May 31, 2012

The Graduation Picture Blunder

Our school uses a nationally known company for pictures. All through preschool we received wonderful pictures from this company. In kindergarten, not so much. I realize in elementary school the photographers are dealing with a lot more pictures within a limited time. Still, you think when you take a picture of a child wearing glasses you would check the shot to make sure the flash isn't visible in her glasses. Overall, though, this year's school portraits were still decent. Unfortunately, when the kindergarten classes did their cap and gown photos for graduation, my daughters got hosed.
I had asked the photographer if he could do a shot of all four in caps and gowns. How cute would that be? He only had three caps and gowns. No big deal. So he did a picture with two and two. The turned out pretty cute. But...... on the day of their graduation, each student was given a nice binder with their graduation picture and diploma. My girls received a crappy folder with a picture of themselves with a sister. Why? The photographer never bothered to take an individual picture of them in their caps and gowns... and no one bothered to tell me.
I was angry, to say the least. They share enough, shouldn't they have something of their own to remember this moment? Why should they have to be left out of this? What kind of photographer, who knows his company puts together this keepsake, leaves out four students? The school secretary offered to sneak my girls in during next year's cap and gown photos, but they'll change so much in a year, what would be the point? My girls all noticed that their classmates received something different and much nicer than they did. Life may not be fair, but is that something you have to learn in kindergarten or because of someone else's mistake? Yes, you could argue that I will face much bigger battles on their behalf, but in some ways, this picture blunder screamed "You will always be seen as an entity and never as an individual!" It just didn't sit well with me. I would have preferred the photographer simply skip the group photos rather than forget to do the individual pictures. Even the teachers were surprised because the photographer told them he would do their individual pictures after the group shots.
Once I gathered my thoughts, I sat down and wrote an email to the company. I was polite but clearly expressed my displeasure. Yesterday, a local representative called me. She was nice and apologetic and invited us to the local studio to do the individual pictures. 
All in all, the session went well. However, I was greeted at the door by a woman who said "In the future, you should make sure you tell the photographer you want a group shot and individual pictures." My response: "Since he was there to take individual pictures, it never occurred to me that he wouldn't take them." She then switched tactics: "I know. When the folios came back and theirs weren't included, I couldn't believe it. I called the lab and they said the individual pictures hadn't been taken." Ummm, I'm sorry, you knew they weren't taken and you didn't call me at that point to come to the lab to fix this?? Imagine what we could have avoided if someone had bothered to fix this from the moment they knew a mistake had been made. Instead, they clearly waited to see if I would complain. (Notice none of that is in quotes. I wanted to say that, but since everyone else was kind to us, I let it go).
I am really glad this company chose to make this right. It shows they see their customers as people and look beyond the dollar signs.


MaryAnne K said...

I'm glad you were happy with the end result. What a hassle, though.

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