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Sears Portrait Studio - Garden City, NY / guerilla marketing technique

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Sears Portrait Studio

Garden City, NY

Re: Sears Portrait Needs to Understand Cultural Customs (Order # )

It was our first portrait experience with Sears. My family had a very good photo session with Keira. Compared to The Picture People, where we usually go, our photo shoot at Sears was relaxing. Keira made sure we liked all of the poses. She also helped us choose the poses and number of each print in our order. We spent some time with our order, but we felt unrushed and appreciated Keira's input.

However, when we picked up our order, the Sears Portrait sales representative, April, showed us 4 more poses that was not part of our order. She showed us a sepia toned 8=94x10=94, a black and white 8=94x10=94, etc. We were confused: we spent time selecting the poses and number of prints we wanted. Why was April showing us more?

April told us it was to show us the different effects that Sears Portrait offers. It was to show us more possibilities. However, Keira

had already showed us the different printing effects when we placed our order. April said that she had no control over this printing feature; Sears Portrait had this automatic printing addition.

We felt infuriated. Is this some kind of guerilla marketing technique that Sears Portrait is using to get us to spend more money? We had already spent time with our order. Why were we being pushed to buy more?

In the U.S., where there are many different cultures, Sears Portrait needs to be sensitive with other customs. In the Chinese culture, images of people SHOULD NOT BE THROWN AWAY. There is a superstition that if people rip and throw away a person's image/photo, it does not bring good luck to that person.

We felt extremely violated that Sears Portrait produced photos WITHOUT OUR CONSENT, after we had already selected our order.

We spent $21 more. We felt extremely cheated. We felt forced to buy these 4 extra photos. Although our photo shoot experience was extremely good, and although we like the quality of our photos (i.e., lighting, color, resolution, composition), we will unfortunately never go back to Sears Portrait because of this guerilla marketing technique you have. It is not worth it.

Julia Lee


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N  13th of Oct, 2007 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
I used to take the kids to Sears, until found WALMART whose prices are unbeatable!- they are owned by the same company- but are DEFINITELY not the same- Sears has a little more variety with floor posing etc; but the staff at our local WALMART Portrait Studio is great- and they will be switching to digital soon, but at WALMART they do send "Samplers" most of the time the photos come back- they are 10 -3 1/2 x 5's of - (2 of 5 different poses) and I don't feel its right to blame any associate, for they have no say in this, but it's not a "rip off", they're giving YOU the option, there are other people who end up getting the photos back, and realizing that they need more photos, and the "Sampler set" is there. I think it's great- especially at Christmas, plus its a cheaper way to get more pictures!
N  7th of Mar, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I have worked for every major portrait studio for the past 7 years and have left Sears and Walmart for their poor customer service. (The poor skills start with employee training) The Picture People Do trow away all the extra portraits and that is why their prices are so High. I am now working for JC Penney portraits (Although I in now way speak for the entire company) They value the customers and have a great product ( unlike Walmart that fades) The prices are great if you go to the website there are cupons with no minimum to buy. I have been to all of them but I am a professional and love what I do, even though most photographers in family studios have no degree in my company they train and only allow skilled photographers to take portraits.

As far as the extras that come back they every studio dose that and if you have moral objections speak to the manager I am sure that they will work something out or if you tell them ahead of time maybe they can avoid the whole thing. Not that it is any way the customers fault.

This is just my 2 cents in problem of bad customuer service in the profession that I love to do.
D  5th of May, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
I'm sorry, but your complaint is completely unjustified and shouldn't be directed towards this company specifically. Over the years I've worked for several portrait studio's both corporate and individually owned. The majority of them will offer additional prints from your session at a greatly discounted rate. It has been my experience that the majority of customers WILL purchase these additional "composite sheets", "bonus sheets" or "spec sheets" as they're called. The majority of customers see this as an awesome deal, as they're discounted at up to 75% off of the regular price of the sheets originally. They are in no way trying to offend anyone by giving them this option. Do you also have a complaint against the DMV, they discard photos all day long, did you send them an e-mail too?
And yes, they're trying to make an extra buck, they're trying to keep their business afloat, and keep their photographers and employees paid enough to continue dealing with wonderful customers like yourself.
D  20th of Jul, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Portrait Studios are around to make money. Honestly, I can't wait for the extra's when I pick up my portraits - I buy them every time. I never get the option of purchasing them beforehand, but know that they come when I pick the pics up. It's especially great when all I want is the package special, even if the other pictures are really good maybe I can't afford them all, but know when I go to pick up my package I'll be able to spend an extra $20 to get all the pictures from the shoot.

