Saturday, July 16, 2016

An Open Letter to US&C Director of Business Development at Kodak Alaris

Megan Wright, US&C Director of Business Development at Kodak Alaris, 

RE: Country pricing for Canada in regards to Kodak darkroom chemicals and film 

Dear  Megan Wright, 

My name is Bill Smith and I have been a regular customer of your company’s products over the years from Kodak Tri-X, to the Portra line and Ektar C-41 films to related chemistry to make the magic happen. I know what I’m getting when I buy your product and love the results. 

Needless to say, I got sticker shock recently when I stopped by Downtown Camera in Toronto Ontario and checked out the darkroom section to fill some holes in my chemical inventory. I was shocked to see that the 3.78 Litre envelope of Dektol jumped to $20 (All prices quoted are in Canadian dollars) when it was like $7.99 not two years ago, same goes for D-76 it took the better part of an 80% price increase. That’s just the chemicals, as for film, I don’t even bother to purchase locally anymore, Downtown Camera can’t compete with B&H and other American retailers even when the Canadian dollar was trading at it’s lowest.  

Now back to the massive price increase, ok, the Canadian dollar has been on a bit of a roller coaster rider of late in currency exchange markets, but even then a 70-100% percent price increase on darkroom chemistry, was the product management team inhaling the film and darkroom chemistry raw materials while reviewing pricing strategy? 

As for film, the pricing for a 100’ Bulk Roll of 35mm Kodak Tri-X at $252 Cdn is the most obvious example of your company not being in the real world, your direct competitor Ilford with 100’ HP5 400 which is a comparable film is about $100 Cdn retail. Any sane person looking at that even from outside the business world would perceive this pricing as a death wish for your company. Here’s the thing, film and chemistry are legacy products, the research and development for your entire product line got paid for ages ago, so it’s an income generator as long as you don’t kill the goose the lays the golden egg, but in this case you got it in the broiler. 

I think you owe Canadian film photographers an explanation why Kodak is screwing them. I'm already researching alternatives for developing chemistry as I already switched film stock. I will continue buying your C-41 films because there is no substitute (and very little alternatives) but you lost me for traditional black and white film and darkroom materials, there are too many high quality alternatives out there. 

Kind Regards 
Bill Smith 


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