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Picure Me Studios / Sears Portrait Studio / Former Corp. Customer Service Rep. here

1 United States Review updated:

I am a former Customer Service Rep. for Picture Me and Sears Portrait Studios. The following is just an FYI.
The Good
1. CPI Corp. now owns both businesses.
2. The are currently working on imporoving Customer Service within the Customer service area.
3. Most of the Pic Me Film studios are converting to digital within the year.

The Bad
1. The training that one receives in the coroporate customer service call center is beyond professional, informative, or helpful. You sit and listen to various phone calls with various other reps. for a couple days. Hardly any procedures are given to you. They all tell you different things, no one person knows everything. It is basically, winging it most of the time. I was so appauled at what I was having to tell the customers who was calling in, and not being able to help, that I finally quit.

2. The stress level in the call center is horrible. The hours are horrible. Especially around the holidays. They give you a list of the do's and don'ts and send you on your way. Many times, I just made my own decisions and refunded the customers.

3. Many people don't realize that with the Film studios, that if we send the film back in for whatever reason, such as cropping, lighting, what not...The film will come back the same if not worse. This just aggravates the customer further. Where I would like to be up front and tell the customer what their options are.

4. Many of the photographers are shipped in to the corporate building for 2 weeks. All expenses paid. Then sent back to the studios, and they only get paid mininum wage. . If you want quality, they need to pay the photographers for it.

5. They are always willing to give out free sheets that you can use at another session. Be it whatever your complaint is. I have heard reps just ask ' what do you want ' and they give it to them.

Working there was the biggest mistake. The bigger mistake, was doing it for 2 years.

Hang in there folks!!

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  • Un
      9th of Jun, 2008
    0 Votes

    First of all they don' t use film. They are completely digital so you must not have learned one of the most important things about your job. KNOW YOUR PRODUCT! Second they don't bring employees to corp in St Louis to train them, they are trained on the job. Yes at times there are people hired that need training but CPI has made a turn to hire more experienced and productive employees. FYI, they make more than Min wage and can earn raises as any other job. You have to realize how many people are out there wanting everything for free because they know they can ### and get it. You can't even go to walmart or sams club and print your own pictures for a lower price than what you get with quality pictures at Sears. What do you want a miracle for $9.99 packages? Get over it and get a job and learn your product.

  • Sh
      5th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    Let's talk CPI... I recently left Sears Portrait Studios after 3 months of Misery. That has to be one of the worst companies i have ever worked for. I was hired and rapidly trained and then Left alone for hours on a closing shift without breaks. I would try to call my manger to ask for help, she either would not answer the phone or just shut if off all night. I was trained to never sell a 9.99 package and told if i kept selling them to people i would get written up and then terminated.(which eventually did happen). i WAS told to always add a super saver club card plan to every customers order who did not already have one (without telling them or asking them first!). I was trained to go to the sales table and only show enhanced photos and to keep enhancing without showing them original photos. I was written up every week for not forcing customers to buy the extra sheets when they picked up their orders.The employees would constantly schedule appts for people without informing them of the 14.99 session fee so the customer would always flip out when they got their total at the register. My managers would always schedule 8.00 p.m sessions when we closed at 8.00 p.m. Saturdays always meant 12 hour shifts and most of the time without breaks. The props and toys were never washed or sanatized while i worked at the studio. If a customer came in with a 9.99 Coupon managers and other employees were always forcing the customer with the coupon off on someone else so they would not risk getting written up. It was a studio full of gossips, backstabbers. They had no problem ripping off nice people, so much for Customer Service... When i finally got fired the DM (Tamin) took me to the front of the studio and fired me in front of several customers. Total lack of profession. I worked at store # 41437 The Parks Mall in Arlington Texas.

  • Me
      13th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    As a photographer for CPI I can verify what Danie, and shuttervixen have stated.

    When we were film, I would talk people out of re-ordering, or re-printing due to the color issues, and get them to re-shoot. I have yet to figure out why the first round would come back "ok" but god help them if they wanted more, as the second printing came back different colors. Kids faces were pink; purple, washed out, etc.

    The customer service reps.. Man I feel bad for you guys!! We were told last Christmas season that there were only 4-9 people answering the phones, and to be patient. 4-9 people handling the entire east side of the map?? Are they crazy? Oh and CPI doesn't have a customer complaint problem? LOLOLOLOL...

    The DM's, and MM's are seriously underpaid, and over worked. They're so desperate that they hire "Bodies" just so they can maybe do THEIR jobs for a few weeks, instead of covering a studio.

    The photographers are underpaid, over worked, and treated like replaceable nothings. You can run the numbers, work 6-7 days a week, essentially give up your life outside of this company and still find yourself in the unemployment line.

    This company doesn't value the photographer, which I find appalling, since WE MAKE THE MONEY. We are the FACE OF YOUR COMPANY, and are treated as LESS. We are the talent behind your all mighty dollar. Why is this talent not appreciated?

