Monday, October 8, 2007

Overcomplicated pricing plans

I was in a CVS pharmacy the other day having some photographs printed. A while back the only thing to do at these one-hour photo places was drop off your film, which was put into a little bag, and then come back to pick it up. You paid per roll of film.

Now however there are 5 different ways of getting your photos to them, as well as other ways of getting them back...not to mention about 6 different pricing plans just to get a stack of regular 4x6 pictures. To drop off your photos you can give them a CD, a memory chip, upload them online to their website, give them a roll of film, or give them a hard-copy of an existing photo. In return you can get real photographs, or you can get a CD. A combination of these various options of course yield different pricing structures.

On the advertising sign outside they advertise one price for photo printing. On their board inside they advertise 4 different prices. There are actually 6 different prices, however, once you get to the fine print (not on the board, but on small cards near the register.

You now pay by each photo printed. If you print using the little kiosk, it will cost you $.29 each. If you hand them your disc/roll/chip, it costs $.19 each. But only if you get more than 50. Under 50, which is the typical size of a traditional "roll", and it costs $.25. If you want them in an hour, it will be $.19 each, but only if you use their "club card". If you want them in a few days, it will be $.15 each - but after you read the fine print, this only applies if you upload them online to their website first. Otherwise, the few days option costs $.19 each.

Of course, you'll be better suited calculating the cost on your own. My cashier priced it wrong, at $.29, even though I had gone the $.19 route. The machine apparently defaults to the highest price, via the UPC on the little box they give you, and then must be adjusted down using a small card with various UPCs on it that apply "discounts" in the register POS. No doubt many people end up being charged full price because they were not paying attention.

It was a real headache just trying to figure out how to get the per-photo price that was displayed in huge numbers on the billboard. Its enough to drive you to just buy your own photo printer.

1 comment:

Mrs. Micah said...

I'm hoping to get some wedding pics printed via their website. I'll have to triple check what I ordered to make sure I'm not overcharged! Thanks for the heads up on this.