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Sams Club (Wal-Mart) stops film processing, who's next?
Old 01-05-2010   #1
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Sams Club (Wal-Mart) stops film processing, who's next?

As of January 16th, Sams Club will stop film processing. Was in there today with a roll. They said that's it done finished no more. Who's next?
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Old 01-05-2010   #2
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I just dropped off a roll of 120 at my local Wally-Mart and wasn't told anything about this. Are you sure it not a local thing or just Sam's Club?
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Old 01-05-2010   #3
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Our local Walmart doesn't do in-house developing anymore. They ship out, but seems longer than the last time--almost a week to get it back. Price is still pretty good though.
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Old 01-05-2010   #4
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I was at a Sam's Club to have a couple of rolls of Christmas snaps processed and I was told this particular location (Greenwood [So. Indianapolis]) no longer processed film on site, but they would be glad to send it out.
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Old 01-05-2010   #5
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This store is in the Seattle area. Wal-Mart in the same area has stopped.
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Old 01-05-2010   #6
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They will send out 7 days no more on site.
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Old 01-05-2010   #7
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What? Is that all Sam's Clubs? Mine is the only local place that will do 120 film.
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Old 01-05-2010   #8
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The Wal-Mart here stopped processing film on site a year ago.
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Old 01-05-2010   #9
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I was just at Sam's Club on Sunday buying a tire (don't do it, but that's another story!) Over the intercom, they were advertising their film developing service.
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Old 01-05-2010   #10
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Picked up 5 rolls today, processed in-house. No mention of stop in service. They get a lot of electronic orders that are printed on the same machine.
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Old 01-05-2010   #11
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Maybe just in Seattle area, who knows. We have Costco and all the labs for color.
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Old 01-05-2010   #12
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In Pensacola, Florida, Sam's Club will "any day" stop developing film.
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Old 01-05-2010   #13
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The wally-world near where I live stopped in-house developing 2 years ago. They will still send film out, usually a 3 to 4 day turnaround time.
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Old 01-05-2010   #14
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By the way, I never take film to Sam's or Walmart. Both are stinking stores with isles that are too narrow, and junk piled upon junk. Walgreens does all my C41 developing. And they seem happy to do it. I always see at least half a dozen rolls hanging there. At least the two stores I go to seem to have plenty of film business.

But then I am told that Phoenix is not a normal market.
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Old 01-05-2010   #15
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Our Wal-Mart & Sams Club both still process film! There building a new Walgreens here. Will be interesting if they offer film developing!
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Old 01-05-2010   #16
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How I grade the one hour developers in the USA:
CVS = D-
Walgreens = B-
Walmart = C
Costco = A
Sam's Club = C-

So who cares? Their developing sucked anyhow. IMHO.
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Hmmm
Old 01-05-2010   #17
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Hmmm

I hope not. My Sams scans 36 exp rolls for $3 each. Cheap film workflow: develop at home + use Sams to get decent scans. That worked as recently as last week in my town.
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Old 01-05-2010   #18
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Quote:
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By the way, I never take film to Sam's or Walmart. Both are stinking stores with isles that are too narrow, and junk piled upon junk. Walgreens does all my C41 developing. And they seem happy to do it. I always see at least half a dozen rolls hanging there. At least the two stores I go to seem to have plenty of film business.

But then I am told that Phoenix is not a normal market.
Chris, I'm also very happy with the processing I get at Walgreen's. But to be honest, I talked through my issues with the department manager for several months before she understood what I was looking for. Now all the employees know me and know to handle my film with care. And you better believe that the manager got a nice Christmas present fro me this year to show my appreciation! They do seem to have a good amount of film being processed.

BTW, I loved your post about the Sams's Club intecom announcment!
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Old 01-05-2010   #19
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I interviewed the manager over the photo area at Wal-Mart Corporate a while back. He said that on-site processing would be phased out at all Wal-Mart stores (don't know about Sams) over the next year or two. They apparently don't do enough film processing to recoup the cost of salaries and overhead and to justify the space taken up by the processing area. Wal-mart is expanding their TV and Cell Phone floor space into that area.
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Old 01-05-2010   #20
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costco does all my 35mm, but my local one doesn't do 120. this will probably be the year, after a 23-year hiatus, that I give souping at home another try. my costco stuff is generally pretty good. the nearest Wal-Mart stopping in-store processing about two months ago, although all the equipment is still in place. they have a one-week turnaround now. the clerk, who's old enough to be my grandfather had never heard of Dwayne's.

