how a McDonald's drive-through reinforced what it is I do

20140129-141140.jpg I was craving an iced coffee. Badly. And I was practically drooling just thinking about it. But I was also in a rush. Rather than take the few minutes to park, walk into Starbucks and wait in line, I decided to hit up the MCDonald's drive-through for one of their fabulous sugar-free vanilla iced lattes with nonfat milk instead. I meeeeeean, their coffees ARE pretty great, right? And let's face it... they're a whole LOT cheaper than the ones from Starbucks.

good coffee + save a few bucks = great idea, right? Maybe not...

Grumble #1: the drive through was more crowded than I'd imagined it might be at that time. What I thought would be quick turned into an extra-long wait.

Grumble #2: placing an order for something mega-complicated at someplace like McDonald's. (totally my bad.) Yes, they DO offer a medium sugar-free vanilla iced latte with nonfat milk (and I've ordered it plenty of times). But it's a mouthful to say, and a bit more complicated than asking for a simple diet coke that can be ordered with one push of a button on the employee's end. I had to repeat the order a few times to make sure the guy got it.

Aaaaaand, then things went from bad to worse...

Grumble #3: I was handed a HOT latte. I explained to the woman in the window that I'd ordered an ICED latte. She was totally flustered and didn't know what to do.

Grumble #4: She scooped a cupful of ice, then started to pour the HOT coffee over the ICE. Now, children... were you all paying attention in science class? Know what happens when you pour HOT liquid over ICE? Yup... lots of extra water in my "iced" latte.

Grumble#3: So there I was, leaning from the driver's seat of my car towards her window, waving my arms wildly and yelling "excuse me" over and over again, trying to get her attention. And let me tell you... it was NOT pretty. And I felt more than a wee bit like an idiot.

Grumble#4: I got her attention, but... She. Didn't. Understand. When I asked if she could just make me a real one from scratch, she left to get her manager to deal with me instead. The cars were piling up behind me, and my face was burning with embarrassment. I mean, I could have just let it go, but I'd come there just FOR that iced latte. I didn't think it was a complicated request, but I felt like a fool.

Thankfully, her manager understood what I was asking for, promptly made me my coffee the correct way as it had been ordered, and handed it to me with an apology and a smile. I thanked her and quickly drove away.

However...

My heart rate was elevated, I was now in a foul mood, and though I still drank it, it felt like my magical little outing had been spoiled. The coffee tasted okay, but I could no longer enjoy it. Because my experience had been ruined. And I immediately remembered why I started going to Starbucks, even though it meant taking a few more minutes, and paying triple the price for a cup of coffee.

Because with SOOOOOO many things in life, it's never just about the actual item you were after... it's also about the entire experience that surrounds it.

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Aaaaand... how this actually relates to what I do:

I hear some version of THIS more than you might think: "The last time we had professional photos taken was over a year (or two or three) ago... we'd gotten a GREAT deal, but it was soooooo stressful. The kids were crying through most of it and my husband didn't want to even be there. It was a nightmare. We DID get some good pictures out of it, and my mom loves them, but I just don't want to go through that again..."

So here's my promise to you: I'm not the McDonald's of the photography world. I don't offer a quick in-and-out experience, and my rates aren't the cheapest you'll find. But I CAN promise you this (pinkie-swear and all): what I offer is tooooootally worth the investment.

I focus on the experience as a whole (so that you don't have to), by offering a FUN portrait session (from start to finish)... where moms can relax, dads actually smile (for real) in front of the camera, and kids are able to be their awesome selves. (And I'm a whiz at avoiding meltdowns.) You'll have an amazingly personalized experience, memories will be made, and the resulting photographs will be like souvenir keepsakes of your time together. (And I'll even get your coffee order right.)

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Ready to PLAY with a session of your own? Or want to simply learn more about the process? Contact me and let's get started.