Someone known as CPI Hostage emailed us the following well-put submission. Never before have I seen a better summary of what it means to work at SPS.
"I am a salesperson. I can make the sale count 99% of the time. Even if you bring in the 9.99 coupon, I can get you to add-on something extra. I start at the 379.99 collection, and if you don’t ask, that is the only collection I will speak about. I will cheat you out of your money. I know you don’t need 25 sheets of your 3 month old, but I make you feel guilty for not getting them. I feel sick after every big sale, and depressed after every small sale. This is what I’m trained to do.
I am a telemarketer. I call you every day, leave you messages, and harass you until you give me an answer. I might have even purchased your phone number from one of your family or friends. I call you in the morning, afternoon, evening, on holidays, on the weekends. But I’m not a telemarketer; I’m giving you a courtesy call. I hate feeling that I’m driving you away from my studio, instead of drawing you in. I hate making you feel obligated to come in. But I need to make 3 appointments a day. This is what I’m trained to do.
I am a multi-tasker. I can take deliver photos, make appointments, answer questions, clean the studio, check the studio mail, read the browser, grade photography, check order accuracy, call other studios for my DM (because she is too busy to do so), make sales, ring sales up, and calibrate the camera, all while trying to get a wiggly, screaming 2 year old to stand next to the #2 and smile. I feel drained by the end of the day, my feet hurt, my eyes hurt, my head hurts. This is what Im trained to do.
I am a venting board. I listen to everyone's problems, yours, my associates, my DM. I listen and try to make you feel better. I can’t help that your 10x13 is the same pose as your 9.99 package. Some of you treat me like crap. Curse at me, belittle me, complain about our prices, and worst of all, criticize my photography. I have no self-esteem at work, I will stand there while you take your frustrations out on me, I can’t tell you off, I can’t stand up for myself. This is what I’m trained to do.
I am a secretary. I have more paperwork to do than the President's Aid. Summary of Conversations, Site Sales, Sales by Product, Open Orders, Daily Media, Daily Closing, Timecard, Schedules. That just the beginning. I print out 3 different reports, which give the same information every Monday for conference call. I don’t ever look at these again, but when my DM comes on a studio visit, I better have these printed out. I hate the waste of time and paper. But I do it anyway, day after day. This is what I’m trained to do.
I am a teacher. I teach photography, sales, time management, and customer service. I grade my associates with a happy face or sad face on their site sales. I try to motivate them, I try to encourage. But my DM is telling me to be harder, to watch closer. Instead of taking my associates aside and talk to them as a human, explaining what I need them to fix, I have to do a summary of conversation. If my associate had a bad week, instead of saying ‘Let’s put this behind us’ I have to document it, make my employee feel like a failure. It makes me feel like a monster. This is what I’m trained to do.
I am a janitor. I vacuum, wash windows, wash backgrounds, dust, and organize. I don’t have the proper supplies, so I purchase it myself. I put hand sanitizer on the counter where you pay for your pictures. My DM forced me to remove it because we don’t sell hand sanitizer. I put fresh tissues on the sales table, but we don’t sell those either. I put your child on a dirty background, and lie and tell you we dry clean them. I feel dirty, but there’s nothing I can do. This is what I’m trained to do.
I am a technician. I have taken apart a server and restored it on my own. I have installed motorized backgrounds, printers, computers, and cameras. I can calibrate the camera in 60 seconds flat. My hands get cut and dirty. I can easily be electrocuted, but I can’t complain, because this is what needs to be done. This is what I’m trained to do.
I am an artist. I make a so-so photograph beautiful with our enhancements. Now it would have fine in the raw, but I don’t have control over the lighting and my camera is on a tripod. I can’t take beautiful pictures; I have to take company approved pictures. I get the poses I need before I consider your wants. I know you got a tummy pose last month, but I did it in sepia this time. I feel shunted. This is what I’m trained to do.
I am a mother. I have no children, but I am cleaning up your child's drool, pee, poop, and vomit. After you leave the studio, I clean up the mess you child made. I tie your husband’s tie, fix your daughters hair, make sure your necklace is straight, and tell you how beautiful you look. I sing to your child, play games, and entertain them. I’ve been thrown up on, but I couldn’t complain. This is what I’m trained to do.
I am a machine. I do what I’m told. I hate my job, and dream of quitting, but don’t have the courage to do it. I have no confidence in my skills. I don’t have a passion for what I do anymore. Everything I do for you, I’ve done for the last customer, and for the next. I do everything like a robot. I hate the way I feel when I’m at work. I’ll never let you know though. Ill smile, and make conversation, and make you feel like you are one of the most amazing person I’ve met. This is what I’m trained to do.
I am a workaholic. I work 40 hours a week, but I am in on call 24/7. I have 2 scheduled days off, but I usually work 6 days a week. I answer my phone every time I get a call from one of my associates. I come in and work off the clock, because I have to watch our labor, but we are double booked at 12pm. I make sure that everyone in my studio gets their requested days off. I work on my birthday, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve, New Years Eve, New Years Day…the list can go on. I clock out for lunch, but work through it. If I get a walk-in at 2pm, and refuse them to take my lunch, I can be terminated for refusing a customer. If I don’t take a lunch and take them in, I can be terminated for not following company policy. I know this is against the law, and that it makes me crabby to my loved ones, but I have to do it. This is that I'm trained to do.
I am not a photographer.
I am a Sears Portrait Studio Manager."