This is the ‘Inappropriate’ Engagement Picture Walmart Refused to Print (Photo)

This is the ‘Inappropriate’ Engagement Picture Walmart Refused to Print (Photo)

An engagement is supposed to be one of the most exciting times of a person’s life. It is an exciting and momentous occasion. It’s an intimate and very personal event in someone’s life. Happy couples not only plan a wedding to join their lives together, but they also should be basking in the glow of their future wedded bliss. Traditionally, couples get engagement photos taken, but when one couple went to get them printed, Walmart turned them away. And you won’t believe why… I know I didn’t. Walmart says they considered the content ‘inappropriate’.

Stephanie Wehner and her fiance, Mitch Strobl, a beautiful, wholesome young couple, posed for engagement photos together that the two of them loved. They took them to Walmart to be printed, with 13 photos in all to be printed. Instead, they got 12 photos back, along with a note, which read, “MINUS ONE 5×7. NO WEAPONS.”

The “controversial” photo in question featured Wehner and Strobl together, with Strobl holding a 12-gauge Ruger Red Label over-and-under shotgun slung over his shoulder. The couple hunt and shoot together and it is their favorite couple-activity. They wanted a special remembrance of their time together.

When Wehner and Strobl questioned the employee about the policy, she explained that she thought the photo “glorified gang violence,” which is a violation of Walmart store policy. That’s patently insane. This couple is about as far from being ‘gang members’ as you can get. “To automatically to be lumped into that category of a gang… that hits a little close to home for us, because that isn’t our intent at all,” Strobl said. Wehner understandably said that she was disappointed, because she thought the photo “depicts our love for each other, and I wanted to be able to display those at the reception.” Far from glorifying gang violence, Wehner thought the picture was “creative” and explained that the Ruger Strobl he was holding was the first shotgun he had purchased for himself. She said it is his favorite weapon to use when he goes hunting. “I did that in this picture; I made sure the action was open… that is was a safe photograph,” Mitch said.

Strobl doesn’t glorify violence, either; he said that he was shocked to be accused of such a thing. Strobl’s job requires that he be a responsible gun owner, as he creates manuals about hunter safety and outdoor recreation for a living. For them, he said, guns are simply a part of their lives. They are not gang members and aren’t seeking to glorify gang or gun violence. And as if the story wasn’t already odd enough, Walmart sells guns — including rifles and shotguns by Ruger. Well, they used to anyway. I’m not so sure anymore. So, why is Walmart selling guns not controversial, or glorifying gang violence, but a photo of someone holding a Ruger shotgun is? This is one of the dumbest logic twists I have ever heard of. Quick! It’s a black gun (or any gun)… it must be evil!!

The puzzled pair then spoke to the store’s manager who told them the employee had been misinformed, printed their photo and gave them a gift card. This was when Walmart backed down and issued an apology to the couple. The problem, Walmart said, was with the employee, who was mistaken about the supposed policy. “We had a new associate who was misinformed. Her actions are not consistent with our policy,” Walmart said in a statement. A spokesperson also explained that Walmart has no policy prohibiting printing photos with guns in them. Wehner and Strobl see this more as an attack on their First Amendment right to express themselves through photography. What the couple didn’t want to turn this into was a debate about the Second Amendment.

Walmart’s online photo center does have a terms of use page that says that they do not print photos that include: “Expressions of abuse, offensive language and/or imagery, obscenity or pornography, including but not limited to: child abuse, child pornography, depictions of minors engaged in sexual conduct or explicitly sexual situations, or any other material that could give rise to any civil or criminal liability under applicable state or federal law, or violating any laws or regulations of any governing body.” It also states that “unlawful, harmful, threatening, harassing, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful or otherwise unsuitable as determined by WALMART.COM” would lead to an online account being taken down. But none of that applies to this young couple.

You know what I notice every time something like this happens? Walmart blames the employee. That employee should have been terminated on the spot. Walmart should do a better job of training their employees. Maybe they should hand out a copy of the Constitution and make it mandatory that employees read it and study it. That’s a thought.

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at NoisyRoom.net. She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - trevorloudon.com. She also does research at KeyWiki.org. You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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