I wanted a particular photograph to hang in my office. It reminds me of a pivotal point in my life. The photo is online, and I could have just lifted it off the site and printed it up at Walgreens for about $2. But, noooooooooooo.
I sent out three emails to track down the photographer in Columbus, Mississippi. I like to support the creative folks in this world, so I wanted to pay him for this wonderful picture. Nice, right? I know. It’s how I roll.
I copied the picture into an email asking if I could order it from him. Sure!! Just send $30, here’s the address, here’s my address, the usual stuff. We even had a phone conversation about the best size to order (he’s the professional, after all).
This was in October.
Every week since, I’ve emailed. Cashed check, no photo. Email. My helper didn’t send. Email. My shipping tubes just arrived. Email. It’s coming. Email. I forgot your address. Email. I lost your address. Email. Should be on its way. Email. Can you give me your address again? Email. I'll print it Monday. Email.
Anyway, last week, FINALLY a tube in the mailbox. YAY!!!
But it wasn’t anything close to what I ordered. Wrong photo, wrong orientation, wrong size, wrong blown-up-ed-ness/zoom percentage (whatever the term is for this).
A tad tired of emailing with him, I called to try to straighten things out, thinking that with any luck, I may never ever ever have to talk to him again.
He asked, “Can you email me the photo you want?”
“But you're the photographer? Why do I need to send you an attachment of YOUR photo? And, anyway, it’s in our emails. It was pasted into the first email I sent you. Wouldn’t you have it?”
“I can tell you’re upset. The first thing you need to do is to calm down.”
“What I need to do is to get this straightened out. It’s been six weeks and I’m tired of talking to you about a photo that I couldn’t have been clearer in ordering.”
“You need to relax. I can’t see the photo you put in the email.”
“How did you know what photo I was ordering?”
“I saw it once, but I can’t see it now.”
Chirp. “I will send as an attachment. Just please resend.”
“I need your address again.”
“Of course you do. You really should think of all this as lessons learned so you don't lose your shirt on your store.” (He mentioned that he was in the process of creating an e-bay store.)
"Those people will be ordering from file numbers, so none of this will happen."
I waited another week (now seven weeks and ten times as many emails). Nothing. So, I email yet again. (I always put on my patience hat when working with "creatives" - they don't think the same way we do - but this was wayyyyyyyyyy beyond non-linear thinking.)
Ol’ lightning rod returns my email (from his work email address) almost immediately. “Been out all week with a sick kid. I’ll just send your money back to you.”
“That’s probably for the best. Somewhere this got too complicated for you.”
“Not complicated. Just circumstances out of my control.”
“The last seven weeks have not been beyond our control. This was a transaction a child could have handled. And on top of that, after last week's fiasco, you make up a story about a sick kid, because you obviously completely forgot.”
“My kid IS sick. He’s right here on the couch with me with ulcers and a fever. Thanks for your compassion. I’ll send you the photo AND your money back because I am a nice person. Merry Christmas.”
How the hell did I end up the bitch in this transaction??? I tell ya, it’s exhausting sometimes, trying to do the right thing with the wrong people.