    Instead they covet the float. The ### willing to travel all over the district for 30 cents a mile. The float could be the WORST photographer on the planet, be rude to customers, have constant complaints, run ### for numbers, but still get raises when they ###, while those of us who actually do our jobs continue to get screwed.

    Yeah, there's a morale builder.

    My favorite kick in the face is training new hires that know NOTHING of photography, and yet somehow they're making more money then I am... I have an associate’s degree in photography, and have been here for 5 years. I've won the competitions, been offered the MD's job ($30, 500 a year? Are you SERIOUS?? LOL ) I spend a small fortune on props, as this company offers you NOTHING - and still manage to get written up for staying late with that problem child who just wouldn't sit. Imagine that? Getting written up for CUSTOMER SERVICE?

    Just to give you an overview of how this company has treated ME... I'll give you my top 5 write ups. They're entertaining.

    1. I got a "final" written via email no less, for working through my lunch. I work alone. They schedule me 12 appts, knowing I can only do 8 (1 an hr for quality) 12 appts, plus passports, walk-ins, deliveries, oh and I have to answer the phone within 2 rings.

    2. I got a "Verbal" (again via email) for not answering the phone within 2 rings. LOL... see above as to the why.

    3. I got a "final" for working 19 days straight without a day off. I work alone. None of the "bodies" last long, and I don't get a day off unless the DM covers me.

    4. I got a "written" for a customer complaint. Said customer waited 6 months to pick up their pictures, which is all my fault of coarse. We only hold them for 13 weeks, before they're thrown out. Customer complained that I never called her. Never mind the dates I have as proof of each phone call, but does the pick up date on your receipt not give you a clue as to when your portraits will be ready? IDIOTS.

    5. I got a "final" for clocking out 2 min early. Now to fully get this one, you need to know it was the spring forward time advance, and I was actually an hr late clocking out. Try explaining that to corporate who didn't update their computers until THAT evening, instead of the night before like the rest of the world.

    I ask myself everyday why I stay, and my answer is I love what I do. My customers tell me all the time I need to open my own studio. They'd follow me anywhere.


  • Ja
      29th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Hey unspoken, your a lovely bag of joy aren't you? Know what your talking about prior to knocking someone. Not all studios have been converted to digital yet. There is still 23% that is film.

    Photographers near corporate are in fact sent there for training, and then sent into the field. Those studios are amazing, and it's really not fair to train people there, as the studios in the field aren't nearly as good.

    CPI taking over and micromanaging the hell out of us is getting a bit old. They're sucking the fun right out of this job. They want, they want, they want... if they let us breath occasionally they'd find what they wanted would come naturally. I've almost had enough, which is sad, since I've been here through 2 bankruptcys, 3 takeovers, & 9 DM/MM's.

    This company is seriously starting to suck.

  • Ja
      29th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Oh, and as for hiring more experienced I don't know what part of the map your on, but in mine, if you can read, and write enough to fill out the application, your hired at $12 an hr. ###s off the street who know nothing of photography, who think it'll be a fun job, just pushing a button.

    I think if CPI seriously wants change they need to remove all of Picture Me's upper management, starting with the Regionals.

  • St
      7th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    Their customer service is horrible. My daughter fell at a studio in El Cajon, CA. The studio employees had no clue what to do, didn't even have a first aid kit, didn't call Sears security for help, and looked at me crazy when I didn't want to buy the pictures and requested a corporate phone number. I called the customer service number and the person was rude and unsymphathetic.

    Two days later, I got the Sears store manager on the phone who apologied and did everything the studio employees and customer service wouldn't do...apologize. The Sears GM gave me the CPI number to find out if they ever created an incident number. I called and was offered to be reimbursed for the medical bill and asked why didn't I go to the E.R. immediately. I was like "what." I took her to the E.R. in less than 24 hours after the injury. The CPI rep never apologized and only wanted to know if x-rays were taken.

    Ok, the customer service rep said that the district manager would contact me. I'm not holding my breath any longer on that one. It's been two months later and still no phone call. I couldn't recommend anyone to use their studio again. My first visit with my child was my last visit.

  • Wo
      15th of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    I have worked for Sears Portrait Studio for 3 years and it was great. I was promoted to assistant manager. Then the HELL began. A new manager was brought in. She is all of 22 years old but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I have been written up 10 times in the last month. I was also demoted for not making my outreach calls. My manager told me that she continuiously "fakes" them so she doesn't get into trouble. So let me get this straight. If I fake 'em I'm ok. If I'm honest and don't I get demoted. Sears has been the worst place to work for.

  • Ti
      7th of Sep, 2010
    0 Votes

    Look up lawsuit cpi sears portrait studio in your browser. If you have worked or are currently working for cpi you should get in on this lawsuit. its going big

  • Ev
      12th of Oct, 2010
    0 Votes

    Yeah I just got canned today. I worked there for three years and I can tell you a lot. Dec of 2008 my Boss went on Vacation even though this was the black out season and did not mention to any one that she was leaving. I ended up needing to go to the hospital but I could not get a hold of her and her major rule was "never leave the studio uncovered." Then she convinced my associate to work after she had one of the background bars land on her head. Back in March she actually dictated to me when I could conceive a child. She told me, "As long as you don't have it during the busy season." She also forced out another studio manager by picking on her because she had a miscarriage. The last time I called HR which was a couple of weeks ago, because she was harassing me off the clock no less, they never returned my call. That just proves that they don't care about how we get treated and that they think they are untouchable.

