Don’t You Trust Me?

Yesterday at work, a coworker told me that the company had put a new security camera in the deli area. It points at a wall with ready-to-bake pizzas, packaged meats, and ready-to-eat sandwiches (those ones in the triangular boxes that are available in vending machines). It appears to be stationary, but I’m no expert on these things.

Some people think they are directed more at the employees than the customers. I guess employee theft is a problem. But I would hope that someone would risk their job over something better than a week-old egg-salad sandwich on white bread being kept non-lethal by cellophane. I mean, it’s only a few feet from the real meat.

They also have a camera to watch us leave the building. I’m told that one’s a pin-hole camera, so we won’t know we’re being watched. Apparently the people responsible for the camera didn’t realize that telling a couple of people about it meant that all employees would know. And those employees would tell the new employees.

I’m not really sure what they hope to see. Maybe if a big-screen TV goes missing, they check the recording to see if anyone tried to sneak one through the employee door. They would probably want to get rid of that employee anyway. We’re allowed to use any of the doors in the store. It would be pretty stupid to use the one door where even if the camera didn’t get you, everyone else saw you leave with a new TV. A TV you could never afford on the wages you make.

I lead a seriously boring life. I’m a little embarrassed to know that I’m being watched almost everywhere I go. There’s a traffic camera down the road from our house. We live on a “major” two-lane road (it’s paved). The light is at the intersection with another paved two-lane road. It’s a pretty exciting spot. There’s a nursing home on one corner. That’s it. I really don’t know if they’ve caught anyone with it. For all I know, it may not even be connected.

I’m not sure which is creepier: knowing that you’re being watched and not being able to tell how they’re doing it or those cameras that have a screen where you can watch yourself move around a store. The logical part of me knows that there is no one actually watching all of those monitors all the time. But there’s still a part of me that says, “Geez, I don’t remember my butt looking that big the last time I wore these pants. I don’t want people looking at me like this.”

On the other hand, it’s probably not as easy to be a “fashion don’t” as I fear. It seems like every time there is a robbery at a gas station or convenience store, the images are too blurry to make out anything about the person they’re looking for. Apparently if I want to steal a $4 pseudo-sandwich, I should do it at the local Gas Mart.

I’ve been seeing and hearing ads for home security systems that allow you to view what is going on at home from work (or wherever you are with your laptop). Part of me thinks that’s a great idea. You can make sure the house is still in one piece, the kids are still in one piece, and your spouse hasn’t made a playdate with a new friend. On the other hand, do I really want to know that the kids have tie-dyed the rabbit before I have to?

On a local morning show last week, I heard about a guy who put cameras in his bedroom. He was missing some clothes and was sure his roommate was stealing from him. Turns out he had left the clothes at his new girlfriend’s house. Hope he takes down the cameras before he takes the new girlfriend home. Or that she’s open-minded.

I hate the thought of being watched. I guess it’s the modern version of the days when the clerk would come into the store changing rooms to “make sure everything is OK” in an effort to keep people from stealing. But that was creepy too.

Maybe I’ll just go full-cat. They don’t care one way or the other what we think of them.