Sunday, July 29, 2012

When Good Deals Go Bad

Online group deals can be a fantastic way to both save money and obtain goods/services that you otherwise may not have either known about or been able to afford. I personally have purchased and used many of these deals offered through various sites - groupon, living social, mamasource - without issue. But there are times when good deals go bad. This is my story.

I’m very into photography - both taking pictures and having pictures taken. I get photos taken every year for my son’s birthday to capture him at each age. My budget in the past couple years hasn’t allowed me to do anything professional so I’ve just been going to Picture People at the mall. They’ve been fine pictures but I was looking to do something different this year and also get a new family photo. So off to the internet I went in search of an online deal. To my surprise I found a deal on living social (in my budget) for a professional photographer session at Studio 6 Photography in northern NJ.. I checked the photographer’s website and looked for reviews of his work and found nothing off about him. He sounded reputable and had a good portfolio of work. I thought to myself, “how fantasitic! Let’s give it a shot.” My sister had done the same thing with a groupon and gotten gorgeous pictures of her family. How could this go wrong?? yeah, um well… did.

What was Included in the deal               What I Got
1 hour in-studio session                            20 minutes in-studio session
1 - 8x10 portrait of any image                  1 - 8x10 portrait of an image
of MY choosing                                          that HE chose
1 CD of 24 edited images                         1 CD of all raw images
                                                                      (the only bonus)

Our session was on May 19th. My first sign of things to come was being shorted 40 minutes on our session. He didn’t listen to anything I wanted done during the session, had zero ideas of his own, barely varied any of the poses with us, and then hurried us out of the studio as if we were wasting HIS time. I immediately knew the pictures were going to turn out like crap and I had just flushed 60 bucks down the drain. We were told to call him one week later to discuss which picture we wanted for our 8x10 and to set up a time to pick up our print and CD.

I won’t bore you with the play by play of the exact details of what happened week by week, but the summary is that he avoided me and blew off my phone calls for 2 months!! I wasn’t allowed to pick the picture for the 8x10 that was included in the deal, HE chose it. And to add insult to injury he chose the WORST picture of all 3 of us for the print he ultimately gave us. How does a professional photographer pick the worst picture he took to be the one a customer gets as a take away?  I seriously don’t get it.

In the few phone calls that I actually did speak to him, he told me half way through this ordeal that he lost the (crappy) picture so I took the opportunity to tell him to order a pose that I knew was nicer. I explained it to him in great detail and he knew exactly what I was talking about – one was horizontal and one was vertical so it was very easy to distinguish.

About 2 weeks ago I phoned up Living Social to complain about him and that I hadn’t received my goods after a month and a half. Their vendor relations group called him up and he miraculously gave them a pick up date of 7/23/12…a MONDAY when I’m at work. He also told them this date as if we had just spoken and set up a time, which was so far from the truth. I had to chase him this entire past week to see if I could come and pick up my stuff this weekend. I finally flat out told him I would be there Saturday at 11 am so he better be there.

Well….when we showed up to pick up our picture and CD yesterday he comes out with the crappy picture that he supposedly “lost” a month ago!! My jaw nearly hit the floor. When I called him on it (in front of another customer) he had the nerve to reply “why would I say I lost it? That’s weird. I don’t know what other new picture you’re talking about.” I seriously could have slapped him. Since he knows I’ve already complained he tried to make good on it by saying he’ll order me a new picture of the correct pose and mail it to me. Mind you he already told me 3 weeks ago that he had ordered this for me to replace the one he lost. I left my name and address but I’m not holding my breath that it comes.

I then came home and spent the afternoon cropping and editing in Picasa to get a few good images from the crappy raw ones that he gave me. I’ve ended up with a few good ones out of this whole ordeal and I have the CD of all the ones he took and will be making my own prints, so all is not lost. However the aggravation of getting my products from this man was NOT worth it. Next time I’m going to the mall instead.

Moral of the story….
While these group deal sites are good and you can get great deals from them, it all depends on the vendor. I thought I had done my homework on this place but evidently not enough. DO NOT EVER GO FOR PHOTOS AT STUDIO 6 PHOTOGRAPHY in ENGLEWOOD, NJ. Awful service and in my opinion, not so great photography. But I guess I got what I paid for.... 

Here are the couple best pictures that I got out of the 93 that were taken. Note: one of them I cropped from other awful ones:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Half Way Mark

In the words of Bon Jovi….. Whooah, we’re half way there.  6 months of project 365. ::pats self on back::  I was so worried about making it 1 month with this project, yet here I am half a year later and going strong.  I already see so much of a difference in both myself and Anthony looking back on our January pictures.  It’s amazing.

Here’s a slideshow of the last 6 months.  Looking forward to see what the next 6 months brings.

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