to know that she is a very busy woman and doesn't have time to sit around and write checks all day. When I asked her how it is that she had time to cash my check but not write me one, we experienced a connection problem and the call was mysteriously dropped.

Day 31 (Yesterday): No check. I'm sure it will arrive today though. Tomorrow at the latest.


Deborah said...

The school absolutely needs to be told about your experience. You may not be the only one having the problem. Then the school can do something about their sorry...well you know what.

Stoker Family said...

I hate having to deal with stuff like that. I ordered a necklace when I was in Portland 2 months ago. I still do not have it. I have called 3 times and it is going to be sent in the next week. It has been 3 weeks since my last phone call with them and still no necklace. I think I may call them today.

Liz said...

yeah I'm over paying $65 for a very small package of portraits with my children in odd poses with fake everything. I can take better pictures myself!

Good luck with Pam.. right now every phone call I make I seem to get a "Pam"!

Shosh said...

its funny that you post this today, because i just got home from dropping my 4 year old off at preschool and today was the day that the pictures came in, and all the parents were standing in the hallway looking at the pictures.
i didnt order any because of the reasons you mentioned, and i didnt even order the class picture this year, like i usually do. when i saw my sons class picture this morning, and noticed that hes making a face that suggests he was counting the ceiling tiles or pondering what he ate for breakfast, i was glad i hadnt ordered it!

Rachel said...

You are way more patient than I would be...I'd have been calling the PTA, school board, principal, etc by day 14.

Blog Buddy said...

If this had happened on Ebay-this seller would of gotten so many low points and cranky words posted on their internet-store front!!! Bad business in my book...

Jen said...

I wonder if Pam also works at my insurance company, but uses a different name there? It took me almost a YEAR to get the check for my medical grade breastpump because "it would be mailed the next day" or "it got lost", etc. Keep fighting! I finally did get my check!

Donna said...

Ridiculously bad customer service like this is a major pet peeve of mine. I will never understand why such easy things to do are so difficult for seemingly competent people to get done. I'm glad you can write about it in a humorous way, although I'm sure you're just a bit frustrated yourself!

Tanna said...

Any Pictures yet??? HEHE

Nancy B said...

Oh, those Pams. God bless their little lying hearts.

You might take a picture of yourself in a Vanna White pose in front of a Better Business Bureau sign and send it to her.

So glad to see Mr. Cameron home and happy. That picture made me smile.

Momma-of-5 said...

Don't ya LOVE school pictures? =)
I couldn't leave a comment on your most recent post, but I wanted to say...the picture is ADORABLE and I'm so happy for you guys to all be under the same roof!

Mindy said...

Hey, Cameron looks great! Glad he's home...I swear he's a TIM clone.. :)

Jana said...

Day 35: Received the check. $15 less than it should be of course.