What It's Really Like To Work At Victoria's Secret

confessions victoria secret employeeYou 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.

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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.

The worst part of the job, most agree, is the pay. Sales associates earn an average of $8.15 an hour, according to Glassdoor.com, and cashiers make just $7.99. This can create some moments of resentment when you're working in an upper-crust underwear retailer that sells push-up bras for $78. Barely_Making_Rent describes on Reddit the frustration of hearing a kid in the store yelling and cursing her dad for buying her only one $50 sweatshirt.

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."

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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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Filed under: Sales Jobs

Claire Gordon

Staff Writer

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.

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Makaila Kristine Bah

Even though VS doesn't know squat about fitting. You absolutely cannot measure above a bra and a shirt. No wonder they are often up to 2 cup sizes too big. Great bras when you actually know your size though!

October 14 2013 at 9:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mimilewi

Nice, so the women who work there have a breast fetish, and they'll ask your boyfriend if you are more or less than a handful to "size" a bra for you? How classy, ick. Why on earth would a bunch of women with nothing more to offer than their obsession with their own breasts expect to be payed more than $8 an hour?

September 24 2012 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ohringen

It's stores like these that pay super low wages and no benefits that have contributed to our decline in society. Hopefully stores like these will have to pay health insurance for their employees down the road and hopefully better wages, because Made In America down the road should put these businesses out of business! We can produce a decent Bra here in the USA for $78.00 dollars wouldn't you say? And leave enough profit to pay a decent $14.00 wage and health Insurance! Hopefully women will wise up to the fact that they can live without Victoria's secret; buy Made In America and have a better life.

July 19 2012 at 7:19 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mhsden

Retail sucks its not an easy job .

July 19 2012 at 6:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Suzy

I thought that the federal minimum wage was $8.50? Or is that just a Massachusetts law? Anyway, for all that work and frustration, and I know as I've worked at The Gap, Kinney Shoes, Denny's, Wendy's, Orange Julius, etc.. A slew of retail... Anyway, I learned how to type and that was it.. I signed up for a temp agency and got a job (this was 10 years ago though) that paid $10.50 per hour, just to do simple office filing! That was a no brainer.

July 19 2012 at 5:51 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Bethie

VS is a decent retail store, and for a young girl looking to make money at a part time job while in school or beginning in retail management they provide some good opportunities. Is the pay as good as some companies that require a degree in business or something similar? No, of course not, but this is a mall chain and you can't expect the pay to be the same as that of a company that requires their employees to do more than fit and sell, and perhaps do some basic store accounting. They offer benefits and from what I have seen and heard from the sales girls I deal with, they are good to their employees. I have owned and run several companies, and asking for a doctor's note is NOT out of line, especially when your employees are young. It is hard to get people to show up for work on time and regularly these days, and while my employees had sick days built in to their schedules, I did ask that they have doctor's notes for them and for any extended time off I would follow up with a call to their doctor. VS has a company to run, not a charity. My only complaint is that they don't carry larger bras, because they do have some lovely bras and only carry up to a DD. For those of us who are sporting larger cup sizes, we have to special order our bras. Before I had an augmentation, and wore a small B, I wore VS bras all the time. Now I wear their panties, some lingerie, and use many of their other products. At my bridal shower, I was given quite a few items from there and loved all of them! Keep up the great job!!

July 19 2012 at 2:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sis Rose

to the mom down there thinking VS was being unreasonable requiring a doctors note for illness-related absences from work........I' ve worked in retail management for more then 25 years and young people in this day and age call off work for any little reason, alot of whom don't even bother calling off, they just dont show up and expect their managers and bosses to be ok with it. well, we arent. it's pretty common for employers to want a doctors verification of an illness. trust me, vs isn't the only company that requires this.

July 18 2012 at 11:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jontrentj

more AOL HP gossip garbage filler. leave successful cos alone with your lame reporting.

July 18 2012 at 11:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
boxigg

MORE 8 & 9 $ AN HOUR JOBS --THANKS MR. PRESIDENT YOUR RIGHT WE COULD NOT OF DONE IT W/OUT YOU

July 18 2012 at 10:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
fixxirawr

Wow. Huffington is now writing an article based on a Reddit posts? VS is retail, and just like any other retail (especially because VS isn't luxury goods despite its often-times outrageous price), the employees there do not need a higher education or specialized skills, which is why most of the times it's people in college with no experience get retail jobs. Lesser the specialized skills you need for jobs, the lower compensation will be. Of course the pay sucks, it's low-level retail. Of course immature people giggle, and pervs grope. VS sells UNDERWEAR. That's why people try to get internships that offers benefits and higher pay - and will help with future prospective jobs. i expected more edgy POV from journalists, not a re-write of post on Reddit. REDDIT RULES.

July 18 2012 at 6:32 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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