"Yay! I can't wait to ship you 25 big ones for this photo!"
If there is one thing I've always had pretty good radar for, it's when I'm getting played. It's a great survival skill in the Army (if not a job requirement) and it has served me well whether I was at home or deployed. I also have a knack for understanding when I'm being held over a barrel. In the case of MarathonFoto, I believe a bit of both is happening simultaneously and it doesn't take a genius to figure that out.
First, let me just say that I understand that MarathonFoto is doing something that not everyone can do. They are camped out in uncomfortable places, taking photos for quite a few hours and capturing moments that would be difficult, if not impossible, for the average spectator. I get all that. The issue I have is that they abuse the shit out of the vig that they take.
They totally deserve to turn a proft, but they don't need to be such a shark about it. I have an issue with their margin mainly as a result of the fact that they have a captive clientele. You simply don't have much of a choice with regards to getting some action shots during the race. Yeah, yeah, you can have friends or family take the photos along the route, but let's be honest, if your wife and kids have come to San Francisco to see you race, they are not going to be able to get the same kind of shots or even have access to the opportunity in many cases. In addition, MarathonFoto knows that most runners will be desperate to get a finisher's photo or action shot given that this is their first marathon, a category in which a growing number of participants are a member.
To summarize, I have no issue with the business model here. In fact, I admire it. But sonofabitch, trying to stick me for 25 bucks per 5 X 7 is ridiculous and borderline extortion. Having spent my entire career in the Army, I know and understand why there is a premium on certain items; you're paying for all of the work that went into it. However, I believe the margin is more a result of the "situational" variables involved than the tangible issues of getting the photo (related costs of making it happen). At any rate, I don't do this for the 8 x 10 color glossy photograph, so I'm happy to let my buddhist side take over and let this go, which is a good thing given how completely effing horrible I look in my photos:
What the hell was I looking down for? I never look down.
Not only do I look like refried Ass, but out of focus refried Ass to boot.
And the piece de resistance:
Who the fuck is this guy? And why am I looking at him like I want him to die? So funny I couldn't help but refrain from clicking the "NOT ME" button.
What do you think about MarathonFoto? Are they savior or vulture?