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Posts tagged “booth

Thumbtack’s 10 Best Photo booth Rentals In Houston

Photo booths at parties? They haven’t replaced what we used to have at parties, like say, how DJs largely replaced live bands.

Instead, they’ve become an enjoyable addition to parties. Like Photographers and then videographers.

Not every party wants clowns, magicians, balloon animals, or face paintings, but images of a good time are intrinsic to a party, and the Photo booth niche adds value to the party by increasing the Fun Factor: Like bartenders and caterers.

So I Googled Best Photo Booths in Houston and a website called Thumbtack came up. Thumbtack announces their 10 Best Photo booth Rentals in Houston.

Well I live in Houston, so that’s exactly what I’m looking for. After all, I have some friends and family doing this as a main business or sideline, I’d like to see if they make the cut.

What is Thumbtack’s 10 Best Photo Booth Rentals In Houston?

I click the link, the homepage comes up, and then a block box (one of those menu boxes that block you from exploring the site until you answer questions – like a paywall only more cloy and intrusive).

*Before we show you our Top Ten Photo Booths, are you here for (Check One)

Photo Booth Rental or
Video Booth Rental?*
Photo Booth Rental, Duh!

*We’re asking you a few questions so we can bring you the right pros.*

The Right Pros? So by that statement there are actually More than 10 Best or does it mean that I’ll get less than 10 results?

*What type of event are you hosting? (Check One)*

My type of event isn’t listed so I check, *Special Occasion*.
At this point, if there are seven different options of Top Ten. This then, is a Top 70 list.

*Which of the following best describes your role? (Check One)*

5 options this time, which means Thumbtack has a 120 Best Photo Booths in the city of Houston alone. And you know, that’s a considerable dilution factor right there.
I check *Party Host*

*Is your event indoors or outdoors? *

Finally, a relevant question for a city with frequent storms.
I check Indoors (add 10 more “Best” to the 120)

*What kind of booth do you need?*

What Kind of Photo BOOTH do I need? A Photo Booth! I’m here for the 10 Best Photo Booths!
They give me three options and here is the thing. Now the 10 Best is up to 160 Best but you know what? Photo Booths are an exceedingly thin slice of a city’s event entertainment industry, which in itself is a luxury and so a thin slice of any city’s industry. After all, there are plenty of Hotels, Party Halls, Theaters, Nightclubs, Restaurants, Theme Parks, even plain old Bars that will rent suites, rooms, space, upstairs, the basement, back patio, or their entire operation with all extras covered, for a party. Freelancers assembled piece-meal for a stand-alone event are a minute fraction of a fraction here.
So if this this much drill-down minutia is required to find a 10 best list to suit me, Thumbtack really has nothing to offer. It’s like buying into a franchise Photo Booth operation. What’s the point? There’s not a Photo Booth franchise operation out there that has established a national or even state-wide reputation that makes a difference to potential customers.There’s no established, reputable Photo Booth franchise equivalent to, say, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING or ILOVEKICKBOXING.
Out of curiosity though, I click the middle choice.
*Camera With Backdrop*
I must admit, I’m wondering what kind of bizarre Photo Booth company turns away potential clients who don’t want a backdrop?

*What kind of pictures would you like?*

Oh you’ve got to be kidding me! Three choices! Now up to 190 Best In Houston. Two of them are print or digital.
Print OR Digital?!?
In this digital age there are Photo booths that cannot or will not do both? Seriously?!?
Again, out of sheer curiosity and a rapidly falling opinion of Thumbtack, I choose the middle one. Print.

*Would you like props provided?*

200 Best Photobooths in Houston now. Thumbtack’s  Bright Red 10 Best is now a pastel pink 200 Best. My tank for putting up with this nonsense is now empty. Stubbornly driving on the fumes of curiosity I pick,

*How many guests are you expecting at your event?*

5 more options. We are now at the 250 Best Photo Booth Rentals in Houston, mark. Damn! The city of Houston has So Much More than 250 freaking Photobooth companies that a list of the 250 Best is possible? How many more Photo Booths didn’t make the cut because they are merely Great but not The Best?
On the last drop of trusting anything Thumbtack has to offer, I choose the middle one again.

*How old are your guests?* (5 more choices)


THAT’S IT!*. I refuse to believe that there are so many thousands of Photo booths in Houston that anyone could cull a 300 Best. Moreover, I refuse to believe (and I certainly don’t want to deal with), Photo Booth companies that draw the line over customers who do OR don’t want a backdrop, customers who do OR don’t want props, and customers who may have more OR less than, 100 guests!

In fact, I don’t want to deal with any luxury company that is so uncomfortable  with establishing a relationship with a client, that they would use an entity like Thumbtack to have potentials fill out an online-style medical form.


*But really that wasn’t it. I drilled through four more menus (15 – count ’em – 15 menus with no end in sight) before I finally quit.


Don’t want to fill out Thumbtack’s exhaustive Client Application?

Fine then! No 2017 10 Best for you!

You have to settle for Thumbtack’s 2016 9 best.

Here it is.

Thumbtack’s 9 Best of 2016 Photo Booth Rentals in Houston

Best of 2016

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Copyright 2011
by E.C. McMullen Jr.

It’s like this.

Parking is at a premium here in Los Angeles. Most parking garages are private, some are public/government. Some spot you 30, 60, even 120 minutes free before the clock starts charging.

I went to one of the 2 hour ones today. I’ve been there before, always at night (great area for restaurants and theaters), but this time I had biz in the area and went in the day.

