Sunday is a special day for Mrs. Geek and me. It is our First Wedding Anniversary. Has it really been 12 months already? The time just seemed to slip by for the most part. Our wedding in some ways seems like it happened yesterday... and happened a long time ago in others. It's been a good first year though, with far more ups than downs.
With the passage of a year, it seems a little weird to be bringing up wedding-related business. After all, the vendors are all paid off. The wedding cake is long gone. Everyone speaks of our reception in a "wow that was a great party" tone. Yet, there still are a few bits of wedding business that weren't successfully resolved until today.
One of the decisions we made early on was to have our wedding pictures hosted on the Web. Our relatives are pretty much spread all over the place, and many of them have connections to the Internet. So, we figured that it would be easier for them to just go online to pick out pictures and order prints from the web hosting company. Sounds simple, right?
Well, it was simple for everyone... except the Mother of the Groom. My mom finally ordered her pictures back in late February. She then heard nothing from the hosting company for over a month. When she finally called them to learn the score, she found out that some of the digital scans of our wedding pictures did not meet quality standards established by the company. So, they were trying to contact the photographer to get the negatives to create new scans and send her the pictures she ordered.
Here is where Mrs. Geek and I enter into the picture. We got the negatives for our wedding pictures from our photographer back in December, as per our agreement with her. When the hosting company got in touch with her, she referred them to us... after making sure that the shipping company would pay the shipping costs to send the negatives.
We finally got all this back and forth about negatives straightened out by the end of April. I marched down to the local Fed Ex office with a printed out shipping label, negatives in hand. I then mumbled a silent prayer to whatever photography gods or saints might be listening and gave over our wedding posterity into the hands of others.
It is important to note here that the end of April coincides with the end of a sixty day period after my mom ordered the pictures with her credit card. Why is that important? Well, sixty days is the period of time that my mom's credit card company gives their customers to dispute charges on the cards they issue. Since nearly two months had passed and my mom still did not have pictures in hand, she filed a complaint with the credit card company. My mom did not want to cancel the charge, but she did want to go on record that it was "in doubt", should she wish to cancel later. She thought that this was understood by the credit card company but was not... as we will see.
After that, no one heard anything from the hosting company for over a month. By early June, my mom, Mrs. Geek, and I all began to become nervous. My mom started calling the hosting company daily. The customer service response tended toward the rude; service agents didn't know what was going on, claimed this was somehow my mom's fault at one point, and rarely, if ever, returned calls. After a week of this, I began to call regularly as well with much the same result. We all began to get a little tense.
Finally, a picture of the situation began to emerge. It seems that my mom's call to the credit card company did trigger a request for the hosting company to return the money. This, in turn, cancelled my mom's order. As for the negatives, the customer service department did not know where they were... or really who to ask about where they might be.
At this point, I finally decided to reconnect with our photographer. She was very apologetic and worked things from her end. I don't know what she did, but we recieved word within two working days that my mom would be getting her pictures and Mrs. Geek and I would be getting our negatives back soon.
I am happy to report that both pictures and negatives arrived at the correct locations safely today.
Mrs. Geek and I are still left with a few odds and ends to deal with, however. One thing about owning wedding picture negatives is that there is always some relative or another who wants to borrow them, run them down to the corner pharmacy, and make "just a few prints" without paying $6-12 a print to the hosting company. This is something Mrs. Geek and I have been very hesitant to do... as we have been told that handing over professional quality negatives to high school age pharmacy photo counter technicians is a great way to get them scratched and ruined forever. The alternative is to take them to a professional quality photo lab, which ends up costing nearly as much to make that first print of a given photo as the hosting service. So, our answer has always been "just deal with the hosting service, please." Some of our relations have been a little resentful about this... and we don't know how long we will be hearing about this.
Then again, it's always something where relatives are concerned, right? Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. At least our wedding picture negatives are in our hot little hands once again... and off to the safe deposit box they will go.
on 2005-06-23 at 3:30 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond