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Walmart SEND OUT SERVICE developing, 2012 update

Jeff Sudduth , Aug 07, 2012; 07:15 p.m.

Before we begin let me make a few things clear...

1) This thread is about the SEND OUT SERVICE only.
2) The send out service for developing is NOT done by Walmart. It is like using a developing mailer except you do not have to pay for postage and it is cheaper. I repeat no one at Walmart touches your film except to transport it in a sealed envelope to and from the actual party that develops the film.
3) Refrain from talking to anyone at Walmart either on the phone or in person. Talking to the denizens of Wally World is how misinformation spreads. If someone hasn't gone in and personally used the send out service then what they have to say is worse than useless.

Okay now that I have that out of the way... After the FALSE rumor that Walmart doesn't give back negatives got started I made my way down to Wally World and did my own personal test. If you have doubts try a test of your own with an expired roll of film and see how things work at your local Wally World. I of course can only speak about Walmarts I've actually used. At this time I can tell you with zero uncertainty that Walmart does routinely return negatives... at least at the two Walmarts I've checked in the last two weeks.

I did NOT notice any change in the send out envelopes. They look exactly as they've always looked. Here is an example...

Now I don't develop 35mm C-41 film at Walmart. I do that at Sam's Club which is a bit more dicey because they do it on location, so you have to be sure your Sam's film developer is competent. Anyway back to Walmart. I use the send out service for 35mm E-6 and all my 120/220 processing needs. I believe E-6 processing for everything is about $5-6. Yes that includes 220 Velvia. They do not gouge. 120 C-41 film can be developed for as little as $0.83. Yes you read that right. Here is one of my latest Portra processing orders...

I just ordered some Portra 220 and I'm going to give that a try with this service. So how is the quality? Excellent. No dust, hair, or scratches. The film came back cut and individually sleeved. The slide film either came back mounted in cardboard (35mm) or in a long uncut sleeved roll (120/220).

My humble advice to everyone is to put aside your preconceived notions and give the send out service a try. Send one test roll of film and YOU be the judge. If you are sending E-6 or 120/220 film ignore all the stuff in the blue area of the forum. Go to the SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS section in the lower left hand corner. In that space write something like E-6 developing only, no prints, no CD. Or write C-41 220 film processing only, no prints, no CD. With 35mm E-6 film be sure to indicate mounted or unmounted.

A neat trick I learned is if you grab a bunch of the envelops from your home Walmart you can drop your film off at other Walmarts and it finds its way home. It is not visible on my scanned example but all the envelops have the address of the Walmart they are to return to printed on them. So presumably you could drop off an envelope for a Walmart in New York in Seattle and it will find its way back to you. I have not tried it over a distance that long. But I have certainly gone to the next state over and had my developed film pop up in the Walmart near me a couple of weeks later.

Anyway, if any of you discover any changes to the Walmart send out service please keep us apprised. Now when I say "discover" I mean you personally going in and trying it out and getting different results. I don't mean calling in to a random Walmart and talking to a clueless person and parroting that conversation on the internet. Also if you see different mailers take a picture of them and post so we can know what to be on the look out for. I've heard rumors of at least one different mailer but I have never seen a picture of one. Take pictures people.

This is a picture of the send out service kiosk where you can pick up and drop off mailers. Notice it says nothing about "no negatives returned." I took this two weeks ago.


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Stephen Lewis , Aug 07, 2012; 07:37 p.m.

Thank You

John Shriver , Aug 07, 2012; 07:51 p.m.

It is "interesting" that the prices on the display are only for 24 exposure and 27 exposure rolls, the latter being the size of the single-use cameras.

Eddy d , Aug 07, 2012; 08:36 p.m.

Hey Jeff. Walmart owns Sam's club so they are one in the same. I wouldn't set foot in either personally.

Jeff Sudduth , Aug 07, 2012; 09:12 p.m.

Thank You

You're welcome Stephen. Just trying to clear up some rumors and see if anyone has any other factual information to add. I hope this helps someone.

It is "interesting" that the prices on the display are only for 24 exposure and 27 exposure rolls, the latter being the size of the single-use cameras.

Mmm, yeah... pricing. Well pricing is a bit iffy with certain orders. If you get developing only it is reasonable. It certainly won't be the most you've ever paid. I can't guarantee the $0.84 for medium format. What I can guarantee is it won't be the $12 places like NCPS charge to develop and mail back a single roll of c-41 120. The signage is strange. If you just looked at it it would not be clear they do E-6 and medium format film processing. I have NEVER gotten prints there so I have no idea how that works... or doesn't. I think the prints may be done locally. I may be wrong.

Hey Jeff. Walmart owns Sam's club so they are one in the same.

Thank you Eddy, I'm aware of that and I'm not sure how that is in any way germane to this topic. Sam's Club's on premises minilabs have a grand total of zilch to do with Walmart's send out service. Frankly if you find a Sam's Club with a well maintained minilab and competent caring minilab operators that does not guarantee you you will find the same at a minilab in a Sam's club 10 miles away. That's why I clearly said test out your local Sam's club and don't just dump five rolls of film off there based on an anectodal story about a Sam's minilab in Des Moines.

I wouldn't set foot in either personally.

I see my calls for objective information with proof such as pictures went unheeded.

Paul Poropat , Aug 07, 2012; 10:08 p.m.

Thanks Jeff. I too have good results having my 120 Chrome processed for $9. The film is returned clean, uncut, sleeved, and rolled on a paper tube to prevent crushing of the film during transport. Only gripe is that I request the return of the spool and paper, and usually do not get them back.

Vince Passaro , Aug 07, 2012; 10:36 p.m.

Paul -- I'm just a novice at medium format. Why would you want the paper back? (The spools I get...)

Jeff -- Thank you, you're very solidly informed, which is a nice change of pace on this topic. Is it true that Walmart's, nationally, ie all of them, use Dwayne's in Kansas? That's quite a reputable lab. Also, can you indicate push/pull information? Dwayne's apparently only pushes E6 and not color neg (I never push color neg anyway) according to one recent correspondent. I believe they do push B&W, who wouldn't.

I suspect your $0.84 charge was not the correct price but the result of the same intellectual prowess and careful attention to detail that leads you to instruct us never to talk to the personnel.

Tom Reynolds , Aug 08, 2012; 02:10 a.m.

In our area they used to use Fuji commercial development service which was pretty good. Not sure who does it for them now.

M M , Aug 08, 2012; 08:09 a.m.

Thanks for the info - have some questions.
1. Do they develop 35mm color and b&w? Does it come back in sleeves?
2. How long does it generally take?

John H. , Aug 08, 2012; 08:49 a.m.

As indicated in the other threads on this topic, its the local store practices that count and there have been user accounts of different practices. As Jeff indicates here, he can only speak as to actual stores he has been to. To ensure accurate information, check with the local stores as to what can be done at those particular local stores.

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