from a posting on the bestphotolist…

"You will find that with a computer and your inkjet printer you will be able to make prints at home that are just as good as those you get from the local one-hour minilab."

 
Where did those words come from?  Was it from Epson or Lexmark or HP?  Did that kernel of wisdom come from Office Depot or Best Buy or Circuit City?
 
No, those words come from Kodak - and hey, Kodak makes ink and inkjet paper and there might be times that those words are appropriate.  It sounds like something that the inkjet division of Kodak should say - in an Office Depot/Best Buy atmosphere.
 
But it wasn't the Kodak inkjet division that claims inkjet printing is as good as minilab developing.  No, the words above are a cut and paste from the CD titled "Higher Education in Picture Taking" that is distributed by the Kodak PHOTO SPECIALTY channel.
 
But wait - there's more. 
 
Kodak sends these CD's to you, the minilab owner, for FREE.  The CD's are to be given out by YOU to every customer who purchases six rolls of Kodak film.
 
Isn't that nice?  Kodak is using you and me, the high end photo finishers, to distribute literature to OUR customers, telling them that they are just as well off printing at home on inkjet instead of developing at our photo lab on silver halide.  Delving a little further into the CD, you will see where Kodak recommends their inkjet paper and Kodak software.  But if you aren't a do-it-yourselfer, the CD suggests that you use Ofoto.com to develop your photos from a digital camera!
 
So Kodak - please forgive me if I take your latest promotion and chunk it into the trash.  I read in all the financial reports that you [Kodak] are losing your butt - you have to lay off another 6,000 people.  How much did it cost you to develop, manufacture, burn and distribute these CD's to labs around the country?  On one hand you are losing money and on the other hand you are sending out these CD's to labs that will do just what I did - throw them away.  I'm sure that the cost of this program exceeds the annual salary of more than just a few of the 6,000 people you are going to fire.  
 
Or did you think that not one single dealer would notice?  And have you not figured out that we talk to each other regularly?  I was getting ready to pass out my CD's when another IPI member posted something on The IPI Forum.  Sure enough, I read his words and then looked at the CD myself.  Thanks for the heads up Brian.
 
Kodak - We want to work with you.  We understand that Walmart will always be able to sell film at retail for less than we pay wholesale.  We understand that you have different divisions and some of them are not in the best interest of Photo Specialty.  We can live with that. 
 
But why does it seem that you always try to shaft Photo Specialty at every turn?  Can't you be satisfied making a few pennies in the paper and chemistry division when I purchase from you instead of trying to make an extra penny by selling your inkjet paper to Office Depot?  Are you so desperate for inkjet sales and Ofoto orders that you want me pass out literature for them?  On the CD there is actually a hyperlink to Ofoto - one click is all it takes for my customer to get to your Ofoto home page.  And you want me, the Photo Specialty high end photofinisher, to pass these out to my customers?
 
Think outside of the box for a second here - what if you [Kodak] made a full out blitz to persuade people to NOT print at home?  Spend all your time, effort and money teaching people that they are better off going to a real photo lab.  Imagine if every consumer in America was to hear "Are your photographs developed on REAL Kodak Photographic Paper?"  Take the loss on the inkjet department.  Let the people who really want to print at home purchase Epson or Lexmark or HP ink.  Spend you marketing and advertising dollars on getting consumers to ask their photo lab "Do you use Kodak paper?" again.
 
You, Kodak, have to rethink your business model just like I need to rethink mine.  D&P won't cut it for me anymore just like film sales won't cut it for you.  I wonder if you have larger margins on RA4 paper or on inkjet paper?  I would guess RA4, since you have to sell inkjet to every big box in the world and they go for the throat.  Why aren't you doing anything that might increase your silver halide sales? 
 
Many of the great Kodak products have started their life in the Photo Specialty channel.  Ektar Film, Royal Paper, Royal Gold Film; and of course The CopyPrint Station.  Photo Specialty might only be 3% of Kodak sales, but Photo Specialty brought you to the dance on many of your big hits.
 
I look at my lab's history - always on Kodak paper, Kodak chemistry, one of the first 50 KICS stores in the country, one of the first DLS software users.  The blood in my lab runs yellow and you [Kodak] have the gall to not only manufacture these CD's to pull customers away from my store, but you want me to pass them out for you!
 
It is interesting to compare that attitude to the current Agfa Success Seminars.  Agfa is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars putting on seminars.  These great seminars are open to every lab owner regardless of equipment, paper or chemistry usage.  There are no Agfa sales pitches, Agfa just wants every small independent Photo Specialty lab to do more business and increase sales.  That's better than a box of chocolates. 
 
Agfa is trying to help us increase our business and Kodak is trying to take our business.  That is pretty sad and speaks volumes.
 
So, if anybody on BestPhotoList has read all the way to the end of this missive I have two suggestions: 
    Do not pass out the Kodak University CD's - they are not in your best interest. 
    And also send an email to your Kodak rep expressing your displeasure with the Kodak University CD that they want you to distribute.  Maybe, just maybe, if enough Kodak reps get enough emails, they will start forwarding them up the chain and Kodak corporate will hear.
 
 
Jim Schwarzbach
Jim's Photo Lab
6600 North Mesa
El Paso, Texas 79912
(915) 587-7070

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