At Victoria’s Secret, employees must help women who have no idea what bra size they should wear and help men who have no idea what to get their significant others. They must also keep things organized during hectic sales, and occasionally they have to deal with creepy customers. So what’s it really like to work there? Cosmopolitan.com spoke to a twenty something sales specialist who says she absolutely loves it. “At the end of the day, I love my job, and it has taught me so much,” she says. She was happy to share her thoughts on clueless boyfriends, measuring customers’ breasts, and her favorite Angels.
What are some of the job perks of working at Victoria’s Secret?
As a sales specialist, I get a free bra and panty if not every month, every other month. That’s really nice. The other employees can get a bra and panty for $15, but I get it for free, and if I don’t want it, I’ll give it to a friend or my sister.
Oh my god, my underwear is ridiculous. I couldn’t even tell you.
Do you wear sexier bras and panties now?
Well, I didn’t even know this was a thing before I started working here, but people like to match their bra to their panties. I started doing that too, and it really helps with a sense of confidence. If your bra and panties match, you’re ready to take on the world. I would recommend people try it. People do come in and buy double the panties because they want to match their bra every day.
What’s the best kind of customer?
Well, I love my job because I kind of talk to everybody. I’m really outgoing. I have some regulars who come in and I know what they need, I know what colors they want, they hug me, and sometimes they ask for me when I’m not working. One lady came into the store a while back, and she had just been in a few days before. I was like, “Hey, can I help you find anything?” And she had tears in her eyes. She came and hugged me and started crying. She said, “Remember that friend I was in with two days ago? She committed suicide last night.” And that took me off guard. You really get a personal connection with some of these customers. I ended up talking with her for about 45 minutes. I’m not just going to push her to the side.
Do you deal with a lot of pervy customers?
Most of the time we’ll get big groups of guys who will say things like, “Oh, what size do you wear? Would you wear this bra? I bet these panties would look good on you.”
That sounds uncomfortable. How do you respond to those comments?
I’ll say things like, “If your girlfriend is about the same size as me, she’s probably this size.”
What’s the biggest thing guys need help with when shopping for their girlfriend?
Guys come in all the time, and they have no idea what size bra their girlfriend wears. They’ll pull up a picture and zoom in on her boobs. I can have a pretty good idea, but I’ll ask them to compare it to a fruit. “Are they like apples, oranges, cantaloupes, watermelon?” Believe it or not, most of the time they’ll pick a fruit and it’s the right size. Sometimes I’ll suggest they call her best friend or sister, and ask for her size, or I’ll lay the bra on the table and they’ll squeeze it with their hands to compare it to the real thing.
I can only imagine how clueless they can be. But do guys usually make a purchase?
More often than not, guys spend more money because girls know the deal. They know they can get one bra, and it’ll be good for four months. Guys are more like, “I’ll just get them all!” They have that ego. It’s easier to sell to them. I’ll show them a Bombshell bra and matching panties, and then I’ll tell them we have a Bombshell perfume too, and he’ll normally get it. Women sometimes put sticky notes in the catalogue on what they want and the guy will come in, hand me the catalogue, show me what she wants, and say he’ll be at the register when it’s ready.
Do you measure people’s bra sizes?
Yes. Everybody on the floor should be able to size, but we do tell everybody that it’s just an estimate.
Do you see a lot of boobs when you’re sizing?
We can do it topless or not. Personally, I don’t want to see their breasts. But we can take them in a fitting room and they can unbutton their shirt and we can size them with their bra on, but we can do it over their clothes too. I did have a lady unbutton her shirt on the floor, and I was like, “Whoa, let’s go in the fitting room.” I sized an older lady topless and it was kind of gross, but you gotta do what you gotta do to get the job done. It’s weird doing a bra inspection with women because some are so comfortable with themselves, and others are not. Girls who go shopping with their boyfriends don’t want to be measured around them. It’s a confidence thing, if you’re not the size you want to be. I can see where they’re coming from.
Does all that practice mean you can guess people’s bra sizes pretty easily?
