Saturday, November 17, 2007

Monday Morons--Don't tell my kid what to do

Well, we're a bit ticked off over something that happened at my husband's job last week.

My husband is a portrait photographer. He works for one of those companies that does traveling sales. Someone calls you in to be in a club directory or a church directory, and while you're there getting your picture taken for the directory, they take more pictures and try to sell them to you. And then there's a similar thing set up in grocery stores and such. Someone sells you a coupon good for a low cost 8x10, but then they try to sell you a bunch of other pictures and frames and such. The photographer is only at the one place for about a week, maybe less, and then he packs up the equipment and goes someplace else.

So that's my husbands job. He spends all day taking pictures of people who have been lured in by some gimmick. A bunch of them then get mad when they realize they have to listen to some sales pitch. They are just here for the directory or the free picture or the low cost thing that they bought, and they don't want anything else and they don't want to talk to the salesperson. Some of them won't even cooperate with the photographer.

At first I just thought it was awful how these companies got people to come in and have their picture taken like this. Before my husband got one of these jobs, I went to a couple of places like this, just to buy the special. I hated the whole sales thing that followed. But, if no one bought anything other than the special, they couldn't stay in business. So no matter how many times or how many different ways you say that you don't want to buy anything else, you still have to listen to a sales pitch. Personally, I would rather that they be more honest and tell you up front how much pictures cost and how much they expect you to buy instead of getting you to come in for some other reason. I'd just decide not to waste my time or theirs and not have my picture taken. But for some reason, no one in this business wants to do that.

After my husband had the job for a while, and I took a job as a salesperson, I started to lose patience with the customers. I quit feeling sorry for them that they'd been tricked into getting their picture taken "just for the directory" or whatever. Sure, the first couple of times you fall for it, but after that you should know what is going on, and if you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on portraits, don't waste everyone's time.

So it amazes me when someone who should have been around enough to know what is going on is surprised when someone wants to spend an hour trying to get him to buy all this stuff when all he came in for was to get a free 8x10. Did you think that people actually get paid to give you free 8x10s? But what really ticks me off is the guy who knows what is going on, who knows that people don't get paid just to put his picture in the directory, and he comes in anyway and complains about everything. And then sometimes he has the nerve to say that we're lucky that he didn't just stay home.

No, we're not lucky that you didn't just stay home. We would have been lucky if you'd been in a serious car wreck on the way over so you didn't just mess up our sales average and cost us money. You're not required to buy anything. If you really don't like those pictures for some reason, maybe we can retake them. But if you know ahead of time that you don't want to buy anything, stay home. Better yet, don't make an appointment in the first place.

So there are these idiots who come in, who are already in a bad mood cause they don't want to buy any pictures, and they won't cooperate. They waste a lot of time cause they won't do what you tell them to. They won't fill out the paperwork correctly and they won't do what the photographer tells them to do. Really, filling out the paperwork should just take a few minutes and getting the actual pictures taken should only take ten minutes, unless you have a big group or are handicapped or something. And then the sales pitch takes an average of thirty minutes or so, but it really depends on the salesperson and how much you want to buy and how many people are in front of you. And yes, if you're sure you're not going to buy anything, it would be polite to mention that both to the photographer and to the salesperson, but don't keep saying it over and over again, and don't assume that you're done and jump up and leave. Someone will have to go and find you cause you didn't finish your set or you didn't fill out some form, and the people in line behind you will just have to wait longer while you act like a two year old.

So this last week my husband had a customer who came in with an attitude, cause he didn't like something that happened last time. Whatever. If you know what's going on and you don't want it to be "just like last time" then why do you come in and do it again? So the guy is already in a bad mood, and my husband just wants to get on with it so everyone can be rid of the guy.

So the guy comes in with his wife and kids, and my husband has to think for a minute on how they should be arranged for the photo. Then he moves a stool in front of the background and says "Okay, sir, have a seat right here on the stool and we'll get started."

So one of the kids runs over and sits on the stool. Kids do that. Once in a while, it's just that the kid has made a mistake and really thought he was the "sir" being asked to sit down. But mostly, it's just that the kid thinks he's being funny. After the first few hundred times, it's not funny, but you act like it is anyway.

"No, not you, get up. Okay, sir, have a seat right here."

And the kid laughs and gets up.

The dad isn't laughing.

"What did you just say?"

Okay, the dad is either really slow, or maybe he just has a hearing problem.

"Sir, just have a seat right here."

"No, before that, what did you say? Did you just tell my kid not to sit there?"

"We'll get to him in a minute. We need to get you and your wife seated first."

