Back in December during one of their big holiday sales I purchased some film from Lomography. I was very happy at first. I was able to purchase two 3-packs of both color negative and black & white film. With the discount for the sale combined with getting points for creating an account I got the film for almost half off.
But, once I placed my order was where the joy ended and the frustration began. I received a confirmation email from PayPal about my order and that was the last I heard from them.
About a week had passed and no email had come regarding my products shipping out to me. I wasn’t that bothered by it at first. I understood the fact that I ordered during a holiday rush period and they may be having a hard time keeping up. So, I sent in an email to their customer service department inquiring about the status of my order. Looking on their website my order history had very little usable information. It basically told me what I ordered and had links to order them again. There was a link to a FedEx tracking number, but it always said that it was “processing.”
I never received a response to that email and a few days later a package arrived to my apartment. It was the color negative film sans the black & white film. On the packing slip was a highlighted and hand written note next to the black & white film saying that it was back ordered. For giggles I went back to my order page and the FedEx tracking number still had no information about where the package was even though it had been delivered to my home.
I sent in another email to a different customer service address asking about my order and when I could expect the black & white film. This email also was never responded to. Which I think is the most frustrating part of this whole process. I never even got an automated “we received your query and will respond as soon as possible” kind of email.
My frustration grew and I tried reaching out on Twitter. I thought maybe social media could help me. It got Betty White to host SNL after all.
My thinking was to ask out to people and mention them at the same time to hopefully draw their attention to my issue. You may have already noticed I am doing the same thing with the title of this post.
I also reached out to someone I follow that I know buys film from them a lot and their response did not assure me.
— Doctor Popular (@DocPop) January 19, 2013
By this point with absolutely nothing in response from them I was getting pretty mad. But, then one day as I was coming home the manager of my apartment building saw me and said that they believed a package had arrived for me. I was perplexed, but then surprised when it was from Lomography and it was my black & white film! After more than a month had passed since my order it had arrived.
Now I have it all safely stored away in my fridge waiting to be shot. Which will be this weekend, for at least the first roll. But, I just know that as I shoot with it I will be reminded of the incredibly annoying process of getting this film.
At this point there is little I can do. Also, I could have done more to find out what was going on. But, I feel that no one should have to do even the things I did to find out what is going on with products they ordered from someone.
And the thing that really bothers me the most is just the lack of communication from them. I have not received anything from Lomography except for a couple of advertisement emails about new products and coupons. Coupons I doubt I will use because to be honest I don’t think I will be ordering anything from them anytime soon or even ever again. If I do it will be with very low expectations.
So, if you’ve gotten this far in my rant I ask you, am I right to be mad? Should I ever shop with them again? Should I burn the film in protest and put a video on YouTube of it calling for a boycott? Maybe I won’t get that extreme. Oh well. Thanks for reading.
It seems that this post may have had an impact. Just the other day I received an unsolicited package from Lomography containing in it one package of each type of film that I ordered, both the color negative and the black & white. Along with them was a a Lomography sticker and a hand written note apologizing for my having a frustrating experience with them. I was even given the direct email address of the person writing the note in case I have need of contacting them in the future.
This was well beyond anything I expected, as all I really wanted was an apology for bad customer service. I got that and more. Now, the few people I have told about this all have the same opinion that it seems like Lomography is probably trying to “buy my happiness” in hopes I will spread word of their generosity. Does it seem like that to you? I would really like to trust in the good of people and their desire to make things right. But, I feel like they may have a point.
For now I am going to be happy with getting free stuff. I may purchase more products from Lomography again and if I do I will be wary to say the least. But, I don’t think I will boycott. Am I doing the right thing?
Awhile back Cassidy had this string of very bizarre dreams. I made notes of their details with the intent of writing stories out of them. It has taken me quite some time to get to it, but I have the first draft of the first one.
