Monday, May 17, 2010

Bully Tactics From Modeling Scout

There has been this scouting company for modeling that's been hounding me every single time I take the kids to the mall, and who can blame them my children are gorgeous! They always give me a hassle because hubby cannot come due to his crazy schedule. Well, they finally acquiesced and our appointment was today at 6:30.

When we first walk in, of course Maddy is blown away by the runway, the big screen TVs with the young models, and the makeup room with actual kids getting ready for a photo shoot. I fill out some paperwork for both kids and we wait for about a half hour to get called in.

We are ushered into an office with magazine ads plastered everywhere. The scout explains how they work only off the initial package deal and that once the kids get called for modeling assignments the kids have an account set up for 15% of what they make, the rest goes to the parent's discretion. Ok, so far, kinda.

She shows me all the successful clients they have; their contact sheets followed by any and all work they got them. Still sounds kind of good, kinda. Maddy is practically giddy sitting next to me going through all the albums, "Look mom, Target, Everybody Love Raymond, Babies R Us, Macy's!!!" Exciting? Little bit.

Then we get to the punch line, you ready for this? For 1 look and headshot photos for Linky...$400. For 1 look and headshot for Maddy $750. When I all but fell off the chair, she dropped the price on Maddy's to $600. Grand total of $1000. When I asked her, "how long do I have to give you a decision?" Her response, "If I walk out of the office for a few minutes for you to mull things over and come back in, that's how much time you have."


Me: So you want me to make a decision that will cost me $1000 right now?
Scout: Yes, you can make that decision for your children, can't you?
Me: If I were to say yes, what other costs await me?"
Scout: Well, there would be the fees associated with marketing. Which start as low as $400 and as high as $1200, but the good news is, we sign you today and the kids walk over and take their pictures tonight.
Me: You do realize there's a recession going on, and you all are charging a grand for pictures...and take pictures tonight? Lady, my son is practically delirious from sleep and it's almost 8pm on a school night!
Maddy: If it helps mommy, I have $7 that you can use, because I really want to start modeling
Scout: See how happy that makes her
Me: (rolling of the eyes) So, again, you want me to make a decision without checking my finances or even give me a window to really mull it over
Scout: (song and dance about how if every parent said "let me think about" they'd be out of business)
Me: Do you all not read or watch the news? I believe 20/20 just did an expose' on bully tactics that companies use to bilk consumers out of their hard earned money. They said that any company not willing to "let you think about it" is working some sort of scam.
Scout: I assure you that this is not bullying and that we've been doing this for 13 years
Me: Right, you've been pressuring parents to make knee-jerk decisions in front of their impressionable children and getting away with it for 13 years. I'm sorry but I'm going to have to pass
Maddy: AWWWW, man! I'm never going to be a model now!
Me: Ugh, thank the pretty lady for dashing your dreams away!

Seriously?! When I left there, I immediately called my bestfriend and soror up because she recently was scouted for her kiddies. My first question was: "when you got the kids pics done for the scout, how much did you pay?"
Get this: "$150, and I get to keep the proofs to duplicate and use how I want for marketing my kids"

See, now imagine that there were about 15 parents in the waiting room to be seen at 6:30 and say half of them agreed to this ridiculousness...then this company just made minimum $8000 in the matter of an hour! Multiply that by say loosely 8 hours a day, that's $64,000 in one day!!

Moral to the story? PEOPLE DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO GET BULLIED INTO PURCHASING ANYTHING RIGHT THEN AND THERE!! If a company really wants you as a customer, they will bend over backwards to please you...and that means giving you time to make an educated decision!


Creative Silence said...

Wow. I'm floored that these companies still get away with that hustle. I just finished a retouch job for a client. It seems her "modeling agency" didn't even touch up her photos after she paid God knows what for their services. $150.00 for a full portrait session is about right. Do your own legwork as time permits and you and that lovely lady of yours will be fine :)


Chocolate Mom aka Blupoetres said...

Thanks C!!