Monday, December 04, 2006

Humbug! Can’t Sit On Santa’s Lap Unless You Buy the Photos

An e-mail correspondent sent this message to our daughter.
The Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, Florida now requires that parents purchase a picture package in order for children to “sit” on Santa’s lap. Anyone who doesn’t purchase a package can have their children stand in front of Santa, facing him, with their requests. This is to make sure that parents aren’t able to steal a photo-op.
The mall, on receiving an irate e-mail from our daughter’s e-mail correspondent, replied as follows:
Dear Lisa -

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and submit a comment. I have spoken to the Regional Manager of our photo operation regarding your complaint and have obtained additional information about your child’s visit with Santa. Santa has a significant hearing loss and in fact wears hearing aids in both ears; because of this, he often leans in to better hear the child and visits in this manner. It is not the mall’s policy or the photo vendor’s policy to not allow a child to sit on Santa’s lap - whether the child is just visiting Santa or having a photo taken, all children are entitled to visit with Santa. I have requested that Santa make more of an effort to sit children on his lap in the future and this will be monitored more closely.
But the correspondent also noted:
Interesting how Santa didn’t have hearing problems when it came to those children who paid for photo packages. The only children denied lap visits were the ones who wouldn’t pay for photo packages.
Add to that the fact that Santa needs to hear what the kid is asking for. So this Santa would appear to be unqualified.

And we don’t want any argument on this issue from skeptics who think that Santa only needs to ask the kids whether they have been good (they will always answer “yes”) and then promise them whatever they ask for. They might be asking for a real live elephant.

Whatever the case at the Fashion Square Mall, at least one mall in Massachusetts has this odious policy.
A mall in Massachusetts issued an apology after a 4-year-old girl was apparently told she was not allowed to sit on Santa’s lap unless she purchased a $21 picture of the meeting, according to a Local 6 News report.

Maria Grigorian said she took her daughter, Michelle, to the North Shore Mall in Peabody to visit Santa Claus.

However, when the 4-year-old got to the front of the line, she was not allowed to sit on Santa’s lap because her mother did not have cash to pay for the picture.

Grigorian said the least expensive photo offered was $21.

“I am a single mom and don’t have that money right now,” Grigorian said.

Michele was so upset over the incident that she burst into tears and left with her mother.

“To see her crying and saying, ‘Mommy I just want to tell Santa what I want for Christmas,’” Grigorian said. “I was heartbroken, totally heartbroken.”

An official with the Northshore Mall has apologized and said a meeting with Santa is free of charge.
And it’s not just the United States. The blog of an Australian mother recounts the exact same sort of experience.

We suppose one could say that Santa is offering a service, and in good capitalistic fashion has a right to charge for the service.

But we have to buy the whole capitalist package. And that involves having mom and dad and the kids leave the mall happy, and willing to come back and spend more money.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ve experienced the same thing at the YORKTOWN MALL in Lombard IL on nov. 29th 2008. My little boy asked me while we were walking to the car why Santa didn't want him on his lap when all the other kids were able to, what am I suppose to tell him? Sorry son, it's not about the kids in today's society it's all about money? This is sick and a disgrace and people need to start doing something about things like this..if it's boycott a mall stand in front and protest..something to stop all this greedy practices that take the fun away from kids.

8:59 PM  

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