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January 22, 2005

Kitz, Thumbs Up. Ritz, Thumbs Down.

When I visited Washington a few weeks ago, we visited Kitz Camera in Puyallup. It was great. I had to print some wedding reception photos from CDs and went on Christmas Eve. I was really pleased with the Kitz experience. The sales staff was friendly and helpful and the prices seemed relatively reasonable. I walked out with a bunch of great photos printed on matte paper (this is important, because I like it), which made great Christmas gifts for a few family members.

Since then, I've been trying to find time to get to Ritz Camera (different name, same company) here in San Diego to duplicate my CD to photo printing experience. Today, I finally made it, but I was far from pleased, and returned home today without any printed pictures.

I started out by packing up 6 CDs of both the trip to Seattle and my wedding reception photos. I have two photo albums that I want to fill with these pictures, and I needed a couple to put into frames for the 'rents. When I got to Ritz, I loaded all my photos into the machine, selected what I wanted, and took my paper printouts of what I ordered to the sales associate. I was then told that my 63 4X6 prints would be 29 cents each, but my 50 5X7 prints would be $2.99 EACH. I asked him why a 4-sqare inch increase in size was a 10 time increase in price and received the following answer, "I don't set the prices. I just work here."

Um, I know. I tried to be polite, but the guy was just an asshole. I asked if each store set their own prices, as these were higher than they were in Washington. I was rewarded with the "duh" expression and, "Every store is different."

OK. I didn't want to adjust my order as I had spent 20 minutes picking the images I wanted and I needed those prints. I live an hour away from their store, so I was promised my pictures in an hour and went on my way. I skipped a couple of more costly errands, as it now appeared that my expected $30 pictures would now be running me approximately $180, ate some lunch, and ran to the grocery store. I hustled back to pick up my prints as my groceries defrosted in the trunk of the car.

I watched the same clerk ring up my $183.97 (!!) pictures as I opened the envelope he handed to me. I only looked at the first print before I noticed a problem.

"Are these all glossy?" I asked, apparently stupidly.

"Yes," he sighed. "That's our default."

"So that's different in all your stores as well? I have to specifiy? Why didn't you ask what I wanted?"

"So you don't want them? We can reprint them but it will take another hour."

Unexpectedly, he had given me an out.

"No, I have groceries in the car and an hour drive home. I can't wait."

As pissed as I am that I don't have my photos (which I'll be printing all in the 4X6 size and on specified matte paper when I find another Ritz Camera store), I'm quite pleased that I managed to skip the most expensive photo printing EVER. I'm still mystified as to the lack of standard processing in each store. I don't have a degree in marketing, but isn't one of the big rules of retail that customers like consistency between locations?

I'm sure they immediately removed a photo of me, circled my face with red ink, and wrote "DO NOT ACCEPT ORDERS FROM THIS WOMAN!" on it.

Posted by Ensie at January 22, 2005 10:15 PM


I work at Cameras West (part of Ritz Cameras) In Bellevue, WA. I am excited to hear that you had a good experience at one of our stores, but I must tell you that I believe all of our stores have the same prices. I should tell you that if you do have a lot of printing to do that we have prepaid cards that can get your 4x6 prints for $0.19 and 5x7 or 6x8 prints for as low as $0.59. As for the paper type (matte or glossy) I have been told that stores in the southern states prefer glossy and in the north they prefer matte. A good photo counter associate would ask what the customer would prefer in case they did not know what the default or standard was.

Posted by: CWassociate at October 30, 2005 07:59 PM

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