A drugstore chain is now in the media recovery business. Customers can bring in their USB drives, flash disks, or hard drives for recovery of deleted files. Walgreens offers the new service at more than 7,500 locations across the United States. The company is positioning this service as a natural extension of their photo department. Customers who trust Walgreens with their photo printing would also with the retrieval of their deleted photos.
“Sooner or later every digital camera user has the misfortune of losing a photo, and I know from experience this can be heartbreaking … we’re pleased to offer a solution that can help customers get back their cherished photos and along with them their peace of mind.” – Walgreens general merchandise manager of photo and front-end services
When peace of mind is at stake, it takes confidence to deliver the physical remnant of lost memories to someone else. Since customers may not have the skill to recover lost data themselves, they will look to someone else. Walgreens believes they will want to entrust it with someone local.
Until now, says the press release, “the only options for customers with lost digital photos were do-it-yourself recovery software or expensive and unknown mail-in recovery services.” Yet that is exactly what Walgreens will be doing. FlashFixers is the third party company that will be performing the retrieval service. They offer the software and mail-in recovery service on their website for the same price that Walgreens will be reselling the service: $39.99.
Will this bring media forensics to popular culture? Will it affect the perception of the materiality of deletion? Really, I just look forward to hearing stories of files being retrieved at Walgreens providing evidence that X was doing Y with Z. Hopefully in a rap.