Monday, January 21, 2008

How Bill Belichick Invades the Grocery Stores

On September 14, 2007, ESPN reported that Bill Belichick was fined for breaking the NFL's photography rules.

On October 29, 2007, I took a picture in an Albertson's grocery store because I was curious about what was going on with Interstate Brands deliveries in California.

On December 6, 2007, the Qipit blog posted about a similar photography incident at Whole Foods.

A while back, I was in the cheese section of the [Whole Foods] store. I tried a few cheeses and picked a mighty tasty French cheese called Gabietou (Pronounced gah-bee-ay-too). As a native Texan, I am a little language impaired. You’ve heard W speak right? “How can I possibly remember this French name that I cannot pronounce.” I ask myself. The answer for me is that I compensate for my impairment by using technology. In this case, my trusty LG EnV with a sweet 2 megapixel camera.

Much to my surprise, shortly after I took that very picture, I was sternly told, by someone on the Whole Foods staff, not to use my camera phone. The Whole Foods “team member” quoted a company policy that they do not allow pictures to be taken in the store.

I was truly shocked, as I was only using my camera phone to help me do my shopping. Wouldn’t this eventually lead to more sales by Whole Foods? So, what’s the problem?

After getting home, I went to the website to find this policy, but it was nowhere to be found. Next, I called the headquarters and was told this has been a policy for more than 10 years. Apparently, this policy is in place to keep competitors from photographing how they display their products.

Ok, this may have been sensible 10 years ago, but technology has evolved. If I am a competitor I would use a spy camera and record everything in the entire store and they would never know I was there. I wouldn’t pull out my camera phone in front of everyone and take pictures of the displays in plain sight.

In my opinion this policy is outdated, hurts customers and is bad business for Whole Foods.

Maybe it's just me, but I see a big difference between photographing presentations at a conference and photographing products in a grocery store. Does Whole Foods really think that their policy is preventing their competitors from learning how they do business?

[mrontemp business] | [mrontemp politics] | [mrontemp technology] | [mrontemp tags]

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