Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good luck in 2010, everyone

So it looks like SPS is going to last for another year at least. Thanks everyone for leaving comments. I know I've been more spare with posting so let me direct new readers to one of my favorite posts of the year:

What it means to be a "Photographer" in a "Fun Work Environment"

I also just moderated some comments on older posts, so those should appear now as well.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anybody else tightening hours from your DM? My available hours have been cut to basically bare minimum. we used to average around 130 hrs a week during regular season... (high volume) and are now down to 95 hrs. 2 openers, two closers are now a thing of the past.. and closing for lunch.. I can already hear the customer complaints. UGH!!! Heard a rumor that conf. calls may be cut down to once a month instead of every week...

Anonymous said...

low volume here, no more than 49 hours a week, total,,,,I still love my DM though and I know it's all coming from above, she does not make the rules, she just enforces them. She also explained that it is a way to save money during the last month of the fiscal in an effort to make goals. It's all for the good of the company, we may lose some hours here and there but that leaves more time for my family :-)

Anonymous said...

We were only allowed to run one man coverage anyway, so we only lost an hour. It stinks though to have to call people who make appointments online...sorry that time you wanted, not gonna happen...next open hour slot 3 hours from now take it or leave it....yeah.

Anonymous said...

yes, and then if they feel like it they can call and complain about customer service because we cant get them in the time they want and then guess who gets in trouble for another stupid ass rule we had no control over!

I for one, think it they want them kept an hour apart then change the schedular DUH!

Anonymous said...

I just purchased a Sears Photo package with the CD included. The files seem to be 5MP files but compressed to around 300kb. Is this normal? I called the photographer and she didn't really know what I was talking about or at what MP the camera is set to. I think they just press a button to burn the CD but where is the compression taking place? I would like to get the raw uncompressed images since we are paying so much money for them.

Anonymous said...

It compresses them as soon as we upload. We dont shoot in RAW, we shoot in jpeg so you cant get the raw files to begin with.

The files on your CD are the exact same files we use for our products we sell you.

Anonymous said...

I used to work at SPS (thank god I got out of there), but I was just informed that my two friends that still work there are being "laid-off" for the time being because of hours. The studio now has a manager and an assistant manager and that's it. Two people to run the entire studio.

Even so, when I worked there - I got no more than 15-20 hours every TWO weeks. Some times, I would go a week without working.

From what I hear, recently my friends were only getting 5-8 hours a week. And they were being scheduled to work 3 hour shifts sometimes. Who has the gas money to work 3 hour shifts, honestly?

They're being "laid-off" because they're going to want one or both of them to come back when the manager goes on maternity leave - but I think they're both just done and going to look for new jobs. And I say good for them!

I was also discussing with one of my friends that I think our hours were being changed, and I totally agree. I never bothered to compare my hours to my pay - but I know I would be scheduled to work 4 hour shifts and I'd stay longer because I mean, honestly, that's bullshit. Especially when everyone else got more hours than me.

He thinks that all those times we closed at 6 or 8 and had to stay longer for an appointment or to close? He thinks they changed our hours to say we clocked out at exactly close.

I'm just so glad I got out when I did.

Anonymous said...

trying to be positive here, about your time card hours,I highly doubt a SM/DM (only ones who can change it besides HR) would risk their jobs (current and future) My hours are always paid properly. It's hard to be in retail right now, who knows what the economy will do, we just have to stick it out if we like our jobs, do our best and if you are that unhappy, go find something that makes you happier. Every business has major issues right now, hang in there everyone.

Anonymous said...

I am so SICK of this crap!
Yesterday evening my assistant had a customer service issue. A repeat offender of ordering and not paying came in, ordered and what do you know didn't pay. So she told him to pay or get out. He didn't pay so she kicked him out and told him not to come back.

Then SEARS..the dieities themselves...our Sears store manager is a pompas....you know what....came back into the studio TOOK the unpaid for merchandise handed it to the customer and then called me to fire my assistant!!

My assistant did NOTHING WRONG! And where is it Sear's place to give away our products? So his response while we talked was, "Whats the big deal it's only 10 dollars." My husband yelled from the backround, Fine I will go steal a wrench from your store..what's the big deal it's only 10 dollars!"

Then the stupid store manager starts threatening to go to my DM because of his issues frankly with a million things that have NOTHING to do with me or my assistant personally. And I really in my opinion feel that he just hates females in general....I don't need some prick threatening my job more than my DM does.

I don't even answer to this guy, we are supposed to be even, both store managers. But he drips with distain and slimy pompas power trip every time he opens his mouth!

