I hate it when I spend money poorly. It makes me sick to the core.
Understand, I have no problem spending hundreds (perhaps thousands) in a single shopping spree, but usually I'm getting my moneys' worth. Even when the expense is questionable, like the Playstation 3, there is some basis for the price ($650) and it's not a screwing.
But nothing has been more painful than getting some passport pictures taken at the local Ritz Camera.
Maybe it's just a brain fart, but I really should know better. I've been shooting since I was in seventh grade. My images have appeared in numerous publications, but nothing soothes the mind knowing that I've been had.
I'm heading to Ethiopia in a couple of weeks and need to apply for a visa. That visa application requires two passport pictures. And if you've obtained a passport picture over the years, you usually go down to the local photo store and they take your picture using a specially modified Polaroid camera.
The Polaroid camera costs just about anyone roughly one dollar per image. As far as images go, it's pretty expensive, but it's instant and for that convenience one must pay a price. And I was fully expecting to get a Polaroid passport picture.
I head down to the Ritz Camera and ask the girl for a passport pic. She tells me to stand next to the wall and whips out a Nikon digital camera and takes my photo. Then, she inputs it into one of those Kodak photo kiosks and spits out six passport images and charges me $15.30 (with tax).
That's it? Just a fuckin' Nikon digital SLR against a white wall? For fifteen bucks???? What the Fuck? I'm a dumb ass for this one. I spent all this money when I could have done it at home for nothing. I haven't felt so sick about wasting money in a long time. It's like a kick to the groin.
So gentle readers, take note: if you need a passport picture, do it yourself with whatever crappy digital camera and inkjet printer you have at home. It's not rocket science (although I thought it might be). Use some good lighting and crop your head (including shoulders) into a 2" x 2" image at 300dpi and you will be fine.
It was an expensive lesson.