Seriously, if you didn't want extra portraits, then don't go to a portrait studio. Take your own pictures at home.

Also - what about digital images of you or your kids? Do you feel the same way about them being destroyed? It's still an image of a person, when it gets deleted, it's the same thing as ripping it to pieces and destroying it. Is it the phyicality of it? What if you posted a picture of yourself, somebody got ahold of the digital image and printed it, then ripped it to pieces and threw it in the trash.

It's a money-making portrait studio. Get over it.
D  12th of Sep, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Hahaha, i find your complaint so hilarious.

"We felt extremely violated that Sears Portrait produced photos WITHOUT OUR CONSENT, after we had already selected our order."

It is just a few extra photos they print out. you swear like the whole world is going to end becasue of these 4 extra photos that you have in OPTION, may i repeat OPTION, to buy.

D  3rd of Oct, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I'm no history major, but I do recall learning that a gazillion years ago, Native Americans did not like to get photographed because they thought the camera stold your soul. I'm glad they got over that.

"In the Chinese culture, images of people SHOULD NOT BE THROWN AWAY. There is a superstition that if people rip and throw away a person's image/photo, it does not bring good luck to that person."

In my 20 years of doing photography, I've not heard this Chinese superstition before.

Perhaps the studios could offer to burn the portraits instead, just for those that are still stuck in the middle ages. But since we're doing this for a living, there will be a $20 burn and disposal fee. ;)
N  24th of Oct, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree -1 Votes
The same happend to me in Montclaire CA at the Sears portrait studio.
We decided for a package when we picked up the pictures they offered us a set more for $20 plus tax we got the extra pictures. The next day I decided to return them and get the same set at Costo for about $2.00, but the employe at sears told me that those extra pictures couldn't be returned. If they did it was going to be a fee of 50% off the sale price. She was really rude and when I asked for the 50% back she refused and gave me a 1866-292-4949 number to call them on this phone number . The service was the same or worst so I said I was going to sue them and complain with the BBB, so she said to me to hold on that she was going to call the studio and see what she could do. When she came back to me she told me to take them back for the 50% fee. Now I have to drive back to get $10 of my 20+tax. This is a really bad experince for us this was our second time there and the last one.
D  25th of Jan, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
I'am responding to this last email, make copies at costco do you realize if you copy pictures from a professional photographer it is illegal, they have a copywrite on them, no wonder why all studios or 80% of the studios make extra copies for customers, the studios are trying to recoup some of the money that consumers are not spending, just like if you went in and spent a total of 10.00 you were there probley an hour ( which woulden't even cover wages) for the studio, they you go and try and RETURN your pictures of your kids to get them cheaper somewhere else, nice. Which i remind you again is ILLEGAL!!!
D  11th of Feb, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
A  30th of Nov, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree -1 Votes
I had the same situation but this time, I specifically requested the studio not to print any extra copies. I am going to complain about the studio to BBB. You never know where the pictures might end up. May be one of the folks that are supporting the idea of printing without customer's consent will be okay with their pictures ending up in the toilet at the mall they got their pictures or taken or they are okay with their pictures ending up on some porn website.
N  12th of Jan, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Guess What! EVERY portrait studio does this! I have worked for most of them. It is not a guerilla technique. Good grief. Is that what McDonald's does when they ask you if you want fries with that? It is an OPTIONAL purchase.

About half of customers are thrilled because they wanted to order more anyway, and this way they are cheaper than normal prices. The other half don't really want them, and say so, and then they go home and don't worry about it.

Then there are a few nutjobs out there who make a federal case out of what is a normal business practice of trying to make as much money as they can.
N  7th of Mar, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Never heard this either and I've worked in a few portrait places...lol. To momoffour...I've never worked anywhere the pictures are recycled...they are trashed. We might say that so people don't get their feelings hurt or as a customer joked once, have people waiting by the trash..lol. Pretty simple, you don't like how the company prints the extra pics, go some where else!! Oh and to the nut that wanted refund on the extra sheets, its is SO illegal to copy the pics and then you want to return a sale item? Sale items are always final, in every type of sales environment!!

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