Definitely. One lady came in and said she was a 34D. Some people are stubborn about it and don’t want to get measured because they’re in a rush or they think they’re wearing the right size, but we always prefer to do a measurement. We also ask when they try a bra on, “Are you spilling out of the top? Are the bands too tight? Have you fully adjusted the straps?” because all those things make a difference. Anyway, I got this lady in the fitting room, and she was a 34 triple-D.
I bet you wear more Victoria’s Secret items now that you work there.
Uh, yeah. The quality of Victoria’s Secret bras is really good if you follow the instructions. They say to hand wash them, but nobody has time for that. I tell people, “Next time you shower, scrub it off with you, lay it flat to dry, and you’ll be golden.” I sleep in my bras because I am queen of laziness. I hate wearing a regular bra to work, but the Incredible is so comfortable.
Any other favorite bras?
The push-up and the Dream Angels memory fit.
What about your overall favorite item in the store?
Oh my god, this is such a rough question. This is so difficult. Oh, I know. We just got these Ultimate Spandex leggings, and this material is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I want to wear these for days and not wash them. That’s my favorite product, hands down. Worth every penny of those damn $70 pants. Mine are the confetti-print pattern, and I’m kind of bubbly, so they’re really me.
Have you ever had to work the semi-annual sale?
Yes. It is painful because people just come in and throw bras everywhere. We’re there until 1 or 2 in the morning because every bra has to be in the right size bin, and we have to color-coordinate them all. Next time you go into a Victoria’s Secret, you’ll see all the bras should be striped, which means each drawer should have the same bra in the front and they should all be in the same color scheme. All the panties have to be in ROYGBIV order, so they’ll go light pink, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and then black, nude, and white. It’s stuff you wouldn’t even notice, but it makes a difference selling and presentation-wise.
Who are your favorite Angels?
Candice Swanepoel and Adriana Lima. I follow all the Angels on Instagram. I’m a freak about it.
Most of the customers are probably younger women, but do older women ever shop there?
Yeah. One time this old lady came in and I asked her what she needed help with. She said she needed lingerie. I guess I gave her a weird facial expression because she said, “Honey, I may be old, but I ain’t dead yet!”
Did she find anything she liked?
She ended up buying $200 worth of lingerie. She bought two bra and panty sets and a babydoll, which has built-in cups and a sheer dress part and comes with panties. She was probably 85! But hey, I made her happy.
Do you ever deal with shoplifters?
All the time. We ask people to put panties on the door handle outside the fitting room, and if they want to try them on, they can take one pair in to try on either with the hypoallergenic cloth panties or their own underwear on underneath. You’re not allowed to try it on bare, obviously. Lots of people will go in, and after they leave, we’ll find tags and security devices stuffed behind the mirror or on the ground.
That’s horrible. Have you ever seen it happen on the floor?
Yeah. The PINK panty bar is in the front of the store, so I’ve seen people walk in and grab a bunch of panties, stuff them in their purse, and walk out. It’s insane. I’ll call the manager, and they’ll call security. More often than not, they’re caught in another store stealing stuff. When the security guards take them to the mall office, they find our merchandise and return it to us.
How do you deal with people returning used lingerie?
That’s disgusting. A few years ago, the TODAY show did an investigative report, and they found that Victoria’s Secret put used panties back on the floor, which is absolutely disgusting. About a week or two ago we were all made to watch this video because apparently it had happened again. If anybody tries to return panties that look worn or don’t have a tag, we have to damage them and throw them away. More often than not, we’ll try to get an exchange from it so we don’t lose money.
Have you ever denied a return?
Last week I was working and a girl tried to return a Style Secrets bra. They’re like sticky boobs, and we sell them in a little box. She tried to return the box with no sticky boobs in them, so I couldn’t take that. We were like, “Where’s the bra? What are you trying to return right now?”
What’s the biggest misconception about people who work at Victoria’s Secret?
That we all wear lingerie. I have never owned nor worn a piece of lingerie for two reasons: One, they’re expensive, and two, I’m 20 years old and single, so I’m not going to go sleep around with people and have lingerie on deck. People are always saying, “You work at Victoria’s Secret, you must have a lot of lingerie,” and I’m like, “LOL, no.”