The History Of Photoworks Part 2

My Partners Mike and Leslie Looking the Part

My Partners Mike and Leslie Looking the Part

Halloween circa 1993. Since we are on the border of the Castro district of San Francisco, I thought it would be a fun idea to crash the big costume party. The event had become a magnet for the bridge and tunnel crowd to come and photograph all the wild and crazies. And with the locals all bringing cameras as well, the event seemed worthy of capitalizing on. I decided that we would walk the streets as vendors selling film and disposable cameras. I called my Kodak rep and said we had this event that may draw 100,000 people, and it is a few blocks from our store. He agreed to provide disposable cameras and film. I did not realize just how much film and cameras until the truck arrived with the boxes. They had fronted us around 20 grand worth of stuff to sell so the pressure was on.

On the night of the event there were 6 of us armed with ridiculous Kodak aprons and hats as we prepared to hit the streets. A few hours earlier I began to have my doubts about this task, and I soon realized this may be a big mistake. Decided to have a few drinks for fortification. When we got to the big party it was packed with Halloween revelers. No one was selling anything except weed. We looked like complete dorks. People thought I was in costume. The few folks who asked to buy something were turned off by the price. One guy gave me a 100.00 bill for a 2.99 cent roll of film. Someone dumped a dacquiri on my head. This is pre cell phone so I had little idea how my fellow salesman were doing, but I decided I’d had enough abuse and slinked back to Photoworks. When I arrived I saw all of my people had bailed out and returned to base even before I had.

TOTAL SALES: $45.00 Not exactly Apprentice material. Let’s just say that if I were project manager I’d have been “fired.”

Next day I had to call the Kodak rep and explain the bad news. The unsold merchandise was picked up at my cost, and Kodak suspended my account. This was one of our lowest moments for sure, but not as bad as my attempt to capitalize on the Sf Gay Pride  Day Parade (pre pc renaming) I’ll share that sad story another time.

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