Friday, July 23, 2010

Bangor Photo - Worst.Service.Ever (A Classic Thing of the Moment Repost for a friend who will kill me if he/she does not remain anonymous)

You Gentle Viewers are so lucky. You either live in a town that has a photo shop, or you don't, in which case, you send out. Easy.

We Brownie/Holga toting photographers in Bangor have one other option known as Bangor Photo. In case you don't recognize, the above tube, it is currently holding 2 length of negatives which were developed but were unable to be printed because even though they haughtily claim to print 120 film for EVERYONE in 6x4.5 or 6x6 they are unable to do it in 6x7 which, although there are millions of Holgas users and thousands of Kodak Brownie users, has never quite made it to Bangor, Maine. But the inability to print film that they develop isn't a problem.

So when I asked what people do who need 120 Film developed AND printed I was told 3 times to send it to 'Portland', when I foolishly asked 'Where?' They said louder 'PORTLAND', would you like their CARD?' and they handed me the card of a photo shop in Portland that did not have Portland in it's name

I'm certain it was years of dealing with snobby little photo shop employees who dislike when you enter the shop and need assistance because it cuts into their time talking to each other that made someone think "There has to be a better way."

So let's review Bangor Photo's services.

- They will develop your 35 mm film. (So will WalMart and Rite Aid)
- They will charge you full retail for photographic equipment. (Also carried by Circuit City and Best Buy and discounted)
- They will offer quality assistance, make the photographer feel welcome and valued, and educate them to the types of tips and tricks that makes photography an art form rather than just a skill. (No, they offer far less service than the minimum wage kid at WalMart and the photo people at Best Buy, unless you count mocking as a service)
- They develop 120 film. (In every format except the one you present them with.) Click for real 120 developing and printing.

You Gentle Viewers who decry the lack of personal service due to the Big Box store or the Internet and the demise of the local Mom and Pop places have never been to Bangor Photo.

Viva la digital revolucion! Viva la Big Box revolucion! Viva l'Internet revolucion!

Do I care about the 120 Film? Not at all.

Do I care about customer service? Yes. But only for you Gentle Viewers, only for you.

Update: Just called back to ask about the 120 film again and they were simply rude and dismissive. Anyone who uses ANY of their services is a fool. (Struck as per defense of 'Gentle Viewer "I ain't no fool, child." Anonymous' - See comments) Corrected to: *I* would be a fool to go back and use any of their services. Click here to see the website of the photographic rocket scientists at Bangor Photo

Love, jkirlin and The Thing of the Moment.

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  1. I, too, have noticed "small town customer service" to be a myth. Around here, they close their store for the noon hour (when customers might want to get some shopping done), close Sat, Sunday and other times working people have free. And they often ignore you to answer the phone or hide behind walls and counters.

  2. *picking up the phone and dialing 942-6728...hanging up, 'cause I realize I'm about to call some poor soul in Skandia, Michigan...dialing again, this time dialing a 1 and the area code 207) first*

    *phone ringing on other end...waiting for them to pick up* Duh! It's after 10:30pm. They're closed.

    I was soooo going to give them a piece of your mind, Kirlmeister. (I hope you don't mind my taking the liberty of taking a piece of your mind.)

  3. I love your assertiveness! I usually reserve that kind of vehemence for line-breakers, restaurant smokers and cell phone abusers. ATTA-BOY Kirlin.

  4. Glad to see it isn't just OUR local photo shop that's full of idiots! Ours are not really rude, just very stupid. Like the time I took in 35mm film with shots of black bears taken at night, they gave me back unprinted, "blank" negatives. And when I held them up to the light in front of their faces to show them the images, without batting an eye the clerk asked "Do you want those printed?" Yes Captain Obvious, yes I do.

  5. I am a former Big Box store photo center manager, and have worked several local area photo centers... Including the one you are slandering... I feel really bad that you need to vent on the internet with your biased problems. Yes, Bangor does not offer all the services as, say New York. Most of the shops are limited to the equipment costs. While Big box stores offer send out services, they do not offer many services in their store. True, though that some of the opinions of the local employees tend to turn away customers, and in my case, employment. I have always provided the best customer service possible... Including being slapped by a customer (when I worked for a big box photo center.)
    Your negatives, are, quite frankly, unique to the common market films. Most of the new machines do not offer 120 negative prints at all. Still, I am sorry that you had a bad experience.

