Black's Photography, a large Canadian chain, had, what seemed like a great deal in the winter, "bring in 400 of your slides, and we'll convert them to digital for $100." It seemed well worth it, for the time it would take for me to scan them. I went to my local Black's at Humbertown plaza, and handed over my precious memories, that were a smattering of my family's hi-lights, since the 1950's. I asked if they would be safe, since they had me sign something. I was reassured that this was just a formality, since Black's were handing them over to an outside source, in Barrie, to do the actual work. I thought it was dubious, but let them go, after all, if Black's was using them, they must be ok.
I was told it would take six weeks. Well, nine weeks later I dropped in to see where my slides were at. They were finally ready.
With great enthusiasm I went to pick them up, dying to see all those old images on my computer screen. I popped in the CD and started scanning random images. Fun times that I had forgotten about and the memories of the time came flooding back to me, until, I started seeing images of people I didn't know. It happened once, then again, then more times than I can tell you. Who were these people on my CD? I was the one that picked out the slides, and I knew everyone in the slides I had picked out for scanning. I saw I had more than the "400 images" on my CD. In fact I had 435 images, of which 76 images were not mine. That is crazy. How could this happen? I then thought I better check my slides. If the scans are wrong, I was getting the sinking feeling something too could be wrong with my lovely slides, and, in fact I was right. Black's had given me back 442 slides, of which 74 were not mine, and 32 of mine were indeed missing. I was livid.
My worst nightmare about this exercise had come true. Black's had lost my slides. No, not all of them, but almost 10% of my slides and 10% of the images were missing. I was upset, hurt and miffed over the whole ordeal. I lost sleep about Black's losing my slides.
The next day I went back to Black's, armed with the 74 slides that did not belong to me, in hopes that they may find their rightful owner. I told the staff as to what happened, and she said she would pass it on to the "smile centre" at Black's head office. Smile Centre? What a dumb name. Not smiling here Black's.
I too followed up with a letter to as what had happened to the "Smile centre." The response was basically, "sorry, I don't know how this could have happened." Yeah, me too! "Do you think you can remember what might be on those slides?" "Are you serious?" I sorted them out ten weeks earlier, and did not think I had to take note of each and every slide. I have since been asked that three times by the Smile Centre and their "people" who did the botched job. When I say botched, I mean severely mismanaged without any consideration. The scans I did have were done haphazardly — images were upside down, sideways and with heads cut off, when in fact, the heads were intact on the slides. The 74 I took back, those poor people actually numbered their slides, presumably 1-400, in the hopes of keeping their slides safe, yet that system failed miserably for them too.
Really, this should have been a simple job, it's not rocket science scanning in one order at a time and keeping it straight. I had scans in the middle of my order that weren't mine, not just a couple at the end.
The "Smile centre" offered me a refund for this debacle, and an investigation - well that's the least they could do. As I went to pick up my refund, I saw orders had been brought back due to "bad scanning." I asked if others had lost their slides, and in fact, yes, I was not alone.
Shame on you Black's, for not taking responsibility for this, or following through on what you said you would do. Black's sent me 7 images, to see if they were mine. Seven? Really, that's all you have? I know they must have more than 7, and was assured that I would see them today, and still, have not. This is hardly being "investigated" in a timely manner. I received a call from the "outside source", again, with a pathetic "I'm sorry, I don't know how this could have happened?"
Does no one do their due diligence when picking labs to represent themselves. This lab, has made Black's look more than bad. I have lost my faith in the company.
I have lost images, that can not be replicated, and, what's worse, I don't know what they are. What are the chances of someone actually going through all their slides, like me, and them having them all, and bringing them back. Pretty slim I would think.
So, beware, when you see a deal that is too good to be true, chances are, it is.
I have lost my confidence and respect for Black's in the way they handled this "special offer" from the hand off, to , well, the hand off again.
The "smile centre" should be given a shake up, for taking such a back seat to this mess. They have kept quiet and covered themselves for the most part, not admitting any accountability. And the moral of this story is, know exactly who you are dealing with when you send precious memories to an outside source. I sure didn't know them, thought I knew and could trust Black's, but clearly, was let down by them & their suppliers. Another lesson learned, unfortunately the hard way. I was actually going to use Black's for their conversion "deal" of 8mm film to digital. Are you kidding now? I'm sure that too is being farmed out to who knows who. Beware people of who you let handle your precious memories & make sure due diligence is done, by you.
Does anyone want to use my Black's pre-paid Image card?
|A sample of one of my sideways scans from Black's.|