All the 4×6 prints you can imagine for free! All you have to do is order your prints through the Shutterfly app. Sounds great, right? Almost unbelievable.
What would you do with unlimited prints? Here’s a few ideas:
- Mural: Take lots of close-up photos of the sidewalk. Tile the prints together to make a huge mural.
- Book: not the most original idea, since people already put their photos into a photo album. But instead of sliding your photos into an album, just take the entire stack and three-hole-punch your photos. Thread some binder clips into the holes, and you have an instant book.
- Public art: leave your photos around town. Make a statement. Ask a question.
How can Shutterfly give away free prints?
Shutterfly must be offering these unlimited free prints because they want to grow their user base of the Shutterfly app. Make an incredible offer and get a ton of people to sign up. Sure, there’s the cost of offering all these prints for free, but now Shutterfly has these people using their app. Once someone learns how to order prints from their app, they would be more likely to continue to use the app. Get those new users hooked!
So this deal has got to be legit, right? Well, let’s look at the fine print (bolding is mine):
*Offer valid for a limited time only. Offer is good for unlimited free 4×4 and/or 4×6 prints through the Shutterfly apps only. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Not valid on other sizes, other products, prepaid plans, prior purchases, orders placed for in-store pick up and purchases made on shutterfly.com and our mobile-friendly site. Each order can only contain a maximum of 250 photos. Please start a new order for adding more items. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with other offers or credits. Not valid for resale.
Prints must be ordered through the app.
Ordering through the app isn’t too bad, especially since you can quickly select photos by just dragging down your screen. Pretty cool!
Each order can only have 250 photos.
They had to put some sort of limit on people ordering a million prints. The app does indeed only let you order 250 at a time.
I seriously was going to put an order in for a thousand prints of the same photo. But heck, I can put in four orders of 250 photos. Sure!
Only 9 prints of the same photo
The quantity field per photo on the Shutterfly app only allows for a single digit. Thus, you can order only 9 prints per photo.
Why just nine prints? Shouldn’t they let people order 250 prints of the same photo? Well, it might make it TOO easy for someone to go crazy and order thousands of photos and wreck this wonderful deal, right? That’s not entirely true. The shipping kills this offer.
You have to pay taxes, shipping, and handling.
How much is the shipping and tax? I added 250 photos to my cart. Filled in my shipping address. Went to check out. The total is $23.45 ($21.71 for shipping, $1.74 for tax). That’s quite an expensive shipping cost!
Shutterfly’s unlimited free prints offer ends up costing 9.3 cents a print.
For 9.3 cent a print, you might as well get your prints from Walgreens. They often have 9-cent print deals. Right now they have a 50% off deal that effectively makes 4×6 prints cost ten cents per print. Plus, whenever you order from Walgreens, you always get a receipt that asks you to take a survey at walgreenslistens.com where you can win $3000.
Walgreens versus Shutterfly
Walgreens photo center:
- 9 or 10 cents per print
- This deal is pretty much always available
- Order as many prints as you like
- Chance to win $3000 through survey
- Get your prints in under an hour
- 9.3 cents per print
- Deal available only for a couple days
- Maximum of 250 prints per order (and a maximum of nine prints per photo)
- No chance to win money through a sweepstakes
- Your prints arrive 6 to 9 days later (with economy shipping)
And hey! If you want your Shutterfly prints to arrive faster, you can pay even MORE for shipping. The shipping charges for my 250 prints are:
- Economy (6-9 days) $21.71
- Standard (7-8 days) $24.21
- Expedited (6 days guaranteed) $31.91
- Rush (5 days guaranteed) $39.91
Why is the shipping so much? Obviously, Shutterfly wants to make some sort of profit off their prints during this special offer. Maybe when the offer is done, they lower their shipping prices back to normal.
Nope. Shutterfly provides a handy chart of all their shipping costs for 4×6 (and 4×4) prints.
Since Shutterfly has this chart published, these indeed are their regular prices for shipping. When there is no “free” offer, prints cost 15 cents each. Tack on the 8.7 cents shipping per print, and that’s a total of 24 cents per print!
What’s really happening here with Shutterfly’s deal, is that they are selling prints at Walgreens-based prices at 9 cents a print. When the deal goes away, you have to pay 24 cents per print. That kinda sucks. But get this, not only is Shutterfly selling prints for nine cents each, calling it “free”, they are deceiving people into thinking these prints are free, so people order the full 250 prints.
People end up buying a monster-load of 250 prints for Walgreens pricing. Would you normally order 250 prints from Walgreens? Probably not. Shutterfly tricks people into ordering a very large quantity at the same price you’d pay at Walgreens.
Walgreens wins. Order as many photos you’d like from Walgreens. Pick them up right away. And get yourself entered to win $3000.
