Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Photo Nazi

Let it become public knowledge that I can become cantankerous and confrontational. It has been known to happen. I did survive raising a teenage girl, so I have earned the right!

This happened at Walmart this past weekend. I was minding my own business at the photo center, using their scanner to copy my Mother's High School graduation picture. I thought it would be a nice Christmas present for all my brothers and sisters.

I had never used the contraption before. I had no idea it took so long to print a photo, especially if it is a large one. So I innocently asked the lady behind the counter  when and where to expect the pictures. At that time, she was tight lipped but nice, as if she had to be (we all know the type) (I may have done it a time or two myself) and indicated the tray at the bottom of the stand. I looked and sure enough, there it was! I pulled it out to admire the copy and I was smiling and feeling victorious when she suddenly said, "Let me see that!" She grabbed it out of my hand!

For about two minutes, in a packed Saturday afternoon crowd, she and I had a tango! "This is a professional picture and has a copyright. You are not allowed to make any copies of this!"

"Well, it is my Mother and she is going to be 77 years old, I doubt she remembers who the photographer was at that time".

"I'm sorry" (she was not the least bit sorry, I saw the glint in her eye) "But it is not allowed."

I began to reach for the picture and I swear to God she backed up with it above her head! "What if I tell you I took that picture!" I pleaded.

"I'd say you were a liar!" she retorted. I could not believe this was happening!

"For the love of God, the picture is 60 years old, the photographer must be deceased by now."

I had visions of her ripping my mothers pictures to shreds right before my eyes. This is insane, and absurb! She just glared at me. I turned on my heel and stomped off, I did not trust myself as I was beginning to see RED. "Have a nice day" she called out to my retreating back.

I could have turned around and slapped the tar out of her, but instead I went to Walgreens and explained the situation to their Photo Angels and received a dispensation.

I am really ticked off at Walmart.

33 comments:

sistercdr said...

Call the manager, while you're still steamed.  The way you were treated is appalling, and something needs to be done about it.

ksquester said...

SAM WALTON would be appalled! Some people get off on the faux power that think they have.  Glad you went to Walgreens. I, myself, am a Target shopper. Walmart is the 'new' K-mart. Glad you saw red and stuck up for yourself. ALPHA-power rules!  Anne.....

camaroisle050856 said...

        Mary, some people take such pleasure in making others miserable, and this individual apparently likes company in her misery.
        I can understand your desire to physically put her in her place. You showed great restraint in not doing so, even though she deserved it for being so hateful. She would have rued tangling with you  from her position on the floor after you had decked her!
       Thankfully Walgreens granted your request for the great picture of your Mom!
        Thanks for the nice compliment on my Journal, Astro Sis!  You deserved the kudos on the entry about you!

Best wishes,
Debi

yakima127 said...

You SHOULD be ticked off at WalMarts!  Goodness!  Of all the things in this world to "enforce"; give me a break!  I was thinking you were going to say you did slap the tar out of her!

mom23nca said...

Sounds like that lady had a stick up her &*%&#(&#.    I'm glad you took care of your pictures somewhere else.  

readmereadyou said...

You should bring this entry to the store superviser and give her a copy too! I'd love to see her face!

readmereadyou said...

PS.......And, the photo of your mom is priceless. I love older photos and you're mom is a true beauty inside and out......The eyes always show it!

hope5555 said...

That is just ridiculous. How dare she treat you that way.  And how stupid, to try to enforce a copyright law on such an old photo.

my78novata said...

Yes I have ahd that dealing at walmart I go to kmart htey dont care and dont look they just ask what you ahve and I copy them. To me any photo over tenyears old you probably cant contact the company to get copies and ever try at walmart after five yeras They cant give you a copy so to me they lost thier copy wriite. LOri

eviltwin13 said...

I hope you got that employee's name, because her supervisor and the company need to hear about the way she treated a customer. First of all, she does not have the right to handle your property -- period. Holding it up above her head was childish and unprofessional (I mean this is Walmart, not kindergarten).

Secondly, your situation would probably fall under "fair use" of the copyright, meaning that because it is highly unlikely that you would be able to contact the original photographer to get more copies, you are entitled to make the copies yourself.

This website explained it well: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/photographs.html

I'd be annoyed too. Sheesh! I'm annoyed for you!
Lisa
journals.aol.com/eviltwin13/Title13

mlraminiak said...

OMG, Mary, I can't believe that this Walmart babe treated you that way.  What is she, the copyright police????  I hope you didn't pay anything for the copy you never got.  Anyway, the picture IS lovely.  Made me realize, I've never seen graduation pictures of my mother....wonder what happened to them?  Lisa  :-]

deabvt said...

You have to report this!
V

belfastcowboy75 said...

All this furthur confirms my contention that Walmart is actually a terrorist organization slowly taking over this country. The is no real Sam Walton...they took the "Sam" from Uncle Sam, and the "Walton" from John-boy to give the  "company" a warm, fuzzy image.

mrccgoody said...

I would definitely contact WalMart and explain what happened and hear how they plan to make it up to you.  Oh my.  Glad you restrained yourself from the tar-slapping, what good control you have! :)

donah42 said...

She was probably a Hall Monitor in school... It's always pathetic when the "power" goes to someone's head in this way.

judithheartsong said...

oh, if you go back to slap the tar out of her, can I come to??  I don't blame you for being ticked off.

slowmotionlife said...