"You don't tell my kid what to do. I'm his father and I tell him what to do. If you have something to say, you don't talk to my kid, you talk to me. Don't tell my kid what to do."

Portrait photographers cannot take pictures without telling people what to do. Sit here, stand on this piece of tape, move a little to your left, tilt your head a bit more to your right, etc.... Some people get their left and right confused, and some people just don't get it and you physically have to move them however they are supposed to be or you will get a really bad picture or maybe even cut someone out of the picture.

But it's rare to have a grown up come in and say, "You can't tell me what to do." And it's rarer still to have to deal with anyone stupid enough to say this sort of crap in front of his kids. I have gotten into it a few times with people who are complete idiots, but most people do not try to tell me that I have to stop doing whatever I'm supposed to be doing at my job because I'm not allowed to talk to their kids.

There are some people who get upset when just someone walking by tells their kids to stop yelling, stop running, don't use language like that, wait your turn, etc.... "Don't talk to my kids that way" and "That's none of your business" and "You can't talk to my kid" and "If you have a problem with someone my kid is doing then you need to tell me about it first" etc.... Fine, it's your job to correct your kids, but why aren't you doing your job? If the kid is clearly doing something wrong and you don't do something about it, someone else is going to say something. It's really strange to me that the parent is bothered more by this supposed breach of etiquette than by the fact that their kid did something wrong.

But you don't get to go through this "Don't speak to my child" nonsense when the people talking to the child are just doing their jobs. Lots of people have to tell people what to do as part of their jobs, and a lot of these people have to deal with children while they're doing their jobs. Teachers, librarians, doctors, nurses, dentists, cops, mall security guards, crossing guards, etc.... They're all going to tell your kids what to do. And unless the kid is deaf or doesn't speak English and literally needs you to translate something, they're not going to go through you first.

Even that dumb job at the Halloween store required me to tell people what to do. "The line starts over there", "Don't touch the display", "Don't open the packages", "You can't try on costumes out here, but there's a dressing room over there", "No, you are not allowed to try on nylons or slips or anything else that is considered undergarments", "No, there are no refunds past this date", "Children are not allowed in this area", "This area is only for employees", etc.... I told people stuff like that all the time. If I saw a kid doing something he wasn't supposed to do, I told him not to do it anymore. I usually didn't go looking for his parents to tell them instead. If I went looking for someone's parent, it's because I'd had to tell the same kid something more than once. In that case, both the kid and the parent were usually idiots. If the parent had any sense to begin with, the kid probably wouldn't be acting that way in the first place, and parents with sense usually don't allow their kids to wander about unsupervised, especially in a store that has "adult" stuff that the kid shouldn't be looking at anyway.

Anyway, back to the idiots my husband had to deal with last week.

So my husband is just not having much luck with the guy. He won't do anything he is supposed to do, and he keeps going on about "this is just like last time." I don't know what happened last time, but if someone got you to come in and have your picture taken for a directory, fill out some forms, told where to stand or where to sit so that someone could take your picture, and then someone tried to get you to buy those pictures, then, yes, it was probably very much like last time. And you knew that before you came in, so get over it already.

There are rare idiots who actually try to pose the pictures themselves. Unless that person is a portrait photographer himself, the pictures usually look bad. And if the person was a portrait photographer,he should take pictures with his own camera and not come here. If you come here you have to stand where you're told. That's not the same as asking for particular groupings or particular poses. If you have an idea of something in particular that you'd like to buy it's usually okay to make suggestions or even ask for extra poses, but you shouldn't try to arrange the people in the picture yourself.

Sometimes my husband will stand back and let the idiots try to arrange themselves and just take a bad picture rather than deal with them anymore.

So he finally says "Dad sit here, and mom sit here, and kids stand whatever dad tells you to."

The guy said that he didn't have to take that and they walked out.

Well, that happens sometimes. But then the guy wouldn't actually leave. He stayed in the waiting room for about an hour complaining to everyone. So all the people who are waiting to have their pictures taken get upset thinking that the photographer is deliberately taking bad pictures or mistreating kids or whatever. And one of the salespeople gets upset cause she can't sell any pictures while she's trying to talk over this idiot yelling about "this is the same as last time" or whatever.

My husband takes pictures of four more groups, and the guy is still out there. He won't go home because they got all dressed up for nothing. They came here to get pictures taken, so they should get pictures taken. But my husband is the only photographer, and if he won't cooperate with the photographer, he can't have his picture taken.

So the guy finally calms down and he apologizes and my husband apologizes and everything seems okay. And my husband takes some pictures and gives the disk to one of the salespeople.

