I've always said, "If you want to see the real Santa, go to Tyrone Square Mall." The display is beautiful, and Santa is genuine. We've gone there for 10 years.
This year, we are down to one child who wants to visit Santa. We were at the end of a pleasantly short line, and soon it was our 3-year-old's turn.
We were approached by the man operating the camera there. He said, "May we interest you in a picture package?" My husband replied, "No thanks, we brought our own camera." The man said, "We can't let you use your own camera unless you make a minimum purchase. Company policy." My husband retorted, "What? Are you gonna beat me up if I take a picture of my own daughter?"
The man had probably been on his feet all day and didn't look up to debating my husband. He just repeated, "Company policy."
Santa called our daughter over, and she had a wonderful visit as my husband clicked away. The cameraman was visibly irritated but didn't intervene.
As we made our way through the mall to the camera shop to develop our prints for 29 cents, it occurred to me that the Santa line may have been so short because of this minimum purchase policy. There are many parents stretched so financially tight this time of year. No parent should be robbed of the opportunity to capture such a fleeting moment in a small child's life.
This so-called "company policy" is completely devoid of Christmas spirit and reeks of the Christmas commercialism that everyone complains about.