Does anyone know if Walgreens does 120?
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Old 01-05-2010   #21
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I am not a big Wally World fan either, but I am sure there's stuff in there that anyone would want to buy. Cat food, wine, 35mm film, jewelry, hardware, plants, thread. Please. I actually have a great electric bicycle and a rather nice tandem that came from there. Had 'em both 2 years now and not ever a problem. Whenever we're out on the tandem people always ask where we bought it as it's a neat cruiser type. They're usually shocked that it came from Walmart. Especially the yuppie types. We used to live about 1/4 mile from Walmart (it was right across from the beach in Galveston, which is pretty odd) and it was a struggle not going in there because you had to walk right by it to get to the water. Now we live far from one so I hardly ever go there.

One thing I seldom did though was give them any film to process. Tried it a few times and they screwed it up pretty good w/ scratches and fingerprints. B&W is all I shoot now, but if I had any color it would go to a pro lab.

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Old 01-05-2010   #22
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Digital is here, like it or not.

Either build your own darkroom or buy a digi cam. Film, paper, and chemicals will be next and then we are totally screwed.
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Old 01-05-2010   #23
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I remember talking to the owner of the Kodak one hour at the nearby shopping centre where I'm a regular. Film processing has dropped to the point where he doesn't turn the c41 processing gear on until midday to cut down on running costs and try and keep it operating a little longer ... of course this means if you drop a film off at 9 am in the morning your guaranteed one hour processing turns into four hours!

He informed me a while ago that when processing turnover drops to below what he regards as commercially viable, it's all over red rover! They currently only average a few rolls a day so who knows what his bottom figure is!

Film is actually dead but there are a lot of (us) zealots out there with CPR skills ... just keeping it hanging in there!
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Old 01-05-2010   #24
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I was a little concerned when the local pro lab shut down operations but thankfully it has been sold to new owners and will reopen the 25th of this month! Depending on who's working, both my local CVS and Rite Aid do a credible job with C-41.
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Old 01-05-2010   #25
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Quote:
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Film is actually dead but there are a lot of (us) zealots out there with CPR skills ... just keeping it hanging in there!
Keith, haven't you heard? Film is not dead.
(yes, I saved this issue!)

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Old 01-05-2010   #26
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Keith, haven't you heard? Film is not dead.
(yes, I saved this issue!)



KEH are in the handy position of selling used photographic gear ... if they were trying to make a living from selling new film cameras it would be a different story.

Good to see them pushing the barrow though ... they certainly have an amazing inventory!
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Old 01-05-2010   #27
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I'm lucky here in NY (out on the Island) too... I'm sandwiched between all major drugstores that all still do processing, a Costco, a Walgreens and even a pro lab not more than a 5 minute drive away. I guess we take for granted the population density here...
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Old 01-05-2010   #28
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Sorry guys, I meet a guy there today to sell him my Leica meter as it was close for both of us. Had a roll in the car so I dropped it while I waited for him. The first roll I have ever done there & to tell you the truth they were not the best prints anyway. I do all my own B&W, most of my color film & scans goes to Costco. So I guess if every one felt that way this might be why they are not doing film anymore other than the digital thing.
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Old 01-06-2010   #29
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Who's next? - it does'nt really matter, all their days are numbered! and not much point in keeping redundant machinery around.
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Old 01-06-2010   #30
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That was my whole point who's next. I think in the end we will be doing our own B&W & our color shots will be digital. Until they no longer make B&W film or the chemicals.
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Old 01-06-2010   #31
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[quote=TWoK;1227560]Walmart is the American dream. They make things affordable for the middle class, quote]

Until they took the jobs away from America that made us middle class.
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Old 01-06-2010   #32
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Never use Sam's in-house because in the NY metro area they send out to Fuji. 120 C41 is $1.18 with prints (220 is $1.66) and E-6 is also dirt cheap. Don't knock Sam's, due to the high minimums from the pro labs no photo store in my area will take E-6. All the independant pro labs in my area are toast and mail away pro labs are far more expensive - not to mention that mailing film in hot weather is not such a good idea.
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Old 01-06-2010   #33
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Until they took the jobs away from America that made us middle class.
That's a complete lie. They've made things more efficient, more capable, employed thousands all while providing cheap prices and convenience. This might be news to you but EVERYTHING from a large portion of your Ford/GM car, camera, household appliances, etc are made overseas. There's nothing at all wrong with this. US workers for the most part are to lazy and busy complaining to their unions about 'unfair' practices to get the job done for a fair wage. I wish I could marry Walmart. It is capitalism at its finest.
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Old 01-06-2010   #34
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Never use Sam's in-house because in the NY metro area they send out to Fuji. 120 C41 is $1.18 with prints (220 is $1.66) and E-6 is also dirt cheap. Don't knock Sam's, due to the high minimums from the pro labs no photo store in my area will take E-6. All the independant pro labs in my area are toast and mail away pro labs are far more expensive - not to mention that mailing film in hot weather is not such a good idea.
Damn that is cheap! Will they push/pull?
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Old 01-06-2010   #35
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Damn that is cheap! Will they push/pull?
Never tried - thought it would be pushing my luck (no pun intended). I assume the comment about dip and dunk, coffee bar etc is tongue in check.

