Monday, November 17, 2008

In June I sent my father’s 16 mm home movies to Florida Home Movies, to have them transferred to DVD. After visiting Kits Camera and emailing several transfer businesses, this was the one which told me that they could add the sound of an old 16 mm projector to the DVD. Other outfits said they simply couldn’t do it or thought it was nuts. Lured by seeming enthusiasm from a Jean Marcott I carefully packaged my reels of film and sent them UPS to Florida. The job was to take a month.

My summer was dominated by home repairs and an ill mother. It was easy to let the days slip into weeks and not inquire after my movies. When I did I would get an email reassuring me that the job was proceeding with every attempt to make it wonderful. Like a bovine that had been tossed an armful of hay, I would go on as happy as a cow for a while.

In September replies to emails turned abrupt and then stopped altogether and I panicked. Those home movies were pretty much the sum total of my inheritance and more precious than gold to me. And they were 3,000 miles away with people who were disinclined to communicate with me. I emailed, “Please, just send the movies back. “ I left a comment on their website and contacted the Boca Raton Better Business Bureau. Finally, someone I had never heard of called.
“Mark,” if that was his name, had plenty of excuses for why a job slated to take one month had so far taken three. The projector broke down. The bulb burned out. The replacement bulb was costly and a long time coming. Any of this I would have sympathized with if along the way someone would have emailed or called and explained. They were prepared to go forward with the project and it would be done in a few days. Did I want them to simply box up the movies, “Which by-the-way, were 8 inch reels, not 7 inch.” We had a massive failure to communicate.
I was torn. I wanted to smack the freckles off the face of this “Mark” person, but he was a long ways away and had my movies. They could easily get lost or destroyed. I told him that I still wanted the movies transferred, that it was Christmas for my children, that if he would have called occasionally over the months I might not have gotten BBB involved.

It was not as quickly as a week. Actually it was more like two when Mark called to say the movies were ready and what address did I want them shipped to. He would send them out the next day. Even at that it was another two weeks and a message left on his cell phone before I received the package.

Had the economy gone south a few months earlier I might not have embarked on this adventure. Despite the inconvenience of dealing with uncommunicative people I am glad that I did it when I did or I might not have ever done it. Who knows what the future will bring and with a husband who will sooner or later be out of a job I am glad that I bit the bullet and got it done. I’ve paid off the credit card and the children will have my memories, my father’s memories, for Christmas.


Lorraine Hart said...

Sounds like it was a little hairy there for a bit...but did they come out well after all that? Are you pleased with the final result?

I'm trying to talk to my dad about this because we have home movies from all over the world, including some great Air Shows over the years.

I think it's going to be a cool Christmas present for the family.

Kim Thompson said...


I am glad you got the movies back. What a horrendously frustrating company to work with! My goodness! I'll bet your heart filled with joy to get that box of movies back, all done! Yikes!

And that is a GREAT gift for your kiddos. Family treasures make the best gifts ever.