Trial rooms turn MMS traps

Peeping Tom has gone high-tech thanks to miniscule state-of-the-art cameras invading the lives of the unsuspecting. While the era we live in is peppered with the consequences of sleek ‘sting’ cameras, MMSes gone awry and long-lens paparazzi cameras — real life may imitate reel life, a la Bollywood film Love Sex aur Dhokha (highlighting voyeurism in departmental stores) if an email forward doing the rounds is to be believed.

The subject is ominous: “Pinhole Cameras in changing room of Big Bazaar, Shoppers Stop. BEWARE.” The email then warns that pinhole cameras have been installed in the changing rooms of leading departmental stores to create MMSes. Shocked and aghast, young girls and ladies say they’ve been trapped in a catch-22 if the upmarket stores where they shop are the latest hubs for this new age voyeurism.

Youngsters who are aware about the spy cams now do a thorough search of changing rooms before trying on clothes. Harpreet Kaur, a second year student of St. Francis College, says, “I heard about it from my friends. Now I always conduct a complete check in the changing room.”

However, many just wouldn’t take the chance. Maitreyi Tyagi, a shopaholic, says, “There’s no dearth of people who want to invade another’s privacy. I wouldn’t feel safe even if I checked for cameras.” Youngster, Purnima A. Kumar, wants legal action, “It is sad that in a society taught to respect women from a young age, such a disrespectful invasion of personal space is going unreported. I wouldn’t think twice about sending the perpetrator to prison.”

However, the management of the departmental stores mentioned in the e-mail claim such emails are just an effort to disabuse their brand. A spokersperson from Shoppers Stop says, “Due to security reasons five of our stores have installed CCTV cameras. We respect the privacy of our customers and thus no cameras are installed inside or near the trial room banks. This information on pinhole cameras being present inside Shoppers Stop trial rooms is false. It appears to be an effort to malign our credibility and trustworthiness. Shoppers Stop is India’s premier department store chain and has been satisfying customers since the past two decades. We respect the trust our customers place in us. We are deeply upset by such rumours. We, hereby assure our esteemed customers that this information is completely untrue.”

Atul Takle, head of corporate communication, Future Group, rubbishes these rumours saying, “The email doing the rounds was an SMS that surfaced six months back. There is no truth in it. Customers are free to examine our changing rooms with a magnifying glass and a security guard if they wish.”

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