Walmart Says an Opening Was Only Briefly Visible on Video While the Room Was Unoccupied
JONESBORO, Ark. — With her two young children in tow, Kailey Holt Luster was trying on new pants Thursday morning at Walmart when her 4-year-old son looked up at something that caught his eye: a security camera with an open view of the inside of their dressing room.
“He just looked up and stared,” Kailey said. “And I looked up and that’s when I said, ‘Oh my goodness.’ I got my phone out and instantly took a picture.”
Kailey was shocked to see a security camera in clear view of an opening inside of her dressing room. She asked for a manager of the Walmart, located at 1815 Highland Drive, and said the first person she spoke to disregarded the complaint, saying that no one was watching people change or on the roof looking down into the room.
“Her first response is what made me realize this is weird,” Kailey said. “It was definitely not OK.”
Her instincts were correct as under Arkansas law, it is not permissible for security cameras to be in dressing rooms or to view inside of dressing rooms. Specifically:
- (a) It is unlawful for a person to use a camera, videotape, photo-optical, photoelectric, or other image recording device for the purpose of secretly observing, viewing, photographing, filming, or videotaping another person who is present in a residence, place of business, school, or other structure, or a room or particular location within that structure, if the other person:
- (1) Is in a private area out of public view;
- (2) Has a reasonable expectation of privacy; and
- (3) Has not consented to the observation.
Source: Arkansas Code § 5-16-101
Kailey asked to speak to another manager and this time, says she spoke with someone named “Zachary,” who she said took her complaint seriously.
“His response was heartfelt,” Kailey said. “He is the one that said he was going to cover it or close the dressing room down. I told him I appreciate his heartfelt response but I still wanted to file a formal complaint.”
She called 1-800-WALMART and told them about the incident but said that the representative she spoke to, Angel, declined her offer to share photos and told her it wasn’t likely someone would be calling her back. By then, out of the busy store with her two young children, Kailey had more time to think about it.
“It took me a second to process it,” Kailey said. “I’ve got a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old while grocery shopping. But when I finally got them in the car, I was like, ‘What if that was my kids undressing?’ And the momma bear came out. I think parents in general can take a lot more hits but when someone’s messing with your children, that’s when you get mad.”
Although they weren’t trying on clothes this time, Kailey’s children were both with her in the dressing room. She said she wasn’t convinced that it was being handled seriously enough, considering the first manager’s response and the phone representative’s approach. That’s when she decided to post it to Facebook, where an observer tagged NEA Report.
We contacted authorities for more information about the law. Citing the aforementioned statute, JPD’s Public Information Officer Sally Smith told us it would be a violation of Arkansas law for the inside of a dressing room to be under view of a camera.
Within a short time, Detective Adam Hampton was at the store checking it out. Smith said the detective confirmed something had been placed over the dressing room by loss prevention. The detective also checked the cameras themselves and verified you can no longer see into the dressing room.
Even though the issue is now fixed, Kailey still had concerns about what may already have happened.
“At this point, I think there needs to be a public apology issued.” Kailey said. “And honestly, if I had the freedom to dig into it, I would go back and look at the security tape just for reassurance. A friend of a friend said she was in the (same) dressing room yesterday. So how long has this been uncovered and could you actually see in the dressing room?”
NEA Report reached out to Walmart for comment on the incident. They issued the following statement:
“Providing customers with a safe and enjoyable shopping experience is a top priority and we take these situations seriously. Out of an abundance of caution, we reviewed camera footage and an opening in the fitting room was only in view of a camera for a brief time, less than 30 seconds, and was unoccupied during that time. We encourage all customers to speak with a member of management if they have a concern while shopping in our stores.” – Walmart Press Office