All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Well, I Can Certainly Tell You Who DOESN’T Answer Prayers

Know who else doesn’t answer prayers, requests, complaints, or issues? Read this to catch up on the whole answering prayers thing.  Now let me share something with you atheists out there, about the whole God not answering prayers, meme. You have no idea. You have no idea of the depths of indifference to which other entities stoop. Let me tell you who really doesn’t answer prayers, and they don’t give a flying rats ass if you boil in your own bile for all eternity… in fact, they revel in it. No, scratch that, they just don’t give a shit. Who am I talking about?

Customer service.

Ha! You just CAN’T make this stuff up.

This evening I assembled my favorite photos to print out using Walgreen’s internet photo printing service. It’s great, I can upload my photos over da intarweb and get them printed out at the store AND pick them up in an hour – so convenient. What they don’t tell you, is that if your photos are too good, and by too good, I mean better than what the slack-jawed minimum fucking wage stooge in the photo development area could snap, then they will confiscate them.

"Sir, I can’t give you those photos," she sneered.

"Huh? Why." I’d never heard this one before. What was going to come next? Do tell.

"I need the release in order that I may release the photos to you."

"Huh," I’m thinking… what the hell. Release? Of the models in the photos? They are my kids. Release of the photographer? I’m the photographer. They are pictures I took. "I took those photos," I said, those are my kids. That is my wife. You see, we look great, don’t we?"

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"Well then who took that picture, if you’re the photographer?" Like a burly detective she was sure she had me, like, smartass, who took that picture if you’re in it, hmmm?  Well, truth be told, since I’m never in pictures myself, I handed the camera to my son’s godfather to snap.   Laura and I were dressed in formal-wear… all gussied up and shit. Sigh, he’s not a photographer. It’s my camera. I set the shot, and told him to push the button. They are my pictures. He was my assistant. Maybe I used a tripod. Why are you interrogating me. Just give me my pictures!

"And hey, wait a minute, since when do I get to be treated like a crook for printing out my photos at Walgreens?"

"I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to see the originals so that I can release these photos to you." She was a snot, a horrible little snot. Arrrgghhh.

"You can keep the pictures, I’ll just print them someplace else," I ranted and walked away.

I considered my predicament for a second. Although I’m flattered that my pictures have raised so many eyebrows here at the Walgreens Institute of Photography Art, I’m still pissed that I don’t have my pictures to put in my wallet. They are beautiful pictures of my beautiful family and by God I would like to show them off.

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"I want to see a manager," I demanded.

"I’ll get her." And she got on her little phone and called her little manager.

So by this point I was fuming. First, I wanted those pictures. Second, that smug little bitch thinks I’ve stolen some photographer’s work, trying to recreate these to get out of paying him for his prints. I’m mad, but flattered too… it’s just all kinds of messed up.

"Look, I’m not happy one bit," I said in a loud voice to the manager when she showed up. "You’re calling me a liar, that I am stealing some photographer’s work. How dare you. Are you going to resolve this!" I was being kind of loud. Fuck it, I’m a big loud American. It’s who I am. I can’t help myself. It doesn’t help that Puerto Rican’s are like the Japanese without the efficiency. They shy away from conflict. They will not raise their voices. They will not engage. They go limp. They will redirect, be indirect, but they will not deal with the issue in front of them.

I know this, but it still doesn’t do any good when I’m pissed.

"Sir, would you let me talk. Please lower your voice."

"Is what you’re going to say something along the lines of ‘here are you pictures, sir, sorry for the inconvenience?’"

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"If you would let me – "

"I’d really like to know what you’re going to say. Please say it. I’m waiting."

"Please sir, lower your voice. If you would let me talk."

Frankly, her attitude is so common in so many walks of life. It’s really just a technique "ad hominem" to redirect her inaction, fabricating as its cause, my emphatic and irritated voice, like she is some clucking mother, I’m sorry I cannot help you until you use your indoor voice. You’re making this difficult, sir. It’s you who is wrong. It is your demeanor that is making this difficult.

Bah!

"So what do I need to do to get my pictures?" And I stood there, and although I couldn’t see them, I’m sure my nostrils were flaring.

"As I told you, we need to see the originals in order to release them."

"What is an original? They are digital!"

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"Sir, lower your voice."

"Look, just forget it. I’ll get them printed someplace else. Ignorante!"

And I left.

So, I’m now at home. On the one hand, I had the fact that The Walgreens Institute of Photographic Art thinks my pictures are so good that I couldn’t have possibly taken them… which I guess makes me feel okay, until I consider the minimum wage drone working the counter… which sends my blood boiling again. On the other, I did this transaction through the Walgreen’s website and no where anywhere did it mention that I could face the copyright theft gestapo at my local Walgreens. No where. The terms of use clearly state that I must have the right to upload pictures, which I do. I have violated no policy. They have my contact info.  Why the hell then, did the store take it upon themselves to refuse to deliver me my photos?

