Picture-printing FAIL

* Note: This is way longer than it needs to be. Only faithful readers will read it, and even then I doubt they'll care.

I got a call Tuesday night about helping with something at church for Good Friday. As part of what the pastor wanted me to do, I needed to get the team a few pictures of me of various sizes for a collage they'd put together. Herein lies the first problem:

I'm a prolific digital photographer, which means:

  • I'm the photographer - the one always BEHIND the camera- there aren't many pictures of me.
  • I'm prolific - I have a LOT of pictures to sift through to find any of me.
  • I take digital pictures - I print them very, very rarely. Seriously, I haven't printed any in over a year, especially not of me.

Did I mention there was a deadline on this request- I needed to drop them off at church by last night? So I needed to get a bunch (well, a few) of pictures of various sizes printed quickly. I didn't want to pay much, so I decided to use my ECBs and upload them to CVS Photo Center.

I got up early yesterday morning and got to work later than usual, to give me time at home to sift through the laptop's files. Just a few weeks ago, Josh got 25 gigs worth of pictures off of a mostly-dead hard drive from last summer, so I had my entire collection to look through. I picked out almost any picture of me I could find, which wasn't very many, and used Picasa to upload those to CVS. Once they were online, I picked out sizes and tried to complete my order...

An aside: there are CVSes on practically every corner near where I live, and 2 right across the street from each other near work. It's not like I was going to need to go out of my way to pick these up. So I thought.

Apparently it takes a special photo-printing machine to print pictures at any size besides 4x6. One of the CVSes near my work had one, so I set my order to be sent there, and it went through happily. The confirmation email said the pictures would be ready at 11am, and I'd get an email when they were done. Super! I'd pick them up after work! Then drop them off at church! Easy peasy!

Well, the confirmation email never came- I figured that the kid running the photo center forgot to hit a button or something, and I went to pick them up after work. Photo printing FAIL #1 for the day: This particular store's machine was down. Could they send the order to another store? No. Could the cancel the order? No. The nice old lady assured me I wouldn't have to pay for it even if it did print out the next day, but I'd have to go online and submit my order to another store. Did she know any other stores in the area with this special 5x7 printing machine? No.

I hurried home and found another CVS (one of the three stores within 2 miles of my house) that had a machine that could print the order. Order sent. Minutes later, I get a confirmation email that the photos are printed & ready to be picked up.  I thought about having Josh pick it up (he was already on his way home) but, seriously, I could get there in less than 5 minutes. The round trip would be 15 minutes, tops, if there's a line at the store. I'd be home before he would. I even managed to have dinner ready for us, waiting for when we both got there.

Complication #2: A friend was dropping off her son for me to babysit at 6:30. At this point it was about 5:30.

I drive there, and pick up my pictures (still sitting on the machine). The girl looks at the order and says "Hmm. The 5x7s didn't print for some reason." rings me up, and then goes over to finish the printing of the last 4 pictures. Photo FAIL #2. 

The machine was jammed. She had to change out this big paper cartridge. A manager had to come help. Tried again. Jammed again. Can't get this paper cartridge out of the machine. I offered to just get the last 4 as as 4x6s. Is about to start the 4x6 printing when she figures out how to unlock the cartridge. Swaps them out. Tries again. Still jammed. Finally prints 4x6s. Because they were cropped to 5x7 proportions, there are white bars on the sides of the pictures. By this time, it's 6:25. I call Josh as I'm leaving the CVS, and he tells me our friends just pulled into the driveway. Glad that I'm close. I speed home.

All is well, except for the fact all my pictures are the same size, and the evening was way more hectic than it should have been. The print quality was actually pretty good. And the pictures were free. CVS is lucky I didn't have a coupon shopping trip planned, or I would have cleaned them out of more free stuff during my almost-hour visit! (I only got free shave cream, nothing else. That one was obvious.)

After we all eat dinner and Casey is calmed down, Josh is super-helpful and delivers the pictures to church by the deadline I was given. More on what they'll be used for tomorrow.


Alisse Goldsmith said...

I am just going to say that this would NEVER happen at Walgreen's :) I SO would have known how to swap out that printer cartridge and end the jam! All stores have the capability to print up to 8x10. And I think they have buy one get one of larger sizes this week. Alas, at least you got everything for free!

Matt said...

Sounds like I need to start printing pictures at CVS... before they get their act together and actually have to charge for them!

Beth @ The Natural Mommy said...

Ick! Sounds similar to my day on Monday when I went to the dr's office only to be told I was supposed to have gone to the OTHER office (which I never go to and wasn't originally told to go to) and then they told me the WRONG directions how to get there and when I finally got there, the nurse had left for lunch and wouldn't be back for an hour and a half! At least I didn't have anywhere else to be that day! Stressful, huh?

Ariah said...

So, only slightly related to your post... What camera do you use? I'm sort of on the look out for a digital camera at the moment.

Joanna said...

Ariah- I LOVE my Nikon D50. Nowadays, you'd have to get it used, since it was replaced by the D40 (an equally good camera, only slightly different) You mentioned on twitter you're looking for something that does video- this one won't fit your bill.

It really takes good pictures, though.


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