please note the exclamations...


I'd like to interrupt all other thoughts I might be having at the moment to talk about customer service...

A week ago I was booked for a photoshoot at a local restaurant here in Edmonton. The client was looking for photos that captured the ambiance of the restaurant which posed an interesting challenge in regards to the lighting of the shots. Although my photography has not yet made it into cost-recovery mode (which is why I have a full-time job) I decided to invest in a wireless transmitter for my speedlite. As I had lamented in an earlier post, the transmitter was not available in Edmonton so I had to order it from The Camera Store in Calgary, which I did... last Monday. I called the store first to verify that they had one in stock and I ended up having to place my order on the web since that was how they were no longer doing phone orders. It wasn't that big of a deal though, the guy on the phone told me that he was holding the item for me and made a note for the web sales guy to look out for my order as I was hoping for the item to arrive before the end of the week. As I work during the regular delivery hours of Canada Post, I chose to have my order shipped to work, not thinking that the order wouldn't go through since my billing and shipping address are not the same. But then Thursday rolled around and I still had not received confirmation that my order was shipped. I started to get worried... it was only coming from Calgary but if it hadn't shipped that day it wouldn't arrive until the next week, too late for me to use for my shoot. So I called, only to be transferred to the web sale guys voicemail. So I leave my message, my plea to have my order looked into, asking the gentleman to call me back asap. However, no phonecall do I receive... no instead I get an email telling me that my order hadn't gone through because my shipping and billing address are different. Blast!

Why is it so difficult for some stores to understand (particularly camera stores as I have had this experience in the past) that an individual can have different shipping and billing addresses. Amazon seems to understand it all right.... so why can't these stores. I emailed the web sales guy back as I couldn't get through on the phone, sent him my billing address, asked for the item to be shipped to work (my credit card recognizes my work address as a valid shipping address) explaining that otherwise it would be delivered to my apartment only to be sent back to the post office for me to pick up after one o'clock the day following the unsuccessful delivery attempt (again, after my shoot). But no... the package is sent to my apartment... there is no one at home to receive it and back it goes to the post office, waiting overnight, not to be used in the photo shoot it was intended for. Curses!

Nevertheless, the shoot went really well. All the models had been organized by a local communications firm and two of their reps were on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly. I just had to show up with my equipment and model releases. I dealt with the lighting challenge as best I could... no matter what setting I used, on camera flash killed the mood of the place so I shot with available light only. I'm a little disappointed with the whole delivery debacle because I really wanted to use my flash off camera. I reviewed some of the shots last night when I got home and I think there are some quality images in there that the client will be pleased with. Now begins the arduous task of winnowing down the 600+ photos to a more reasonable amount. Mercy!

Tonight I will pick up my package from the post office and this weekend I think I will buy a photo umbrella and continue my journey into the world of portable strobes. Hurrah!