I don't know about you all, but I love me some Groupon and Living Social. They allow me to try, on the cheap, new places to eat, get my hair cut, or even rotate my tires. I met my new hairstylist, Guthrie, this way (though I haven't been to him in ages! Living social has yet to have a deal on TIME. I'd totally buy that up.)
One thing I'm always on the look out for are deals on photography for the kids. We don't have a "picture" part of the budget, so whatever pictures we do get taken have to be paid for out of our miscellaneous pocket. Which only gets about $20 a week. Usually its spent on extra groceries, or other, you know, miscellaneous stuff. Discounts on photographers that aren't located in Wally World are preferred.
I've been pretty fortunate at bargain hunting for pictures. I did a fall mini session for Eliza's newborn pictures and our family pictures. That ran me about $175, but it came with a cd and the rights to the pictures. I had another living social deal to an awesome lady, Terrah, who took Eliza's 3 month pictures (again with a CD.) She modeled for my friend, Jen, around 4 months old. I , unfortunately, did not have a deal for her 6 month pictures, so I took her to portrait innovations for some cheap, (but voluptuous) and easy pictures.
I wasn't planning on a 9 month session any where, because I'm saving up to do another mini session in the fall (for birthday pictures and Christmas cards again.) However, this AH-MAZING photographer did a living social deal that I could not refuse. There is no way, in heck, that I could ever afford her pricing whilst still feeding my growing family. But, the living social deal was $39 and included a 20 minute mini session and 4 5x7s and 8 wallets in one pose.
I knew it was going to be tough, getting just one picture. However, I figured that if all of that cost $39, that I might be able to buy an additional print for $35-$40ish. (Which is still a lot, but I know myself and I hate choosing just one. I worry and worry that I "should've gotten a different one." I know. I have a problem.)
So, we get to the session. Eliza was absolutely PERFECT! (You'd never know we had gotten up at 4 am.) She looks at the camera, smiles her gorgeous smile, bats her eyes, sniffs, stands, sits, crawls. You name it, she did it. And she looked fabulous! (y'all, she's made to be a baby model. Just saying.) The photographer kept commenting about how awesome Eliza was and how she was just going to take "one more" and "oh, one more here, too."
We were supposed to chose from 8 images after getting rid of the funky baby/eyes closed ones. We ended up with 30. Of which, I liked about 27. I quickly narrowed it down to 15. Then 10. I decided which pose I wanted for the Living Social deal. (its so sweet, guys. so. sweet.) It was then that the photographer asked me if I reviewed pricing before I came. I did not.
She hands me the pricing sheet, while saying "these prices are greatly discounted to go along with the deal." The smallest "package" was of one pose and started at $175 for 3 pictures. Just in case you missed that the first time- $175 for 3 pictures. That was a discount.
I realized, at this point, things weren't going to end well. My mother in law, who had taken the bigs to the park and came back to go through the pictures with me, asked if she had an ala-cart pricing. The photographer answers "this IS our ala cart."
Me: "so, you can't just buy one picture? Like an 8x10 or 5x7?"
Her: "no. these pictures are over half off. You have to get the package."
Me: "can I think about it? Call my husband and talk to my mom and get back with you tomorrow?"
Her: "no. Once you walk out of here, your pictures are deleted."
Me: "well, then. I guess we'll just have to stick to the deal only."
Her: "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."
okay. so maybe she didn't say that last sentence. But, it sure felt like it. Her attitude went from joyful and friendly, to very cold and distant. In fact, she didn't even see us out or tell me when the pictures would be in. I had to go back up to the desk and ask her assistant. She just got up and left.
Its not like I think her pictures aren't worth the price. They were amazing pictures. Just beautiful. The lady has some major awesome talent. If this is what talent costs, I just can't afford that kind of talent.
So, I left my baby girl's 9 month photo session extremely guilt-ridden that all of those beautiful pictures were being deleted and I wasted this photographers time with my measly $39 Living Social deal. I wanted to cry in the car because of the way she made me feel. She made me feel cheap. Lousy. Worthless. Then, I started to get mad. Really mad.
This is what made me so mad/hurt/angry. Her attitude about me. Her attitude about my family. Her niceness was strictly based on money. But, here's what I don't understand. Where did she even get the idea that I would be one to fork over loads of money for pictures? I bought a Living Social deal for Pete's sake. Clearly I can't afford her regular pricing! Secondly, its not like I was dressed to the nines or something. Here's what I wore:
yeah. I know. Classing it up. T-shirt and shorts are Target clearance. Even my shoes were under $5. So, maybe it was my purple pearl earrings that made it clear to her that I was "in the money". Who knows?
So, now I'm debating what to do about it. I'm not typically a confrontational gal. I don't really want to leave a nasty review, since the pictures she took were so good. But, at the same time, I want to warn other people that bought the same deal (the deal just went live Thursday so there's a good chance most people haven't scheduled yet.) to be prepared for the additional print costs. I felt like I was completely blind sided. I wish there was a way to do this anonymously. *sigh*