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13 August 2005


photographer often in hot water

Why is it that ALL stores have this policy? Many a times this has happened to me in many stores and none of the staff were professional about it.

Maturity Calling

C'mon pal, there's a life waiting for you somewhere. The world is collapsing under the weight of seriousness and you're mouthing about a store employee's gracelessness.

Hey, no, I'M mature

Maturity Calling, Whassup? This is not about employee gracelessness (although you're against stores training their employees to respect the paying-through-the-nose customers?), but about mindless corporate types grinding away at the quality of life.

Chain stores have these ridiculous laws because corporations hire mediocre lawyers who give them bad advice. Do you think Zabar's tells you no photos?

Life in Big Box world sucks. A mall on Columbus Circle, with restaurants at the top, sucks. I thought Whole Foods would be more sensible. Treating people well is always a good thing.


I got yelled at for trying out my digital camera in the Union Square Barnes and Noble. I think it's a competitive thing. They were assuming I was a spy from Border's.


I was there soon after they opened. I was curious to see the, what is it 80? cash registers for checkout... I pulled out my camera at the bottom of the escalator, took one photo and a security guard told me no pictures were allowed. Turned right around and left. Fortunately security didn't have a problem with me taking photos elsewhere in the complex.

Hey, please vent... if you can't vent on your own weblog, where can you vent.


Maturity, you're complaining about my complaining and you want me to get a life?

I spent a little time trying to find a definitive reason, or set of reasons, for anti-photography rules in stores. Most often what I saw was:

1. Make it more difficult for competition to catch trends, design, etc.
2. Prevent thieves from casing the store.
3. Prevent people from grabbing activation numbers from software/games.
4. "for security purposes"

Of these, only the grabbing activation numbers reason had any substance to it that I could see.

For all I know the "making it difficult for competitors" and "casing the joint arguments" may be valid reasons (I only did a few google searches) but the reasoning I saw for those arguments was typically an unconvincing "I heard it was because..." explanation.


The Union Square store does have a sign stating the no photo policy. It says something about protecting their customers, or not inconveniencing their customers--something like that. Not a very convincing argument if you ask me.


at first i thought this posting was about something actually interesting, as it turns out, WTF cares about a no photo policy? snooze. I'm with Maturity Calling, its boring b-s like "i spent a little time trying to find a definative reason...for anti-photography rules in stores' that makes silly white people like you silly.


What a waste of time this post was. I know for a fact that it's for security reasons. Now where does that get you? Will you sleep better tonight?


Well, if Paul knows for a fact that it's for security reasons then it must be true. Thanks to you, Paul, I will sleep better tonight!


Hey, this is actually a very interesting post, and some very interesting comments. And here's a little anecdote. Some years back (way before 9/11), I was innocently snapping photos inside of the Brooklyn Public Library, when a guard informed me it wasn't allowed. I put away my camera, but I couldn't imagine why it wasn't allowed. Isn't it a public space? And a library? What's the big deal? About the only place where a no photos rule makes sense is in the lockerrooms at the gym. I can understand that, but not these other places. (Well, maybe in a bank I guess I could understand...)


Had the exact same thing happen once when I just had my camera OUT at Whole Foods. Sheesh, what am I gonna do? Steal someone's soul?


It's about recording prices as much as anything. Years ago I was working as an intern at a startup company that was working on (TV) set top boxes and was sent to a bunch of local electronics stores to see were we could get a variety of TV to test with for the lowest prices. While wandering around one store with a clipboard noting prices, I was stopped by a floor manager type and told I couldn't do that. I explained why I was doing that and ask (somewhat confusedly) why I couldn't. See that I might be a possible bag sale, he politely explained about the need to protect their pricing data from competitors. While this is likely less of a factor in a grocery store it probably still matters.


As you know, most retailers and private buildings have that policy and I know the Whole Foods in Chelsea also has a sign. They probably all do. Not that it isn't a stupid policy, but it is pretty standard. As is the overreacting employee.

Oh so very mature

The intersting part of the post to me is not only the stupid rules (they exist everywhere) but the total lack of customer service awareness by the employee. Why didn't they say "I'm sorry, we do not allow photos of our store" No threats, no stupidity, but an awareness that without people like us in the store, there is no store.
Just went to have an echocardiogram. The technicians who prepped me, took my info, ran the ultrasound didn't make eye contact, snapped their gum, had no bedside manner at all. (Fortunately the doc, when he arrived, did.)
WTF is happening to customer service in the age of internet shopping?


I was told by a New York Classical Theater guy that I couldn't take pictures of the play, which takes place in the wide open of Central Park, because the actors were unionized. I put away my camera--should I have? I didn't care enough to question it. But they can't impose their rules in the park, can they?

an employee

Actually, the reason is because whole foods has a unique store design. You don't see too many large supermarkets without florescent lighting and with concrete and wood floors, etc. I wish I could remember the name of the company, but i actually flipped through a book of grocery store designs that were exact rip offs of whole foods. People used to dress up like tourists and take pictures and then use them to design their grocery stores. This particular architect's book was full of out of country grocery stores, but nonetheless, whole foods IS a business and these are things businesses have to think about. As for the tactless employee, whole foods does have a nicer way of handling it, but people are human and make mistakes. Its not like they've got millions of robots employed who are programmed to talk to customers the way want them too. No matter how much you train someone, some people still can't get it right. You should have left a customer complaint about it or asked for a manager. Whole foods is very serious about customer service.

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