Dutch supermarket abandons asking workers for semi-naked photos

  • Photo: (c) Albert Heijn

    A large Dutch supermarket chain, Albert Heijn asked around 400 of its workers to upload photos of themselves in their underwear to an app, in order to determine their new uniform sizes.

    The company has since called off the request after facing widespread backlash across Dutch social media.

    A poster in the staff canteen at the store’s Nijmegen branch reportedly said: "Wear underwear or tight-fitting sportswear so the contours of your body can be measured as accurately as possible. And ask someone to help you take the photos”.

    Dutch newspaper NRC initially reported the story, with journalists stating they saw an email to employees in Nijmegen that said use of the app was "essential and mandatory".

    The eastern city’s staff were selected to trial the app before it was to be rolled out at Albert Heijn supermarkets across the Netherlands.

    RELATED: Amazon's StyleSnap helps you copy favourite fashion from photos

    The supermarket chain has insisted that participation in the trial was never “mandatory”. A spokesperson for the firm told Dutch media that they had wanted to find a better way of collecting all the sizes of its 100,000-strong workforce and felt an app would be more efficient than receiving 100,000 emails.

    In a statement to the BBC, the company confirmed that it had been testing the use of an "innovative mobile app" to determine clothing sizes "in a quick and efficient way" before introducing a new uniform across its 1,000 stores in 2020.

    The company added: "In this test we asked associates to upload a personal photo in close-fitted clothing or underwear for automatic analyses by the app. Although participation was voluntary and pictures were not visible to Albert Heijn management, this should never have happened. We have cancelled the pilot and we apologise to all involved."

    The app’s two-week trial was halfway through when it was cancelled on Monday. Albert Heijn told the BBC it was unsure how many people had already uploaded photos, but said they would be deleted and that it was "looking for a different method to identify clothing sizes".

    RELATED: ASOS are using human holograms in augmented reality

    Source: BBC News

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

Share this story