How to Boost Clothing Sales: Block Cell Signals in the Fitting Rooms

Posted on June 1, 2015


How much revenue is lost to the Selfish Selfie?

The other day, I enjoyed a rare stroke of good fortune in the jeans department: my size, the elusive 6P, was in stock! Still, jeans are something you really need to try on before buying, so I grabbed a pair and headed to the fitting rooms.

Four fitting rooms, all occupied. The little tags that the attendant had placed on the doorknobs indicated that the occupants had 2, 3, 3, and 4 items of clothing, respectively. I figured I’d have a short wait; how long could it possibly take for someone to try on two measly pieces of clothing?

A long dang time, apparently. There was no movement, no sign of life other than the occasional glimpse of feet, for five minutes… ten… going on fifteen… The fitting room attendant was shifting uncomfortably. I was getting impatient; what the hell could possibly be going on in there? TWO PIECES OF CLOTHING. Put them on. Look in the mirror. Maybe turn, sit, squat, see how comfortable it is. Decide if it looks and feels good on you. Yes. No. DONE. Right?

Pffft. Wrong. My rare stroke of good fortune turned to ash. I gave up, tossed the 6P jeans back on the shelf, and the retailer lost a sale that day. But I figured I might just mention to the manager that if possible, they could really benefit from having more fitting rooms. She replied that unfortunately, that was the number allowed by corporate headquarters, but she was well familiar with the problem. “You know what’s going on, don’t you?” she asked. “Uh… no.” “Girls go in there, put on the clothes, take selfies, and then text the photos and ask their friends for their opinions on whether or not they should buy them. So they’re in there waiting for their friends to text them back.”

Selfie-dressing-roomApparently, this is a thing now.  When I ran a search on “dressing room selfie,” quite a lot popped up… including blogs that revel in it, and confirm exactly what the manager told me.

This is not going away anytime soon, even if it is incredibly oblivious, selfish, and rude. Yet, you can’t exactly just tell them, “Get the hell out, there are people waiting!” That’s rude, too, but rudeness that involves confrontation is seen as somehow ruder than rudeness that just passively imposes on others.  There’s also the “I got here first, f— off” attitude so common in our society.

Lila’s solution would be to set timers on the fitting rooms, and when your time’s up, you get one warning before a bouncer comes in and throws your butt out, and if you’re nekkid at the time, too bad for you. But of course, this could be bad for publicity (and even ruder than a mere “Get the hell out!”), so… no. The Fitting Room Bouncer must remain but a pleasant Lila-fantasy.

A more civilized idea would be to add more fitting rooms, but that would take away from space for merchandise, and might not solve the problem anyway; instead of four girls taking selfies and texting their friends, you would just have ten of them, and still a long wait.

The manager has the best idea: block cell signals in the fitting rooms. “Cell phones with cameras were the worst thing ever invented,” she said, shaking her head in disgust. It wouldn’t even be that difficult; just build the fitting rooms of materials that degrade the cell signal. Something as cheap as a layer or two of tin foil, or a wire mesh, embedded between the other construction materials would pretty much do it. And for the price of a little extra construction material, retailers might just boost their sales. I cannot be the ONLY person who ever gave up on what should have been a short wait, and walked out without buying. Retailers might ask themselves just how much revenue is lost to the phenomenon of the Selfish Selfies in the dressing rooms.