Friday, June 26, 2009

Can we say ‘Rip off’?

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from my parents letting me know that I'd got a letter from the British DMV letting me know it was up for renewal.

So I had a choice. I could either send 20GBP and a new passport-sized picture and renew, or surrender my license. Obviously, I'm planning on visiting England at some point and I'd like to be able to drive when I do, so today I went out to get a passport picture made.

The last time I needed to get a picture made was for my Greencard and the process was simple and quick. I went to Eckerds and a very polite lady asked me to sit on an adjustable stool in front of a dedicated white backdrop and used a weird looking camera to take my picture. Fifteen minutes later I had my picture.

This time I went to a nearby UPS store…and things were a little different.

I walked in and asked if they did passport pictures and a very bored looking girl said "Yeah"…then just stared at me.

"So can I get one?" I asked, wondering what planet she was from and if, one day, her real parents would come to take her home.

"Now?" She asked, like it was a big surprise.

"Yes." I said.

"Oh, right."

She pointed to a blank spot of wall and asked me to stand in front of it. Then she pulled out a bog standard pink point-and-shoot digital camera and snapped a picture. You wouldn't think it was hard to photograph someone's face, but it took her three attempts.

I was a little taken aback that she'd take the picture with a 5 year old Nikon Coolpix, but I was even more taken aback when she pulled out the memory card, put it into a computer and printed out my pic on the same damn printer I have at home.

She slapped the printout on a guillotine and cut it to roughly passport sized, slipped it in a box and said "That's nine dollars fifty."

My first reaction was to ask her where she bought her crack from and if I could have a go of the same stuff she was smoking. You see, color ink for my printer is $15 bucks a cartridge. For $25 at my local staples I can get a color cartridge, a black and white and a fifty-sheet pack of 4x6 photo paper. The thing is, I already have ink and a buttload of photopaper at home.

Basically, it was nine bucks for the privilege of having my picture taken with a camera that isn't quite as good as mine. Hell, I even have a guillotine paper cutter.

Well, the truth is I just couldn't be bothered arguing. I just paid the bitch and vowed never to go back there again. (I shipped some artwork from the same UPS store and despite marking it 'Do Not Bend' myself and having them stamp it in red on both sides, their stupid fucking driver folded it in half to shove it in the buyer's mailbox).

The worst thing is I really considered just getting Sunny to take a picture and cropping and printing it myself. The only reason I didn't was because I figured they wouldn't accept the picture if I took and printed it myself…but after seeing the way the UPS store do it, I have to ask…how could they tell?

1 comment:

Evan 08 said...

I'm a little surprised that they didn't give you some sort of official-looking receipt to make you feel like you got something for your money.