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Clothes size scanner comes to Fair Oaks Mall

Friday - 9/21/2012, 6:52am  ET

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A size-matching machine is now in operation at Fair Oaks Mall. A 10-second scan produces a list of sizes and cuts from different stores. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
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Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com

FAIRFAX, Va. - Shopping for the perfect size has moved from the back fitting room to the center of the mall.

A size-matching station called Me-Ality has been installed at Fair Oaks Mall. Future sites include malls in Bethesda and Wheaton in Maryland.

The machine looks a bit like a security screener at an airport, and customers stand still while a passing wand surveys their shapes.

The results of the quick session are the attraction for shoppers. A printout lists the sizes and cuts to buy at different stores in the mall. Shoppers also receive an email with more off-site options.

The suggested shopping list bears out what most already know. Sizes can vary a lot from store to store. The Me-Ality scan produces what says is the ideal fit, regardless of the size on the tag.

While it may sound invasive, Me-Ality insists the scan is not capturing a person's figure.

"There is no image, nothing comes up," says Courtney Accoo, who operates the station at the Fair Oaks Mall.

"We don't even get your actual numbers. What we get is a barcode, and we take that barcode over to the computers, and we scan it, and that's how we get the list," she says.

The full body scan takes about 10 seconds, recording about 200,000 points of reference for the right measurements.

It's free to use and will be a permanent fixture in the mall.

"What I've noticed is that the women really love it," says Robbie Stark, the general manager of the mall.

"They always complain that they can't find the one [size] that's quite right for them and their body shape, and this figures all that out for you," he says.

He also hopes it the size matching station will mean longer shopping lists.

"For us, we're hoping that people buy more," he says.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)