No Photos.

My friend Pie is in town for the holidays, which means that we got to reunite for some business…where “business” means mini ice cream/gelato crawl.  We didn’t get started until almost 8pm due to things like work (me) and the family car shuffle-dance (her).  Once you factor in that we are pretty much in the Siberia of North America and it is hard to get frozen goodness in the tundra after 10pm on a weeknight, the fact that we made it three stops becomes downright impressive.

As with pretty much everything, I felt the need to photodocument our adventure for posterity and for facebook.  Photodocumenting is fun, harmless, and provides fodder for people to look at during their work days or while having a little break from excessive family time (FT).  Ice cream is wholesome family fun, so it seemed like a particularly good one topic – no worries as to what might pop up next on the computer screen if G-ma is sulking around in the background.  Um, except one place we went apparently has an (unposted) “No “Photography” policy.  Yeah.

This top-secret place is neither fancy nor restricts entry – in fact, it’s a grocery store.  Seriously.  The fucking grocery store does not allow people to take pictures.  We were at the gelato bar area and I pulled my camera out to snap an artistic shot so our friends (and “friends” – it is facebook and I doubt I’ll filter access to this album) could live vicariously through us, just without the fat intake.  (Luckily the fat intake doesn’t count for Pie or me either.  She is in a different time zone than she lives and I have a convenient digestive disorder where my body pretty much blows at processing fat, so to some extent just doesn’t.)  The gelat-ista looked at me and asked if I was taking pictures.  Since I had a camera in my hands and the flash had just gone off, there wasn’t much sense in lying. (Not that there would be much sense were my camera not been in my hands and had the flash not just gone off – we were in a GROCERY STORE.)  I acknowledged that I was, and mentioned that we on an ice cream crawl by way of explanation as to why someone would want to take pictures at the market.  He informed me that if I were to take another picture I would be “asked”* to leave the store.  Pie and I were a bit incredulous; this is a grocery store.  I confirmed my understanding, put my camera away, and then asked if I could:

a.) sample the gelato labeled “with real bacon” (It was mediocre and a taste was enough.  Pie concurred.)

b.) inquire why photography was prohibited.

Much in the manner which things are explained to developmentally-delayed children, I was informed that some of their customers might not like to be in the background of someone’s photos “for privacy reasons.”  Um, again: This is a grocery store.  What are people worried about?  Someone will discover that they eat?  Oh dear, no – the scandal!  Also, why is this policy not posted?  While this grocery store does sell alcohol, it mostly sells things like flour and apples and flax seed.  Boo and I go there a lot and I’ve never had to shield his eyes or avoid any aisles.  It’s the grocery store; you could bring both your nana and your minister with an easy mind.  Grocery store.  Not scandalous.  Groceries.

Of course because I am me, I suggested that that was a bit off, as I was under the impression that when people are out in public they assume a risk that people might learn of their presence – oy vey! – in public and being in the background of someone’s photos is an aspect of that assumed risk.  This of course was our last stop and sort of vital to my photojournal.**  Gelatista informed me that since they are a privately-owned corporation, they are not public.  I declined to continue this conversation, in which my next move totally would have been to explain the difference between “private” and “privately owned” and instead ordered my gelato.  I really didn’t see my inquisition going anywhere.  I did talk to my fancy lawyer friend the next day and asked her about this policy.  Shockingly (not), it turns out that I was right – there is an assumed risk and to have a policy as such (which typically only extends to protecting the privacy of children) they would need to have it posted in a conspicuous place.  As I said, due to work and that I like to eat, I’m totally at this grocery store at least twice per week and when I’m walking at toddler speed, I absolutely have time to notice anything posted in a conspicuous place.  Boo and I play a lot of “I Spy” at the store too – and neither of us have ever spied a “conspicuously posted photography policy.”  Seriously though: You’re a grocery store.  Get over yourself and start stocking more candy.

*Said in a way to be clear that they wouldn’t really be asking me to leave, rather asking if I required an escort to be made to leave

**Rest assured that I came up with an alternative option – it involves irrelevant photos, word painting, and imaginations.


2 Responses to “No Photos.”

  1. 1 Kate
    December 28, 2009 at 10:49 am

    This was so worth causing a scene over. Pie is the perfect side kick for it too. It would have been a great protest. You could have picketed the store. hell, you should have started snapping photos of the entire place and let them call the cops. You could have been hauled off to jail screaming for the ACLU. And then you could have posted your mug shot on facebook. I’d have been proud. You mid-westerners are way too polite.

    There is no expectation of privacy in a public place. And since they don’t require membership to shop there… (in other words, don’t try this at Costco). Of course, when I once worked for an unnamed state parks department, and an un-named state police department arrested 2 guys for having sex in a park, a judge actually ruled that they did have an expectation of privacy. Figure that one out. And then explain it to all the Boo-walkers that liked to go to this park.

    Hats off for carrying on the Ice Cream Crawl tradition.

    • December 29, 2009 at 1:40 am

      You’ve seen me annoyed and I was SO annoyed. Unfortunately, I’m at this store often enough that I know which baristas will refill my coffee for free, even though it’s technically “no free refills” – btw, that policy is unposted as well.

      I’ll talk to Pie about a future protest, although right now it’s a bit cold outside for that. However, springtime and signs with glitter…I could get behind that.

      That is flabbergasting about your unnamed state. Wow. I’ve seen the mommyboards up in arms about so much less. Wow.

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