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Alternatives to Target processing?

Nick L. , Jan 01, 2009; 02:51 a.m.

Had a bizarre experience with Target last week. After dropping off four rolls of film for development and CD burning, and after specifically being given reassurance that they'd be ready in an hour, I ended up waiting an extra hour for them to complete the processing. No big deal, right? But when I asked if I could pay the "next day" price instead of the "one hour" price, since they failed to deliver on time, the customer service reps told me that my four rolls of film had exceeded their workload, because their Noritsu QSS-#### "was only capable of processing one roll every 20 minutes."
How can this be? I didn't even ask for prints. Under those circumstances, the Target photo center would only be able to process 36 rolls in an entire 12 hour workday. God forbid they should get other customers besides myself asking for the same service.
Total cost for processing and CD burning of 4 rolls: $29.99. This seems far off the mark compared to quotes I've seen elsewhere. Is my particular Target store (Falls Church, VA) an aberration? Are Wal-Mart and Costco better options?

Responses

Hector Obregon , Jan 01, 2009; 10:58 a.m.

What bothers you more, the price or the wait? If there is no promise of one hour or free, you pay. It happens all of the time out here. If money is an issue, I send the film out for the two day wait. If time is an issue I pay the price. As far as price goes, I check the price before I leave off film.
Nevertheless, the guy's claim seems bogus based upon my experience. Still, there probably is not much you can do about it except complain to the manager. The manager might grant a refund.

ross b , Jan 01, 2009; 11:25 a.m.

Generally if I am not satisfied with service I just shop somewhere else. The price even though it seems excessive is not to be complained about unless it's not accurate. Generally you pay a film processing charge and then a low quality CD scan price. They scratch and damage your negatives for free. It's been years since I have used the Target photo center. I do not shop at Wallmart because of their record of employee abuse but Cost Co is a nice place to go. The photo center usually uses the same people in the lab and they become skilled at it, they also get to know you and will take care of you if you treat them nicely which I always do. They always tell you how long the wait will be at drop off. The cost is about $5.00 a roll for processing and a scan. However 3 months ago I dropped film altogether so I just think about the cost of processing prints now.

Alan Peed , Jan 01, 2009; 06:45 p.m.

I take my 35mm color print film to RITE AID, and have them send it out to a regional FUJI Processing Lab. I hear they have one somewhere in south Georgia, and another one in Nashville TN. I use the FUJI Lab envelope to request the Fuji Platinum Processing special,which gives me single set of 4x6 prints (glossy), a picture CD, and a nice black leatherette pouch to put the prints in. I am very pleased with the results I get using this lab. I shoot FUJI ISO 200, 400, and 800 color print film. I do have to wait about 5 days to get the prints back, but this is OK for my process. The normal price for this service is about $11 a roll. Sometimes you find RITE AID running a 'special' in their weekly sales paper, and the price may be between $8 and $9. Once again, I have been so satisfied with the quality of the 4x6 glossy prints, that I dont mind waiting for the prints to get back.

Robert Cirillo , Jan 01, 2009; 10:38 p.m.

I have pretty good luck with Walgreens. CVS usually scratches my negs. I don't usually use Walmart. I took a roll of Portra and a roll of Hi Def 400 to a pro lab in Milford, CT last week, and they scratched them up worse than CVS ever did. : (

Manuel Barrera , Jan 02, 2009; 05:25 a.m.

I don't mind waiting and thus far Shutterfly has done a very good job, they only do C-41 color, no black and white. it takes about a week for them to get the photos up on line and about 2-3 weeks to get your negatives back. The negatives thus far have come back in very decent shape. Black and White I drop off at CVS here in Houston, takes them about 2 weeks to get them back, they do excellent work, last roll of 36 Kodak 3200 TMZ cost close to $12 with 4x6 prints. Walgreens will develop film no prints for less then $3, they do a decent job but I do get some scratches.

Craig Shearman , Jan 02, 2009; 04:48 p.m.

You're joking, right? You got four rolls of film developed and scanned to CD in two hours for $7.50 a roll and you're complaining about the price? Cut me a break. Don't you realize the chemicals alone would have cost you that much or more if you had done this yourself, to say nothing of your time?

Randall Pukalo , Jan 02, 2009; 08:34 p.m.

Nick,
I believe they did overcharge you: the 1 hr price for negs dveloped (no prints) is about $2 - $2.50 tops. The Target CD is only $1.99, unless you ordered the $4 Kodak CD. (The Target CD is actually higher rez than the Kodak CD, it is what you should always order). So $4.50 per roll is what you should have paid, $6.50 tops with a Kodak CD.
As for getting Next Day pricing - I guess they should have said something when you dropped them off. But also, I have learned that you must ALWAYS ask details or things like this can happen. Costco screwed me once like that, but it was worse: I had just got back (literally) from a trip an hour before Costco closed, and the 1 hour tech said it would be done before close. So,although I was tired after an 8 hour drive home, I waited - only to have them say they didnt get to it, would print it in the morning!
However, this was a 1 time thing, I still use Costco Photo as they do excellent work. Same for Target too. In fact, my workflow is to drop rolls off at Target for Next Day, Negs Only. They never scratch or fingerprint my negs because I talked with the Photo manager long ago when I first started going there about how seriously I was in to photography, not to fingerprint the negs, I scan at home, it ruins them, etc. Anyways, they have a "card" on me (I think they have Customer Profile Cards ort something similar, Target has been trying hard for a few years to corner/capture/attract the 1 hour print market). And I have had this same great experienece at 2 different local Targets over the last 4 years.
So I get pristine negs cut and sleeved for a total of only 80 cents per roll - a great deal. I buy the $100 Target Photo Gift Cards, which gives me 20% off any photo products or services. I found recently that they even do reprints for 16 cents each now (next day). So, I may be changing my workflow to get reprints there of the shots I like from each roll, instead of Costso (13 cents, but 16 cents - 20% is about the same). The only thing I dont like is that they use Kodak paper. I have notice the Fuji Crystal Archive, besides supposedly lasting longer, aslo has whiter whites. Seriously, compare the two side by side and you will see what I mean.
Anyways, I would give them a second chance. They are the best large chain lab out there. Both Quality and Cost is Excellent. As long as you can live with Next Day, you will be very satisfied.

Randall Pukalo , Jan 02, 2009; 08:53 p.m.

Jake Lester , Jan 14, 2009; 02:39 p.m.

My experience is that developing and scanning only at Target is under $2 without tax ($2.09 with tax in Ohio). You overpaid.

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