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My next step is to call The Walgreens Institute of Photographic Art’s corporate headquarters. I dialed up the 24/7 customer service number.

"Hello, this is Gale, how may I help you."

I explained to Gale my predicament, my irritation, and my confusion at this arbitrary policy. No where on the website was this mentioned as a possibility.

She said that I should call another number. I thanked her and called it. "We are not available to take your call now, please leave a message and we will get back to you."

WTF. I looked at the contact information on the Walgreens website. Customer Service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It says it right there. I call it back.

I launch into my story again, get part of the way through it, when Gale cuts me off. "Sir, we just spoke. I told you have to call that other number."

"That’s funny, because I’m calling the 24/7 hotline that says Customer Service. It’s right here on your website."

"Well, the problem is that this is an in-store issue and needs to be escalated through the proper channels."

"Again, I see ‘Customer Serivice, 24/7’ What is it that you do there, anyway?"

"Well, I’m not going to get into that with your, sir."

I had her on the ropes. I could tell. She was getting flustered. My logic was ironclad – my resolve, firm. "Okay, I can kinda see what you’re saying, but I don’t see this as an in-store problem only. I initiated the transaction online, through www.walgreens.com so if anything you’re partly responsible for the issue as well. I should have been notified of this policy. Is there, in fact, any policy at all?" I asked, channeling Monty Python’s Cheese Shop. Funny how often that comes up, huh?

"Actually, you’re like the fourth or fifth person to call with this issue. I don’t really know. I haven’t heard of it either, but I’ve gotten maybe four or five calls. Maybe there’s been some change. I don’t know. If you want I can take your information and we will get back to you."

"Okay," I sigh. I know where this is going. My complaint will be filled out in triplicate, stamped, processed, filed and sent on a on-way ticket to a happy place, a place of rainbows and unicorns and magic butterflys with candy fountains. No, there’s no fighting it. I lose. Customer Service, you win. I acquiesce.

*I ended up happily using www.shutterfly.com to print my pictures.  No problems.  Cheap.  You have to wait for them to come in the mail, but at least I don’t have to go to submit to the fascists at Walgreens 

4 Comments

  1. Avatar
    PJ Cabrera

    The pictures look really good, but so what? What pile of bull cookies this “too good to be your pictures” policy is.

    You know, if I were you, I would be vigilant about your photos showing up as “sample photos” on new frames at Walgreens. LOL

  2. Avatar
    Jim

    🙂 Thanks, PJ. Yeah, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this. I did a search on Google, and found other stories that were similar. The issue to me, though, is not that they want want to protect themselves from liability, but 1) did they post the policy 2) why assume the default posture of “you’re a thief”

    They should have a failsafe condition, IMHO.

    “Your pictures are really nice, sir. Would you mind signing this release form certifying that they are your work?”

    And the other stupid thing is that I did this through the website. The website’s terms of use already protect them from liability (as much as a terms of use can, I suppose), by forbidding the uploading of copyrighted works to which you do not have rights. AND on top if it all if there is a problem, they have my phone number, address, and name.

    I mean, come on, Walgreens, use some common sense. Idiots, locally and at the corporate level.

    But Shutterfly took care of me and the prints are great.

  3. Avatar
    Crystal

    You do realize that these customer service reps are underpaid peons who are just as frustrated with their corporation’s policies as you are? And just as powerless as you are? I’m just saying the poor beleagured woman you spoke to on the phone was probably as distressed by the fact she couldn’t help you as you were that you couldn’t get help.

    And I’m sorry, but yelling at the customer service rep is just rude. You should have the attitude that you are both going to work on a solution together. Rudeness just makes customer service reps just dig in their heels.

  4. Avatar
    Jim

    That’s a pretty condescending attitude, “The poor beleagured woman you spoke to on the phone.” Why do you assume this? She took a job, presumably for pay commensurate with the work load with the expectation to actually, you know, do something.

    In any case, there was no yelling at the customer service rep (you must have skimmed the article… I think if you reread you will grasp the facts of the case). You did actually read my little article, no? The only rudeness was on the part of the photo area employee and then the manager. The customer service rep (on the phone) was polite. I was polite. I still don’t know what her job was, though. Interference maybe?

    Maybe you meant the person behind the counter at the store. I’m sorry, but just because the person working the counter is an underpaid peon, doesn’t mean that I should accept her rude behavior. “Oh, I’m sorry, Miss, you make minimum wage, care to take some more compensation out of my ass?” Please.

    And the manager wasn’t any better. The whole situation could have been resolved with friendliness and a non-confrontational attitude. I certainly didn’t initiate the unpleasantness. I certainly would never treat a customer or anyone that way.

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