“That’s not my film.” For a photo lab, this is the most dreaded statement that a customer can make.
I’ve been in this business for 22 years. I can safely say that I have overseen the developing of some 800,000 rolls of film. Of those almost one million rolls, I’d say we’ve had maybe 50-75 or so rolls get damaged and sometimes ruined by machine malfunction. We try and treat film processing like we are flying an airplane because the consequences of failure can be pretty grim. Now and then we’ll have an operator error, or shall I say pilot error, where the technician makes a mistake. This may cause some film to get switched to the wrong customer. So Mr. Smith winds up with Miss Johnson’s pictures. Ooops! That can be embarrassing, especially if one of the parties is say “adventurous.”
There is another scenario in which we follow all of our lab protocols, but the customer insists that they have been given “someone else’s film.” Now it can happen, but it is rare. This is sticky because as they say, the customer is always right. But, is it possible that the customer could be mistaken? What if that roll of film is from a friend, or maybe you just forgot what you shot? Could there be tequila involved? Then you have people who take a look at their photos and realize that they are crap, and suddenly insist that, “these are not mine.”
I’m dealing with a situation now where someone went to a far away place and shot some special photos. They insist that what they have back from me are not images from this far away place. The problem is that I think that they are. I sure can’t come out and say that.
The other day I went to my dry cleaner and to my surprize one of my hipster vintage shirts was missing. In it’s place was a tuxedo shirt that I most certainly do not own. When I questioned the proprietor, he responded by saying that, “the tags all match up Sir, are you sure this is not your shirt?” Then I got to thinking, I was in Las Vegas for a wedding recently, and there was most defintely tequila involved……….