So the week before Easter, Michaela comes home from school with a note saying the children are going to be sitting for Spring photographs the following day. HUH? We already bought her fall school photos in October; since when do they do school pictures Twice per year? I asked about this at the school office, and was told that these are not “official” school photos (even though the uniform mandate is suspended for the day), but are rather being taken as a supplemental fund-raiser for the PTA. The school secretary gave me to understand that a sample of the photograph would be sent home later, and we could order what we wished.
I told them specifically not to send home the samples of Michaela‘s picture, because I already knew that I didn’t want to spend the money on it, and I’d prefer not to have her get attached to the picture and whine about not getting it. Unfortunately, the secretary said, that level of special handling could not be arranged, but I wasn’t to worry, because there was absolutely no obligation to buy anything.
So Michaela wears a nice red dress to school on the day in question, and sits for the picture. As advertised, there is no group shot of the class.
Well, this afternoon, Michaela brought home an envelope with the following items:
1 8X10 portrait
2 5X7 desk-sized portraits
a sheet of eight 2X3 wallets
a sheet of eighteen 1X1½ stickers
a “fun pack” consisting of Michaela’s face on four bookmarks, three property tags, and an ruler.
An invoice saying I owe them $41.00 if I want to keep the stuff.
This whole setup looks to me like they are sending the merchandise “on approval”, and I can either accept it and pay, or reject it and return the merchandise (at least in the vendor’s mind).
I’ve got another take on the situation, and it arises from my understanding of my legal rights when I have been sent unsolicited merchandise. That is, if a merchant sends goods to me without my asking him to, I am free to keep the goods without paying for them. So my questions are as follows:
- Did I ever have this particular legal right in California?
- Did it ever apply to hand-delivered items (as opposed to items received through the mails)?
- Does it still apply?
See, I’m inclined to view this as an unsolicited delivery of goods, rather than a contract to provide merchandise on approval, because I can’t see any action I took that could reasonably be construed as entering into a contract with this photography firm. All I did was put a red dress on my daughter. Her sitting for the photograph (absent any signed permission slip from her parents) can’t constitute an action that binds me contractually (she’s only five years old).
Any answers? I’m going to have to take my action by the end of the week.
[sub]And let’s make no mistake, here. The check or money order must be made out to the photography firm, not the PTA. In fact, no mention is made of the PTA on any of the accompanying materials. Maybe I’ll visit the pit later, about the whole PTA thing.[/sub]