One hour isn’t what it used to be. Back in the day, one hour equaled 60 minutes. But take your film to be processed at one of those one-hour film developing shops and you’ll find that one hour often translates into 120 minutes. Or more.
I realize the amount of time it takes to develop film depends on how many photo processing machines are available as well as on the number of customers already there before you.
But it seems to me that if you’re charging for a premium service, you should offer the customer a credit if you’re unable to deliver. A coupon for free processing or some reprints on the next order can spread a lot of goodwill. And it all but ensures that the customer will return to your store.
Not too long ago, I returned to a store to pick up my pictures after an hour. The order wasn’t done. I wandered around for another hour. When I came back, I was told the machine was broken and to try picking it up that evening. That evening, the teenage clerk said the machine was broken and to come back the next day. He hadn’t called to tell me this, though my phone number was marked clearly on the envelope that held my roll of film.
When I asked for my roll of film back so I could take it somewhere else, he said the negatives had been processed but the pictures hadn’t been developed. He could give me the negatives, but I still would have to pay for that service. And it would cost me additional to get just the prints made up somewhere else.
I felt like they had taken my film hostage. No one apologized. No one saw the ridiculous nature of one-hour photo developing taking more than 24 hours.
It wasn’t long afterward that I went digital. Now I print my own photos — in less than half an hour.
It’s not just one-hour photo processing that can mislead consumers. When I sent my taxes off to my accountant, I was wondering if I should opt for Federal Express or the post office. I chose the latter, assuming it was more convenient and offers an overnight Express Mail service that would be just as good.
It wasn’t until after I paid $17.85 that the clerk informed me the package would take at least two days to reach the destination.
Was I duped? Kinda sorta. While the signs advertised that Express Mail did indeed equal overnight service, there was a small caveat below that said it could take two days or more. Note to self: Remember to bring a magnifying glass the next time you leave the house.
Doctors are guilty of yanking patients around as well. Granted, you’ve got to cut people some slack when they’re saving lives. And if a truly sick patient needs care, it’s understandable he or she should get treatment before you or me. But I still simmer when I recall the antics of an ear, nose and throat specialist who was chronically late. There was never a time he didn’t keep me waiting at least 90 minutes — an hour longer than my allotted lunch break from the paper.
The last time I saw him was the day I sat in his waiting room for three hours. At that point, I asked the nurse to give me my file so I could take it to a new doctor. When he found out I was leaving, he came scrambling out of his office — with a resident in tow — and said his first patient was late by 45 minutes and that’s what threw off his schedule.
It apparently never occurred to him it might be better to reschedule the tardy patient (it was a non-emergency situation) and see the people who were there on time.
It made me wonder if he wouldn’t be better off working at a one-hour photo store.