Back with a craic-er just in time for Christmas, the wonderful Stephanie Williamson gives her hilarious take on the crazy customer (be honest, we’ve all had them!) with a suitably festive twist. It’s the perfect read for a Friday night, so grab a glass of wine, put your feet up and start the weekend off with a good giggle!
Ho Ho Ho, it is the season to be merry. It is also the season to let ALL your crazy out and make the strangest requests, the biggest demands, and the most hilarious comments…
So, I am knee-deep in ‘Christmas minis’ (to all non-photographers out there, this is when you drop your prices, lose your sanity, and embrace 48 hour days!! All to give your customers the ultimate Christmas photo, they will cherish forever… Until they don’t).
Now I have to be brutally honest and say that I am absolutely loving it this year. But this could have more to do with the fact that I have four teenagers in the house, who, despite numerous bribes, have refused to come and see Santa with me. So having all these Christmas-crazy children in my studio is like my own kind of Narnia.
The majority of children who come into my studio are under the age of 8 and simply put, the best craic I have had since I stole my neighbour’s go-kart and took it for a joy ride. These kids simply don’t care who they insult, what you think, or what they are wearing (sorry mums) which in all honestly sounds exactly like me after a bottle of wine. So you can see why I am loving life at the minute, throw in the fact that these kids actually seem to listen to me and, on the odd occasion LIKE me and (dare I push it) find me funny, it is my very own escape from reality (FOUR teenagers, just in case you forgot).
So anyway on with my story… the kids, I love, the demands from SOME (have to stress this point very early on, 99.9% of my customers are brilliant, the other .1% are the reason I drink so much) are, quite simply put, hilarious. So, without further ado, I shall get on.
Example One: She’s Not Smiling
An email excerpt from a recent customer.
When choosing a photographer we were very strident in our decision. We googled, we sent you 100 emails and we even asked what your favourite colour was!!! We were a match made in heaven, so it is with a very heavy heart that we have to tell you that we do not like any of our photos!! Why? Because Tilly Belle Lulu was not smiling in any of the photos.
It was lovely to meet you the other day and I would like to apologise that Tilly Belle Lulu wasn’t smiling in any of the photos, but if it is ok with you, I would like to make a few suggestions as to why this happened
- Maybe your expectation of 20 outfits in 20 minutes was a tad bit adventurous?
- You insisted that your husband speak French to a child from Limerick
- The gold chains and earrings you put on your child may have been a bit heavy for a 2-year-old?
- Maybe she didn’t like the Gucci boots with 5000 zips? (just a suggestion)
- The bite she got from the ‘animal in the handbag’ you brought may actually have hurt (although you did feel she was just doing it for attention and maybe she was jealous that the Chihuahua cost more than her boots, she did look a bit jealous to be fair)
- The sneezing may well have been an allergic reaction to the ‘real’ fur coat from Harrods (and not ‘another demand’).
Example Two: Where Are You?!
We arrived at your studio to find it locked up. We are very disappointed! We have three cars full of aunts, uncles, in-laws, we even took the great grandparents out of the nursing home for the event. WHERE ARE YOU?
I have checked my diary and I have nothing booked in for you. I have also checked my emails and I cannot see anything from or to you. Are you sure you have the right photographer?
Yes, I left a voicemail for you an hour ago to say that we would be coming!!!
I didn’t get the message as I was at my child’s Christmas concert. However I feel I must apologise and return to the studio immediately to photograph the 99 people you have brought with you for next to nothing!! Merry bloody Christmas you twat.
Example Three: The 10 Year Voucher
Really looking forward to our session and just wanted to double-check that you will take a voucher as payment?
Vouchers are no problem, please bring it along with you. Really looking forward to our session.
I am so sorry we brought so many people to the studio and maybe I should have told you that the voucher was 10 years out of date, but we (all 30 members of the family) feel that it is unfair that you offer us only 50% off the session.
I am so sorry that all 30 people did not fit into the backdrop that was so finely created and tuned for 3 children. I am also sorry that I could not take individual family photos for your aunt/neighbour and best friend (who swears she doesn’t know you and still wants the £20 you owe her) and as for the 6 dogs you brought (and yes I do understand you run a dog-grooming business so you ‘totally get what it’s like being self-employed’), I honestly don’t think it was my fault that they pissed everywhere because of the studio flash. So if it is ok with you I would like to refund the cost of the voucher, throw in a £20 gift card for Argos on the promise that you never come near my studio again……
May I also take this opportunity to wish you a very, very Merry Christmas.
Example Four: The Gift
I actually had a bad feeling about this particular customer, but I am a sucker for kids and her kids were amazing. This lady arrived at my studio with three beautiful, funny adorable kids and she just wanted to a few photos to give relatives for Christmas. I got totally sucked in…
She told me all about her mother who couldn’t afford much but had been a brilliant grandma to the children and she would love to give her a framed photo for Christmas. She even went on to tell me that she was in a nursing home, so she only wanted a small frame for her room. Remember I told you I was stupid? Well, I totally fell for it and gave her an amazing deal, for a beautiful small frame that would look perfect in a nursing home (I even visited the framer to make sure the frame suited the nursing home… so, so stupid).
Two weeks after Christmas this stunning looking 40-something woman pulled up in the fanciest jeep I have ever seen (I know nothing about cars, but I know having less than 2 letters and 1 digit means loads-a-money). She did look pretty cross (well as much as the Botox would let her). I put on my lovely wrinkled ‘smiley’ face and asked her how I could help. Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather…This middle-aged woman started giving me hell about how disgusted she was that I had sold her poor daughter a substandard frame. She then went on to tell me that she had given her daughter £500 to purchase a beautifully framed photo of her grandchildren for her husband and she was close to calling trading standards at what I had produced.
To be fair, I did let her go on quite a bit before interrupting. Then I suggested forwarding all the receipts before moving forward…
Example Five: The Hilarious Ones
Kids honestly say the funniest things, and the more honest they are, the funnier I find them. When the session is finished I present the kids with a small token, here are some of the comments I have received.
- “Can I have something different?”
- “Why would I say ‘thank you’ for something I don’t want?”
- “Is that it? Have you not got Spiderman/LOL dolls/a Nintendo switch?”
- “Did you get this from eBay?”
- “No, it’s ok you keep it.”
But the funniest child of all was the most adorable little boy called Tom. Tom was adorable with the face of an angel and the voice of a full-grown farmer….
When he arrived at the studio, he apologised about being late saying “There were bloody cows on the road and mum was going mental”. Poor mum went very red and pulled Tom into the studio, the session was fantastic, Tom wanted to know exactly what I was doing, why I was doing it and could he please check my work! When we were getting the family photo (by this stage Tom and I were big buddies). Tom complained about having to sit beside his dad because “He smelt of beer and puked over the cows on the way here”. At this point, I simply couldn’t contain my love for this child. The parents were mortified and very eager to get Tom home. As he was leaving I thanked him and wished him well, he took me by the hand out to his car and opened the back door to reveal a mass of toys, car seats, McDonald wrappers and possibly even a shopping trolley!! He pointed at the mess and said; “Have you seen the mess the fu*king cows have made?”…
I swear I am still laughing.