During my stay in Vancouver, I had breakfast at some Italian bakery café which greeted me with this welcome on its door:
The café, which will remain nameless since it seems to strive for anonymity, was okay...but nothing special. In fact, other than this sign, there was not one element of its experience—the food, the coffee, the service, the décor, the design, the pricing—that set it apart from the countless other Starbucks, Blenz and mom-and-pop coffeehouses that line this bustling burgh’s streets.
The big Surprise was
that there was no Surprise.
So what was Café Stealth trying to protect? Even if they did provide mega-tonnage of Pow!, if someone really wanted to rip them off, they’d find a way to do so. And in the age of Flickr, YouTube et al, by establishing this camera-Verboten policy, the café is cutting itself off from millions of dollars of free publicity.
If this were my place, I would promote photo-taking. I would insist on it, frankly. I would provide digital cameras to my staff, and get them to pose with clients and immediately send send off the pix via email to their cellphones or inboxes at home.
Then again, if this were my place, there’d be a REASON to take pictures.