Back in 2004 I was a slice of cheese for Halloween. Specifically, I was a Kraft Single, otherwise known as “the plastic wrapped cheese food that everyone can identify in an instant”. Since then, every Halloween season I get emails, facebook messages and flickr mail from random admirers, and fellow cheese food aficionados, asking how to create their own slice of cheese costume.Continue Reading...
Archives For October 2011
Think twice about having those photos printed at Walgreens.
I recently needed to get passports for my 1 year old twins. Coincidentally, I also needed to renew my own passport that had recently expired. Many local drug stores charge $8 to take and print a set of two passport photos. Going down this path would have cost me $24 for a total of 6 2″x2″ photos. Being somewhat of a photographer I knew I could easily take the photos myself and get them printed for a fraction of the cost (less than $2).
I spent a few minutes reading the U.S. Department of State guidelines, as well as an online tutorial on how to easily make photos that fit within the specifications. Armed with this knowledge I went down into the basement, set up my lights and tripod, wrangled the minimarts, and emerged 20 minutes later with a set of JPGs to be printed.
The next step was to find a place to print them. I wasn’t too concerned with quality, so my first choice was Wal-Mart. I’ve used their online 1-hour system in the past, and it has worked quite well for photos like this. I uploaded my photos and an hour later I had them in hand without any problems. There was a problem, though- my daughter and my photos were underexposed and too dark, I forgot that the small size of the images would make them appear darker than what I saw on screen. I knew the passport office would reject them.
After returning home and fixing the problem I figured this time I’d send them to the new Walgreens a few blocks away from my office and pick them up the next morning on my way to work. What a big mistake that turned out to be. I went to the photo counter to pick up my images and the on duty manager asked if these were passport photos. I responded “Yes”, to which she said “all passport photos had to be taken on-site”, but she’d let me have them this time. I asked her a) “why are you looking at my photos” and b) “where does it say that in your store policy”? She said the photos get printed at the front of the store facing forward, but she doesn’t go looking through all the images. She also pointed at some small line of text in some obscure store policy that stated “Passport photos cannot be ordered on-line”. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a customer has been denied trying to print their own passport photos at Walgreens, see the comments on this consumerist post.
Immediately after leaving the store I filled out their online “Contact Us” form, sent an email to their CEO, and posted a few tweets:
A few hours later I was told via twitter that there are no such restrictions and customers are free to make and print their own passport photos at Walgreens:
So while it is possible (and allowed) to get your homemade passport photos printed at Walgreens, be prepared to put up a fight for them. I know I’ll be going elsewhere in 5 and 10 years when it’s time to renew again.