When shopping at the market, it’s likely that you’ve found yourself taking photos of your purchases or other items in the store on a semi-regular basis. After all, how else are you supposed to inform your social media following of your whereabouts? And how else are you supposed to document a suggestively-shaped carrot or potato?
However, one shopper recently found out the hard way that some grocery stores actually aren’t thrilled when you take photos of their displays or merchandise — in fact, some of them will even call you out in public.
Zoë Lowdon, a mother in the UK, was recently shopping at a Waitrose supermarket when she spotted a stellar sale on several types of alcohol (score!). Lowdon decided to snap a pic of the sale display and send it to her husband. Little did she know, she would soon be reprimanded for her photos by the store’s security guard.
Lowdon wrote about the awkward incident on her Facebook.
Her post reads:
Thank you Waitrose for giving me the most mortifying shopping experience of my life and that’s saying something considering I once smashed two bottles of beer and a bottle of Pimms after standing them up on the conveyer belt in Aldi.
Today after a long day at work I thought I’d pop in to get something for dinner. Whilst there I looked around the alcohol section and saw a great deal on Champagne so took a photo to send to my husband as a hint for a Christmas present. I also took a photo of some Whisky to ask my husband which he’d prefer. To my surprise after I’d paid for my shopping a security guard came over and ushered me to one side, he then reprimanded me for taking photos in-store. He told me it was against store policy and I shouldn’t be taking photos at all, I was made to feel like a naughty child and not a grown mother of 3. Worse than that I was approached in a way that a thief would be approached upon leaving a store, shoppers around me even looked over to see what the fuss was about. I find it completely ridiculous that this security guard that had followed me around the alcohol section (obviously at that point I didn’t know he had it in for me) didn’t just ask me not to take a photo, or politely mention it to me at that point rather than wait until I had paid and accost me at the till where I was surrounded by shoppers.
As a busy working mum of 3 I will openly admit without the power of a phone camera I wouldn’t get half my jobs done, often I take a photo of something that I may need at a later date or send a pic to my husband to ask his opinion on something I’m about to buy, with my memory issues I also take pictures just to remind me where I saw the best deal. Apparently though we all have to be of sound mind and health to shop at Waitrose, God forbid we need a little help remembering a deal.
Whilst I appreciate this maybe store policy (although I find that ridiculous) how are customers supposed to know this if you don’t make it clear? If you treat people that take photos the same way you treat thieves I highly recommend you put the same warnings about taking photos as you do about stealing! Instead of spending millions on Christmas ads I suggest you invest your money on training staff how to deal with customers, rewriting policies and putting up signs that make it clear what your policies are.
At least Lowdon is willing to admit that the experience certainly falls within the category of #FirstWorld Problems.
Even so, it’s pretty bizarre that a store would be so adamant about enforcing such a ridiculous policy. What if she simply needed to confirm with her husband that she was buying his favorite kind of beer? What if she wanted to ask one of her kids about their preference between two different bags of chips? The whole thing seems pretty innocuous, and hardly worthy of a stern “reprimand.”
All the same, perhaps it’s wise to stay apprised of your own grocery store’s policy when it comes to smartphone photos — it’s a stupid rule, but I’m sure it feels even more embarrassing to be yelled at by a low-level security guard.