No Photos Allowed? Why Customers Who Take Pictures in Your Store Are the Best Kind of Customers

no photographyUnfortunately, there are plenty of barbaric places in the world where if you take a picture of the wrong bridge or factory, it could mean prison time. I respect the rules in those places. Having a cool pic to share on Facebook just isn’t worth the risk.

I also understand why museums and theaters ban flash photography and why companies guarding trade secrets are militant about making sure your eyeballs are the only things capturing images.

What I’ll never understand is why souvenir shops like the Dy-No-Mite t-shirt store in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, enforces the same policy. I love the name “Dy-No-Mite.” It summons up 1970s “Good Times” sitcom star Jimmy Walker and was my first stop on the beach after the onion ring stand.

No Pics Allowed: The Norm in Old Orchard Beach Shops

No Pics Allowed: The norm in Old Orchard Beach souvenir shops.

Dy-No-Mite kicked me out of their store after I discretely took a mobile pic of their New York Yankees t-shirt display. I did not resist.

New York Yankees souvenir shirts in the heart of Boston Red Sox country.

New York Yankees souvenir shirts in the heart of Boston Red Sox country.

Maine is squarely located in Red Sox territory. My turf. Yet, I was jealous of the clever “envy” message of the shirts.  Do Sox fans hate the Yanks out of jealousy over those zillion World Series rings?  Begrudgingly, I’d cough up a maybe.

So why is this a forbidden photo?  These are Majestic brand shirts. Copyright infringement can’t be the store owner’s concern. Nor did I try on the shirt and get it all sweaty. The most likely outcome of sharing this photo would be for someone in my social media network (I do fraternize with a few fans of the Evil Empire) to ask me where they can buy the shirt.

Oddly enough, Dy-No-Mite was not alone with their picture-phobia. Nearly every souvenir store on the block had “No Photo” signs in the window.

But a few miles away in Scarborough, Maine, I experienced the opposite philosophy. Cabela’s, the outdoor sportswear and hunting/fishing retail giant, embraced and applauded taking photos in the store.

Undercover Shopper -- Goofing around with the camouflage clothing at Cabela's.

Undercover Shopper — Goofing around with the camouflage clothing at Cabela’s.

Unlike many big box stores, Cabela’s has plenty of customer service staff wandering the aisles. It’s impossible to not accidentally collide with one. When one of their employees saw my young son trying on all sorts of camouflage gear that was way too big on him (and thus, clearly not going to be purchased), he didn’t tell him to stop playing dress up.

Instead, he chipperly said to me, “Hey Dad, I can’t see your son!  Where did he go?”

Cabela’s builds their stores to be destinations and not just shopping venues. There’s a fresh water aquarium with huge bass and trout which they feed for audiences every Saturday. There’s an arcade-style shooting gallery which can match the action at any amusement park in America.

Most prominent is the taxidermy mountain in the center of the store. Moose, mountain lions, polar bears and wolves watch over your every move.

Wildlife Photo Safari -- The centerpiece of Cabela's is an elaborate taxidermy display with animals ranging from prairie dogs to bighorn sheep.

Wildlife Photo Safari — The centerpiece of Cabela’s is an elaborate taxidermy display with animals ranging from prairie dogs to bighorn sheep.

Cabela’s wants to entertain you and photo-ops are part of their shopper marketing. They want you to feel good inside their stores. They know that when customers want to photograph their shopping experiences and share it with friends, it is the most natural form of advertising.

How about you?  Have you ever been kicked out of a store for the sin of wanting to share that store with your family or friends?  Or conversely, have you had your own Cabela’s-type experience where the store encouraged you to pose for a mobile photo shoot?

Drop us a line at darren@pongr.com and share your story!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>