  6. Anonymous: I appreciate that input because it allows me to clarify the post. I wasn;'t slandering Bangor Photo because they didn't have the inability to make 120 prints. Those I can send out. I was pointing at that Bangor Photo was dismissive when I even tried to ask about it because I didn't understand.

    This also wasn't the first time I had been dismissed for apparently asking the wrong question when needing more information about a camera or film or other products, (I had purchased some accessories there in the past. (Please note PAST)) and couldn't even get basic questions answered then in a polite manner. Then, I compare this experience to, let's say since we are discussing local options, the guys at the photo processing center at the Brewer Wal Mart where, although they had a center full of customers, took the time to fully explain what I could expect by taking my film there or uploading digital prints. As a result, I have spent hundreds of dollar at the Brewer Wal Mart photo center, and except for the 50 or so dollars I spent on the camera accessories and negatives at Bangor Photo, I'll not spend another cent.

    The only real difference between the 2 services? Common courtesy.

    I didn't post this to slander Bangor Photo because I feel they do that well enough to anyone who goes there, but only because I wish I had seen a post like this to avoid the experience myself.

  7. All I can say is that I've had nothing but EXCELLENT service from Bangor Photo, and I shoot digital and film (35mm and medium format).

    Hey, it's your blog, and you can cry if you want to.
    But inflating one bad experience to "anyone who uses ANY of their services is a fool" is absurd.

  8. Dear Anonymous: You're right, I'm an asshole. I'm wrong for expecting minimally polite customer service. It truly pains me and I cry myself to sleep nightly but I'm comforted when I see how often people land on this after Googling "Bangor Photo".

  9. For the record, jkirlin -

    It is kind of funny that I'd post a rebuttal to your original post, which I do find to be childish and overreactive, only to be followed by another anonymous person who called you an "asshole".

    Well, I don't know who called you an asshole, but it wasn't me. I do not resort to this low level approach when engaged in a debate.

    By the way, you are completely off the mark when you referred to me as "another Bangor Photo employee heard from."

    I don't work for Bangor Photo, and I've never stated that they provide perfect service 100% of the time. I did say that one bad experience from a disgruntled customer does not make the rest of us happy customers "fools". Can you grasp this?
    but what is of more interest to me is that you've chosen to ignore my comment rather than own up to it, and you have childishly labeled me an "employee of Bangor Photo" without knowing anything at all. Stooge logic. How old are you, anyway?

    I don't know if you are an asshole or not, but I do like some of your work, at least some of the things I've seen. Good luck with your endeavors in photography, and...oh, yeah - good luck with your people skills.

  10. Dear Anonymous who did not call me an asshole. Heh heh. Ok, it's cool. You aren't a fool or a Bangor Photo employee.

    Actually, I didn't REALLY think you were because I don't think they'd have waited months to come up with that response. Sorry you didn't get the joke about the Bangor Photo employee though and it got under your skin. If I can't get a Bangor Photo employee to pay any attention while I'm in the store trying to do business, I'm quite certain I'm not going to draw their attention here.

    One of the cool things about the Internet is being able to post reviews. They are at and hundreds of other sites. I look forward to your defense of every product or service negatively reviewed there. Or do you only defend Bangor Photo for purely altruistic purposes?

    I happily post defences of Bangor Photo if you read the other comments.

    Let's see...what other mea culpas can I give you? Oh, I didn't write the post after one episode of bad service. It was several. I only highlighted the first. So you are right, I apologize for only discussing one. If people have good service from Bangor Photo, they can review it on their blog. It's cool, Ringo.

    Additionally I won't joke that maybe the SECOND Anonymous who called me an asshole was a Bangor Photo employee.

    Lastly, thanks for becoming a regular Gentle Viewer.

  11. I was calling the other Anonymous an asshole. I'd use my name but I still go to Bangor Photo even though the service is terrible! I bought my camera there and it is still under warranty so I want to be able to go back. :-) And I do the photo contests and don't want to handicap myself!!

  12. Oh and you have to admit they do a better job with 35mm film then Rite Aid!!

  13. So many Anonymouses. Anonymi? I don't know who you are but I know who you aren't. You aren't Bangor Metro or the angry little railroad dude. Heh heh