Film issue? Photographer issue?
I’ve certainly experienced my share of poor customer service. One day I pulled into the drive through of a certain fast food restaurant, who shall remain nameless. Let us just say they have golden arches and are headed by a clown! Anyway, I pull up, place my order once. I am asked to repeat it. i do so. I am asked to repeat it again. I do so. OK. On the 4th repeat, I’m becoming annoyed. I thought that maybe I wasn’t speaking clearly. Nope. Not the case. I pull around to the window to tell the lady, in person, and find out that this is a high school girl taking orders while she is trying to text her friends! Hell! No wonder she couldn’t understand my order. I remember thinking: If I were the manager … !
Now, any time that I feel the need for fast food, which is not that often, I patronize Chick-Fil-A. Why? Because, consistently, across the country, their customer service is stellar. NEVER have I been to a Chick-Fil-A where anyone was out of line, texting, chatting with their buddies and ignoring me, or any other manner of poor customer service. They are tops! Lots of companies could learn something from them.
A couple of weeks ago I developed a couple of rolls of Ilford HP5+ film. One of the rolls came out with what looked like damaged emulsion, but I wasn’t sure. Consistently, along the bottom of the film I can see dark splotches, like in the image above. I developed two rolls at the same time, one came out wonderfully, the other, well, not so good. I freely admit that this could be an issue with my loading of the camera or whatever. Some processing issue.
I decided to contact Ilford customer support and tell them about it. Honestly, I didn’t expect to hear back from them. I’ve gotten used to such poor customer service AND it is film, fewer people using it, etc, less budget for support. A few years ago, I bought a Brother all-in-one printer/scanner/fax, had an issue with it, sent an e-mail, got a response saying that they would be in contact with me in 6 – 8 WEEKS!!! I packed it back in the box, took it back to the store, and bought an HP!
Imagine my surprise when I got this about a week after sending my e-mail:
Sorry to hear that you have been experiencing a problem with our film. I am not aware of any issues in the US currently with HP5+ such as you describe either with this batch or any others. However, I will check with our factory to find out whether they have any known problems reported on this batch.
In the meantime if you could email me a couple of scans of the negatives so I can get a better idea of the problem that would certainly help us troubleshoot this for you. Please also include full details of the rest of your processing sequence ( stop bath or rinse, fix, wash, dry) including agitation, times and temperatures Is the film 35mm, 120 or sheet, and what are you processing in such as a spiral tank or rotary processor?
Rod for HARMAN technology techsupport USA
Whoa! Imagine that! Someone on the other end. I have sent them a complete description of the process, camera, and everything that I can think of. I really don’t think that it was an issue with their film, but I just wanted some help figuring it out. Kudos to Ilford for responding and offering to help.
I’ll let you know what I find out.