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  1. #1
    eurekaiv's Avatar
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    Venting about Costco

    Ok, I preface this by saying that I know it's cheap, and I'm fine with a level of quality commensurate with that but I had the most ridiculous experience today and I really needed to vent to some other photogs that might share my frustrations.

    I've been shooting a lot of half frame stuff lately and today, after returning from vacation dropped off 7 rolls of film for processing of which 3 were from half frame cameras. Now the first time I had them do a roll of half frame one of the 4 people who regularly work the "lab" told me that they didn't do half frame. Not knowing what that meant I asked him to explain and he said that they would come out two to a frame. I told him that's what I expected and that it would be fine to do it that way—he reluctantly took my roll of film and told me to come back in a couple of hours. Surprisingly, when I returned I discovered that my film had been scanned into lovely individual frames just as if I had shot it normally. I was very pleased by this as it makes a lot more sense to me this way. I can put together diptychs if I want or leave them as individual shots. So anyway, fast forward a couple weeks or so and another roll of film through my Pen FT. Drop this one off at Costco and tell the lady working the "lab" on this day that I have a roll of half frame. She immediately goes into the "we don't do half frame" defensive posture and I VERY calmly and politely mention that I had heard that but only a couple weeks prior dropped off a roll and had it done as individual frames and that if she could do that, I would really appreciate it. After a bit of friednly discussion she seemed to talk herself into being able to figure it out and said she would give it a shot. I was again pleasantly surprised when I got back and my scans were lovely and again in nicely framed individual files. Yay! So thinking everything is humming along and getting really excited about getting my holiday photos processed I roll into Costco this morning to drop of my pile. This time, the lady that manages the "lab" is working. I figure I should let her know I had some half frame stuff for her to do and immediately I get the same "we don't do half frame" spheil. Again, I VERY calmly and politely mention that I have had two rolls processed and that the results had been superb—scanned into lovely little individual files just as I would hope for. She very defensively started going on about how doing it that way might cause the machine to skip frames and that it would have problems with alignment (none of which were problems with the previous two rolls) and I said I wasn't concerned about that and that I would greatly appreciate it if she could do it that way instead of scanning them as individual frames since it had been done for me previously with excellent results. At this point she relented and said she would do it provided I promised not to make her re-scan them if there were frames missing. I said no problem as I was confident that equipment was capable of doing the right thing since I had seen the results first hand. Well, I picked up my film and you know what she did? She put them as two images in one 35mm frame, exactly what she said she was not going to do for me. And on top of that, the rolls are horribly misaligned. Exactly what wasn't a problem when the other people scanned my film as individual files and exactly what she said WOULD be a problem if she did it the way I asked her to. And of top of that, she scanned them at some garbage resolution and one roll of XP2 is actually blurry. I can't even see any grain in the damn film. I'm sure processing film is a bit of a pain for the people in the lab but you know, that's her job. And I'm consistently nice, friendly and polite and I get treated by this lady (the manager) like she's doing me a favor every time I go in therewith a couple rolls of film. I'm really tempted to complain to the store manager but I've got another couple of months before we move and I imagine getting her in trouble isn't going to help my case much. And I simply can't afford to pay for decent scans at a real lab when they're dollars per.

    Sometimes I post my photos on flickr.
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  2. #2

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    I have wonderful service at my Costco, but I don't bring them anything exotic. Maybe you should find another lab -- the way you describe the folks at your Costco it sounds like they all have a case of permanent PMS. Or maybe since you are so calm and collected, just accept them for who they are and what they know. You are probably the only person on the face of the earth still shooting half frames. Cut them a little slack... you always seem to get what you want and need, don't you?

  3. #3
    cjbecker's Avatar
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    find a new lab, your in cali, there is a bunch of great labs out there.

  4. #4
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    I love your quotes around the word Lab.

  5. #5
    eurekaiv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjbecker View Post
    find a new lab, your in cali, there is a bunch of great labs out there.
    Oh, I know. I've had great results with Fromex here in Long Beach but at 3 times the cost? I don't know... it's hard to stomach triple or more for processing and scans of some of my pics—unless I want web resolution. In that case I can pay double what Costco charges for a (normally) very good quality 3000x2000 scan.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    I have wonderful service at my Costco, but I don't bring them anything exotic. Maybe you should find another lab -- the way you describe the folks at your Costco it sounds like they all have a case of permanent PMS. Or maybe since you are so calm and collected, just accept them for who they are and what they know. You are probably the only person on the face of the earth still shooting half frames. Cut them a little slack... you always seem to get what you want and need, don't you?
    The nice lady that did my film (after actually trying and figuring out how to use her equipment) said she has been seeing a lot of it lately. Probably due to the popularity of some of the Lomo stuff. My Pen FT is probably my favorite camera right now too.
    Last edited by eurekaiv; 01-02-2012 at 10:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Sometimes I post my photos on flickr.
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  6. #6
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Buy your own scanner, do it yourself. All labs suck at scanning, even the expensive places. Places like Costco are even worse. Idiots making $7 an hour who barely know where the machine's ON switch is.
    Chris Crawford
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  7. #7

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    sorry for your troubles,
    but ... if they said they don't do half frame ... did you expect anything other than the let-down they gave you?


    send your film either to warwick 1 hour photo here in rhode island, or blue moon, they both do great work !
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  8. #8
    eurekaiv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    sorry for your troubles,
    but ... if they said they don't do half frame ... did you expect anything other than the let-down they gave you!
    Not initially, but after they actually did do my half frame film twice, and do it well, I was surprised yes. My ire is more at the manager who told me she would do one thing and then did another. And then didn't even do a decent job with the other.
    Sometimes I post my photos on flickr.
    Sometimes I update my tumblr.

  9. #9
    ROL
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    There are many, many, and many threads on APUG about developing your own film, with much, much, and much help available almost instantly.

    On a totally separate note, I wonder if it is possible to start a new member designation category:

    Member
    Subscriber
    Advertiser
    Whiner?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by eurekaiv View Post
    Not initially, but after they actually did do my half frame film twice, and do it well, I was surprised yes. My ire is more at the manager who told me she would do one thing and then did another. And then didn't even do a decent job with the other.


    sometimes it is 1 person who may do your film and do a really good job
    and if you go back, and it is someone else it is ...

    if you can do send-out, look into sending to fuji labs,
    i have send then lots of 1/2 frame stuff over the years
    and never had a problem ...

    nice juxtaposition on your flickr page !
    john
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

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