Walmart has always offered a wide selection of goods and services, but the store recently provided an odd voyage of discovery for one Frederick woman.
Page Etzler received a text message from her son Chris at 1:30 a.m. recently, asking why a picture of her and her youngest son, Brandon, was on the wall inside the Walmart on Guilford Drive.
“I saw it and stepped back thinking to myself, there is no way,” Chris said of his reaction when he first saw the image. “Mom was kind of in shock … (and) stayed up to call my sisters in Richmond.”
Eztler’s daughters confirmed that the picture was also on the wall in the Richmond, Va., Walmart, and she has heard from friends in California, Oregon, Philadelphia and Chicago, saying the same for their local stores.
Etzler believed the photo must have been taken while the family was staying at their house in Bethany Beach, Del., she said. She recalled taking Brandon out for a walk along the boardwalk, but did not remember any picture being taken.
“It is kind of creepy because you never know a photo is being taken,” Etzler said. “We’re not upset, but it’s comical because my son just comes in and finds this picture on the wall.”
Etzler said she had been to the Walmart several times over the past few weeks, but had not spotted the photo.
The family tried to figure out how Walmart gained possession of the image.
“You have a private moment at the beach and then you’re all over the country in Walmart,” Etzler said, “Though I would prefer if it had been in Nordstrom.”
As it turned out, it was not Etzler’s moment that was captured.
Walmart’s corporate office could not be reached for comment on the source of the photo. But Revell Publishers recently released a new edition of the book “What Kids Need Most in a Mom,” by Patricia H. Rushford — with the image in question on the cover.
Revell purchased the image from the stock photo supplier GettyImages.com, according to Michele Misiak, a marketing manager for the publisher.
“We purchased the rights for the image and Walmart must have done the same,” she said.
On the Getty website, release information for the photo states that the image “has a signed model and property release … and is available for commercial use,” but Etzler said she did not sign any such forms.
The News-Post called the photographer, Steven Puetzer of Milwaukee.
Puetzer said the photo showed his wife and adopted son on a lake shore.
His son is from Guatemala. Brandon Etzler was born in Perm, Russia, but the resemblance was strong enough to fool a number of Etzler’s relatives and friends.
Puetzer, who boasts Fortune 500 clients including Apple, Microsoft, American Express and Xerox, features his wife and child in many of his shoots.
If he were in Etzler’s shoes, Puetzer said, he would be curious, too.