What It's Really Like To Work At Victoria's Secret
You might imagine that a job at Victoria's Secret means days spent in satin push-ups and seven-inch heels, rolling around in flower petals, and rubbing up against dressing room walls, as a very controlled wind sweeps through your tousled locks.
Unfortunately, Victoria's Secret is very much like any other retail job, according to employees, "but with more potential for things to get weird," as former part-timer Jenny Bochar puts it.
One time, Bochar sized a woman in her mid-50s as a 36B. The lady protested, and when Bochar later knocked and opened the woman's dressing room door, she saw her stuffing a nylon knee-high full of rice into her brassiere muttering, "I told you I was a D..."
A 20-something man once strolled into a Victoria's Secret store, says Barely_Making_Rent, dishing anonymously on the online forum Reddit, and "began groping, and chatting" with the mannequins. The person who claims to be Victoria's Secret employee also says teen boys would occasionally wander in, giggle, and leave.
Dealing with male discomfort is all part of the job at a lingerie store. As this highly scientific graph demonstrates, a man's "feelings of awkwardness" in the shop perfectly correlate with "distance from girlfriend." Bochar says she would ask confused boyfriends, without cracking a smile, "is she more or less than a handful?" to guide them towards the right cup size.
Employees also complain about exhausting days spent on your feet and poor opportunities for advancement. "Pay isn't performance based," bemoans one sales associate in Mishawake, Ind. "Doing a good job and exceeding expectations is rewarded with a high five."
Many workers accuse managers of poor communication and playing favorites. Poor pay and no benefits also leads to high turnover, some complain, which Victoria's Secret compensates for by overstaffing the floor, and cutting back employees' hours.
But there is pretty rigorous training, and you do get great discounts, workers say, and free lotion and perfume if a new one comes out. Staffers also roundly praise the culture, one calling it "a tight-knit work family."
And there are some unexpected rewards that come with working at a lingerie outlet. Another person claiming to be a Victoria's Secret employee, writing on Reddit, said women would sometimes break down and cry in the fitting rooms. She says that she would just tell them that they look beautiful.
The fact is that most women are wearing the wrong size bra, says TheStrangerEtranger. Often a cup size that's too small. Women may believe it makes their breasts spill out and look bigger, says Barely_Making_Rent, but really it just makes their breasts spill out and look bad.
Helping a customer find a great-fitting bra, one that's comfortable and beautiful, can really transform how that woman feels, in an incredibly intimate and powerful way.
"I really enjoy seeing an older married couple come in," writes Barely_Making_Rent. "When I help an older lady find a bra that makes her feel sexy and confident you can see it on her face ... and her husband (or wife) who is waiting outside of the dressing room."
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin. Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at email@example.com. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.more...