I've been taught by my mum that if you are not happy with something and you know that you are right, then you should stand up for yourself. Today I had just such a situation occur, that left me shaking and almost in tears, but I stood my ground.
About two months ago I discovered the website Groupon which has some amazing deals on it. On the day that I found it, it was offering a photoshoot, ten 5"x4" photos and low-resolution unedited versions on a disc for £30 instead of £310. Knowing that we were intending to have some photographs taken for The Boy's 2nd birthday, and eager to save hundreds of pounds in comparison to past shoots, I snapped it up. We went and had the photographs taken in Revolve in House of Fraser, Cardiff.
The shoot went ok; it's a bit difficult to motivate a toddler to perform when there are minimal props and with angry, rap music (containing swearing) pumping out, but it's normally a 'makeover' studio so we tolerated it. I wasn't overly happy with the photos of me afterwards as I looked wan and a little bizarre, but there was a lovely family shot (including Oliver Monkey) and after all, we were wanting photos of The Boy primarily. We chose our ten, took our disc and paid £5 to have them delivered rather than going to the inconvenience of collecting them.
Today, hubby has an answerphone message telling us that our photos were ready for collection or we could have them sent out for £5. Yes, I know; we'd already paid. As it was, we were in town so called in to collect them and have our £5 refunded.
My heart sank when I saw the photos; they were horrendous. The images that we saw on the computer screen were far warmer and more lively than the photos we were presented with. I mentioned this and was told that it is written on the bottom of the order sheet that the human eye perceives colours differently to actual colour and that we had agreed to these photos when we viewed them. She showed me the photos on the computer screen, so reluctantly I accepted it and walked away.
I got fifty feet before the adrenaline kicked in and I decided that the photographer's explanation was not good enough. I went back and asked to speak to the manager. I explained that the colours on the photographs were appalling, they lacked saturation and vibrancy, and that my son looked like little more than a corpse in them. The manager reiterated that those were the photos we were shown, to which I replied that the ones we were shown were warmer and more 'alive' and that I would never have agreed to purchasing these. He disagreed with me and said he didn't see what the problem was. I explained again. He repeated himself. I explained myself again and highlighted that computer screen configurations sometimes are not indicative of the print-outs and that this was clearly the case here.
The manager began to get even more defensive at this point, telling me that they had no time to examine the photos on the computer now as this was their busiest day and time. There were three assistants standing at the front, listening in and doing absolutely nothing with no customers around. I didn't point this out, noting it and saving it if needed. He then had the audacity to state that we were Groupon customers and therefore… well I don't know what he was going to say because I cut him off by saying that it didn't matter where we were referred from, we were customers who had paid for a service which had not been delivered. He stood there again and said that he couldn't see what the problem was.
I produced my phone, connected to Facebook and showed him the low-resolution versions, explaining that in these versions The Boy looked warm and healthy. The manager told us that we were given the opportunity at the time to have high-resolution photos on a disc, and I confirmed this and that we chose not to as they were £30 each + VAT and that we didn't think we'd need them. He pointed out that the versions we had were unedited and that the look provided on the photos was the finish that was synonymous with their studio. Hubby turned the pushchair around and pointed out The Boy's complexion, while I highlighted the three exemplar photographs behind him on the wall exhibiting their typical style which featured children with the same colouring as The Boy. In those photos, the golden tones and peachy complexions were plain for all to see.
By this time I was shaking and only just holding it together (when I get wound up, I quite often cry; not through being upset but due to frustration). The manager said that he didn't know what I wanted him to do, so I explained that these were useless and I wanted a warmer reprint. I explained that we had these photos taken to celebrate The Boy's second birthday and that they would be going in the bin as I was that unhappy with them. Explaining that, I added that we'd had photo shoots in PixiFoto and Dawson Strange in the past many times and that I had never complained about a photograph before. The final point that I needed to make was that I was actually so upset about it that I could literally cry right there and then, which is at the point that he conceeded and took us through to the editing suite.
He brought up the three raw images and cropped them back down; offering us to have them reprinted and it would take three weeks. We were about to agree when he clearly decided something more was needed, or that actually that would take him quite some time to upload the files and enter our details, so he offered putting the high resolution versions onto a disc for us at a cost of £5 per image as opposed to the £30 + VAT they'd normally cost. I accepted immediately and it was at this point that I told him that I was a product reviewer and had been asked by a photo-printing company to review their photographic products. He suddenly became very nice and accommodating indeed, suggesting that we have the family photograph made onto a large canvas.
The whole process had taken twenty minutes; fifteen to argue my point and less than five minutes for him to 'edit' and write the disc with the three specific images on it that I was completely unhappy with. As an assistant took us to a till to pay she said to us "Well done, I was egging you on and willing you to win!"
Just so you don't think I was being fussy, these are the comparative pictures. The ones on the left are the edited images that they gave us, the ones on the right are the unedited images that we were given on a disc. I promise that I have not edited any of the four in any way apart from to crop them to highlight the differences.
I have several issues; the complete inability to understand my point, lack of wanting to provide a suitable solution without me threatening tears, and the audacity that he had in implying that because we were Groupon customers that we deserved less than the best.
Would you have settled for the images on the left?