I hate this stupid job, I hate the SEARS is ripping us off like this. And I'm going to lose my best worker because SEARS is so busy harrassing my employees and not watching their own worthless staff!


Can I fire his employees as much as he tries to fire mine?!?!?!

So now I am up after having had only an hour and a half of sleep because my sleeping pill wore off. I am so stressed I have flu like symptoms every single day.

I have a 4 year degree and half my masters done, I do NOT NEED THIS! I am only working here because my husband was in college and is currently unemployed. I need to finish my MA to be able to utilize my degree.

General Mills is hiring for basic floor production at 15 dollars an hour. I'd get yelled at the same, and the stress would be equal....I'm seriously strongly considering going and working in a factory.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a long comment then had to erase because I realized the product was already in the studio (without being paid) in our District, we were told months ago that we can no longer place orders without payment in full, it is grounds for termination. Sears should not have given it away for you, should have given you a cash advance and shouldn't have threatened to fire YOUR employee but your AM shouldn't have placed an order to begin with without payment in full, sorry.(my opinion)

Anonymous said...

Yea, we havent been allowed to do half payments since 2007. If we do, we get fired.

Youre right, youd be better off at a factory. if the ones around here werent all shut down, thats where id be.

Our Sears Store manager is absolutely REDICULOUS too. A horrible creature. Every time we are told by our DM to do something, she wont let us. "Well, thats against our store policy..." then "What do you people do back here all day anyway?" " If i was the one running this studio...."

Anonymous said...

Funny...I worked for CPI for 15 years. I now work for Sears, and I'm treated like gold.

Anonymous said...

When I was manager we had a customer who was very loyal, came in every 3 months and never bought anything less than a bronze. She forgot her wallet at home, had her purse, but no wallet and so I told her that she could just call in her credit card number..one of the Sears floor managers *who I hated* came right out and told me (in front of the customer) that we were not allowed to take credit card numbers over the phone..and I was like "Really? We've done it since the beginning of time and that is how many, many customers order add on's and re orders....and unless MY DM says different...I will continue to do it that way" and then assured my customer that it was ok that I would accept her payment over the phone. Later that day I was again told by the Store manager..who is a lazy azz himself, that I was not to ever, ever, ever take a credit card number over the phone. I told him to take it up with my DM.. that I know I am right. Just before closing my DM called me and said not to worry about it.. that I was right. That was the ONLY time my DM's had EVER stuck up for me.

Anonymous said...

If any of the managers of Sears Proper DID in fact, run a studio..they would be BEGGING to return to the store.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brainwashed,

The company needs more understanding people like you. I love your statement, "She also explained that it is a way to save money during the last month of the fiscal in an effort to make goals. It's all for the good of the company." The company did not hit rock bottom during the final quarter of calendar 09, and the company is not on the verge of collapse. Who do you think is going to benefit from meeting those goals? You? What did you bonus last quarter: $5, $50. Whatever, it won't be you in any significant way. It will be the very people who imposed those draconian measures, and who will see bonuses that make your annual salary look lame. Wake up! This company treats and values its field employees like s___, but you, fortunately, can see the silver lining in the black cloud.

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow is Saturday with appointments EVERY hour PLUS its a pick-up day.....

The DM will NOT approve 2 people.


Its just not worth it. From this point forward, im pointing to the photo and simply saying "Call him." Im not going to deal with complaints anymore that have nothing to do with me. Let them give away enough free things to run this place out of business once and for all. The kicker, they are going to end up giving people more things free than what they paid for in the first damn place. DUH.

Anonymous said...

Our Sears manager is a pompus ass too... I had a customer who was mad that the photographer wasn't bending over backwards for her... its been awhile so I don't remember the details. Anyway I ended up having to come back in (from a split shift) 2 hours early to handle her. I got the session done and even sold her a bronze, she was happy with the session I did. Then she went to complain to Sears because she tried to print from the CD and there was one pose where "it looked like she had a bandaide on her forehead" and she didn't like the way it was printing out. The "bandaid" was actually glare from the shine on the little girls forehead where she had been doused in hairspray. So anyway I had to be there while she complained to him and was told I HAD to give her something free... psssh sorry you don't sign my paycheck!! I told him the best I could do was give her a discount on the greeting cards but I would not give her something for free because the print quality from other places isn't our fault. The customer accepted this, paid and left. The store manager had the audacity to ask why the photographer hadn't noticed this "bandaide"... had to bite my tongue from say "you try taking the fucking picture asshole". I had already been annoyed from having to come in early. I could hear the lady bitching out my associate, who I was trying her best to keep her calm. Even when I was there, while the lady was nice to me she was super rude to the associate. If it wasn't for all the hair spray and if the customer wanted to pay for quality portraits this wouldn't have been an issue.

