Want to attract attention and stimulate speculation? Put up a dubious warning sign.
Yesterday I was walking along and noticed a sign posted by the parking lot for the Georgia-Pacific paper plant, home of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush bath tissue, rated #1 by Consumer Reports
. A key word in the warning caught my eye: cameras.
It was along the same stretch of sidewalk I had been hassled for taking photographs two years ago. (Read about it here
). A GP building was being torn down and I snapped a shot. A company pissant told me I couldn't take photos, even though I was on a public sidewalk and the building was in public view. And to add to the stupidity, the daily newspaper had run a front-page photo that morning of the same building being demolished.
After that incident, I've been keen on maintaining my rights as a citizen and writographer. With no pissant around to stop me, I photographed the sign, wondering why "cameras" were mentioned in the warning. While the sign didn't prohibit photography of GP property in public view, it was still disturbing.
The sign says: "All persons, vehicles, lockers, bags, briefcases, tool boxes, lunch boxes and other packages or containers on Georgia-Pacific premises are subject to search and inspection at anytime without prior notice."
I like how "persons" are lumped in with various containers. So without prior notice a GP guard can tell you to bend over while he snaps on rubber gloves?
The whole thing smacks of post 9/11 paranoia and security kabuki. Are terrorists going to target the local GP facility? If Plattsburgh's paper products plant perishes, will brave US soldiers be forced to wipe with old issues of Stars And Stripes?
OK, I can understand that you don't want certain items in the workplace like illegal drugs, firearms, and alcoholic beverages -- no problem there -- but why are cameras included in the list of the forbidden?
What is the problem that GP seems to have with cameras? Will an employee be fired if he walks in with a smart phone with a built-in camera? I wonder if there is a concern about industrial espionage, i.e., the secret of the quilting pattern with its #1 buttwipe product might fall into enemy hands.
When I encounter challenges to photography beyond what is reasonable, I begin to think that maybe someone is trying to hide something -- and I don't mean a bath tissue trade secret. It wouldn't surprise me that GP, under the guise of anti-terrorism and workplace safety, is worried that a union or OSHA rep might visually document a possible problem or violation.
Of course, that's just speculation, but when I see a sign prohibiting cameras from the premises, it attracts attention and creates conjecture.