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Notice to All

John Paul

5 min read

Mar 27

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Pilots have alerts called "NOTAMs Notice To All Airmen”… well, in my line of work, I feel the need to notify and alert all photographers, in the form of a NOTAP (Notice To All Photographers)… (Or anyone who works with the General Public for that matter!)


Scammers are everywhere. It doesn’t matter what their income class is, I’ve been burned by people all over the economic spectrum, who are more than willing to sacrifice a professional’s career, life, reputation and good character……..just to save a little money for a valued investment that they can absolutely afford. All they do is make me a more aware businessman, with “radar” that can intercept frauds in advance.


I recently had a conversation with a co-owner of a large, commercial weddings company, who tells me that they have been targeted by scammers and calls this “Legalized Extortion”. Apparently, a very few among us think nothing about the damage they can do to others, when on a mission to save a few bucks, by making false claims and disparaging remarks to get free stuff…! 99% of Rat Poison is actually Rat Candy... It is the 1% that kills them. 1% ...perhaps less, is responsible for 99% of all the rules, regulations, laws, restrictions, etc.. etc...etc... that we all have to deal with because of their dishonesty. Interestingly, I have never, ever had a problem with Honest People. If anything comes up, we talk about it, and try to find a solution that works for everyone!


He went on to say ..Because the cost of fighting one of these claims alone, even for a large company like them, is enormous, and in the end, can you collect? Good luck with that too, hence why they have a reputation for just giving in to the demands of the few, so they don't ruin their business, and put hundreds of people out of work! Interestingly, the ONLY time I have an issue like this, is when I am booked via an agency / One-Stop Wedding Shop type of companies, who assign weddings/ events, to their talent, without any vetting whatsoever. We have 0 idea of who is booking us, until After we sign their contract. Furthermore, I have to work within the parameters of the company rules, or else I find myself out of work. In this struggling economy, I'd rather take less pay than 0 pay, because I had "cold feet" about a couple, based on our talks, which is another topic for another day.


My response to such an idea, has always been the same: Bring it. I'm a 1-man Band. Not a large corporation that can absorb the cost of Frauds every weekend. Nope. Either I fight back, or I'm done, so expect a Big Fight if you take me on with Fraud.

I happen to have a friend, who along with her husband, both in their 60’s, him with a bad knee, ran an amazing store in Lake Geneva, who told me about some “well-to-do thieves” who had some sort of “game”, among them, that became apparent to them & several other retailers in the area, who had to chase down these wealthy-appearing, well-dressed, ladies who drove high-end luxury cars, were witnessed stuffing fairly inexpensive items into their purses, & left without paying for them, only to claim that they “Forgot to pay" for the things they were caught red-handed with in their oversized purses! One of the main reasons why they closed is because of shoplifting, the other was his knee.. He couldn’t keep standing up on his knee all day taking care of customers, thanks in part to having to run after a the few people who do things like that, and think nothing of it. …in Lake Geneva..!! Let that sink in! 


Unfortunately for me, or anyone else who works with the general public, we run into people like them. They are among us.


In 2015, I was assigned through a very prestigious studio in the Chicago area to photograph a wedding for an absolute dingbat-crazy family from a town out in the sticks of Wisconsin. The Mother of the Bride / MOTB actually called 911.... after I refused to give her, my Memory Cards, as I was packing my equipment and leaving for the night. She of course told the police when they arrived that she was only interested in my “Business Cards”…..She claimed to only asked me for a Business Card, and for no reason, began “Totally freaking out”.. and “swinging“ (my very Delicate and Expensive) Camera Equipment around at Guests………………Yep..! Can’t make this stuff up!


But since no witnesses came forward praising the cops for showing up and saving them from this camera-wielding maniac photographer.. I was never arrested of course, but one of the officers did order me to not delete any of the pictures…even though, If I don’t turn in my wedding assignment, I don’t get paid! Besides, many of the MOTB's false accusations were destroyed by the photos themselves and or their time stamps.


So, they couldn’t arrest me, but they wrote me a “Small Town” ticket… for revving my engine.. when I had a mob of these intoxicated hell raisers outside, all stirred up by her false accusations, accusing me me of all kinds of absurd, and imaginary things.....that only existed in her mind, (just like her 911 call). They wouldn't let me go home, because they all claimed “citizens arrest”…(but couldn’t specify exactly what for, of course) which I called "False Imprisonment".. I was afraid the situation would have escalated into a violent situation, where I would be the one receiving a beating, or worse!. ....So, I tried revving my motor a little bit, just a single time, to get them to scatter. It didn’t have any effect, other than doing a tiny little thing that the Small Town Sheriff Deputies could write me up for, while completely ignoring the Armed, Beer Drinking group of LOUD….drunk people threatening me, for whatever line of crap she spewed! LOL! I’m just glad I didn’t end up in 3 different corn fields!


Her attempt to use mob rule, and law enforcement to essentially rob me, failed, but she wouldn't let that setback deter her from getting what she wanted for nothing, by calling the studio to claim that my service was poor, & of course she demanded a Full Refund for my work, as well as Everything she wants for Free! ….Albums, proof books, wallets, large framed photos……………..and then went on to threaten the studio & me, with tarnishing our reputations if she didn’t get what she wanted. Oh, did I mention that the call was recorded? Yes it was! Basically, this compulsive-lying narcissist MOTB from Hell, is the Poster-child for Extortion! Upon learning that even the threat of which is criminal, carrying out the threat will get you in even Bigger trouble! Yep… we haven’t heard a peep out of her since! She ended up not getting a full refund, and paid Full Price on everything she ordered, on top of totally ruining her daughter’s wedding…………………Priceless!


An associate who claims they know the family, says: He heard that her family hates her for ruining her daughter’s wedding. This resulted in her divorce, the sale of her family business Saloon/ Restaurant, her house, and lives alone in some place out of state, and everyone is very happy with that arrangement! (Me too... & I am still working, enjoying life, & making honest people happy all the time! :-)


Be careful everyone, they are among us.

John Paul

5 min read

Mar 27

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