Monday, August 08, 2005

A Deal on Photo Paper, Not!

By Christina VanGinkel

Always on the lookout for a deal, I was thrilled when I discovered photo paper for my inkjet printer at the local dollar store. To those of you unfamiliar with dollar stores, everything in the store is either a dollar, or two for a dollar or three for a dollar, even four for a dollar. Meaning nothing in the store is more than a dollar! They are one of my favorite types of stores. Usually, I stop in to grab items such as gift bags, shampoo, even the occasional book or DVD. However, one of the greatest things about dollar stores is that you are never sure what you might find.

Oftentimes the merchandise is manufactured specifically for the store, but sometimes they get closeouts from other stores and then offer that merchandise at the rock bottom price of 'a dollar'. So it was that I found photo paper in both 4" x 6" glossy and matte finishes, plus 8" x 10" in glossy and matte finishes. The 4" x 6" came in packs of twenty, and the 8" x 10" in packs of eight sheets. I grabbed a few packs of each size and each finish, happy with my savings and hardly containing myself on the way home. I could not wait to get home and print some photos I had been putting off because I was out of photo paper, that I wanted to use in a few scrapbook layouts.

For the first photo I printed, I used a sheet of the 4" x 6" glossy paper. The print turned out beautifully! I ended up printing several more in the same size and finish, plus two more 8" x 10", also on the glossy finish. I made a note to myself to stop and pick up some more of the paper before the store sold out, as I figured I would never get another deal like this again anytime soon. The thought of being able to print photos for my scrapbook and other occasions at will was thrilling. With this paper, the cost was minimal when I added the ink and paper together. It was actually coming out cheaper than running to the store and having prints made.

What I did not do though was do a test print on the matte finish. Let us just say that I am glad that most of the paper I purchased was glossy finish, as that is my personal preference, though I do like to print the occasional matte finish photograph, especially when printing in sepia tone or black and white. I new I was going to have a problem the minute I opened a pack of the 4" x 6" matte finish. I could not tell the front from the back. I studied it for quite some time, thought I had it figured out, ran it through my printer, and what I got was a mess. Apparently, I printed on the back of the paper, at least I think I did. The ink did not adhere, and just beaded up and ran off, literally. I tried a second picture, sure that I was printing on the opposite side of the paper than I did the first time. Same results! If you are wondering if I tried it a third time, I did, with the same results. Actually, I tried it a third and fourth time. I removed two sheets at the same time, flipped on over, and ran them both through. Both created a mess.

Inexpensive photo paper can be a deal, and I did purchase more of the glossy paper, but overall I wasted every dollar plus ink use spent on the matte finish. Deals are not what they are always cracked up to be!

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