Posts Tagged ‘War on Photography’

Follow-up: (Some) BKs Remove the No-Photo Sticker

So apparently I’m not the only one noticing that Burger King has joined the anti-photography crusade. Another blogger, Jenn Shuey, was taken aback by the sticker and decided to investigate…

I knocked on the window until I got the guy to come back, then I asked for an explanation. He claims it’s because cameras distract the employees causing it to take longer to complete their jobs.


I concur. I’m rather more fond of some of the other guesses this blogger has come up with, especially the one concerning Dateline’s Dirty Dining segment, in which “Burger King was rated the dirtiest chain after hidden cameras visited the chain among many others.”

(Remember the U.S. Armed Forces’ initial response to the Abu Grhaib torture scandel? Not to punish those responsible, but to ban cameras? Because torturing wasn’t the real crime, to them; witnessing torture was.)

It gets worse. The children’s party angle? Five-year-olds wearing cardboard Burger King crowns and thier parents unable, because of this stupid rule, to take pictures for the family scrapbook? Shuey brought this up:

When I asked the guy about it he said “if you want to have a party contact our manager. We may be able to arrange for a professional photographer.”

Yyyyeah. You just might. And you just might get a nice kickback from that pro photographer, mightn’t you, since your policy guarantees them a lot of business?

One of the people commenting on my previous piece scolded me for bringing it up at all:

Seriously, who cares? As a business they have a right to deny service. Plus, this isn’t a new thing. Grocery stores and Malls have had this rule for YEARS, way before 9/11. They basically don’t want someone coming in and stealing marketing ideas. Fast food chains pay a lot of money to a lot of people to figure out the best method for laying out their stores, product placement, etc, etc. I can see a lot of reasons why they would ask people not to take pictures in side their store.

If you don’t like it, don’t go *shrug*

You know what? Apathy and cynicism aren’t good substitutes for wisdom. (Besides, if your stance is “Who cares?” then why do you bother leaving blog comments about it? Why don’t you just leave the conversation to those who do care? Do you think your “who cares” stance makes you superior, and you want to show off how superior you are? Do you have a vested interest in attempting to sneer others into silence?)

Obviously some people think it makes them more enlightened, more mature, to roll over and say “I for one welcome our new anti-camera overlords.” Do enjoy that smug little warm fuzzy, folks. But me, I’m not only going to avoid any store or market vendor with a “no photo” policy, I’m in favor of telling others about it so they can make informed decisions.

Jenn Shuey did me one better. She took her complaint up the chain of command:

After my little rant Friday about Burger King I decided to do something about it. I called their customer relations department for answers. The customer service rep I spoke with was very nice, and her reaction to the stickers saying no cameras was one of shock. She honestly didn’t know what I was talking about and thought it was absurd. She immediately put me on hold and started trying to contact someone who could give her an answer as to why there is this no camera policy now.

Apparently, this customer service rep thought it was the stupidest policy she’d ever heard of. She couldn’t get immediate answers, but took down Shuey’s complaint–along with the list of other bloggers’ reports Shuey had collected (including mine).

Two days later, Shuey discovered her local BK had removed the sticker.

The manager just happened to be running the window, so I asked him about it. I made mention that I’d seen the sign a few days ago, and he said “yeah, we took it down because we’re having too many complaints. We had 2 birthday parties canceled because the parent’s couldn’t take photos of the party.”

(I don’t know whether the Gunbarrell location has followed suit, as I haven’t been up there since. Would anyone up in the area like to report?)

I think it’s important to challenge these “no photo” rules wherever we find them. Increasingly, amateur photography is becoming our primary method of holding accountable corporations, police forces, and other organizations, including local and federal government bodies. To treat photographers like criminals is to seriously disempower us laypeople. (Do watch the Dateline segment – Shuey has the video embedded at her first blog post on the matter.) So It’s important to not only refuse to patronize businesses that don’t want their business practices caught on tape, but also to let them know why you are no longer giving them your money. Ask them what they’re ashamed of, that they don’t want any witnesses.

And spread the word! The only way that this free market/democracy ideal works is when consumers/citizens can make informed decisions about who to patronize, who to support, and who to vote for. If a business has a policy that you think is unethical, tell your friends about it–tell them about the policy and why you think it’s unethical. Give them the power to make a conscious decision about what policies they will support.

In closing: “Who cares?” makes a shitty rallying cry. “Change for the better!” has a much nicer ring to it. Just ask Jenn Shuey.

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