Department Stores Compromising Fitting-Room Privacy

The next time you go clothes-shopping, be sure to wear your favorite opaque full-body unitard—unless you don't mind department store employees watching you while you try on outfits in the fitting rooms. The secret's in the slats, shoppers!

In Tampa, a loss prevention officer at Macy's realized that the doors inside the fitting rooms were installed backwards so that the slats faced downward, providing a creep's-eye view into the fitting rooms. Store employees, or just random anybodies passing by, really, could look inside the rooms and watch people change their clothes. Now what kind of person would ever want to do such a thing? Oh. Anyway, this door-reversal strategy—supposedly a way to reduce theft—is legal in Florida and a few other states, which probably explains—at least in part—why Macy's admitted to a Florida teevee news station engages in this nefarious reverse-installation practice:

"Retailers work hard to strike a balance between preserving the privacy of customers, providing customer service, maintaining customer safety in fitting rooms, and deterring the theft of merchandise," said Melissa Goff, Vice President of Media Relations & Cause Marketing at Macy's.

Not long after bringing the expose-y doors to the attention of store managers, the loss prevention officer was fired. Apparently the loss prevention report he filed also described instances of "alleged racial profiling, illegal audio recordings, and falsified shoplifting reports." Maybe he wasn't supposed to notice any of that.

Aside from Macy's, Dillard's, Ann Taylor Loft, and Saks Fifth Avenue also have the privacy-breaching doors. Ann Taylor's has already apologized on behalf of its doors, but the other places have not—which suggests they don't care.

How can you, the modest shopper who detests unitards, protect your privacy whilst cavorting in the fitting rooms of America's insensitive shopping places? Well, you can stop shopping altogether and make your own clothes out of paper bags or whatever people make clothes out of nowadays. You can pick out clothes that are "probably" in your size and buy them without trying them on first, then try on the clothes on at home, in a closet, where no camera crews can film you. But if you insist on a fitting in the actual store, then take a curtain along to the mall with you and hang it up in the fitting room.

[WTSP, image via WKMG]