I would like to share that first draft with you now and ask for your criticism. Is it any good? Does it have potential? Not enough Tony Danza jokes? Anything. Just don’t be a dick and be constructive. Thank you.
How she got there she had no idea. In her panic she couldn’t remember anything before this moment, before she was trapped. Suddenly she was stuck down here. It must have been some kind of deep hole in the ground because there was mud everywhere. The walls, the floor, everything wasn’t just covered in mud, it was mud. Soaked wet earth dark as the starless night sky above was all she felt. Rain pouring down the mud gathered under her nails and dripped down her arms as she thrashed at it trying to find a way out, to climb or dig her way, anything to get out from this place. Kicking her feet into the wall to gain a foothold to start her ascent only resulted in bringing more mud down into the hole.
All she knew was that she did not want to be here. Every fiber of her being told her to get away as fast as possible, to run from this place. But, no matter what she did the mud just kept falling down on her as she grasped at the walls. Unable to to gain any grip to propel herself upwards she stopped her furious approach to stand back and stare at the wall of dirt that held her in this place.
The rain continued to pour down, soaking the ground, her feet sinking into the mud. She knew she was crying, but couldn’t tell the difference from the rainwater and tears on her face. Standing defeated and staring up at the sky letting out one last yell of contempt for this hell she found herself in she fell back onto the ground. Lying in the fetal position holding her legs close to her for warmth and crying like Nancy Kerrigan she asked why this was happening to her. Who would want to do this to her?
Sobbing uncontrollably, not caring she was getting mud in her mouth, she gave up. No matter what she did she couldn’t get out of here. The rain kept falling, the mud kept slowly gathering around here, and the sky seemed further away. Freedom from this wasn’t an option. Exhausted from her attempts to escape and the adrenaline leaving her bloodstream her eyelids suddenly became very heavy. Sleep seemed like the only escape now. Maybe she would survive the night and under the sun she might have a better chance if the sun does in fact shine here. Or maybe she will slowly and peacefully fade away, escaping in death.
She was waking and the sound of the rain was gone. She no longer felt it beating down on her. The mud was no longer seeping between her fingers and toes. The floor didn’t feel like sopping wet dirt, but flat and textureless. She feared opening her eyes only to find herself still stuck, but the warmth on her face compelled her to awake. At least the rain was gone which could mean the mud is dried some, giving her a chance at freedom. But, she wouldn’t need to be digging her way out anymore for she wasn’t stuck in that hole any longer. The walls and ground made of mud were gone. The sky was no longer dark and impenetrable. She wasn’t shivering from cold, she wasn’t even soaked anymore, but completely dry. But, she still wasn’t free.
The uneven walls, the sinking floor, the rain dumping sky were all gone and in their place was smooth plastic feeling walls. It was a tiny room with no furniture, no windows, and no door. The ceiling, the walls, and floor were all a bright yellow as if this was some kind of Green Lantern jail cell. It was bright and blinding, something her eyes were slowly adjusting to, but what the source of light was she couldn’t tell. There wasn’t a single thing in the room, let alone something that could be providing illumination. It seemed as if the light came from everywhere.
Looking around for a way out and feeling for the signs of an exit the feelings of despair at being trapped returned. She was out of the mud, but still she wasn’t safe. She wasn’t home. The walls felt smooth and no texture to them at all, almost like plastic. She couldn’t even find a seem where the walls met the floor. It seemed perfectly sealed. Pounding on the walls proved fruitless. She tried to knock to hear for a hollow section, but all of it was solid. Anxiety started to come over her. It was terrible to be trapped in a muddy hole in the ground, but at least from there the possibility of escape existed. There seemed to be none from this place. How did she come to be here? Why was this happening to her?
