Short version: Walmart Photo took my money, did not print the photos I asked for, and flat-out refused to either give me back my money or print the missing photos.

Long version:

I went on an awesome, long trip in the summer. It resulted (after filtering) in 400 photos. Which, after shopping around, I printed at Walmart. I thought that saving a few pennies per print will add up when printing this many, boy was I wrong.

After spending an hour or so figuring out their dumb web interface (which I had to use because there’s no way to find out which Walmart has a working photo lab) I uploaded the photos and asked to have them printed. Their explicit promise was it will be done the next day. A few days go by, I call them, stay on hold for 10-15 minutes, and eventually am told that “the photos could not be printed because there was a problem”. It took me literally minutes to pull out of that moron that the problem was the printer at that Walmart location was broken. When will it be fixed? They don’t know. Can I go to another Walmart? Yes. Which one has a working printer? They don’t know. Seriously? Yes. Months later I realize how lucky I was that they gave me a refund at that point.

I waited a few days (how long can it take to fix a printer?) and resubmitted the same order to the same Walmart. This time it got printed. I went to pick it up. The teenager there handed me a couple of envelopes. I thought I ordered 500 photos before and the package looked about double the size of what he handed me, and I asked him to confirm that those two envelopes are the complete order. He said yes, though now I realize he just wanted to get rid of me as quickly as possible.

A little over a month went by and finally I found the time to sort through the 400 photos, put them into albums. I got through about 180 of them, lots of good memories, when I looked at the next one and realized that a couple of weeks of the trip are missing. I double-check and sure enough – there are 153 photos missing from the order.

Whatever, I get it, mistakes happen. I went to the Walmart where I picked it up – the guy there could not find my photos. And even though I insisted a lot, he didn’t look like he tried very hard to locate them. He gave me a phone number to call to sort it out. Which I did on my way to work. Or rather – I tried, but the 30 minute drive to work was not long enough. I was transferred to the wrong department twice, one of the two times to a french-speaking system. On the third try I got to speak to someone about the problem. An excruciating 15-20 minutes later, after repeating over-and-over that I am missing a third of my order, about 150 photos, I was told, without any ambiguity, that Walmart will not give me my money back and she’s sorry but the order cannot be reprinted either. Why not? Because it’s been more than 30 days. She had a hard time telling me what I did wrong or what I should have done differently, except she suggested that I should have checked the order when I picked it up (yeah, you try and count 400 photos at a busy counter, see how well that goes) or that I should have done it when I got home (because I have nothing better to do than to triple-check Walmart orders).

At the end of all that – she offered me a 5$ promo code. Despite the fact that I was missing 20$ worth of photos. Yeah. And even that code didn’t work. So I’m printing the missing photos at Shopper’s. They will cost more and sadly I have no faith in that experience either. I guess at the end of the day you always get what you pay for and no more. When will I finally learn this lesson?

But now I dislike Walmart even more than before. One more reason to avoid shopping there as much as possible.