Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Sam's Club and Cell Phone Cameras

Sam's Club Logo

I was at a Sam's Club over the weekend and bought a new dog bed. The old one was worn out. After having it a couple of days now the dogs and one of the cats have starting to warm up to it and use it some. Anyway, back to the story. My wife noticed as we started to walk out of the store that we were overcharged for the dog bed. Trip over to the customer service desk was in order. The girl at the counter got on her walkie talkie asking someone to check it. As my wife and kids stood there I simply went back to the big bin of dog beds all the way at the back of the store and took a picture of the bin of dog beds (with my Sanyo 8100 phone) with the big price label fully stating how much the dog beds were. I got back to the counter just after someone got back with her on the walkie talkie. She said that price was for one of the smaller dog beds. You know the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words (even a small picture), I simply turned my phone around for her to view the picture. The bin held three styles of dog beds, they were all the same size and the bin was clearly marked with one price. Once seeing the picture she had no response. She called a manager up to the counter and he gave it to us for the marked price mumbling something about having someone change the sign or something. He asked the girl at the desk how she knew or something to that affect and she said I showed her a picture. He then got all bent out of shape stating that their policy was not to take pictures in the store. I showed it to him and deleted it, right before his eyes to appease him, although I could have easily uploaded it to the web on my way back up to the front of the store, which I didn't. He may as well face it, pictures are being taken, unfortunately there are more and more articles stating this is taking place in some truly inappropriate places. As the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case the girl was quickly able to visualize the situation versus simply hearing someone on a walkie talkie telling her, no that is not the price.

The phone camera can be beneficial and will only be more so as the resolution gets better and better. One can actually take a picture of something at the store and call home, "Honey, is this the xxxx you were talking about?", and possibly get the right item making only one trip to the store.

I can see the locker room issue and the like being a problem, but one thing will always hold true, there are stupid people out there doing stupid, unethical, and immoral things.

Another place I could see some potential good from camera phones is possibly solving crimes. As the camera phone is so portable and often many carry their cell phones with them, one may see a crime in progress and get a picture that may lead to solving the crime. The make and model of a car, possibly the license plate, the perpetrator, etc. Who knows the possibilities.

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