Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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I hate Lifetouch photography - part 2

In yesterday's post I began to explain why I hate the Lifetouch corporation, and explored the connection between their Lifetouch Gnomes and the demented paper boy from Better Off Dead who keeps chasing John Cusack throughout the movie, demanding payment for his newspaper.

We left off with my inability, despite a college education and a moderate amount of common sense, to decipher whether or not I was supposed to keep all the photos that my kids brought home following Picture Day. The information in the envelope that the Gnomes sent was not helpful.

I'll look on the internet, I thought. How hard could that be?  So I searched their website for approximately twice as long as it would have taken me to map the human genome, but could not find mention of the elusive Package G anywhere. Lifetouch is clearly using the same encryption technology to protect their Package Pricing Information that the CIA uses to protect the identities of undercover agents. So I did the next best thing, which was to send an email to Customer Service.

Let me interject here that I have never, ever sent a complaint email to a company, no matter how crappy their product is. It's just not in my nature. And this wasn't really a complaint either, but I hoped they could tell I was ticked off. I simply explained the situation, using as few expletives as possible, and asked what was in Package G so that I'd know what, if anything, I needed to send back.

Simple enough, right?


The response I received was a blank email.


Okay, I thought, I'll wait until the next business day. Sure enough, on Monday I got an email that said they would be happy to assist me (of course), but "for your security and the security of your child's image" I have to call their toll-free number and speak to someone. WHAT????? First of all, I fail to see the connection between my simple, generic question and the threat of my identity being stolen. Secondly, since when are they concerned about the security of my child's image? At this point they're in possession of about 400 pounds of photos I haven't purchased from them over the years, returned to them via the super-secure envelopes they provided, which schoolchildren are entrusted to carry around and have giant clear windows on the front so the pictures will show.  My response was:
You do not have to compromise the security of my child's image to answer my question, which is what comes in package G for $16? I would rather not use my cell phone minutes to sit on hold and then explain this issue to someone at your 1-800 number. Thank you.
Another business day passes. I receive a response from "Gerald H." at Lifetouch. Through no fault of his own I already dislike Gerald, just because he works for a company that has managed to infuriate me over some stupid measly $32.00 pictures. Also because his name is Gerald (which I know is really more his parents' fault than his own). Ordinarily this would be a fine enough name, but it happens to irk me personally because my husband is always being called "Gerald" even though his name is "Gerard," and I can't help but think that if people would just stop being named Gerald  we wouldn't have that problem anymore. I recognize that asking a whole name to be eradicated from the planet isn't reasonable or rational, but I also readily admit that I stopped being reasonable and rational about this days ago.

So Gerald apparently agrees that releasing the information about what is included in Package G is not a matter of national security, and is at least somewhat willing to discuss it via email. However, he insists that I need to provide him with our Picture Day ID (a unique number assigned to each child that identifies their name, image, and school) and my childrens' names.

Well, Gerald, I can see what the problem is right there. The reason Lifetouch is concerned about "the security of my child's image" is that they're unnecessarily demanding identifying information. That's like me asking a bank if they offer auto loans, and the bank requiring me to provide my social security number and checking account balance before they'll tell me. I pointed out to Gerald that ALL I WANT TO KNOW IS WHAT IS INCLUDED IN PACKAGE G, which he should be able to tell me even if I'd never, ever had a photo taken by Lifetouch. I even told him where we live, since God knows they probably charge upwards of $15,000 for Package G in someplace like California, and instead of wallet-size pictures it probably includes hologram stickers and a personalized mug.

So far Gerald has not responded, except with another blank email. I've decided I don't care. But be sure to watch the news in the coming weeks, because so help me, if the Lifetouch Gnomes send me a bill for any of those pictures I will track them down, and I can't be held responsible for what I'll do.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


Unknown said...

That is hilarious! Some people and their companies, I tell ya. Simple question deserves simple answers! Break those gnomes butts...hahahaha

Lifetouch gnome said...

Very funny read! I actually work for the Lifetouch preschool division. That is a lot of running around and the pricing info should be clearer. That was 7 months ago so I'm sure this is all after the fact, but they were asking for your identifying information because the pricing isn't the same for every school and every division and every part of the country. Also...we do recycle the paper from all the photos you haven't purchased. :)

RobynHTV said...

Aaahhhhhh, the gnomes found me!!!

First off, I'd like to say that no actual gnomes were physically injured in the making of this post.

Second, I figured the pricing was different everywhere, I just didn't understand why they couldn't tell me the local pricing based on where I live (which I know off the top of my head) rather than using the ID# that I no longer had because my ex-spouse had the envelopes. I'm really glad to hear Lifetouch recycles, and I really appreciate your comment, and your sense of humor about this post. :)

Bruce said...

what is the reason for various prices???? is it the cost or travel? i'm in australia now and we charge the same for regional areas as we do for cities? punishing people for where they reside does not sound like a good policy....good luck to all and god bless

RobynHTV said...

You know, that's a good question. Things always cost different prices here based in where you live, but who knows why?!? Thanks for your comment!