Santa Meets the iPhone

Last week, while my niece was visiting, we took her to the local Mall to visit Santa. Now, normally this wouldn’t be something that I wrote about on this blog, but I noticed something going on while I was there that I found interesting.

The Santa area was setup so that you would have had to walk all the way around the far end of the display to actually see where Santa was. I assume this was done to limit the opportunities for you to take your own photos of your kid on Santa’s lap, as you had a small area to watch from, and someone was there making sure you didn’t even try to take a photo from there. I can’t blame them, selling those photos is how they make their money, but the interesting thing was, that as my niece was getting to the front of the line, and I was standing in this little area, I happened to be responding to an email on my iPhone while I waited. This elicited a rather loud reminder that I wasn’t allowed to take photos from there, and a request to put it away. Of course, I wasn’t even trying to take a photo at that moment, I was using my phone for one of the many, many other tasks it’s designed for. Still, rather than create a problem for my niece, I did put it away and responded to the email later.

It does create an interesting situation, at least to me. There are plenty of times where we might have a few minutes to kill, and pick up our smartphone to look at email or Twitter, or Facebook, where it would also be inappropriate to try and take a photo or video. (In a movie theater, on the way out of a restroom, in a locker room, around other people’s children, etc.) Is it ok for people to assume you’re trying to take a photo and ask you to put it away, or are we all going to have to get used to the idea what someone using a cell phone around us may just be taking photos and there’s nothing we can do about it?

What do you think?

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  1. I understand why they do that, but they could take a lesson from the photographers at Disney World. When we were there this summer they not only let us take all the pictures we wanted while they also took pictures, I even saw a few Disney photographers take a picture of guests with the guests' camera!

    It had quite an affect on me, I even ordered some pictures after we got back.

  2. I had the same experience at Epcot, and a similar one at the Coca-Cola store in Vegas this year, where they were happy to take a photo of us with the Polar Bear, but ours just had the green screen, as opposed to the one's they were selling which had backgrounds. So, to me, they understand it's a losing proposition trying to prevent everyone from snapping a quick photo and sell the value-add. In this case, whatever photo I was going to get with a cell phone from 20 feet away, as good as the iPhone camera is, wasn't going to be the same value as what they were taking. So they would have been just as well off to spend more time on getting their photos to be high value, and less policing the perimeter to prevent people from taking photos that don't really compare. Focus on the value add. 🙂

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