Robin Walsh, a mom of two and local teacher in Gander, Newfoundland, brought 100 photos into a Walmart to be processed for a scrapbook project she wanted to put together for her family. But when she went back to Walmart to pick up the photos of her own 8-month-old daughter, the Walmart store clerk behind the counter said she could have most of them.
But the store refused to hand over three of the cute baby shots, the clerk said. The mom couldn’t have them. Why? Because the three photos were deemed “inappropriate” by a Walmart photo lab technician.
“Initially I laughed, especially when I saw what photos they were referring to,” Walsh told Canada’s National Post newspaper. “I kind of thought that it was a joke, but I was surprised.”
First of all, if you’re wondering, the photos were taken as digital shots originally and, of course, leaving them that way would have avoided the problem by cutting Walmart — which refuses even to carry magazines such as FHM and Maxim because it considers them to be porn — out of the picture altogether.
But the scrapbook project was a bit more than Walsh wanted to handle, so to Walmart she went.
And what was so incredibly “inappropriate” about the baby photos? Two of them showed Walsh’s baby daughter holding an empty beer bottle. This was one of them:
The third depicted her baby daughter and five-year-old son about to get into a bathtub, a shot Walsh described as a “cute photo” that showed, as she said, only the childrens’ “bums.”
“You can talk with a lot of moms here in town and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a naked photo of their baby or small child,” said Walsh.
As for the beer bottle shots, Walsh would like to assure everyone that the child simply grabbed the bottle on her own. The parents were not encouraging the baby to drink beer.
“We took a photo, and then we took the bottle away,” Walsh explained.
But what started out as a somewhat amusing annoyance quickly escalated into a situation that left Walsh outraged at the Walmart store.
“I became angry and embarrassed because a manager had to be brought in to explain to me why I couldn’t have the photos, in a store full of people,” she said. “It sort of felt like I was being accused of some sort of child exploitation.”
Eventually, Walmart’s corporate bigshots in the chain’s Canadian division saw the light, sort of, sending out an email statement apologizing for the “inconvenience” to Walsh.
“It is the general policy of the Walmart Photo Center to not print pictures that contain nudity. Exceptions, of course, are made with every-day situations such as child-birth or babies,” the corporate email said.