Better The Devil You Know

“So how long did you work for Church Impressions before they went out of business?” I say to the Old Timer Photographer.

“About five years.” He says with a shrug. “I was a Trainer and a District Manager there.”

“And what about PCA?”

“I was there about five years when they went out of business.” He says with a sigh. “I was a Manager there as well.  I had to drive around and pick up all the equipment.  A lot of the guys were in the middle of Shoots and we just had to walk away from them”

“And how long have you been working for The Company?”

“About four years.”

“Well, I guess it won’t be long now.”

The Company has always worked on The Dilbert Principal, Idiots in Management.  Like every other Company I’ve worked for, they preferred going out of business to doing what is needed to survive on their own.  The Company says that we have ‘merged’ with our largest rival, while the rival simply says they bought The Company.

The best that will happen is that the morons at the Home Office who have been consistently driving The Company into the ground the last twenty years or so will all be gone-the worst that can happen is that these dumbfucks will still be allow to have some say in how the New Company is run.

In reading the Welcome to Our Happy Family notice on The Company website, the most disturbing bit of business is that it says All Our Employees Our Seasonal Employees.  Really?  ALL of them are Seasonal?  Even the people at the Home Office and the Lab?  I’ve worked for other Companies that did school photos and you didn’t work when the schools are closed.  I didn’t last too long there as I still need to eat during the Summer.

It’s no secret that I have no love for The Company, but I have become used to their particular ways of doing things.  I am used to the current method of pay, the current insurance, and the current reimbursement for expenses.  I have yet to get any details, so for all I know nothing will change, or it might change for the better.  But I have been around the Assembly Line Portrait business long enough to hope for the best and expect the worst.

At the very least the New Company is not going to need two managers for every area, twice as many Photographers, twice as many Passers, and twice as many PreSellers.  In the best of all worlds they won’t need any of our scum sucking Presellers.  If they have any brains the New Boss will keep the best people from each Company and cut out all the deadwood.  I can’t see the New Company handing off it’s best accounts to the new people, so guess where most of the deadwood is going to be found?

Looking back over the past few months the writing was clearly on the wall.  The sudden desire to hire nothing but kids to be Passers and Photographers.  Changing the Supervisors job from supervising to working Shoots and training all the new people.  Payroll problems of one sort or another.  Changing the Shoots so that we had one Passer instead of two.  Changing the hours we work.  None of these changes were for the better, but they have been requirements made by the New Boss to the Old Boss.

Change is never easy and all of us who have been around a while remember the Good Old Days and keep hoping they will come back.  They won’t, of course.  Gone are the days when you could roll into town and people would line up with cash in hand to buy portraits.  Now everyone considers themselves to be a photographer and no one has any respect for copyright laws.  It’s pretty common for someone to stand behind The Photograph and snap photos or wait until the pictures are displayed on the Passers monitor and snap photos of the finished images.  They don’t even think they are doing anything wrong.

So the slow spiral down the drain continues, but it continues without the presence of The Company.

In the end I should follow the example set by The Simpson’s Kent Brockman when he thought the earth was being invaded by giant space ants.  He made a sign that read HAIL ANTS and talked about how happy he was and how he would do whatever his new overloads wanted him to do.

“One thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the New Company will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new Assembly Line Portraits overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted Portrait Photographer, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their Church Directory Shoots.”

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2 Comments

  • Z Carpenter wrote:

    Absolutely hilarios. This is the way it really was. Also one thing they made you shoot 6 days a week in the afternoons and evenings. Your mornings were to pack and go to the next location which could be two whole states away at any given day. They had terrible coverage and very hard to follow reimbursement directions. Not to mention the desire for photog’s to always be wearing suit and tie while loading in and out of the location even if it was 110 deg SUN.
    One other problem was there were Regional Managers who had their wives critique the photos for consistency, talk about nepotistic. Those were awful times. Busy but awful. Then the company started to have problems with the kid photog’s not following rules so they had punitive reinforcement enabled for ALL photographers! The positive environment went down hill fast. Also many of the new sales people left due to all the oldies being wicked mean crones. Church Impressions, wicked inhumane meanness is all it was.

  • The Photographer wrote:

    The amazing thing is that so many people worked for them. It seems like half the people I have worked with over the years worked for CI at one point-and most claim those the Glory Days.

    But yeah, Assembly Line Portraits does seem to attract more than it’s share of old crones-and old codgers as well.

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