She sat for what seemed like hours waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. She could only assume how long she had been in this place as without any change in the lighting it was hard to tell the passage of time. She took to singing as the silence was deafening and she needed something to occupy herself. At first it was whatever song that came to mind, pop radio mush about finding love in a hopeless place or possibly getting a call from someone. Eventually the words turned to gibberish to the tune of the National Anthem and she found herself evening singing the pledge of allegiance. Her voiced tired and her body grew weary. She sat down against the wall. Sitting down in the corner she actually found herself wishing to be back in the mud. To be trying to climb out of the darkness with the rain pouring down would actually be better. She remembered thinking how it was the worst event in her life, but how quickly it grew worse. At least there she had a chance of escape, regardless of how fruitless it felt. Here it all felt pointless.
Was this a waiting room of sorts? Was someone coming for her? Hopefully it would be to put an end to all of this. This was when she started to hear it. At first she couldn’t tell what it was. The only way she could describe it would be squishy. It sounded like the wringing out of a sponge, slow and deliberate. She felt the wall behind grow wet and her clothes started to soak. It was the walls making this noise. They were changing. Was a leak about to spring? Would the room soon be filling up with water? Se would surely drown. Running up to the wall examining it she could see what was happening. The walls were starting to bubble. Tiny bubbles were growing all over every wall. Not the floor or the ceiling, but the walls.
Reeling back to the center of the room she tried to control her breathing. Something was happening now. She couldn’t understand it, but at least something was happening. Something for her to fight against. But, she’d have to know more if she was going to get out of this alive,so she waked back up to the walls in inspect these bubbles more closely. As they grew larger it was apparent they were filling with water, but there was something else in them. At first she couldn’t tell, all could see was a speck in the middle. Each bubble seemed to have this same speck inside it. But, as the moments passed she realized it wasn’t just specks of dirt or dust, but something growing. In each bubble was something taking shape and growing in form. It was like watching a time lapse video of bacteria, slowly gathering and multiplying. She was watching something grow. She was watching many things grow. Looking around each and every one of the thousands of bubbles forming on the walls was full of water and the tiny, growing things. Minutes passed, but she felt frozen in time and place. What could this mean? The bubbles will have to pop eventually and then these things will out and who knows how large. What then?
She screamed and ran at the wall thrashing her hands across them, breaking the bubbles and spilling water all over the floor. If she could kill these things before they grew any larger she could survive. But, once the bubbles popped new ones came up in their place growing fast enough to catch up with the others. The water that spilled appeared to drain away to some unknown place.
Taking a step back she started to stare at the bubbles again. By now she start to see what was taking shape within them. She had to stare a few moments more to be really sure, but they began to grow to a point where it was clear what they were. In each bubble was a starfish. A starfish? What the hell was going on? Oddly enough they were all brown and green starfish. How big could these things get and how harmful could they really be? She had never heard of a starfish attack or anything with a starfish that resulted in harm coming to anyone.
By now she knew there wasn’t much she could do but watch. The bubbles began to break on their own and the starfish started to slowly slip down the walls. Even outside of the bubbles they appeared to still be growing. The water flowing from the walls under some unseen power flowed to the center gathering all of these starfish there with it, draining away to some unknown place. She backed away, but kept staring. As scared as she was at this bizarre turn of events it was incredibly compelling and she couldn’t look away. The starfish were becoming this mound in the center of the room growing in height. Only after a few moments passed could she be sure, but sure enough the starfish appeared to all be melding together like some kind of T-1000 of a sea creature.
As this combining pile began to take shape she could see that the starfish were gathering to combine into one immense creature. In the center of the room stood humongous, soaking wet creature. She never knew a starfish could “stand,” but here it was doing so. That was the least of her problems because as it did stand it let out a screeching call from the mouth at its center. A mouth made of a beak like found on an octopus with edges that looked sharp enough to tear through anything in this room, mainly her.
It lumbered toward her slowly its mouth gaping with a tongue lashing about, but there was nothing she could do. Where would she go? There wasn’t anywhere to run. This creature took up half of the room. There was nothing to use as a weapon against it. Nothing, suddenly, seemed like the best thing to do. She sat down against the wall. Silent. Ready. Ready for this to finally be over. How she got here she would never know.
