Five Reasons Working Wal-Mart’s One Hour Photo Sucks

For almost six years, I worked a Wal-Mart one hour photo.  Three of those years, I was the Department Manager. What I assumed fun at first turned shitty.

Sure, there were some benefits, like the obscene photos we would run across.  For me, I liked talking to hot moms.  Plus I was able to place my artwork in a photo book displayed for the customers.

Yet, the photo lab sucked.  I  shall list five reasons why.

1.    Customers are the most rudest when it involves photos.  In retail, at different times, I worked apparel and garden shop.  Also, I once had a job taking merchandise from the store’s backroom, bringing it the floor and handing it the customer who just bought it.  I dealt with many rude customers.

Yet, none was ruder than the folks I serviced at one hour photo.  Crappy photos are rarely their fault.  In one case, nothing was wrong with the photos.  Yet, some piece of trash I never forgot insisted something definitely was wrong with her photos.  When they talk like that, it usually means they want the photos free.  That’s exactly what she got, free photos.  Yet, get this; she still kept going on about her not-ruined photos.

“You know you guys ruined our family photos, don’t you?” she went.

I don’t condone violence.  Yet, this is how some people get their asses kicked.   They continue holding a burning match next to a dynamite fuse.  Yet, don’t expect the match to light the fuse, which eventually causes the dynamite to explode.

2.    The photocopier sometimes causes more headaches than it’s worth.  More than likely, you’ve ran across a Kodak photocopier.  Usually, it’s the same machine printing photos from a digital memory card. Actually, it’s called a kiosk.  Why is it a headache, you askj?  Despite the easy instructions on the machine, many people don’t know how to work the photocopier.  At least, they claim they don’t know how to.  Some folks you can show a few pointers and that’s it.  After those few pointers, they can operate the machine themselves. Others you have to spend the whole damned time with them.  Older folks I let slide with this.  With younger folks, I try real hard not calling somebody stupid.  I don’t mind helping other people.  Still, when other work piles up on you, this gets annoying.

Another photocopier headache involves professional photos.  It is against the law to photocopy a professional photo and then sell it.  The photographer can sue the photo lab for this.  A professional photo is copyrighted for seventy-five years.   Still, people insist on copying professional photos, even after explaining the law to them.

What does a professional photo look like, you ask?  Any photo containing a fake background definitely qualifies as one.  If the person poses like a model in the photo, that definitely may qualify also.  Trust me, someone at the photo lab will definitely know what a professional photo looks like.  Arguing about it only makes you look an idiot they wish to never serve again.

3.    The machines always break down.  Sometimes, machines break down due to employee error.  Other times, things happen beyond the employees’ control.  Many times, the latter of the two are the worse.  This could mean waiting until the next day to receive a phone call from a tech, which pisses off impatient customers.  Well, after being promised one hour, I can understand someone being pissed.

Sometimes, the techs are rude or can barely speak English.  Some techs yelled at me.  Also, as they instruct me, I heard some techs munching on food.   Those are the American techs.  The foreign techs you sometimes can barely understand.

Also, many times, it’s always the same machine breaking down.  In our photo lab, it was always the CD maker.  For some reason, it constantly broke down.

4.    The area is always understaffed.  Imagine this happening to one person for three hours:  Not only do they have to print photos.  Yet, they may have to deal with a customer at the photocopier.  I already described the possibilities with that. Then, someone may want to buy a camera, someone who you may have to describe different cameras to. This definitely can take up a huge amount of time.  All this going on, while the employee have to make sure photos are printed in an hour.  During the winter holidays, this happens a lot.

5.    Your skills and knowledge of photography may cause resentment.   When it comes to photographing kids with Santa Claus, some employees asked why it was always me photographing.  I tried explaining I was a professional. (Actually, I’m a pro-amateur.) Still, that didn’t convince them.  Also, as I prepared for and photographed the kids and Santa, management still talked down to me as if I was a potty-training toddler.

Learning a skill places you above the average human.  The average human does average work and remains among the other average humans.  Nothing spectacular can be expected of them.  Average humans don’t possess a skill others are willing to pay for.  They just do whatever is expected of them.

The only skill the average manager possesses is being a dick to employees. Yet, here comes an employee possessing a skill many people admire. Feeling insecure about their own worth, the average manager resents the skilled employee.

One more thing, remember me mentioning displaying my photos in the photo book?  Well, a coworker went behind my back and had the book thrown out.  Then, replaced the book with another containing newer pics.

“We don’t need to display his pictures,” she told the new employee.

Deep in her envy towards me, the idiot didn’t realize the book contained customer photos also.  The photo a customer took of Elvis Presley’s grave?  Gone because this idiot talked another employee into throwing the photo book out, which is where the photo was.

Now, you know why working one hour photo sucks. Because of recent technology, the demand isn’t as high as it used to be.  In order to see what their photos look like, folks no longer need to print a roll of film.  Some people no longer even print photos.  Still, one hour photo still sucks.

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