A few of you might remember my experience at Stew Leonard’s a while back: one of the employees freaked out when I tried to take a photo of the inside of their store, which I felt merited a Dick Move! post. Apparently photos are not allowed inside of their stores.
Which, I’m sure, is why there are roughly 500 photos of the inside of Stew Leonard’s on Flickr.
This put me in a rather foul mood – besides which, I wasn’t really clear on whether or not I could take photos inside of the store. So I sent a complaint email to the company via their website. Shockingly, they replied. And then I replied back. And they replied again.
I was going to include the entire exchange in this post, but it bored even me, and I’m an active participant in the whole thing. I consequently figured it would put the rest of you in a mild coma. And I don’t want to be responsible for that. Instead, I’ve decided to divide the whole thing into six brief chapters.
My husband and I are yelled at for trying to take photos inside of Stew Leonard’s. I declare this a Dick Move! As I have a rebellious streak that rivals that of a 12-year-old honor student, I also proceed to take numerous surreptitious photos.
Upon returning home, I send a semi-moronic complaint email to Stew Leonard’s. I conclude with the following phrase, for which I am somewhat embarrassed to take credit:
… Stew Leonard’s is not, by any means, the Disneyland of Dairy. How could it be? In Disneyland, you can take photos.
Spelling and grammar are not priorities, as I assume the letter will never receive a response.
A few weeks later, I am proved wrong.
A lovely gal by the name of Eileen (last name withheld), who signed her email with “Assistant to the President” replies to my note. She agrees that the employee who yelled at me was rude, and his behavior was inappropriate. She also explains that photos in Stew Leonard’s are, in fact, prohibited, and photos can only be taken “at the rock or with the costumed characters.”
I’ve used the following photo and caption before on the site, but since Eileen specifically mentions the rock, it seems only right to include it again:
Not wishing to let sleeping dairy cows lie, I reply to Eileen and explain to her that I think Stew Leonard’s no-photo policy is a big mistake. I note that travel writers (of which I claim I am one – what? I can pretend to be legit. It’s the internet. Everyone’s legit) can’t adequately convey the “Stew Leonard’s experience” without photos. And I note that there are thousands of photos of the store online (yes, I even send her that link).
I conclude with this:
I strongly hope, given that Stew Leonard’s “no-photo” policy seems arbitrary, unenforceable, and counter-intuitive, you will reconsider it in future years. In the meantime, I am sure that countless travel writers will be unable to write glowing reviews of Stew Leonard’s for this exact reason, and that is a loss for everyone involved.
And yes, I am fully aware of how obnoxious I sound.
I believe I’m broken poor Eileen’s spirit. She’s probably a wholesome, freckled girl who was an over-achiever in school. The type who got excited about science projects and who remembered to send thank-you notes after birthday parties. She’s not used to dealing with long-winded crazies.
Her final reply to me is a short one:
Thanks for your kind words about our store. If you would ever like a tour here, I would be happy to set it up for you.
Have a great weekend!
I consider writing back to Eileen once more …
I’d love a tour! I can take pictures during it, right?
But it just seems so, so mean. I decide against it, and instead go eat a hunk of cheese, because all this talk of dairy has made me hungry.