Anonymous said...

Dear person who thinks I am Brainwashed,
I am very far from, I know exactly what is going on, my hours are cut and I have bulls to pay, right now, I have a job, that aside from all the changes at the moment, I like. I do not have to like the changes or agree with them, I do not make the rules but I do have to follow them if I want to pay rent and put food on my table, I however, made the highest bonus in my district last quarter so I am ok with it, and btw, it was well above your figure you listed,lol. Every studio has the sames problems, it's not like I don't, but I do have a DM who gets things done and she respects each of us and helps us. Maybe that's why we are all still here, hanging on waiting for better days. Plus, I won't bash my DM for doing her job too, I never said CPI was going under and I won't bash the people publicly who sign my check when I know they monitor this too , have a fantastic weekend :-}

Anonymous said...

So you are sucking their ass ANONYMOUSLY? And where exactly do you think that will get you considering you can do things perfectly and not even get a "good job"...... instead its "what could YOU be doing differently?"

Anonymous said...

I have tried to be positive, I am not "sucking" anyones ass, just doing my job, and pretty good for a low volume in such a bad economy in a city that sucks. I am just doing my job and keeping it for the time being, like I said, I have bills to pay. No one is breaking my arm to stay there and everyone, no matter who you are or what you do should always keep your options open. I will stay as long as I am doing my job to my ability and receiving a paycheck for it, even if it's a bit smaller right now. It's sad (most of) you are so negative, I tried to add light, my husband said it was a bad idea,that this was a bitching and moaning site,hence the blog name, I see once again, he was right. Good luck to you all in your ventures for the new year :-}

Anonymous said...

Dear Brainwashed,

As the writer of the original screed (and I do regret the severity of it), I want to say that I genuinely admire your attitude. It's a very healthy way to deal with a situation that is less than perfect and which you have little control over. It is not surprising that you have received an above-average bonus and it's great that you have a good DM that you admire. Having reasonable management that mitigates the unfortunate choices of CPI, and, in the face of it all, manages to instill a sense of teamwork and hope, is another thing the company could use a lot more of. Unfortunately, not all territories and districts have such individuals, and the results are clearly here to see. Keep on enjoying what you do, paying those bills, and defying the odds.

Anonymous said...

did anyone else hear the news that kiddie kandids closed their doors today. pretty much without notice without paying their employees their last paycheck and without a way to give out customer product. (at least no for awhile)just declared bankruptcy. i can so see sears doing that. the business is dying folks dust off those resumes.

Anonymous said...

The breaking news out there seems to confirm the demise of Kiddy Kandids. Appears employees will not be receiving their most recent paychecks or any reimbursements for expenses. Customers appear to be up the creek without a paddle too. Straight from their website:

" Kiddie Kandids Announces Closure
Sandy, Utah - January 10, 2010

Kiddie Kandids, a Sandy, Utah based chain of photography studios, has ceased operations, effective immediately. This shutdown occurred as the result of an abrupt and unforeseen loss of funding from is banks. Kiddie Kandids' operations have been particularly challenged by the economic climate over the past 18 months and its lenders have informed the company that they will no longer provide funding for Kiddie Kandids' immediate cash needs. "Without continued funding, Kiddie Kandids was unable to meet its imminent financial obligations," said Dale Merrill, Kiddie Kandids CEO. "We have exhausted all possible avenues for funding and have come to the end of the road. This is truly unfortunate in light of the great team of employees and the great customers that made Kiddie Kandids a leading national children's photography studio. It is our hope that if the assets are purchased out of bankruptcy that the buyer will consider hiring back many of our employees." In light of the unforeseen termination of funding by its lenders, Kiddie Kandids intends to file a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code in the coming days.

Prior to its closure, Kiddie Kandids was one of the nation's premier children's portrait studios, specializing in newborn, infant, toddler, and pre-school portrait photography. Founded in 1974, Kiddie Kandids grew from a single camera in a mall kiosk to a nationwide network of 184 hi-tech portrait studios. The majority of Kiddie Kandids' studios are located within Babies 'R' Us retail stores across the country."


Do expect to hear "you should be happy you have a job" from our (CPI) management.

Anonymous said...

ksl.com already has 127 comments from people in just 1 hour!
Maybe CPI will buy KK out of bankruptcy,lol

Anonymous said...

can you imagine working so very hard everyday for 2 weeks only to have this happen and lose all your benefits, all pay and THEN have to probably face your own customers at the grocery store who didn't get there prints or money back, how horrible. I wish all the employees good luck and peace to follow. shows you anything can happen,very scary.

