The cost to have them print an image is less than what it would cost me in paper and ink, not even considering the cost of the printer itself.
That was true in the days of darkrooms too, so what? I am no puritan but for a group of people who are keen on photography I am amazed, though truthfully not surprised, by how few of you actually print your own images.
All these heated arguments about gear, how sharp lenses are, the colours and rendition, megapixels, dynamic range etc etc, it all pales to insignificance if you don't print your own images.
Why do you insist on taking things out of context and then insulting people?
Printing today is far different today than in the darkroom days – of which I have plenty of experience. Today, most of the work that I used to do in the darkroom is done on the computer in RAW and Photoshop, using other programs when needed. I spend quite a bit of time getting the look I want and I take great pains to get it right.
But, I know the value of paying a professional to handle the mechanical aspects that I have no desire to do myself.
Even in the film days, professionals sent their color work to labs. When I worked as a newspaper photographer I did my own four-color separations for print. But, for exhibition and contest quality work I used a lab. Hell, even Cartier-Bresson had someone else print his pictures. And, news flash, so did Ansel Adams (whom so many people here treat like a God). I know because he hired my college photography professor to print for him.
It's one thing to send your images off to the corner drug store, it's quite another to use a professional lab that knows how to extract the best prints from your digital negatives.
I you want to disagree with people, that's fine. That's what this forum is for. But don't take statements out of context and distort what people are saying.