It is 6:46 pm. I have been working at pricing out digital photo products from the various online photo printers since 4:00pm. It started the other day with the promotional email that Walmart sent me for Mother's Day. I'd forgotten about the tailchasing I'd gone through then. But today I looked at a promotion from Kodak, a similar promotion on Mother's Day gifts such as memory books. I followed the email to check out the prices.
No. One would have to go through the procedure of making up a book if one wanted a price it seemed.
I looked all over the Kodak site trying to figure out where they showed their products and prices. I couldn't believe this should be so hard to find, and really worked myself into an aggravated frenzy.
So then I tried to call customer service - they did have a number to call. The fellow who answered me had no idea what I was talking about - digital photo products? This is Kodak I'm talking to. At this point I didn't even care about the prices. I am just so astounded that this is so difficult to find. Don't they want to know that people cannot find what they want? I gave up with the gentleman, nice as he was with having to listen to my ranting, but he was about to describe to me how to find film on the website. FILM? I'm talking digital files that I upload and then can order products with these images on them. I just want to know how much they cost at Kodak so I can compare to the other online photo services. I told the gentleman "thank you, it's just not worth you're telling me how to find film on the website. " I mean if that is where this information is hidden, then it really is just too stupid to be worth finding. How can they then be trusted to produce what I might want is the implication in all this nonsense.
But I would give it one more try to find the information myself. I did find it. the path was Consumer Products (I think)/Online Photo Processing. On that page in the lower right hand corner was a banner?/link to the photo printed products one can get at the Kodak Gallery. Ok I found it, found the info. And then I found another number to call just to tell them what I'd found, where it was hidden, it should not be so hidden etc. The agent who got me was also very nice. It took her only a little while to realize I didn't need anymore help but was giving feedback on how things work, or rather, don't work on their site. That took awhile. Kodak has given me 20 free 4x6 prints that I can order until the end of this year - one hour later.
Then, composure returned, I went patiently through other sites doing my comparison pricing. I compiled a handwritten spreadsheet. And finally I got to Walmart. I'd forgotten all about what had happened a few days ago. It happened all over again. I'd wanted to write to them about it then but I'm so fed up with writing to customer service and getting automated replies indicating there has been no real communication that I'd decided against writing then. Well this time I went through with it, even though I was probably writing to a machine (God help us). As I wrote the last words saying something to that effect I realized, well I can at least put the letter on my blog. It is below.
A note to Walmart's customer service 4/30/07
This customer is very aggravated and frustrated. I received your promotional email about Mother's Day gifts and wanted to find out info on the memory book. This required my updating the computer's Flashplayer. That took quite a while. Then I could find no further pricing information on the product. The ad says "starting at $12.99". I tried clicking everything I could to find out more info but kept landing on a page that would take at least 2 minutes to download over my dialup. Then the only option was to "get started creating your book" That was not what I wanted. Why would I proceed to make something that I have no idea what it will cost? I have searched the PhotoCenter high and low and there is no further info on this.
Why should I be so concerned about the cost? Several discrepancies on your site. On one page of digital photoproducts, "notebooks" are listed at $99.00 each. Now I know that is a typo. Have you wondered why no one orders the product? Elsewhere sweatshirts are listed at $10.96. That too I thought was a typo - way too cheap. Go in one level further and it comes up with a different price - $16.22, more inline with what one would expect.
Please take time to correct these issues. I know Walmart does not need my business and need not heed my quest for satisfaction. But I can't help but try here.
As for the Mother's Day promotion, it came too late to get pictures together in time to make a memory book for your deadline.
And please don't answer with an automatic reply, or tell me what I can do to get what I need. I don't need to do anything. I don't want the product enough to jump through anymore hoops. But I do care enough to say what I think here. At core here, is feeling such resentment at being caught in this giant machine, this world of mechanization. I resent that we all believe it is the way to go. Happiness does not lie there. Neither it seems does convenience.
It is now 7:20. At least this writing seems done. Perhaps at least one person will read it instead of a machine. I call this stuff message in the bottle stuff. And, oh yes, the irony is not lost on me that this is all technology here. But I'll save those thoughts for another time.