Now a good deal is Shutterfly’s free 8×8 hardcover photo book. You only have to pay shipping which is $7.99. Compare that to Walgreens’ 8×8 photo book $24.99, plus $6.99 shipping.
Thanks for exposing another ‘too good to be true’ modern day snake oil hustle.
I have ordered several for shipping only. Well prepared. My beautiful pictures look great. Over twenty books and counting. For European / Israel trip
I ordered bigger ones. Love them. Also the mugs for shipping Coast are wonderful.
i order 50 it was only 7 dollars
Shutterfly isn’t my favorite photo lab, I prefer Mpix & even the cheaper Mpix economoy 4×6 pics, Miller’s or Nations to any, but you pay for the quality. Target has far better print quality than Walgreens & even Snapfish, which seems to rank pretty low usually comes out ahead of Walgreens. In most comparisons I’ve seen on the internet & in my personal experience, Walgreens prints come in at the bottom when it comes to image quality & color accuracy. I totally agree that the shipping negates the “free pic” deal, but when comparing their prints to Walgreens, its apples & oranges.
That’s a great point, ckw. Shutterfly may cost more, but they also can give better quality.
Your an idiot , it’s convenient. Upload from any where . It’s the future .
Thank you, Joel. I love being called an idiot online. Makes me want to go out and do some idiotic things.
Thank you for sharing and please disregard the hater 🙂
“You’re,” not “Your.”
The Shutterfly prints are a much better quality in my opinion. I hate the glossy look which is only what Walgreens offers in store, so if you want Matte you have to have it shipped either way, and Shutterfly wins in that department.
I just spent several hours organizing thousands of photos from jump drives, my computer and my phone. I was going to order my entire digital library since the website stated they only charge $24 something for shipping 251-99,999 prints. Then it told me I could only order 250 at a time. That was annoying, yes. But at only a $1.88 to ship 250 prints, it was still a steal… it would just take longer to order. Went to check out with my first 250 order and the shipping was over $27. I was so irritated!!! I’m glad to see you wrote this post. This company is a joke!
I did the same thing. I spent a LOT of time getting my order ready, and then was shocked at the shipping cost. At that point, however, I went ahead and ordered because I had invested so much time organizing everything. I won’t forget, however, that Shutterfly punked me with a bait and switch. I won’t order next time.
Lea, I’m sorry you had this experience. I’m glad you shared with us to warn others.
I ordered my prints with my Christmas cards which qualified for free shipping so got my whole order for free shipping! So, it really was a great deal for me.
You should check out FreePrints. Way better UI, same (if not better) print quality, better customer service and they give 1000 free prints a year.
As much as I agree with your logic, my taste for Walgreens photos diminished when they swapped their amazing Fuji printers will real photo paper to the new non-photosensitive paper. (Forgive me, I have forgotten the name of that printer, possible Noritsu) Their new paper is awful. It is environmentally friendlier, but the product looks awful. I miss the old Fuji glossy prints. I don’t want to pay for those new paper prints.
Yes! I totally agree! I used to get all my photos printed at Walgreens until a few years ago when they switched their printers. I was horrified when I picked up a huge batch of prints with the lower quality. They made some adjustments for me and reprinted some, but it didn’t help and I returned them. I then looked at Target and CVS to print, and the quality was somewhat better but still not what I was used to (I went with CVS, I think). I was pleased to discover recently when I ordered prints from Shutterfly that their prints still have the uniformly glossy surface to them; when you hold them sideways in the light, you see one glossy surface and not blotches where the different colors are (tricky to describe). [However, on Shutterfly it was super frustrating ordering, since the photos uploaded in no particular order and I was ordering like 900+ prints (yeah, crazy, I know). I spent way too much time changing the quantity on those, since I couldn’t see like photos together (and thus I feel I was forced into ordering more than I would have had they been better organized). Then once I received them, I spent HOURS sorting though the prints on my floor to put them back in order. If only they had been in order of file name!!! Did I miss a button somewhere on the website?!?]
Anyway. I’m never ordering from Walgreens again. If I can get comparable prices for significantly better quality by using Shutterfly, I think I’ll do that. I haven’t ordered using the app yet. Matt, thank you for sharing this info! I’m glad I read it before ordering. The limit of 9 prints of one picture is annoying, but thanks for the heads up!
I agree with you, Matt, but shutterfly’s deal is much better when you want several prints and another item which then you can apply the shipping code. For example, for my wedding, I printed over 250 prints (576 and i stopped on my own). With this you are correct, the shipping was ridiculous, some $45. But there was also a code that said free shipping if the order cost over $49 “SHIP49” . I also wanted to buy a canvas photo which was closer to $50. I applied the code and got my free prints and ended up only paying a short amount for a large canvas and 576 prints.
Jessica it only allowed me to do one 250 order at a time, I couldn’t order more than 250…how were yout able to?
If you want to order more than 250 prints, you have to make multiple orders. They try to make it hard for you to order lots of prints.