Session Cards

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The Why and How of Record Keeping

In the early 70's, when we first started doing sessions, I felt a need for keeping records about our clientele. With an occasional turnover in Staff, it would be important that we know who each client is and what they are interested in. I wanted the system to be very easy to use and yet something that would not endanger our clientele. It was also important to remember that personal computers weren't readily available yet, so it had to be a hard copy system.
I wanted a way to separate each client; one from another. Asking for names was reasonable, but how would we know it they name they were giving us was real. We could ask them for Drivers Licenses, but we all know how willing the clients would be to show us ID. I came up with the idea of first name and month and date of birth. It was enough information for us to separate one client from another, but there was not nearly enough information for anyone to find out who the person really was.
The front of the session card has a disclaimer that the client signs; stating that they are here for their own enjoyment, they are not under the influence of anything, and they are willing to use our facility at their own risk.


I chose a 5 X 8" session card; it has enough space on the back for writing remarks about the session. Did they enjoy it? Were there any problems? Do you have a recommendation on how to make it better next time? Did he request something (costume, room, props) that you didn't have, but would like to have next time?
The "data stripe" contains the client’s birth dates; the date and time of the session; who did the session; and which room was used. The data that might be of value to us, but again, the information does not point to who the client actually is.
It is also important to be able to retrieve information, so we sort and store all cards by date of birth.
One advantage to 5 X 8" cards is that almost any print shop can print on card stock and cut it to the desired size. Also, each time we placed an order for more cards, usually a thousand at a time, I would have the cards printed on a different color card stock. This allows for a quick chronological purge of old records. You simply remove all the cards of a specific color.
If you have read my biography, you will remember that I have a penchant for developing systems. Our sessions cards have remained are pretty much the same since the 70's. Most of the other session houses her in the Bay Area use the same system. I think that is a mark of a good design: it still works after thirty years without needing a redesign.
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