“You just gave me two Nonbuyers in a row.” The Passer says and stomps her foot like a two year old. “How am I supposed to make any money when you do that?”
“I tried to get them to take more portraits.” I say in mild irritation. “But they refused.”
For a long time I was baffled by this kind of bursting at the seams over one or two Nonbuyers. We have a lot of names on the list, at that time we had about 50 sits a day to shoot and show portraits to. So a handful of Nonbuyers didn’t matter much-to me, they didn’t matter at all. But now things have changed a bit. Now we have far fewer Sits a day, so each one of these Sits matters.
It still pisses me off when people walk in and say We just want the one for the Book, which people have always said in one way or another. But I tend to get more upset now than I used to. I shouldn’t. In the long run it doesn’t matter. In the short run, it might matter, and it might not.
I have been known to tell people to get out, your done, that’s it, and so on when they want just one or two portraits taken. Do you go into a restaurant and order two glasses of water and tell the waiter to bugger off when he suggests you might like to order something to eat?
Every once in a while a couple of Nonbuyers come in wanting nothing but the shot for The Book. They say we don’t want to waste your time, so I tell them to stay home next time. This, not surprisingly, tends to piss a few of them off. It’s one of the things that I have a hard time controlling. It annoys me, and it really shouldn’t. You just have a couple in a row and you think that everyone is going to want nothing but the one for The Book.
I’ve never been good with conflict. I tend to stew and worry after these little events. I’m mostly a softy who cries at Folgers commercials and can’t be in the same room when Old Yellow is showing. So I really don’t know where these Real Man instincts come from. I do know that everyone who waltzes in with I Just Want The One For The Book is money out of my pocket.
There should be a Separate List for Book Only people. I know this would reward those cheap bastards by giving them a book without their having to pay for it by viewing their portraits, but it would be worth it to free up the space on the Real Schedule. A list of people to just be zipped through and told to have a nice day. Absolutely no pressure. So what if everyone wanted to be on the Book Only Sheet? Then we could just cancel the whole thing and save all of us the hassle all around.
But for that to work, The Company would have to admit that we are here to sell portraits, not make the best fucking pictorial directory in the history of the world-which is what The Company wants everyone to think is our business. I’m surprised The Company hasn’t embraced the idea of The One Shot Directory-just do away with all of us in the field and have everyone submit a photo.
It’s all the system’s fault, and I am not the only one who thinks so. But nothing is likely to change on that front. The demon spawn PreSellers will continue to book Shoots too close together and Photographers and Passers will continue to bitch and moan that we can’t make any money this way. Going into a Shoot two years after the last Book is setting us up for failure-well, the PreSeller still makes money-all they need are people to show up. And as long as the PreSellers make money when no profit is made, the Company’s future doesn’t look all that rosy.
Maybe that’s part of why I get these take no shit form any man, woman, child or small appliance moments.
My job is to take portraits. The Passer’s job is to sell those portraits. The PreSeller’s job is to book people on a list and gets paid whether we sell anything or not.
People who walk in knowing full well that they have no interest n buying portraits are wasting The Photographer’s and the Passer’s time and stealing a slot that could have been used by a Buyer. Forcing people to take Portraits is something I get a complaint for from time to time-which is kind of like complaining about a movie theater running movies the whole damn time your there.
Seriously, if you don’t want portraits, don’t go in to have your portrait taken. And if you just want the Freebie, then the price you have to pay is having your portraits taken and listening to a sales pitch. It really pisses me off that The Company’s entire marketing plan is to get every cheap bastard in town to show up and they then act surprised when every cheap bastard in town shows up.
I should be used to it, after all these years, I should just be rolling with the punches and smiling and saying whatever makes you happy. I should just concentrate on the portraits, focus on the centering, make sure everyone is looking in the right direction, all that kind of stuff. And for the most part, it does all even out. Working for The Company is not the best job in world, but it’s not the worst either.