I always feel weird snapping photos in public. I realize it’s one of those things I have to “get over” if I’m a travel writer, but whipping out a camera and taking pictures on the street makes me feel like a douchesack.
When I visited my best friend in Halifax four months ago, it wasn’t exactly tourism season. Joanne, Megan and I wandered around downtown, ducking into shops and getting acquainted with the area. I refrained, mostly, from taking any photos as I didn’t want to stick out. Gingerism tends to do that to a person.
A few hours passed when I realized I should probably get some freaking content for my blog, so I hesitantly took a few on the street. Then we found a gigantic bookstore, and stepped inside.
It was a fairytale for nerds. St. John’s has one or two great used bookstores, but this was above and beyond my expectations. All it needed was a gliding bookcase ladder, and my legs would have collapsed underneath me with pleasure-shock.
I took out my camera, and took a picture from the door. I’m sure I had a huge grin slapped across my face.
Then I heard a voice.
“EXCUSE ME. NO PICTURES. NO PICTURES.” I looked at the man who had appeared to my left.
I was surprised, so I laughed nervously. Then, as I was about to apologize, he said, “I’m not kidding. If you want to take photos, you have to buy something first.” His tone was pure disgust and contempt.
I was stunned. Not only did this guy call me out in the middle of the store, but he was insanely rude about it. No polite, “Excuse me ma’am, photographs are not allowed in here.” He treated me with utter disrespect, and embarrassed me in front of a crowd.
I really didn’t know what to do; I don’t react well to criticism. My friends had bolted ahead of me, so I kinda tagged along in a daze. I looked at book titles without really looking at them. Needless to say, I didn’t buy anything.
Geraldine had a similar experience, but she actually confronted the store about it by writing an email. The thought never even occurred to me that I should write a letter, honestly, and I feel like now it’s too late. No customer should be treated that way.
Guess what, asshat? I’m never visiting your store again, and I’ll never recommend a visit to anybody else. Give me Chapters any day over pretentious assholes.