  • Cp
      6th of Aug, 2011
    0 Votes

    I literally clocked out early from work today and quit from Sears Portrait Studio which was located at the once Sears Essentials store on Florida Avenue in Lakeland Florida, which is apparently changing over to Kmart. I walked off the job due to the ridiculous treatment I have had to deal with sense working with this company. The Sears Portrait Studio is going to become the first stand alone store inside a kmart.

    Now to tell you what that means for our studio is that the store is going to be run to the ground because of a new manager being placed into the store when I have been working my butt off for almost a year and I actually have a college degree but no that doesn't matter. The current manager told me promises that she could not keep such as giving me more hours and that the manager was going to train me to become assistant manager. She told me this at the exact time she knew she was going to be leaving to be a manager for another studio. The new manager being placed into the studio is not going to help the studio because she has never been a manager before and she doesn't even have a college degree. The other major problem is that because of our studio going to a standalone studio all of our equipment is going to be from CPI and their equipment is CRAP it never works. This company doesn't provide any new equipment and does not provide people who actually know how to fix equipment to come out and fix our stuff. Us the employee has to call tech support and tell them about our problem and then stand on ladders and try not to get electricuted by faulty equipment.

    I don't know how many times I have had to sit and wait on hold too with tech support while serving customers, taking pictures that come out like crap because of messed up equipment. Now our credit card system is going to all go through them which I can assure you will go down every day. Customers complain about the fact that we are not allowed to have more then one employee working at a time and therefore I am expected to do everything and run around like a chicken with my head cut off. I am tired of: apologizing for things that are not even my fault, having to work for crap pay, people yelling at me, going out in the store and being the companies advertiser when they have enough money to advertise they just bought out Bella Pictures, those dang coupons they send out for tons of free pictures and they wonder why our numbers are down (Mcdonalds doesn't give out free stuff all the time like this and they are fast food), tired of their constant changing outreach and collections and they wonder why their employees don't know how to get their customers into a collection it is because the prices keep increasing even though the economy is bad, and I am tired of working off clock to do the end of the night closing CRAP that takes forever, and I am tired of working through my lunch breaks when I need to eat right so that I can breast feed and pump milk.

    I did not start off in this studio either I started in the Brandon studio which was by far the worst studio ever. The lady who hired me was the rudest lady I think I have ever met and she hired me telling me that I would get to work as a photographer. The whole time I worked for her she made me pass these tests that she setup for me such as taking photographs of a bear and it had to be in the exact order she wanted them in or she would get really angry with me. I only got to photograph maybe two times of real people once was of a family with a mother, father, and a one year old and the second time was of an infant. But, she said I did neither of them right and therefore I had to watch her everytime and let me remind you I have a college degree in photography. Most of the time she pushed me to the sales table when I was not comfortable in that position and I told her that at the time. I had no idea that I was supposed to do both photography and sales before I went into working for this company I really had no experience in sales. So, when I sold she would get real angry saying that I just lost a customer from coming back to the studio because of you. She would only let me sell to new customers and therefore she would say it every time you just lost another customer. Finally I had enough because I told her I wanted to be a photographer not just a sales associate and I did not appreciate the way she was treating me, so she pushed me off onto another studio the Lakeland Mall because she finally came out and said oh we really didn't need a photographer we just need a sales associate and also all the sales I made went under her personal number as if she just wanted to be a photographer and not a sales person so she could pretend that it was her sales. Of course at the time I did not know we had personal numbers for our sales. She did not even give me any of the information about how to recieve or where I could find my payment info, Associate tests on the cpi site, the discrimination or workers rights, or my job discription.

    Once I transfered to the Lakeland Mall I was given more hours due to the holiday season but of course that fell once the season was over. The major issue I ran into was that I found out I was pregnant. This was the talk of the other employees when I wasn't around apparently because one of the employees who had a very big mouth and acted like she was an assistant manager came out and told me that "people are wondering if you drink a lot because you have a big belly hanging over your pants". Not only did she say this comment but before that she had asked me if I drink a lot of alcoholic drinks and she would constantly talk about her sex life saying things that shouldn't be said in a work environment I was very offended by her. The work environment was very disgusting due to not only the conversations but the dirtyness of the studio and the constant smoking breaks the employees including the manager would take even when there were customers going to come for their appointment in less then 5 minutes. I was able to sell and photograph at this studio but still was not given enough hours during the off season and therefore I was pushed to the Sears Essentials Portrait studio due to that fact that they actually needed someone because the manager was the only one working there at the time, which I just quit from now.

    We all need to stick together and file a lawsuit against this company because they are doing a lot of unlawful things. CPIM SUCKS

  • Cp
      6th of Aug, 2011
    0 Votes

    opps typo CPI not CPIM

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