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Wal-Mart’s smile is not for pictures.

I woke up this morning and took the fat Wal-Mart handbook from under my pillow. I went directly to the photography policy section. Page 232 (That’s right, I know me my Wal-Mart handbook by heart!).

“The customer is not allowed to take pictures inside a Wal-Mart, if he does, harass him and threaten to kick him out of the store. No previous warning is necessary. We are big enough for the customer to know that taking pictures inside a Wal-Mart is strictly prohibited. Do not let the customer apologize if you catch him taking a picture. Interrupt him as he tries to explain that he won’t take another picture… you don’t need to listen to him since it’s in the customer’s nature to be a liar.”

Obviously, the Wal-Mart handbook for employees doesn’t say this, but that’s how a couple of the employees in my town’s Wal-Mart made me feel today.

My crew and I were looking around the store at different products, trying to come up with different ideas for commercials or ads. We had a couple of cameras with us because we didn’t want to leave them in the car.

Now, we are not free of guilt, we did make the mistake of taking ONE picture. It all went down hill from there:

 

An employee came to us and exclaimed we couldn’t take pictures inside the store. I was about to tell her that we took one picture, and that we could erase it if she wanted to, but she went ahead and began interrupting me every time I tried to apologize and explain. I kept saying that we were not going to do it anymore, but she ignored me and called for back up.

One more employee came to her rescue from rascals like us. He went ahead and told us that it was not allowed for us to take pictures inside the store. He questioned why we had cameras with us, and obviously didn’t believe me.

All I wanted was to explain what had happened, but they never gave me a chance. I just grew tired of the rude employees, never wanting to create such a fuss, so I went to drop off the cameras in my car so there wouldn’t be any more drama.

When I came back into the store I wasn’t welcomed with a smile or a greeting anymore. The same guy gave me a condescending look, but I didn’t care too much. I knew he wasn’t going to be nice, but I didn’t want to keep arguing. That is when I asked him “Am I ok now?” showing him I didn’t have the cameras anymore. He turned his back at me and answered “For now…”

That irritated me. I had been trying to be nice despite their rude treatment, but he just kept feeding the fire. I approached him, asked for his name and for a number where I could complain. His face turned white, gave me the number and walked away.

We continued browsing around because I actually wanted to buy a couple of things. A few minutes later I took my cell phone out to answer a text message. That’s when the guy and the lady from before swarmed us once again. He asked me “Do you think we are stupid? Cell-phones have cameras too.” I showed my phone, challenging him to find any pictures. I tried to reason with him once again that we weren’t doing anything other than shopping around. Once again they kept interrupting me, up to the point where I felt harassed. They had nothing against us. So they walked away. The rest of our time there we were constantly followed, and spied on to make sure we weren’t doing anything wrong.

All that to say, @Walmart is going to hear from me. We are not thieves, we were not causing trouble or havoc, but we definitely were treated like it.

 

Stephanie - February 17, 2011 - 8:50 pm

Dang…. Who spit in their bean curd. Sounds like you’ve run into the, “You have a big camera, therefore you are doing scary things with the pictures you take.” The bigger the camera the bigger the freak out. Preaching to the choir but it is so not ok to treat people like criminals who are just trying to have an intelligent conversation about the store policy.

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