Fitting Rooms Were Closed Down

Fitting room is closed in a popular department store during COVID-19 pandemic
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Fitting room is closed in a popular department store during COVID-19 pandemic

Many stores adopted the policy of closing their fitting rooms as a safety protocol. The idea was that fitting rooms were small by nature. As a customer tried on clothes, respiratory droplets could be spread if the customer talked, coughed, or sneezed. The next customer could pick up the virus from a shared surface or even if they were in the next fitting room. Also, there would be a theoretical risk of transmission to another customers or employee who later picked up the same items. Therefore, the fitting rooms were shut down.

For many shoppers, this was a major inconvenience. After all, trying on clothes is an integral part of the shopping experience. You must see if the look is right in those special flattering mirrors retailers use.

But with the closure of fitting rooms, shoppers were left to rely on their own judgment, the help of a salesperson, or encouraged to buy a couple different sizes and return the ones that didn’t fit. Predictably, this led to an increase in returns and exchanges, as people found that the clothes they had purchased didn't fit as expected. This meant an extra trip to the store and contact with an employee who would be processing the return.

Why were the fitting rooms deemed such a risk? There wasn’t a single case of COVID-19 that was linked to trying on clothing. Could there be an ulterior motive? With a lot of the Covid protocols, there seemed to be. So shopper's thought to themselves, "Why are fitting rooms closed?"

Well, the fitting rooms closed right around the same time as shopper restrictions began. Perhaps stores didn’t want people spending time trying on clothes while people were literally lining up outside to come in and buy things.

It may have been another one of the ways that the pandemic was a blessing in disguise for retailers. Some stores have always hated the idea of dressing rooms, and the pandemic was a great cover to close them indefinitely. Loss prevention was greatly helped by not having dressing rooms, as people couldn’t use the one area in the store without cameras as a place to conceal items. Believe it or not, some people are animals, and extremely gross things are done in dressing rooms that need to be cleaned. Many retail workers were happy not to deal with the headache of the fitting room mess.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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