Whether I’m paying or not, I always try to keep to the posted max. Most paid parking garages not only max out at a specific free time but also a specific charge (this one is $10), but I like to free up parking ASAP for the next person. These places are always crowded and besides, it’s my personal quirk.

So I get back with 15 minutes to spare. I’m well within my limit.

Long line of cars. I’m finally one car from the toll booth and I can see the problem. The guy in the booth is chatting up the women. Every biz has regulars so I’m sure this guy is remotely familiar with a fair number of the garage customers.

He is still talking.

Now there are a few things I’ve noticed about many of the garages in this town, and I know that this one is one of them: if they run your Parking card in the booth, then IF you have to pay, you have to pay.


Let’s say you are a minute or two over after waiting in a long line (like me). The Parking Attendant will usually step outside of the booth, press a button on the public meter beside your car and slide in your card. This has the effect of clearing your bill and you are on your merry.

He is still talking. In fact, he is really giggling it up with the woman in the car.  He is laughing, she is laughing, I have no idea what they are saying, but Mr. Parking Attendant is waving his hand at her (oh go on, You!) as if he is Maurice Chevalier waving off compliments from Leslie Caron.

“Ahh, you flattah me littel gell! Hon! Hon! Hon!

I look at my car clock. I’m now one minute over.

I catch my hands, finger by finger and independent of my consciousness, drumming the execution cadence on my steering wheel.



Some car behind me pulls the trigger first. HONK!

Mr. Parking Lot Booth Attendant looks up the line as if WE  are being the jerks.

I’m two minutes over.

He steps out of his booth and clears her ticket! She drives away, happy and waving.

I drive up.

He takes my ticket INSIDE  the booth and runs it.

“One dollar please,” he says matter-of-factly.

You can see my problem, right?

It’s not the dollar, which won’t even buy you anything off the 99 cent menu without a dime for the sales tax.

It’s the fact that HE KNOWS  he is charging me a dollar for the three minutes I sat there while he conversed with Ms. Charming.

He wants ME  to pay for HIS  flirting!

“I’ve been in line for the last five minutes,” I say.

“It’s the machine,” he explains, then has the nerve to add, “You had two free hours.”

I give him a momentary hard stare, but comply. There are people behind me who have places to go and it is none of THEIR  fault what this weasel did. I have a $5 in my pocket and a $20 in my wallet. So fuck it, I need change anyway. I pull out the $20 and hand it to him.

As soon as he sees the $20, he gets an odd look on his face. The kind of look a person gets when they feel the turtle stick its head out.

He opens his register and fiddles around in there and I suddenly realize what he already knows. He doesn’t have CHANGE  for a $20!

He gives me a queasy look. The kind of look someone who JUST  screwed you gets when they need to ask you a favor.

“Do you have anything smaller?” He looks like a hunter asking the bear for his arrow back.

And I’M  the bear. And I don’t barely grin. Inside I feel a Wolfish Grin trying to claw its way out onto my face.

Car horn honks.

Car Horns honk.

A portly woman appears at his booth, wearing a uniform like his. She asks him why the cars are honking, he shows her my $20 and his till.

She says something and he lifts his plastic tray out of the register, but We All KNOW  there is nothing in there to save him.

More honking. People getting bitchy.

Boss steps out and waves her hand at them for mercy. They stop. I’ve satisfied my end of the agreement. I deserve my change back.

The Boss Apparent asks, “Do you have a smaller bill?”

I answer “No.” (a DAMNABLE lie!)

“Maybe some change?” he asks. Emboldened by the presence of his boss (or perhaps afraid) he adds, “Could you look around?”

With an air of irritated smugness, like a Commie Commissar who deigns to speak to the prole, I say, “That’s the smallest bill I have.”

A car horn honks. Followed by another. Then a third. Then a voice, echoing through the concrete parking garage, “WHAT FUCK !?! COME ON!!!”

I holler back, “They don’t have change for my $20!”

My words, instead of being met with more frustrated honking and shouting, dives into immediate silence. So I can vividly imagine that everyone suddenly considers THIS  news.

No change for a twenty dollar bill? Hmmm!”

Mr. Charming Parking Lot Attendant and his Boss look at me aghast with sweaty betrayal. Why did I have to go and tell everyone THAT ?

The sign on the booth says,

No Credit or Debit Cards

No Checks

No Bills over $20

This is a rather “Tony” part of town. Nearly everyone probably has a $20.

It’s then that I allow Mr. Charming Parking Lot Attendant and his Boss Apparent my wolf smile, as I’m thinking, “No change for our Twentie$, M’sieur? Hon! Hon! Hon!

Boss wants me and my big mouth out of there and starts punching all kinds of buttons on the register. The paper tape rolls out, she hurriedly makes pen marks, this and that, (no honking – are people digging out their $20 dollar bills?) and makes Mr. Charming Parking Lot Attendant give me back my $20.

Guard arm raises, I pay NOTHING! Enemies Vanquished! Achievement Unlocked!


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PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection
A trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
By E.C. McMullen Jr.
Now on sale for $9.00 in Trade Paperback and in eBook for $1.99 and available for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!
Find it at (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, !ndigo, iTunes, KoboBooks, Smashwords, WHSmith, and more).

Also look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt and available in Paperback and eBook.

Looking for a great guidebook on filmmaking? Interviews with Ray Bradbury, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Tom Holland, George A. Romero, me, and many others in HORROR 201: The Silver Scream Vol.’s 1 & 2.