Victoria’s Secret has been a popular lingerie store for decades, offering up a colorful array of underwear, bras, loungewear, activewear, and swimwear.
Even if you’ve never shopped there personally, you’ve likely seen the catalogs, or at least heard of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, an annual televised event.
But over the last few years, Victoria’s Secret sales have been declining rapidly, and CEO . Many consumers can’t help but wonder what goes on behind the scenes, both in corporate offices and in everyday stores with employees.
According to employees who spoke with Insider and have written about their experiences online, working at Victoria’s Secret can be stressful, but also fun. And no, they don’t know what the secret is any more than you do.
Employees might be talking about you on their headsets.
You may have noticed that Victoria’s Secret employees walk around wearing headsets. This is so they can communicate with the people working in the back stockroom, as well as the managers for the day.
But the headsets aren’t completely innocent. One former employee told Insider that her coworkers also used them to talk about customers quietly to each other, mostly warning others if they thought someone was at risk of shoplifting.
Another former employee, Brooke Sager, wrote for Thrillist that «if Reveal Dating a 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.»
They are trained to sell you a ‘sister size’ if they don’t have your size.
For some customers, Victoria’s Secret doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to their sizing methods. Many consumers have complained that the retailer’s bra size range isn’t vast enough and that the fittings are often off.
A former employee told Insider that they are actually trained to sell «sister sizes» to customers, which basically means getting a larger band size and smaller cup size that is supposed to fit similarly. For example, if someone asked for a 34DD and the store didn’t have it, the employee would have to offer them a 36D.
The employee said this sizing strategy can have some success, but doesn’t always work, as the band is sometimes too big and doesn’t overcompensate for the smaller cup size – but added they are pressured to use it and to sell bras anyway.
Employees can expect to be on call much of the time.
One frustrating thing about working at Victoria’s Secret, and many other retail stores, is that the majority of workers’ shifts are of the on-call variety, one former employee said.
«When I worked there, no one got a set schedule every week. Instead, you’d be told maybe one day that you definitely had a shift with specific hours, but the rest of the days would be on-call shifts,» the former employee told Insider.
«You’d have to sit around and wait to see if you were going to get called into work or not. It was really inconvenient and all over the place.»
They aren’t allowed to stop anyone from shoplifting.
Shoplifting is a big issue at Victoria’s Secret because the small underwear can be so easy to hide in a bag or pocket. But while employees are trained to watch out for shoplifters, they aren’t allowed to actually do anything about it.
Employees told Business Insider’s Mary Hanbury that they can get fired for trying to confront someone who is stealing. Anicya Galindo, a former employee, said, «No matter how much they take or how many shoplifters there are, we will be fired if we do not follow policy.» Another former employee said in a Reddit Q&A that the rule is there «technically to keep the employees safe.»