Jenni (shiny_jen) wrote in bad_service,

I know it was free, but still...

I won a prize draw thing for a day at a photography studio in London. Worth £250 in total (for me and a guest), it included a mini manicure, hairstyling, hand massage, full makeup and shoots by a professional photographer in 6 outfits with whatever props, backgrounds etc. I thought at first it sounded to good to be true, but the friend who had entered me for the prize draw (and had done it herself) told me that the photos themselves were really expensive. Fair enough.

I live about a 2 hour train journey from London, and me and my friend arrived early at 1:30 pm, so we made ourselves comfortable on the sofas.

When I was called up, I found the woman doing my nails and make up pretty incompetent. She ignored me other than to ask about colours etc., and wandered off several times for no other reason than to have a chat with some of the other people there (one such time involved a discussion about how much water she'd had to drink that day, so it was hardly relevant). Because of that, my friend finished her stuff a lot earlier than me, and therefore had to wait longer.

My 'manicure' basically involved 2 coats of clear nail polish and my nails filed. She filed my nails really unevenly and different shapes - they didn't look great but my friend was waiting and I'd already been held up so I left it. She also skipped the hand massage completely.

Next was the hairstyling. We had to wait around half an hour for that, and a lot of the girls were complaining they hadn't really had a say and they'd ended up with their hair curled (which still looked good, but the hairdressers basically ignored them when they told them what they wanted).

After this, we sat on some other sofas and told to wait for the photographer. We ended up waiting until around 6:30pm before our photographer came, even though girls that had arrived 1 and 2 hours after us had already finished/were halfway through their shoots. By this time were were hungry, couldn't leave, our makeup was quickly fading and our hair going flat.

Once we got downstairs, the photographer was pretty pushy in what we chose to wear (considering we brought our own clothes, and she thought it would be amusing [for herself] if we wore these random robe things she had to pose like greek goddesses - don't ask). However, it was a lot of fun overall and I really enjoyed it.

We finished the shoot, and went upstairs. They told us that our photos would be ready for viewing in an hour (rather than their standard hour and a half) because of the time. We found a cute little Italian restaurant to eat at, rushed through our meals and got back for 8pm (the time they'd told us to come back). At 9:30pm, we were still waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

By the time we'd viewed our photos and bought them, it was 10:15pm and we rushed to the train station. They'd told us the shoot would take around 4 hours, but to allow another hour for delays etc. Because we'd spent so much time sitting around waiting for them, we were over 3 hours behind schedule and ended up not being able to get a train back, and having no money I ended up calling my dad to come pick us up (a journey of around 150 miles for him).

In one sense the day was a lot of fun, and I can see that I don't really have a right to complain because it was 'free' other than the photos, but if I'd paid the £125 or £250 I would have probably complained officially - and I did spend around £300 on photos so I guess I kind of have the right to complain. I can imagine models going for portfolio pictures would get annoyed by the process. The staff just didn't seem to care. I'm also really happy with the way the pics turned out in the end, so I guess my response is kind of mixed. If I'd known it was going to involve so much waiting around I would have been prepared for it by bringing things to do. The only thing that made sitting there for several hours at a time more bearable in the heat was chatting to the other girls that were there.
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