oppn parties Hidden Cameras: No Way to Treat Customers

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  • 16 killed as the vehicle they were traveling in plunged into a deep gorge near Jammu
  • Vodafone CEO seeks government relief, saying India operations on the verge of collapse
  • Three teenagers killed in a major accident in Kolkata's New Town area when their Honda City rammed into a road divider and a Metro pillar. The car was mangled
  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad not to publicly 'celebrate' Babri Masjid demolition day this year, all events will be closed door
  • JNU students march against the steep hike in fees, keep HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal stuck at the venue of the convocation
  • USFDA says Cytotron, an anti-cancer kit developed by Bengaluru based Rajah Vijay Kumar, is a "breakthrough device" for treating liver, pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Car sales show a minuscule uptrend after declining continuously for 11 months
  • Industrial output contracts by 4.3% in September, the worst decline in 8 years
  • Centre defends abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, says the power under it was used by the President six times previously
  • Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with lung infection, put on ventilator
  • Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant quits as Union Minister
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the leaders of both Hindus and Muslims in Delhi on Sunday to ensure peace and harmony is maintained after the Ayodhya verdict
  • Tipu Jayanti passes off peacefully in Karnataka
  • 10 dead as Cyclone Bulbul leaves destruction in its wake in West Bengal
  • Shefali Verma breaks Sachin's 30-year old record by scoring an international fifty at 15 years and 285 days
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Hidden Cameras: No Way to Treat Customers

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
With minister Smriti Irani getting caught on a CCTV camera in the trail room of the high profile Fabindia store in Goa, the worst kept secret of high profile garment stores has come out. For some time now, there were whispers that almost all big garment stores had installed CCTV cameras inside trial rooms. This was necessitated by what the stores termed as novel ways of shoplifting that involved visits to the trial rooms.

All stores now have the Electronic Article Surveillance System (EAS) in place. Despite having the latest technology and a multi-layered detection process, if the stores still feel the need of invading the privacy of customers and recording them in their most unguarded moments, then there is something seriously wrong.

The facts are all loaded against the customer pinching a product. The products are barcoded and protected by a magnetic tags (to be detected at the exit gate vertical towers). These magnetic tags can be of simple magnetic field or of acousto-magnetic, radio frequency or microwave types. Although these tags can be rendered useless by a simple covering with an aluminum foil bag or sticking a coin or metal piece on the magnetic field, such things can only be done by a hardened shoplifter. For this too, stores have a system of allowing only a few pieces inside the trial room and the lady guard keeps a hawks eye on shoppers. So where is the need for the cameras?

Excess of anything is bad but excess of security is choking. For women, shopping is a pastime full of pleasure. If they have to be on their guard for voyeurs, the pleasure will vanish. The importance of the trial room cannot be discounted as more than the size, it is the satisfaction of seeing how the dress looks on her that sends the person rushing to that room. If it is not safe, then will women shop at brick and mortar stores anymore? Similar products are available at lower prices online. There is an easy “no questions asked” return policy too. Wouldn’t shoppers veer to buying online and trying the products in the safety of their homes? They can always return them if they are not satisfied.

Brick and mortar stores have to think of other ways to prevent shoplifting. CCTV cameras in trial rooms or washrooms are a big no-no. If they are not able to get their act together soon, they will lose a substantial chunk of their customers from metros and Tier II towns at least, to online shopping.