Darlin', I would have asked immediately to speak to a supervisor.  Even if it isn't allowed, the way she reacted was unprofessional and even childish.  And I would have raised a stink about it either way.  If I were you, I would also look into copyright law in regards to photographs.  I believe a lot of copyrighted materials become part of the public domain after a certain number of years.  

cneinhorn said...

It's true......you are not allowed to copy copyrighted photos.....any professional photo is such.......happened to me too......just gotta kinda sneak it in......or say it's a project you did but antiqued......
~jerseygirl  

cneinhorn said...

regarding SloMo's comment......I believe the copyright laws pertaining to photographs is death of photographer + 75 years.....then anyone can do as they wish.....
something like that....it was quoted to me verbatim by a photographer and the Target photo-nazi, and I learned it at photo school too.......but I'm very forgetful!
~jerseygirl

kathleenggoode said...

The exact same thing happen to me in Kinko’s last year.  She was unwilling to show me how to work the thing but insisted on preaching to me about copyrights.  However, you are a lady, I had to result to what we used to call in the hood “getting ethnic.” LOL!  Did you have to put money in the machine before your print came out?  If you did, then that picture is yours!  Some people just are not aware of what is called “getting a beat down.”  Verbal or physical.

redhdka said...

OH MY LORD! YOU ARE A BETTER PERSON THEN I AM. I WOULD HAVE STARTED A WAR! WHAT A CRACK POT. AND IT IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPH...MAY THE PHOTOGRAPHER REST IN PEACE

oceanmrc said...

All the more reason to buy your own scanner.  Our new printer scans, too -- maybe when you upgrade next time?   What a great present!

diannevan said...

and the irony is that unless the picture literally has a copyright mark on it, it is NOT copyrighted.  She just THOUGHT it was.  Arrgh!!  I agree with the scanner idea, but I'm not a fan of pictures done through the inkjet printer.  They just never look RIGHT.  My suggestion is to go back and try again...or maybe try another store.  They all have the same machine.  My Wal-Mart has two of them, one that scans to their photo department, and one that is self-service (which you used).  Go ahead and just do it again.  :)

mavarin said...

I have similar problems with Acrobat-based textbooks from the University of Phoenix.  Since they went to "rEsource" courses where you pay to download the text instead of ordering a printed book, I've been unable to legally print out the texts I need for school.  Kinko's won't print it without written permission from the publisher, and UoP doesn't provide that. In one case I spent an extra $120 to buy the book anyway. The rest of the time, I've just let John print it out at work. It's not terribly ethical, but I don't have a lot of options.

Similarly, I was talking to a photographer several months back who was taking pictures of parishoners for the church directory. I mentioned in passing that I would probably scan the photo and clean it up in Photoshop.  He told me that it was a felony for me to do so!  Okay, copyright violation (which wsas a surprise to me), but it's surely not a felony!  As the church webmaster, I was counting on those new photos of parishoners to use on the St. Michael's website, but apparently nobody arranged for the photographer to release the rights to put the photos online.  so I won't.  What a pain!  It's not as if a 72 pixil jpg of our curate has immense commercial value.

Copyright law became much more protectionist in 1976, and there's a good chance that the photo is copyrighted.  But it's still fair use, IMO.  In any case, there's no excuse for the level of rudeness you describe!

Karen

sonensmilinmon said...

copy right issues aside, this woman NEEDS to be reported! I did something like that and the lady who worked the photo desk said something about next time don't do it.  But, let it slide since I already printed the old photo.  She figured I already used the supplies, might as well collect the fees!  Another suggestion, print a copy of your journal entry so they can see the power of word of mouth.  I once mentioned to someone about writing about the horrid service on my online journal and it was amazing how quickly the service improved.

Monica

robbush6 said...

People are just nuts sometimes. The photo is priceless.

floralilia said...

succulent copyright infringement wisdom...

this was priceless...hee..

somenuttychic said...

She's lucky it was you. I would have gone straight to her boss and then to that person's boss if I didn't get any satisfaction. What a B*tch!!! I would have forced *her* make all the necessary copies while I stood by and smiled.

tjexpressions said...

OMG! Same thing happen to me only at a Meijers store. I have a scanner and a damn good printer but I wanted a BIG picture. I asked for help and same responce!
So off to a different store I stomp and this timeI ask no questions, just do it! I imagine it is the same ol song and dance, becsuae of one or two that abuse it the rest of us have to pay...
TJ
Blog Away~

tjexpressions said...

PS. PHOTO NAZI........I am rolling!
TJ
Blog Away~

ondinemonet said...

Mary...

UNBELIEVABLE. I think in my calmest voice, which has been known to scare large GIANTS away, I would have been asking for HER boss followed by the store number, followed by the admission that I was prepared to both phone and email corporate...a tactic which has worked many times...You just have to remember to smile a condecending smile and then hand her a business card reminding her that a little more then a few people read your journal and all will know her name. I am so mean, I know. :) Wicked laugh inserted here.

Always, Carly :)

ondinemonet said...

Your Mother is lovely by the way...really lovely. :)

krobbie67 said...

I would have thrown a punch to her gut, grabbed the pic, and told her it was part of the public domain. Besides that, it is within your right to make copies for yourself. She should have minded her own business.

"Cinematographic works and photographic works have a minimum period of protection of 50 and 25 years upon the date of creation, respectively."

I would lay odds that if the pic was 60 years old that it had probably been 25 years since the death of the photographer who was probably a good deal older than your mother when the picture was taken.

What a witch! :-) ---Robbie