Published: Jul 19, 2011 12:03 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 18, 2011 10:22 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla--You may have noticed fitting room doors hung the wrong way in Macy's Department stores. But did you ever wonder why? A WINK News investigation reveals the real reason--and it will leave you blushing.
A whistleblower, who works in loss prevention for Macy's Department store, says the doors are that way on purpose so the staff can see in the fitting room.
He says he learned about it while training, "I was shown a fitting room by another detective who is a man. In the women's department of the store, the slats or louvers of the the doors were not pointing down but were pointed up. When the door is closed you can see in and pretty plainly see in."

We are not revealing the identity of our whistleblower while he is still employed with Macy's. He says the detective who trained him told him the doors were like that so they can spot shoplifters. He believes customers probably don't know they can see them getting undressed as well.

"I was pretty sure with my experience in loss prevention which goes back 20 years this wasn't morally right," said the whistleblower about why he alerted us to the situation.

The legality of the doors is up to interpretation. Florida statute 877.26 says noone is allowed to observe customers in a fitting room unless the customer invites or consents to the presence of the merchant in the room. You can read the entire statute by clicking here.

The whistleblower says the detective told him the statute allowed Macy's to legally view customers because of a six-inch by six-inch sign outside the fitting room stating Macy's is monitoring the dressing room. 

"This is the way I read it. That it may be legally OK according to Florida law because there is a sign posted saying loss prevention personnel are monitoring the fitting rooms," explained the loss prevention officer, "But I knew for a fact that our customers did not know that we could see them naked. Really that we could see their private body parts."

Our whistleblower made a complaint with the company's ethics department. He says he alerted the company problems with the fitting room. Almost a month later, he says the company has taken no action to change the doors.

So he alerted us and shared video he took as he was checking the fitting rooms after hours.

"I did a count of the fitting rooms and the fitting room doors (at the Edison Mall store) that are installed this way and there are 49 that i believe are installed that way so we can see into them in the women's store. This includes lingerie dept, juniors, young ladies department as well as the other Women's departments. In the Men's stores there is one door installed that way."

We went to all of the Macy's stores in southwest Florida. We found the fitting room doors in the Fort Myers store, the Naples store, and the Port Charlotte store just like in his video.

We also sent crews out in Orlando and Tampa. We spotted doors turned backwards in those stores as well.

We contacted Macy's for a response. The retailer declined our repeated request for an on-camera interview but acknowledged by email they're aware the doors their store fitting rooms do have doors like this.

A Macy's spokeswoman issued us this response:

"Retailers work hard to strike a balance between preserving the privacy of customers, providing customer service, maintaining customer safety in fitting rooms, and deterring the theft of merchandise. We at Macy's are continually reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure we are serving the best interests of all of our customers. We strive to make customers feel safe and secure at Macy's."

Our whistleblower hopes you now will enter the fitting room a little wiser.

"(Customers) don't notice. They don't notice that sign that is six-inches across is giving basically giving up their right to privacy and allowing Macy's to look at them naked," said our whistleblower.

Florida law may leave a loophole for customers to be observed. However, many other states like Pennsylvania, Kansas and California have specific laws prohibiting anyone for observing anyone in an area they have a reasonable expectation of privacy like a fitting room.

When we sent people out to check out rooms in Pennsylvania and Kansas, the doors were turned the right way. However, when we sent someone out in Washington D.C. Where there is no law, the doors were also turned backwards.


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