Anonymous said...

lol to CPI will probably buy KK out of bankruptcy.. while at the same time we start getting paid commission and more than minimum wage! HA!

Anonymous said...

"It compresses them as soon as we upload. We dont shoot in RAW, we shoot in jpeg so you cant get the raw files to begin with.

The files on your CD are the exact same files we use for our products we sell you."

Thank you for the response.

Anonymous said...

This blog rocks!!! I work for the walmart portrait studio, which is actually the same thing.

Anonymous said...

About a year ago I read this blog and was so disgusted that everyone was so negative. I posted a comment talking about how much I loved my job. How good my DM is and how I looked forward to seeing my regional director. WELL...
I still love what I do. I love my DM BUT, I HATE the company I work for. These idiots talk out of both sides of their face. They have NO idea what my life is like on the inside and they don't care. All that matters to them is the bottom line. They don't care about the customers or the time I personally donate to their business.
I have a family at home that I actually LIKE spending time with and this dumb ass company thinks that my life revolves around this studio. Case in point...
*We are open til 6 most nights with that being are last available appointment. I could go ALL day with nothing and then have a 6pm appointment. I UNDERSTAND that I may be working open to close in the holiday months, BUT FEBRUARY? I can't plan my life at all. I can't have dinner reservations on a day I am working because they will book me a 6 at the last minute. Tonight, they booked me a 5, 530, and a 6. I hade nothing all day. I cant do 1/2 hour appointments without cutting corners. I can't take the 10 minutes to explain our collections because there is another sitting waiting.
*Be a 5 star studio, do sales certs, and train your associates to sell but don't use labor hours. I AM not donating my time to a company that cares so little about the mental state of the SMs
*Plan events and drop off flyers at places to increase business but we are not going to let you do it on our time and no drive time and milage.
(it seems that they are demanding we work off the clock without saying it outloud)
*They drone on about customer service and then they book me every half hour, at the last minute, with no help.
*Don't clock in until the store opens but get all your checklists done.
*make 10 calls or get written up. They don't care that you were booked every 1/2 hour and don't have time.
I used to do alot for the company and my customers but the less they care about me the less I care about them. I agree. The CEO sound apply for undercover boss. He might be cjanging some policy if he say what we go through everyday.

Anonymous said...

it sucks so bad nobody has had any words since feb. i walk into my new job every day thanking my lucky stars im no longer with cpi. the SASsystem was so jacked up to learn that ive been working in a hospital and learned the ins and outs of their computer systems in 3 days. my bosses are looking at me like im from another planet bc normally it takes months to learn what i did in days.

Anonymous said...

I was managing a SPS studio over the Christmas season and my DM was awful! As soon as the season was over I told her I would not manage anymore but I would not quit because I love my customers and the job I did!!! She ended up sending a AM from another studio to manage mine, god was that stupid, the girl had no idea what she was doing I ended up still running the studio. This new manager worked no more than 30 hours a week, and that was a good week that she did, she never worked weekends, and she just flat out pissed off my customers! So one weekend I was scheduled to work as I had been every darn weekend, it was a Saturday that we were booked every half hour and double booked a few of those! The other girl that worked in the studio was on flex for the full day, but only worked half! I had called my new SM in the morning and asked if there was any way she could come in even two hours b$ close that I had a family emergency. SHe told me that she was no where near but she would call me back... SHe never did nor did she answer the numerus time I had called her!!! SO the other girl left and ofcourse shed never get into trouble because "she was just flex and didnt have to work", but I was stuck there!! Well lets just say I decided that was shit!!! I called the new SM and left a message (she had decided to turn her phone off) and told her that I was manager not that long ago and if she wants to manage she needs to be on call 24/7 like I had been! I clocked out and left!!! SHe never even know until she called me 2 days later, or atleast pretended not to. I told her what had happened and that I thought by walking out I was fired. SHe said well no your not fired!! I told her she needed to call the DM and confirm that before I would go into work again and waste my time. She was supposed to call me back and let me know if I was still working or not. Now mind you it was that night that I was scheduled again. She never called so I figured I was correct and I no longer had a job...DOES WALKING OUT NOT MEAN YOU WALK OUT ON THE JOB ENTIRELY!?!?!? So she again calls me the next day and asks why I never showed up to work... SERIOUSLY!!! I was so pissed I hated SPS but loved everything else about the job, now I am lad to be rid of that place! I still have many of my regulars comming to me to do their pictures, haha SPS I took business from you! SERVES YOU RIGHT FOR THINKING YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE FUCKING DRONES!!! Sorry everyone this all has been weighing on me for a while and it is very nice to get it off my chest, I am now rid of SPS forever!