by Skip Cohen
Once upon a time, there was a Fortune 500 company called Polaroid. They represent 17 1/2 years of my photography career and the foundation for so many things I believe in when it comes to business today. Well, a chapter from the past, going back to my Chicago days, bubbled to the surface a week ago.
Here's another fun aspect to social media, and especially Facebook. Lori Hawk is a photographer based out of Kentucky. She collects cameras and recently received a Polaroid SX-70 for her collection. In with the camera was the service card below.
She recognized my name and sent me an IM on Saturday morning. A phone call later, we had determined the camera had been repaired twice, once in 1980 and again in 1985.
Most people don't know that the first production run of the SX-70 camera was over 300% defective. Each camera came back repeatedly for service. If the Internet had been around then, Polaroid would have gone out of business! Instead, thanks to an amazing man, Jon Wolbarst, a Polaroid VP, who had responsibility for Customer Service, Polaroid became a leader in consumer support. We were one of the most pro-active and recognized corporate service departments in the industry.
Jon felt Customer Service was the company's conscience and never eased up on manufacturing or the company executives to stay pro-active, always fighting for the customer. The response card above went out with every repaired camera. We needed to make sure our service was the very best!
They were so worried about a class-action suit that we made "roving rep" calls, heading out on personal visits to those consumers who screamed the loudest. We made house-calls to teach people how to use the camera.
I was based out of Chicago and got a call one night to fly to Detroit the next day to meet with a woman who couldn't take a decent picture. It was because she could barely see, and the camera had an incredibly sensitive follow-focus system. So, with flash, if she took a picture of me and focused on my ears, the front of my face would be completely blown out.
To help correct the problem initially, they added the distance scale on the front of the lens. Later on, the technology changed, so the problem eventually disappeared.
A BIG thanks to Lori for helping to keep the world a tiny place. What a kick to be contacted with this snippet from my history. I was with Polaroid from 1970 to 1987 and based out of the service center outside Chicago from 1976 - 1981.
There's nothing like a trip down Memory Lane to make you smile!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.