I used to get my 120 and 4x5 done at Browns Lab too. Cindy and her husband are nice people (I used to work with their daughter way back in the restaurant biz when I was younger). However they did manage to obliterate 5-8 sheets of 4x5 after turning on the lights in the darkroom by accident. All I got was an apology. What else can I expect?
Many processing systems are roller driven and tend to scratch films if they are not cleaned and maintained. I've run into that at several labs. Another big problem is that most labs replenish their chemicals to minimize overhead. Both at Browns and at TIW I've received film back that was green. The D-max or film base was all cast in green instead of black. Wonderful, what am I to do there? They would blame the film and the storage of it instead of their processing.
Film is pretty resilient. Apart from being a crazy meticulous photographer, I also work in the movie business professionally and know that it is pretty hard to screw up your film while shooting if you know what you are doing. I've shot in cold, hot, with expired E6 films, left film exposed but unprocessed for up to 6 months and all of it turned out fine. It's definitely easier for the labs to screw that up. But they will never admit it.
That is why in 2006 I decided to assemble my own E6 lab. Since then the results have been uniform, clean and colourful...leaving me to question why I didn't start this earlier. As much as it takes more time out of my busy schedule and requires more work (chemical mixing, loading, drying), I am happier having full control of my film from start to finish. I use one-shot Kodak E6 chemistry and use a Jobo ATL system that is drum based, meaning no scratches.
Now I'd like to share my system with others who love E6 the way I do. www.e6it.ca will be up very soon.