Walgreens vs ePassport Photo
Here’s an interesting feud…
ePassport Photo allows you to upload a picture, tweak and crop it to passport specifications, then print it out at any photo center. (Usually costing a dollar or two.) It’s a nice site and a useful tool. It’s also a fraction of the $7.99 price Walgreens was charging in early ’08 when I took this picture offering “passort” photos. ePassport also seems cleaner and more efficient. When I had my passport photo taken at this Walgreens in 2001 they used a dirty pull down screen in front of the dairy cooler, then I had to wait 45 minutes.
However some drama has risen: According to ePassport Photo’s blog customers visiting various Walgreens are having their ePassport 4×6 prints refused, citing “only Walgreens can produce passport photos.”
The photos have nothing to do with Walgreen’s passport service, rather they’re 4×6 white background photos customers send or bring in to print, which will be used for passports.
After receiving word of this ePassport Photo reached out to Walgreens asking how they could work together, however Walgreens emailed them back and called their site a scam. (I’m lost on what grounds – they’ve received very high praise.)
Another email from Walgreens says customers will be charged a full passport price if THEIR OWN photos are printed. Take that apart: If you print a 4×6 shot of you against a white background Walgreens will charge $7.99. If the 4×6 is of your dog they’ll charge you normal rates. I suppose Walgreens has a right to do this, but it makes absolutely no sense and will result in nothing but bad press from annoyed customers. Seems to me the scam is Walgreen’s charging for photos based on content rather than minding their own business and charging for quantity and size. The content of a photo is irrelevant and should not create any decision whatsoever on Walgreen’s part.
People that find ePassport photo’s site are STILL going to use it, so in addition to being a bully Walgreens is screwing themselves out of money derived from regular photo printing. They’re also losing money from people like me, who having learned of this nonsense will take my photo printing elsewhere when needed.
The stupidity that retail business often displays is astounding. I guess if you wanted to challenge Walgreens you could send your 4×6 headshots in and say they’re for your work security badge or future mug shot. Try it and then see what track the logic train ends up on.