M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Saturday, December 12, 2009  

Twelve Hour Photo

Our local drugstore isn't really our local drugstore any more, and I'm not just saying it because it's part of a national chain. It's because we don't get our drugs there any more. A few years ago we got tired of 45-minute waits and screwed-up billing on our prescriptions, so we gave up on the pharmacy seven blocks from our house and started driving to another one with the same name over the door that's two and a half miles away. Unlike the one by our house, it's open 24 hours, has a drive-thru, and isn't staffed by morons. So our local drugstore is more like a convenience store. And, until last weekend, a photo place.

Early Saturday morning, Trash got online and uploaded a couple of photos of M. Edium -- one by my parents and one by the photography professor who lives next door -- into some Christmas card templates and ordered eighty of them, to be picked up in an hour. Simple enough.

An hour later, a guy from the store called and said it would be longer than an hour. He was really sorry, and promised to call us as soon as our pictures were ready. I was actually impressed by his candor, his proactiveness, and the way he made it so I didn't have to put on a coat yet.

But then as the morning, and then the afternoon wore on -- a morning and an afternoon Trash had been planning to use to sign, address, and lick said Christmas cards -- Trash started to get impatient. She called the store.

Now, here's where it gets confusing. At different points during this one call, there were several different situations going on, all of them mutually exclusive. They were, depending on who we were talking to and at what point at the call she was at:

a) Currently being printed, because the machine was working again.

b) Next in line to be printed as soon as the machine was working again.

c) Not even on the list of projects to be printed, whether the machine was running or not.

Really, the only good news is that this was the photo department fucking this up rather than the pharmacy, because I'd rather have this situation with pictures than with medication.

Twelve hours after the initial order, we got a call with the good news that the machine had worked for a while, although it had since broken again, and that our picture order had been moved to the front of the line from where it had previously been at the front of the line yet not actually in queue. I headed up to pick up the order, expecting a discount. Instead, they told me that a bunch of extra copies had been printed, and they weren't charging us for the extra envelopes they were giving us to go with them. 200 of them, they claimed.

Then we got home and there were 100 envelopes, 35 of which were already glued shut.

At this point, the only good thing I can say about this photo department is that it is, as previously mentioned, only seven blocks away. I drove back over and asked for some more envelopes. Oddly, they gave me a box of envelopes that had our name written in marker on the printed label, as well as en entire timeline of the order that had clearly been added to at different stages throughout the day. I considered trying to interpret it, but I'm no archaeologist. And all through these interactions, the store manager seemed annoyed, which I understand, but acted like it was my fault, which I don't.

So that's how our local convenience store/photo developer/ex-pharmacy became our local convenience store/ex-photo developer/ex-pharmacy. I hope I don't one day have to post about a three-day shaving cream run or something, because I don't want to have to start driving two miles for everything else we

posted by M. Giant 9:23 PM 2 comments


I feel your pain, having had extremely similar experiences myself, though not with a pharmacy's photo dept, but rather a very large discount retailer's photo dept, right down to the "well the machine made extra copies of your order and you can have them for FREE!" though in our case, this turned out to be about 8 times the number of our original photos. I had already ordered duplicates of some of the shots for grandparents, birthfamily, etc, so to have eight times the order was a huge waste of trees and ink. I mean, my kid is cute and all, but that was way too many pictures. I spent a week and I don't even remember how much money on postage to send off copies of said pictures to every single person to whom we're related, as well as folks to whom we're not. At the end of it all, I still had a sizable stack of copies of the pictures left. Grrrr.

Since then, I've switched to a warehouse club type store for my photo-printing needs and still call ahead to make sure the machine is in working order before uploading any photos. Once bitten...

I was just reading this post aloud to my husband so he too could commiserate, and along with commiserating he pointed out it probably would've been a better idea for Trash to lick the envelopes, not the cards. My husband, he's a funny one.

By Blogger Heather, at December 13, 2009 at 5:27 AM  

Takes slightly longer than a day, but I highly recommend Vistaprint whom we discovered this year. (That link has a "friend" promotion but you can go directly too). At least you don't have to drive anywhere and they have good results...

By Blogger Mary, at December 14, 2009 at 9:30 AM  

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