Smile! You’re On Bathroom Camera.
A California convenience store’s unusual tactic to deter vandalism drew sharp criticism from customers who say the new addition to the men’s bathroom makes them uncomfortable.
The manager of the Circle K in Marysville said the surveillance camera mounted inside the bathroom has been extremely effective in curtailing vandalism in their store.
The camera is a decoy and doesn’t record anything, store employees said.
The sight of the camera was still unnerving to customers like Robert Donaldson, who said he complained after spotting the electronic eye aimed straight at the sink and toilet area of the single-occupancy bathroom.
“It’s kind of shocking to see a camera inside the bathroom,” Donaldson said.
The camera was installed in November after gang symbols were carved into the wood-paneled walls of the restroom.
Legal experts say the store isn’t technically breaking any laws since the camera isn’t functional, but if it were, it would be a violation of privacy laws. The store could also open itself up to legal challenges from those who don’t realize the camera isn’t rolling.
The news is of little comfort to Donaldson, who worries that footage could somehow end up in public.
“YouTube, there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on nowadays. Who knows what it could be used for?” he said.
While unpopular, the business manager said they haven’t had any vandalism at all since the camera was put in.