The man at the photo counter explained again, "Didn't anyone tell you that we don't offer one-hour developing services for disposable cameras any more?"
Uhm, no. "But, I need these done. Today." I told him as if the outcome could change. "It's a school project. The students took all these pictures. We're a little behind schedule. They need to be uploaded tomorrow." Just to clarify, I added, "On the internet." I noticed that I was tapping my fingers on the counter. Like a crazy customer.
"No one does it anymore…CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid. We can send it out -- but it will take at least a week," he reiterated. I took back the five cameras. Yes, five. Not counting the two I left accidentally behind at school.
Driving home, I reasoned, it made sense. Of course, disposable cameras would be impacted by all the changes in technology: cell phones, digital cameras, and ipads. But, you would think they would post signs or tell the poor customer at the register. I vowed I would email all those drugstore companies and demand changes on behalf of all the other unsuspecting buyers. I berated my own obliviousness.
The next step, once home, was to grab my laptop and find an alternative solution. Yes! A warehouse store. I called. The good news: they could do it in a hour. The bad news: they no longer put the pictures on a CD. A few weeks earlier they had removed the machine that allowed the CDs to be made.
"What? How will I be able to upload the pictures on the computer?" Why did I use disposable cameras? It seemed like such a good idea. Let the students take them home. After all, it was a special project. We don't have digital cameras/devices at school. Wouldn't it be cool to have lots of pictures? Now I found myself caught in the cursed in-between of film technology.
"No, I don't have a scanner. My school doesn't have a scanner!" I don't know why I felt I needed to tell the store this. It then hit me that I was going to have to take pictures of the pictures with my cellphone. Before all this though, I needed to sign up and pay for a membership at the store so I could drop off the cameras.
At school, I handed out the photo envelopes and asked the students to select which pictures they wanted to submit. Over the course of the day, several students came to me confused. Each pulled out the strips of negatives that had been included. "What are these?"
"Obsolete," I said, holding the strips of an earlier time.