Smile! You're on Loss Prevention Reality TV!

As if there weren’t enough reasons already to just give up swimming and not buy another bathing suit until these come back in style:

(Even this number will show cankles.)

They’re watching us in the dressing rooms now.

I was trying on clothes at Macy’s not long ago and in my efforts to not make eye contact with what my body looked like in those funhouse mirrors, I looked up and saw this:

Great. So now when I’m modeling a prospective outfit, striking poses, holding invisible wine glasses, and carrying on make-believe conversations at potential cocktail parties where I look great/appropriate/just OK/too fat in whatever I’m trying on, there is a paid employee of the store watching me on a TV monitor.

Who has that job? And how do I find out who it is and where she lives so I can either bribe her or avoid running into her at the grocery store.

Monitoring private dressing rooms are a terrible way to prevent loss. You’d be better off to do what Loehmann’s does and just herd us all into a big, round, open pen and have some store employee stand around pretending to hang up clothes and pick up after shoppers. I knew she was watching for shoplifters, she knew she was watching for shoplifters, but no one cared except the shoplifters. At least then we knew we were being watched.

Or do what Filene’s Basement was famous for: Having women just whip off their clothes and try on stuff right out there in the middle of the store. I knew guys who used to try to shop there just to see women in their Playtex living bras.

I guess that’s why Macy’s put up the sign. There’s probably some law that says you have to be notified if someone is going to see you naked. Otherwise you could claim visual rape.

I know shoplifting is a big problem for retail stores, especially with all the teenagers who practically live at the mall and have their own set of warped  notions of what is Right and what is Wrong and what is So Stupid It’s Beyond Wrong, It’s Teenage-Wrong. (Teenagers will tell you that shoplifting isn’t really stealing. Kind of like graffiti isn’t really defacing property. My answer to that? Working at McDonald’s after school isn’t really working.

When I was a teenager there was no such thing as shoplifting. Not because we were any less idiotic than today’s teenagers. But because when we went into a dressing room, we had a friendly store clerk opening up the curtain, poking her head in and saying, “How did that work out for you, hon?” How do you think it’s working out? I’ve got the dress stuck on my shoulders with my arms trapped in a criss-cross across my throat. It’s working out grand. I’ll take two of these. More. Bring me more.

Back then, stores had clerks who followed you around, offered to get things in different sizes for you, told you how “smart” and “sharp” you looked in something. You hardly had the opportunity to put a tube top in your purse.

Fast forward to today. Those voyeuristic store clerks are gone, but they’ve been replaced by unflattering mirrors, fluorescent lighting that accentuates cellulite so much it casts a shadow, and, of course, those cameras.

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