Sunday, January 16, 2011
Wave to the camera
Due to frequent theft lately, my work is installing cameras. There will be three different video cameras placed above certain sections of the store. Two will be facing the vibrator section, where the most theft occurs, and one will be facing towards the book section, since employees sitting at the register cannot see that corner. They are being installed tomorrow. I'll be honest, I'm a little hesitant about this. I am all for protecting the store and making sure that these recent thefts stop, but I'm not sure installing cameras in the store is the right move.
First of all, this is a sex shop. People come in here trusting us not to expose them or publicize their purchases. When people I recognize come in, I do my best to make them comfortable, and not repeat to our shared acquaintances about their shopping habits. When I recognize customers when walking downtown, I do not approach them. Instead, I give a nod or a smile, but let them live their lives without exposure. I recognize that to some people sex is private, and the comfort of knowing that the person that just sold you your butt plug isn't going to broadcast it is pretty nice. So if we put cameras in, won't people feel exposed? Not everyone likes to be on camera, especially not when buying things for their sex lives.
On the other hand, we do need to protect ourselves. The number of theft is pretty great, and more than one employee, including myself, has chased down a shoplifter. Theft aside, cameras would also ensure our safety. Working the Saturday night shift at a sex shop is nerve racking. It is not unusual for drunk guys to come in and make trouble, or for a homeless person to start angrily yelling at employees. I once had a customer who started telling me that the problem with the economy is the Jews and they need to be searched out and dealt with. As a Jewish woman, this was terrifying. So perhaps having cameras in will make the crazy/drunk people back down.
But what about our shops reputation? Having cameras in a sex shop is potentially creepy. After all, it's a little like big brother watching you buy your dildos. I'm also fairly certain that we may loose customers once they find out we have cameras. Because seriously, who wants to have themselves video tapped non-consensually in a sex shop? We will have warning signs making people aware that they are there, but I feel people may feel violated still. Maybe violated is too strong of a word, but I'm pretty sure we will get some negative reaction.
Perhaps I am just overreacting. Myself, I don't care that I will be on camera. Sure, I probably can't goof of as much, but it's not like we have a person sitting watching the cameras all day. In reality the footage will only be seen if there is a theft. Then we will determine the day and searching for the time of the theft, and then report the person to the police department. So I guess unless you were planning on stealing from us, the cameras won't mean anything.