Primark ‘reviewing approach’ to unisex fitting rooms after woman walked in on while changing

Marie Claire Dorking

Marie Claire Dorking

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK

Tue, 27 September 2022 at 10:54 am

Marie Claire Dorking

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK

Tue, 27 September 2022 at 10:54 am

Woman shares warning after two men walk in on her unisex changing rooms in Primark

Primark customers are being urged to “stay safe” after a woman shared her experience of two men walking in on her while she was using the store’s unisex changing rooms.

TikToker Charlotte Kirby uploaded a clip to the video sharing platform claiming that two different men pulled back the curtain in her cubicle while she was trying on clothes in the Cambridge branch of the retail chain.

In the video footage, which appeared to be recorded just after the incident occurred Kirby appeared tearful as she detailed what had happened.

“I feel like I need to get the word out,” she said. “So I was just in Primark Cambridge and I was trying on some clothes and it was a unisex changing room, which I’m all for, and I love that because you know it makes everyone feel included.

“But twice two men walked open the curtain walked in on me.”

A Primark shopper has detailed her experience in the unisex changing room of the retailer's Cambridge store. (Getty Images)
A Primark shopper has detailed her experience in the unisex changing room of the retailer’s Cambridge store. (Getty Images)

Kirby went on to say that thankfully both times she was fully clothed, but she pointed out that it could easily have been a different story.

While it was two different men who walked in on her, Kirby believes they were from the same group.

More retailers are introducing gender neutral changing rooms. (Getty Images)
More retailers are introducing gender neutral changing rooms. (Getty Images)

She added that there were many changing rooms available so wasn’t likely that the men were checking if someone was in there or not.

“The first time, the man just walked in and the second time he said before ‘have you tried it on? Can I see?’ and then he did it [opened the curtain],” she continued.

“Both times I was so shocked and I said ‘oh, sorry’ as if it was my fault.”

Kirby said she told Primark staff about her experience and said their response was “amazing”, with staff walking her back to her car as she did not feel safe after the incident.

“I just want to say to everyone to please be careful,” she continued. “And if you are going in a changing room, try not to go in on your own. I will never be doing that again.”

Since sharing her video it has been flooded with comments from users offering their support and sharing their views on the subject of unisex changing rooms.

“Unisex training rooms should have propa [sic] doors with a lock,” one user wrote. “I understand why places have unisex but not everyone is innocent unfortunately.”

“So torn about how I feel about this,” another added. “I want everyone to feel included and everyone to feel safe at the same time.”

“I’m so sorry this happened I can’t imagine how scary it must’ve been. They really need boarded doors that can lock,” another user shared.

“Inclusivity is important yes, but I want my feelings included too,” another woman added. “I don’t want to share a dressing room with men.”

Should shop changing rooms be unisex? (Getty Images)
Should shop changing rooms be unisex? (Getty Images)

Back in 2019 Primark revealed it was introducing gender-neutral changing rooms to two new Primark stores in the UK.

The then newly opened stores in Bluewater and Hastings launched changing rooms which can be used by anyone.

A Primark spokesperson said at the time of the move: “As part of our latest in-store design, non-gendered fitting rooms, which are commonplace in retail and other markets in which we operate, have been introduced in our new Bluewater and Hastings stores.”

While it isn’t clear whether Ms Kirby reported the incident to police, she did say in the clip that Primark’s own security staff were watching back footage to see if they can determine the men involved.

A Primark spokesperson told Yahoo UK: “We are really sorry to hear of this customer’s experience. It shouldn’t have happened and we’re urgently investigating.

“We are currently reviewing our approach to fitting rooms in our stores to ensure these are always safe and inclusive spaces for everyone.”

Primark certainly aren’t the only retailer seemingly adopting a more gender neutral approach to fitting rooms.

H&M has also introduced unisex changing rooms, saying: “Our fitting rooms are for everyone and our customers should always feel welcome.”

Earlier this year Marks and Spencer sparked a debate about the issue online after a tweet from a mother who said she was shopping for school clothes for her 10-year-old daughter at M&S, Braehead.

The tweet explained that her daughter “wanted to try on school skirts but we could only find changing rooms with a sign ‘men’s fitting room’. Staff told me these were ‘unisex’ and they don’t have female only changing rooms”.

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