As if store mannequins weren’t creepy enough already, some retailers are peppering their storefronts and shop floors with dummies that have a camera embedded in a single eye socket, that will watch while you shop.
One such model is the EyeSee, sold by Italian company Almax. Bloomberg explains that high-end fashion outlets find the shapely plastic clotheshorses are better than store security cameras at logging customer info like age, gender, and race, because they’re at eye level, and customers tend to pay attention to them more.
But will squeamish shoppers go out of their way to avoid the unblinking stare of the watcher mannequin once they’ve wised up to its game? Maybe the feeling of being tracked isn’t too bad, now that we’re used to websites tracking bits of our data as we browse. But the in-person (in-plastic?) scrutiny kind of gives me the chills–and I’m not alone, according to the reactions I received on Twitter:
— Nancy Bhagat (@NancyJBhagat) November 20, 2012
@nidhisubs Mannequins with eye cameras … Creepy. Mannequins with eye price scanners … awesome. “How much is this … ?”
— Jason Ferster (@ferster) November 20, 2012
@nidhisubs Legal, but VERY creepy.I wouldn’t shop there.
— Call Me Boz (@bozthx) November 20, 2012
@nidhisubs There’s movies about this and none of them turn out cool. Way to be my nightmare future.
— Tiffy Diamond (@Tiffy4u) November 20, 2012
@nidhisubs ~ Nothing new! We were using mannequins with eye socket security cameras at Olympus Sport in the 80’s to catch pro shoplifters.
— Michael Greer (@MGreer_PR) November 20, 2012
What do you think? Creepy or cool? Tell us in the comments section below.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that Benetton was among the stores that used these mannequins. Benetton says it does not use this technology.
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