So, to save time, I go to a really well known local branch of a national franchise that will fit something to my car and, despite the fact I can probably do it myself, I decide to pay for the luxury of someone else doing it for me. Big mistake!
Firstly, I can’t find the part and, after waiting and then asking for help, I’m begrudgingly and slightly patronisingly lead to a shelf in the store to collect the part.
I queue for almost five minutes to pay a cashier that neither speaks to me or looks me in the eye.
I join another queue in front of one more person to have the part fitted.
Time goes by, the fitter mooches about, gets the wrong tools, chats on his intercom, annoys me by his lack of urgency.
I get increasingly agitated as 15 minutes passes and I’m still waiting to get a job done that I could have done myself in the time that I have been waiting for but have now paid for and can’t bear the thought of how long it might be to get a refund.
Finally, the fitter grunts at me to indicate that it’s my turn.
It turns out that the sarcastic and slightly patronising colleague gave me the wrong part.
I’m sent back into the store to swap it.
I have to queue again to see the non communicative cashier to change the part who again manages the transaction again without even so much as a glimmer of recognition or warmth.
……need I go on!…..You get the idea and I’m sure you can relate to this all too common chain of events. So much of the time it’s all too much trouble to even take your money, never mind be actually civil and helpful!
I’m possibly becoming a bit of a grumpy middle aged git but this sort of thing really gets my goat!
But for the couple’s whose weddings I photograph that’s a good thing – my hatred of poor customer service conversely means that I’m a bit of a stickler for providing it myself.
Often that means going the extra mile – helping to tie ties on the wedding morning, ironing the odd shirt, holding the odd baby, removing stiletto heels from grates in church floors, picking up old ladies (that sounds wrong! I mean literally after they have fallen over!), giving lifts to ushers, repairing wedding cakes, calming nerves, giving encouragement, finding lost best men, jump starting cars and lending cash for taxis.
..and yes, I’ve done all of the above at weddings!
It means being just a normal person at a wedding, working my socks off, looking smart, chatting to guests, having a wash and a shave the night before and wearing clean underpants, arriving on time, not getting drunk, not chatting up bridesmaids, not getting in the way, being respectful of the privacy of the day, not falling over, not stepping on small children, not being full of my own importance.
…..and I have heard of an number of photographers who have not done a number of the things above………
It means continuing working your best for the couple when you’ve had drinks spilled down your back, your bottom pinched by a drunk female wedding guest, you’ve dropped and smashed a £1000 lens, you’ve been bitten and are in the throes of some strange anaphylactic seizure, you’ve fractured your elbow and are wearing a sling or you have a headache so bad that you’re seeing stars through the viewfinder.
….sadly yes, all happened to moi!
..and it also means answering emails quickly, being available for help and advice, wanting to make the experience as amazing for my couples as possible, getting the images and products ready on time, doing exactly what I say I will when I say it, being polite happy and helpful, offering tea, coffee and biscuits at meetings, hoovering before meetings, putting our bloody cat out before meetings, being easy to work with, being a normal person, being honest and trustworthy.
Is that all too much to ask? Sadly it seems so for some people it really is. My goal is to be as good as my couples deserve and then strive to go one (or more!) steps better!
If you can’t bear the thought of being photographed by a grumpy, uninterested photographer in dirty underpants then GET IN TOUCH – I’d love to hear from you!