The creature slowly came over her and finally she escaped. Freedom.
I drew this picture a while back as a gift for Cassidy to decorate her desk at work. Now it is hanging on the fridge for everyone to see. Looking at I decided to write a poem about a dragon attack. It is only slightly edited and just what came out of my brain just now. I give you, The Flaming Wrath of the Dragon.
The Flaming Wrath of the Dragon
From out of the skies it swept down like a home VHS recording of the Oscars
Its scales glinted in the early morning sun as if it were the teeth of Milton Berle
The flapping of its wings brought up the dirt beneath it
The scent of its hot breath was an alarm entering the village
People began to worry and scream for it not to be true
Some prayed and made promises to never watch Jersey Shore DVDs ever again
The attack couldn’t have come at a worse time
It was the start of a This Old House marathon
The beast made its first pass across the tops of the simple huts
Pulsing its fiery breath in short teasing bursts
Coming to a halt in the sky above it screamed
Feel the wrath of my spicy korean pork taco breath!
Lunging forward in the sky like Marlon Brando in his fifth hour at a Las Vegas buffet
The great beast covered the village in flame
All had attempted to run but only some escaped the heat
Running around like whiny pussies on fire they screamed
Help! I’m on fire! It hurts like a bitch!
No villager survived
Hunted down by the creature while it daydreamed of Spy Hunter
Within the hour the dragon had destroyed the entire village
It laid upon the smoking rubble with pride
Imagining itself as Jabba in the beginning of Jedi, the great beast laughed
This past weekend I had the great pleasure of going to the Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival here in Seattle at Cinerama. It was put on by the Experience Music Project. Cassidy and I are members of the EMP and when they sent me an email about advance ticket options for members I jumped on it and bought tickets for both of us to both sessions. Each session was two hours of short films. And it was all sorts of awesome fun. One of the things I really enjoy about living in a larger city is lots of cool shit happens that we can take part in.
If you click here you can see the page for the festival with the lineup of movies that played. There was a lot of seriously great films and it was completely worth it to sit for four hours to see all of them. My favorite part of watching these films was that one could see in them that the people making them seriously love the art of filmmaking. These films didn’t compromised and told the story they wanted to tell. Afterwards in the Q&A with some of the directors they showed the same dedication. Some of these films took years to produce, but none of them gave up on their dream and vision. I have a tremendous amount of respect for that.
The films covered a wide range of styles from thought provoking, to frightening, to cutely hilarious. My overall favorite was The Narrative of Victor Karloch. I am a huge fan of puppetry and things like Thunderbirds. So watching a horror/Lovecraftian version of that made me very happy. This was also one of the few films that had surprising big names in the cast as well with voices from Elijah Wood and Christopher Lloyd.
During the intermission Cassidy and I ran across the street to a deli/grocery store to get something simple to eat along with a hundred other people. This place was probably not aware of the film festival happening this night as they had a staff of two for the evening. One guy making sandwiches and one guy at the cash register. Which I’m sure is fine for a Saturday night in this area normally, but with the added traffic it did create some very grumpy, hungry nerds.
We got back to our seats and happily waited for the next set of films. To pass the time on the movie screen was displayed a stream of tweets all with the hashtag #sffsff, the official hashtag of the Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival. I, like many others, began to tweet with this hashtag about our favorites so far and excitement for the upcoming films. Like most things involving the internet it quickly devolved into childish humor about Star Trek and questions about furries. I took this time to make a few jokes myself, including of course, a poop joke.
If you look closely in the picture below you can make out my tweet about seeing the word “POOP” on a movie screen.
I went on to talk about Tom Cruise, disco, unicorns, and doing a survey of how many people were tweeting from the theater or the bathroom. It was some seriously highbrow humor.
All in all it was a great time and I plan to go next year.