stupid wal-mart potrait session

I had started to write a longer post, but it got too wordy and wasn’t really going where I wanted it to go.  So, here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

I took Rainbow back for portraits, since the last time was so successful.  We arrived at about 11:10 and were told by the photographer to come back at noon.  I did some shopping and browsing, and we returned at about five til twelve.  Oh, sorry, she said, it’s going to be a little while longer, we just finished up the session and now we need to pick out the portrait packages. 

I blithely said that that was just fine, thinking it couldn’t take THAT long to pick out portraits, and gave Rainbow a bottle and changed him into his fruity smocked outfit.

Fast forward an hour.  Some people are verrry choosy about their Wal-mart portrait packages.

Rainbow is sleeping and I am starving.  HOWEVER, we are HERE and he is DRESSED and I want to get the frickin pictures already.  GAH.

I try to wake him to no avail, so she takes a million pictures of him sleeping, with some of me holding his feet and hands and kissing his forehead.  There are just a couple with him awake, making weird faces with his lips.

We go to preview our pics, and this woman is profoundly annoying in a pushy-salesperson way, and I am getting weary of refusing her sales pitches.  NO I don’t want dreamy color fade-outs on the border, NO I don’t want script on the picture, NO I don’t like this pose or this one or this one… at all… please quit showing them to me…

Ohhh, she says, I just love the ones of him sleeping with the light on his face.  He looks so innocent and still, like a sleeping angel.

Stomach acid starts to boil, eyes start to water. 

Mmm, I’m sorry, but I won’t be taking any of the pictures where he’s sleeping.  I thought I would like them, but no.  I don’t want any of them. 

She was baffled (and probably annoyed, since 90% of the pics were of him sleeping) so I told her that we had a child who was no longer living, and I couldn’t handle any sleeping baby pictures, while trying to avoid a weeping spell in the damn portrait studio.

There were only three shots with eyes open, I think, and I told her I just wanted one package with one shot, and FINE I’ll take another 8×10 of another pose, and she just WOULD NOT STOP WITH THE SELLING AND THE TALKING AND THE TOTALLY UNHELPFUL SYMPATHY.  It was crazy: she said she had to show me the various collages and packages or she’d lose her job, and I kept telling her I HAD TO GO, couldn’t I just pick the pictures out online (no), and I REALLY HAVE TO GO, WOMAN.

Her refrain, which I found puzzling and infuriating, was that “It [meaning Ward’s accident 3 1/2 years ago] really hasn’t been that long.” 

I was so confused and annoyed: WHY are you saying that?  What does that even MEAN??  It doesn’t MATTER how long it has been, I will NEVER want pictures of my baby sleeping, still and quiet like an angel, and I DO NOT WANT SYMPATHY FROM YOU, PUSHY WAL-MART PORTRAIT WOMAN. 

She told me that I really should have told her about our son who was no longer alive earlier, because she would have completely understood.

She also noted that Rainbow had a very mild (barely even noticeable) prickly rash when I changed him back into comfy clothes.  She said that she was always concerned when she saw rashes on babies because that was the first sign she and her husband had of her daughter’s very serious auto-immune disease. 


Rainbow and I made our getaway at long last.  Looking past my streaming eyes, this woman had the gall to tell me (wink, wink) if I responded favorably to a phone survey about my experience with her, she’d give me a free 8×10 on my next visit, to just call and make an appointment, blah blah blah.

It was awful.

Never, never again.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary in Atl
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 01:05:46

    J’mama- I can’t believe ANYONE could be so insensitive. You should write Wal-Mart and let them know they have scared the photography folks into robotic, hurtful idiots – more concerned with selling than anything else/

  2. Cousin Betsy T.
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 01:40:36

    I’m so, so sorry that happened. Stupid woman.

  3. Auntie Sue
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 13:12:03

    I’ll borrow a good camera and we’ll set up our own studio to get wonderful pictures of Rainbow! We can order them online.

  4. sweetsalty kate
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 13:55:16

    Oh how I wish I could take photos for you and just erase that whole day. I’m going to email you… I bet within the shutter sisters network there’s someone fantastic in your area – it would cost more than walmart, but it would be so worthwhile….

  5. Jennifer Jones
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 15:00:35

    I was about to write what your Aunt Sue did…I would be happy to do them for you. I closed my photo studio due to busy-ness with homeschooling, but I love to do sittings as gifts….in your own space….on his little schedule…and you can have the cd or I can order for you at cost. Much less stressful and enjoyable, I promise 🙂

  6. Debra
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 18:06:59


  7. gRANDMA L
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 19:03:58

    What’s her name, I’ll slap her around a little.

  8. katie
    Apr 07, 2009 @ 19:57:05

    Oh. My. GAWD.

    Julie, I am so sorry. That is a nightmare you just described.

    I am so, so sorry. I don’t know what else to say because that whole experience was so horrifying for you.

    Love you.

  9. Auntie Sue
    Apr 07, 2009 @ 20:27:58

    The offer by Jennifer Jones is wonderful. You could get great photos on his own turf or in some outdoor place. They would be so much nicer than anything from WalMart – and I mean that quite literally.

  10. thisbumpyjourney
    Apr 08, 2009 @ 12:13:04

    Yes, I’m excited about Jennifer’s offer, too. I need to get some pics in his christening gown ASAP, and at home with furniture and baby blankets might be very nice. It’s a size 3-6 month, and he’s already, um, outgrown the top neck button. I’m going to try to get in touch with her later today and work out timing.

    I’m off to get results from my sleep study of some weeks past this morning.

  11. Lisa Roberts
    May 30, 2009 @ 20:55:45

    My oldest is now 16 and her baby portraits from the discount stores are now fading to a yellow. I guess the 3.99 per sheet was not such a great deal after all. New mothers learn from my mistake & pay more & go to a professional. Your appointment
    is private & personal, the quality is much more superior, and that higher quality portrait paper will last a lifetime. Cheaper is not always better…you really do get what you pay for!!

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