The misery of moving away from your favourite photo lab

I have recently changed countries of residence (I explained why here), and that was already difficult. Not just because you leave favourite humans behind, but also because you have certain places you loved in your old place that you won’t have in your new location. Costa Coffee on my way to work, for example, or the Liverpool Central Library, are some of the many places I miss about Liverpool.

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But what I miss the most is my trusted photo lab. The ladies from Moorfields Photographic, especially. They are lovely, had so much patience with me during my early days, and they somehow knew exactly what I wanted, and they gave it to me for a very reasonable price.

Now I live in the middle of nowhere, and I had to go to a drug store to hand in two of my rolls. The drug store itself (DM in this case) is usually my go-to-place for everything else, but after getting my first films developed there I will probably not use them again for photos. Here’s why:

A) It took F O R E V E R to be sent to the main depot, developed in the ‘lab factory’ that all the drug stores use, and then sent back to the store. As the store is too far away for me to go there every day to check whether or not my prints are ready it took a total of 9 working days to get my photos developed. My old lab took 2 – 3 days and usually called me when they were ready as well. For Free.

B) The price was, thanks to added delivery charges, extortionate. Two rolls of film plus the photos stored on a CD were almost €35, whereas my old lab would usually charge around £20 (around €23 today) for this.

C) You’re likely not going to what you want. I put a big cross in the box that says I want a luster finish, and somehow the prints were still delivered glossy. What’s the use of this tick box if it is being ignored? Maybe I’m too picky here because the prints still look nice, but…what am I paying for here? My ladies from MP always knew exactly how I liked my prints, and when there were any issues they would give me a quick call to ask me what I wanted to do. You just won’t get that from a big conveyor-belt drug store lab.

Living in the middle of nowhere I’m expecting my search for a new lab to take a while longer, but I’m willing to put the work into the research. There is nothing worse than not being able to trust the people who develop your exposed rolls of film. It’s like giving your babies away to childcare for the first time (yes I know this sounds a bit overdrawn, but it’s true. Rolls of films are precious, sweet little babies and I won’t hand them over to just anyone.). This is what I am planning on making the world map of film labs for by the way! IF YOU HAVE A SMALL, LOCAL LAB THAT YOU TRUST YOUR FILM ROLL BABIES WITH, LET ME KNOW AND I WILL INCLUDE THEM IN THE MAP.

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