5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Victoria's Secret Employees

These are the real secrets of the iconic lingerie brand.

Victoria's Secret has dominated the lingerie market since the '90s, and by the mid-2000s, women all across the world were looking up to Angels like Gisele Bündchen and Heidi Klum. But in recent years, the company has faced an unprecedented amount of backlash for promoting unrealistic beauty standards and lifting up an unattainable idea of what is "sexy." Several attempts to rebrand itself have tarnished some of the retailer's appeal, but Victoria's Secret still has loyal customers. If you're one of those shoppers, you'll want to keep a few things in mind. Read on for five warnings from ex-Victoria's Secret employees.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-JCPenney Employees.

You should wash anything you buy before wearing.

interior shot of Victoria's Secret store. Victoria's Secret is an American designer, manufacturer, and marketer of women's lingerie, womenswear, and beauty products.

If you're not washing your Victoria's Secret purchases before wearing them, you should start doing so ASAP. The company has been caught re-selling used underwear in the past, and a former worker confirmed this being a possibility based on standard practices. In an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) Reddit thread, an ex-Victoria's Secret employee posting under the username bananabelle strongly encouraged shoppers to wash their newly bought underwear before wearing them in a response about store returns.

"If the returns don't look used, we'll put them back on the selling floor. If they do look used, they get 'damaged out' and then thrown out," they wrote. "Pair that with the fact that hundreds of people have touched the underwear you're buying… Please wash your 'new' underwear when you buy them."

There's a reason employees are pushy about credit cards.

interior shot of Victoria's Secret store. Victoria's Secret is an American designer, manufacturer, and marketer of women's lingerie, womenswear, and beauty products.

In the same Reddit thread, user bananabelle revealed that the "worst disadvantage" of working at Victoria's Secret was having to sell credit cards to customers. According to the ex-employee, associates weren't on commission so they were judged by how many of these cards they could push onto shoppers instead. "They based our performances on the number of credit cards we opened. They wanted us to open one credit card for every 2 hours we were on the floor," they wrote.

A former Victoria's Secret worker from California named Laura told The Daily Beast in July that getting as many people as possible to sign up for the company's credit card quickly became "the most important job we had" while working for the company.

For more retail advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Your behavior will affect the service you get.

NEW-YORK - MARCH 15, 2016: interior of Victoria's Secret store. Victoria's Secret is the largest American retailer of women's lingerie. The company sells lingerie, womenswear, and beauty products

They say a little bit of kindness goes a long way, and that certainly rings true at Victoria's Secret. Julie, a former Victoria Secret sales associate who worked with the company for three years at two different stores, told Thrillist in 2016 that customers who treated her with respect would get a different level of service. "That's who I would scour the stock room for in search of that lime-green demi bra in a 34C," she said. "If you're rude, I'll tell you everything we have is already out so I don't have to walk back there in heels."

Not only that, but word will also spread quickly around the store if you're not nice. "We used our headsets to do merchandise checks in the stockroom, as well as to let an associate in another zone know if we were sending a client her way," former associate Brooke Sager told Thrillist. "But if said client was testy, we'd give comical warning. Like, 'Julie, there is a woman who both looks and barks like a Pomeranian looking for a black Angels bra in a 36D.' We'd do it for laughs because every employee on headset could hear it."

There can be challenges if you're trying to buy someone a gift from Victoria's Secret.

Victoria's Secret perfum bottles and shopping bag. Editorial use.

According to former Victoria's Secret employees, men often come into the company's stores looking to buy lingerie for their partners. But as Sue Croke, a former sales associate for the company until 2018, wrote in a Quora thread, trying to buy a gift for someone at Victoria's Secret is not always "an easy breezy shopping experience."

According to Croke, the biggest issue is that many people try to buy underwear or bras for someone else as a gift without knowing what sizes to buy. "It's impossible for us to estimate any size for anyone you're getting something for," she explained. "Even if you say 'she looks almost exactly like your size,' that still doesn't mean we are cloned copies. Nope. I can't help you especially with picking up bras if you don't know the size."

Fortunately, there are alternative options if you want to buy a gift from Victoria's Secret but don't know the recipients sizes. "If you don't know how to pick lingerie or underwear as a gift, we also have perfumes and things to make a body smell super pleasant," Croke wrote. "You can head over to that section of the store."

Employees are not always set up to be experts.

interior shot of Victoria's Secret in Shenzhen, China.

If you're coming to Victoria's Secret expecting every employee to be an expert in the lingerie industry, you might want to reassess your expectations. Lauren Corriher, a former Victoria's Secret worker revealed how she struggled working for the company in a popular post on her blog, Latest By Lauren. "I am going to be honest with you. I was never the employee of the month at The Secret (as I called it). In fact, I sucked at my job," she wrote.

But according to the ex-employee, this had more to do with the company than it did with her personal work ethic. "It wasn't really my fault because I had virtually no training," she explained. "My training consisted of watching a training video for an hour or two. No on-the-job training. Nothing. They stuck in me in a room with other trainees, played the video, and then said 'see you for work tomorrow.' It was bad news."

And as far as finding your perfect bra fit? Despite being one of the most popular services offered by Victoria's Secret, "I never actually learned how to measure anyone's chest," Corriher wrote. "Every day, I lived in fear that someone would ask me to measure their chest. When a customer entered the store, I would mentally communicate with her and tell her not to ask me to measure her. I would always try to be busy."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
Filed Under
 •  •