10 Tales From Photo Lab Employees On The Weirdest Thing A Customer Asked Them To Develop
I worked at a Walmart photo lab around 2006. I received this roll of film that had all of these awesome dynamic action shots of this one guy. It was him diving into water from tall rocks, sky diving, dirt bike riding, etc. He was doing all of these amazing things and I wanted talk about this with him when he came in.
But then I got to the end of the film and was shocked that he was actually in a casket. He had died. I never found out I never found out how it happened or anything but it was just one of those shocking moments that sticks with you. I didn't expect him to be dead after watching him live his life to the fullest like that.
Old lady would bring in a disposable camera about once every 2 weeks. 95% of the pictures were of the TV. She would see something she wanted to buy off of the home shopping network, and wanted to remember to get it later... so she took a photo of it.
#8 Six Months
The saddest one was a lady who was about 45-50 years old. She came in to get some pictures of herself printed. She said she was trying to choose pictures for her obituary because she'd just been diagnosed with some disease and doctors told her she may not live past another 6 months. I really had no words for that one. Completely caught me off guard. Most pictures I print are of vacations, family, friends, babies, pets, etc. But this one still haunts me. I'm pretty sure it's been over six months since I seen that woman. Makes me wonder how she is..
#7 When cops come in...
I worked at Ritz camera around 2000. One day a woman came in with a cop and explained that she had a roll of film with her stillborn baby on it. Cop was there to verify it wasn't illegal. She was beyond nervous . .. she asked if I could make it look like the baby was alive. The stillborn pics were bluish grey so I did what I could to "warm it up" since Ritz guaranteed the best colors possible. She was thankful, I took the next day off and the cop came back later to explain that the woman lost her uterus due to some complication during the birth. The lady just wanted to remember her only chance at having a kid.
I used to work at a Walgreens in the photo lab and was standing there watching a stack of photos print off. They appeared to be of an Easter party for some young children at first, then it went to all the children sitting at a dining room table with their Easter baskets in front of them.
First picture, they looked happy.
Second, they were frowning.
Third, downright crying.
By the fourth or fifth it became apparent that there was a giant stem of broccoli in each of their baskets.
Targets policy is that it is up to the employee's discretion to develop whatever they are not morally opposed to, as long as it was not illegal.
Best: Guy I was sort of starting to date in high school had his little sister come in and develop a role of film with photo editing. That means I preview the photos and edit them before printing. Was just a bunch of photos of trees and stuff until I came to pictures of pieces of paper on a picnic table that in each picture said... will... you... go... to... homecoming... with... me? He then came in to pick up the pictures himself for the answer and I obviously said yes.
#4 Definitely Disturbing
I've had a roll of film of an old person in a nursing home and, a few frames later, a hospital bed. Next came pictures of the wake at their funeral. This person was well, got sick and then died all in the span of this single roll of film. Mildly disturbing on an existential level to say the least.
#3 Wait...what now?
Well, other than boobs and penises, I developed film for some older lady whose 50 year old son went missing. They found his body in a field 8 days afterwards and even though it wasn't his actual body it was of where his body was in the picture.
Think of a snow angel but in a patch of tall grass and completely black and bloody. It also turned out I was the last person to see this guy alive (I sold him batteries). Oddly enough, this lady thinks that her other son killed him.
So I'm not sure what about it was more shocking, the fact that it was a photo from a crime scene or the fact that I saw this dude the night he got murdered.
My first day working at CVS I developed a roll of film.
It starts out with this lady posing with her boyfriend around town. A few glamour shots here and there. Then I see a shot or two of her in a hospital gown; she's lying on a bed, smiling, waving. Then I see her vagina stretching, like a snake's jaw unhinged, pushing out her baby. There were about two or three of these shots.
It was one of those disposable cameras. So the powerful flash made all of the fluids glossy.
I used to work Loss Prevention at Wal-Mart back in the late 90s. One day I got paged to the photo lab and the tech asked me if she should call the police.
She handed me a set of black and white photos that she had just developed and they seemed to be photos of dead bodies. One had a guy hanging from a tree, another was a girl in a tub with her throat slit. I went through the stack and see if there are any live people in them. We called the police and waited for them to come. An officer and detective showed up and looked through the photos and asked if we had the customers information available. The tech read off the customer's name and from behind us, we hear someone say "yes? "
There's a 20-something year old guy and girl standing there. The detective starts asking them questions when the officer says to me "isn't that the dead guy and girl in these pictures?" We look at them and as we figure out that they were faked scenes, the detective is told the same thing by the couple. They were shooting for scenes for an art gallery and really didn't think anything was wrong.
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