Apparently mom is also an idiot. After all of that work to get the pictures taken, she won't sit where she is told, and she turns in such a way that she cannot see the computer screen to view the pictures. Whatever.

My husband goes home for the day and calls one of his bosses and tells him the whole story with five part harmony and all that. And the boss tries to calm him down a bit and doesn't want him to quit and assures him that everything is going to be okay. So my husband just wants to know if he's still on the schedule for the rest of the week and is he still supposed to work at that same place the next week like originally planned. And the boss says yes and that everything is going to be fine.

So we think that everything is going back to normal. The next day we are going to meet one of the salespeople for lunch and a place not to far from where they are working. So we left the house about 11:30 to go meet the guy. The guy tells me about how the idiot customer was bothering everyone in the waiting room and how his wife sat in her chair sideways so that she couldn't see the pictures. And then he told me about the other salesperson not helping the situation. The other salesperson is a.) not very bright, b.) not very popular with other employees, c.) not making a lot of money is general, and d.) making very little money at all at this particular place. She seems to think that it was somehow my husband's fault. The other salesperson assured me that wasn't the case, and that he's doing just fine while working with my husband. But the other salesperson kept complaining about how my husband is ruining her sales for the week. The whole building heard her complaining about it. The whole building also heard her say how she needed to hurry and get out of there so she could go to the liquor store.

So we all had a good laugh over lunch. Then I left to run some errands, and my husband and the salesman went to Starbucks on the way to work.

A few hours later, my husband comes home. Apparently, at 11:35 my husband's boss called to say that my husband shouldn't go to work at that place for the rest of the week. But we had just left for lunch and did not get the message. Apparently, the idiot got home and decided that he really had been mistreated and went back to the place after my husband had left so he could complain some more. So he was told who to talk to about this complaint, and he made phone calls, and someone else made some phone calls, and it was decided that my husband shouldn't finish the week at this place, and that my husband should be rescheduled to work someplace else the next week. Otherwise this idiot will not go away and no one will get any work done.

What especially sucks about this is that my husband was taken off the schedule for two days, so that's two days that he isn't getting paid anything. But he really didn't have those two days off. Friday he wasted about three hours going to the place and talking to his replacement for about an hour and then driving back home. On Saturday he had to waste another three hours driving back to the place and packing up the equipment and then driving back home.


Dame Honoria Glossop said...

People who let their kids behave like little hooligans, then get stroppy if someone else tells the kid to stop, are complete plonkers!

I saw a kid run into an old man with a stick in a shopping centre. The old man said "Look where you're going, sonny", which I thought was quite mild, I'd have been tempted to spike him with my stick. Kid isn't upset, old man is OK, but Dad is furious & shouts after old chap "Noone tells my kids what to do!"

I couldn't help myself, as I walked past Dad I said "That'd explain why they're so badly behaved then."

The Diva's Thoughts said...

It sounds like that guy was a real jerk. Sorry your husband had to deal with that.

dmarks said...

I don't know if this was a church, a club, or whatever, but I thik Angry Dad needs a little help. He can start with "The Serenity Prayer":

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change<;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

I don't think he's enjoying much, and probably a lot of people he comes in contact with receive the brunt of his wrath.

laughingattheslut said...

The really sad thing is that my husband is not a Christian, and the majority of the morons he has to deal with are. So he gets the idea that this is just the way that Christians act, so why would anyone want to be a Christian?

The week before he worked with this people, he worked at a Unitarian Church. I'm afraid I don't see the point of the Unitarian Church. It sounds like a church for atheists, and the people that go there don't seem to have anything in common other than they don't want to go to a real church. So he was at this Unitarian place, and there were all kinds of people, and some of them were on the weird side, and some of them dressed funny, but they were all very nice to him and he made lots of money and had a very pleasant week. And then he spent a week or two with some Christians and got the exact opposite.

So it's pretty near impossible to get him to go to church, become a Christian, get his life straightened out, etc... like he had agreed to, cause he can't stand being around these people.

Of course, when he was surrounded by nice people, he still didn't go to church and do the stuff he was supposed to do. So if he didn't have this for an excuse, he'd just find another one. It just bothers me sometimes. I'd hoped that he would meet more nice people who would be helping me out with this problem.

David in DC said...

I Love the Serenity Prayer and Reinhold Niebuhr, to boot.

But for real wisdom, one must thank the anonymous author of The Senility Prayer:

G-d, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,

The good fortune to run into the ones I do, and

The eyesight to tell the difference

laughingattheslut said...

Is there a prayer for having temporary bad eyesight to run over the people you don't like?