I use digital for product shots etc; greatest thing since sliced bread with studio strobes. Nevertheless I just can't warm up to digital out of doors and as long as MF and LF is competitive in quality and can be scanned I am going to be a Sam's customer for color work.
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Old 01-06-2010   #36
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They recently revamped the entire photo department, including a new processor, new scanning gear, and new digital kiosks.
We don't currently have any CVS here, BUT, there are TWO of them under construction, opening Real Soon Now, on my way to work! It's going to be very interesting to see what they will offer in the way of film sales and film processing.

One of the new CVSs is right across the street from an established Walgreens so it will be very interesting to see how they compete. I've only used this Walgreens for DO/CD once. They have a newer Noritsu machine and did a vile job on the scans, with tons of JPG artifact and a mushy look with dust/scratch/noise processing!

On a related topic, a FOAF of mine runs the photo lab at a local (but very inconvenient to me) Wally World, and he said that there is a usage quota (something like 10 rolls per day minimum averaged over so many months) at which they will discontinue film processing. His particular Wally World dropped it maybe a year or so ago. Others in the area still offer it, but I seldom shop at Wally World for the usually-cited reasons.

Oh well ...
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Old 01-06-2010   #37
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Our Wal-Mart & Sams Club both still process film! There building a new Walgreens here. Will be interesting if they offer film developing!
New Walgreen's here offer film processing, as well. It's interesting. I'd assumed that stores would likely drop in-house film processing when the machine needed replacing. Makes me wonder where Walgreens makes its film money: On the processing and printing, or on the digitizing it also offers.

(My biggest gripe about my Walgreens -- one's within easy walking distance -- is that the photo section is never staffed. Takes several minutes to chase down someone. Frequently, there's only one clerk in the entire store, who is likely to be a high school student who's never been near a roll of film.)
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Old 01-06-2010   #38
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Who's next? - it does'nt really matter, all their days are numbered! and not much point in keeping redundant machinery around.
i think i need to stop coming here. makes me bummed every time i read pages of "the end is near".
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Old 01-06-2010   #39
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The era of same day, in-store film processing has already or is about to close for most folks that live in a rural areas in a fly-over state.

If you live in large metro area such as Chicagoland, Smell-Lay or Yew Nork, Yew Nork - then it will be a while before same day, in-store service is discontinued - but you'll probably want to drive or commute to a little further to a good one.

Frankly, I've never been impressed by the ability of mini-labs to maintain a consistent level of quality that I expect. You really had to shop around for a good one and hope whoever that was conscientious and working the machine at the time didn't quit.

With the labs that were less then conscientious, my experience has been dusty, often poorly washed and sometimes scratched negs. You would be surprised how many of the mini-labs didn't even have their machines in a designated clean room - or - were a bit lax about changing the chemicals in the machine during busy periods.

With regards to economics, I don't believe that mini-labs were ever big money makers for the stores that they were in. The service was mainly provided in the hope that you would buy other items once you were in the store. The replacement cost for one of the larger Fuji mini-labs today will buy a nice three bedroom house with a garage in this part of the country.
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Old 01-06-2010   #40
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I interviewed the manager over the photo area at Wal-Mart Corporate a while back. He said that on-site processing would be phased out at all Wal-Mart stores (don't know about Sams) over the next year or two. They apparently don't do enough film processing to recoup the cost of salaries and overhead and to justify the space taken up by the processing area. Wal-mart is expanding their TV and Cell Phone floor space into that area.

I find this sad and ironic. The three local mom and pop photo shops that had been in business for decades have all closed in the past two years. They couldn't compete with Walmart's "loss leader" film developing. Stick the film area at the back of the store. Lose money on it but then make it up when the customer picks up a three pack of tube socks and a box of wine on the way out. They gave it away, put mom and pop out of business, then shut it down on their own customers. Unbelievable.
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