TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Challenge to Hospitality: The ID Check in the Lobby

Re: Challenge to Hospitality: The ID Check in the Lobby
2 Feb 2006 06:54:39 -0800

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: What I could never understand is how
> stores such as Walmart on the one hand want to encourage shoppers
> (although I do not personally care for the chain) yet on the other
> hand they can claim that someone is 'tresspassing' if the person comes
> in their store. Ditto with public transit. If it is a public place,
> which is claimed, then how can a member of the public who chooses to
> go inside or upon the property of the store or the transit agency get
> arrested by police for trespassing? ...

I am not a lawyer, but as I understand it:

A member of the public is invited into Walmart or the CTA for specific
purposes (to shop or be transported). A conditional part of that
invitation is acceptance of their rules of behavior while on their
property; that is, if you enter their property you agree to follow
their rules. Note that restaurants have such rules, ranging from
requiring simply a shirt and shoes up to requiring formal attire.
Stores don't allow soliciting. These rules are nothing new.

If someone enters those properties and violates the rules, they lost
their invitation to be there. They may be asked to leave, and if they
fail, they are cited for trespass.

It does make sense. If you invite someone over your house for lunch,
you assume they're not gonna rifle through your bedroom drawers. If
you discover them doing that, you'll ask them to leave -- you're
withdrawing your invitation -- and that person is now trespassing on
your property.

One controversial issue in transit carriers is restrictions on
photography. Some carriers have _always_ banned photography, mostly
out of a very justified fear the photographer may trip and hurt
himself or others and the carrier will get sued (happened a lot).
People who wanted to take pictures had to get a permit and sign a
liability release.

More recently some carriers, as well as some toll road authorities,
have banned photography as a 9/11 security measure. This is
controversial because people question if it really enhances security.
NJ Transit had such a ban and proposed to make it stricter, but after
a public outcry they removed the ban altogether. (In all cases,
photographers are still restricted not to do anything to impede
trains, other people, etc., quite properly so.)

I am not aware of any ban on the CTA, at least no one bothered me when
I took pictures.

NYC once had a ban for liability protection but lifted it. The Port
Authority (PATH trains) has an extremely strict ban on photography. I
guess being hit twice by terrorists made them nervous.

A number of years ago Bell had an open house at a crossbar office
(normally these places are very secure with no visitors). I went down
and asked if I could take pictures. For some reason that set the
hosts into a panic and they didn't know what to do. Finally they said
yes but without flash. The flourescent lighting was just barely
enough so I got a few pictures, though I don't know what I was taking
(except the AMA recorders and a DAB operator who posed for me.)

I was given a tour of a modern ESS office and permitted to take
pictures with flash (no flash in the basement where the batteries
were). But there was nothing pictorial; just a bunch of boring blue

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: CTA has (or did) have an almost
constant 'war' with 'street people' loitering in their stations during
overnight hours in cold weather. They required people of course to
prepay their fare, which met the 'intention to ride' requirement and
often times the person would secure a 'transfer' to ride a later
vehicle without having to pay any additional fare, then go down in the
subway and (as they had intended to do all along) fall asleep on one
of the benches for the rest of the night. If a 'rider' fell asleep
sitting or laying on a bench and was awakened by a police officer or
transit security person, that person always managed to have a very
innocent excuse: oops, I fell asleep and missed my train, now I will
have to take the next train (which run through the subway at 15 minute
intervals minimum during the night, and depending on where you claimed
was your destination, 'your' next train might be another 30 minutes in
arriving! Here is my transfer to 'prove' where I was going to. Am I
not allowed to sit here and close my eyes resting while I wait? I will
try not to fall asleep again. (oh, sure you will.)

CTA retaliated by remodeling the benches to put arm rest dividers on
each bench several inches apart from one another making it physically
impossible to lay down on a bench and use it as a bed. To add insult
to injury where the street people were concerned, CTA then painted a
sign on each bench saying 'this bench is intended to provide seating
for five people' (and by implication 'not just one person laying down
on it'. They also put up signs saying 'do not go to sleep, do not
close your eyes. Stay awake and alert on our property.' (Citing some
recently passed city ordinance requiring same.

With Walmart (there are _no_ Walmart stores in Chicago itself; only in
a couple of suburbs; that is because the Chicago politicians have
various disputes with Walmart executives over things like Walmart's
pay scale, non-union practices, etc), in one of the net newsgroups (I
think it is but not certain) where there are
constant complaints about the company, one reader recently ventured to
say, "the only time I go in Walmart here in our town is when I need a
bathroom to use, otherwise I never step foot in the place except to go
to the toilet or get a drink of water, or wash my hands." The Walmart
employee assigned to spy on that newsgroup responded, "well, you may
get charged with trespassing in that case." I know that here in our
town, a couple people have been 'blacklisted' from Walmart, found
guilty of trespassing and told they had to stay out of the store. I
have no idea why. PAT]

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