I may need to get therapy for my retail therapy!

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I hate Victoria’s Secret. I know I have mentioned this before, but that store cannot stop irking me. The underwear and bras fit a bit strange, the place is so bright and gaudy, the salespeople are clueless, the quality is mediocre. I don’t know why I keep returning…

This time it was for their sale. I need undies, and they have undies as cheap as Tarjay this time of year. I grab a 5/$25 set and a 3/$30 set and head to the registers. In the mean time I had six employees ask me if I needed any help. When I asked if there was something in my size they said “there are drawers below, you can check there.” Glad there were six people there to give me such in-depth assistance.

So I am at the registers and there is a single line, two girls running machines and it is obvious that one is brand-spanking new. She was working hard and seemed pleasant, but utterly stressed in her new position. The second girl was dealing with the exchanges and odd transactions. While waiting in line, two more girls show up and hang out in front of an unmanned register, talking about the weekend they had. Then the new girl calls into her headset and what appears to be a manger shows up and helps her with a transaction. The two girls still chat about how wasted they were a couple nights ago, the manager ignores them and us in line. She finishes helping New Girl without acknowledging her, or the customer at hand and races off. I am still waiting. Now another girl comes behind the register – this means there are now SIX people behind the register, and only two people working. This girl starts chatting with the two drunken weekenders, and then makes a phone call, it seemed to be to order lunch. The manager returns, takes over for New Girl and then barks at her to take over a third register. By this time I had been in line 10 minutes.

New Girl ends up ringing me, and I don’t want to stress her out by looking up my Vickie’s card so I just use my check card. She rings up the undies, then gets to the last pair which has no tag. She asks the manager, “what do I do now?” and the manager says “just scan any other pair.” She does, I swipe my card without much thought, in a rush because I have spent my entire lunch time and need to get back to the office. I get my bag, and BEEP BEEP BEEP the door alarm goes off. There isn’t a single associate around and I rummage through my bag and find a pair with a sensor still attached. Fabulous.

I head back to the register and stand at the side near a different cashier. I tell her a sensor has been left on, “well I am ringing someone up, you can just get back in line.” Are you SERIOUS? “I am NOT getting back in line because YOUR STORE left a sensor on MY purchase.” The sensor is removed with much eye rolling from the cashier (not New Girl) and I am on my way out the door… BEEP BEEP BEEP! Are you kidding me? This time what looks to be a manager (suit, dark under eye circles, flat hair that looked great at 6am, too much lipstick – I used to be one, I can spot one a mile away) and she checks my bag. No sensor, she lets me go.

So I go to the Nordstrom Espresso Bar because I am short on time and can’t deal with the line at Panerra. I ask for the Cheese & Crackers platter because it’s a lovely treat in Cubicleland. Three types of cheese in cubes, a bunch of red grapes, fresh strawberries and several bags of Club and Ritz crackers. That with my Nalgene bottle of cold water, I almost feel as though I am dining out at my desk. She grabs the platter, the extras (utensils, napkin, etc.), tosses them in a bag, I give her exact change and I head through Nordstrom to the parking lot.

BEEP BEEP BEEP! Pardon Us, We Seem to Have… yeah yeah yeah, I search my only bag and there doesn’t seem to be any more sensors on the undies so I trot through Shoes and Cosmetics to the parking lot. Again at that exit the alarm goes off. I look once more and wouldn’t you know it? A freaking sensor on the undies – seems that the original pair had TWO sensors on them. Lovely.

By this time I am already five minutes late, no time to trek across the mall back to the idiots at Vickie’s. I head to the car, and decide to randomly look at my receipt. I realize that the undies that were sans-tag, she didn’t scan another of that type for a sku… she scanned the other group. This meant I was over-charged $3. Grrrrrrrr! I get to my car, start it up and decide to pop a grape from my platter. I realize that I didn’t get any crackers with my Cheese & Crackers platter!

THIS is why I do most of my shopping online.

I worked in retail for over a decade, most of it in management. It irks me to the bone when I get poor service, because I KNOW how easy it is to give good service. Out of all the people who worked with me today, the only one who would get a gold star is the New Girl. Yes, she forgot sensors and scanned the wrong item, but she is the only person who apologized for making a mistake, smiled at me, thanked me for coming and made an effort to do a good job. The rest of the idiots in Victoria’s Secret looked utterly bored or annoyed that anyone was entering their realm. The barista at Nordstrom was on the phone for half the transaction, and chatting with a coworker for the other. While window shopping in Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft and Nordstrom I was pretty much ignored until I tried on a jacket in Ann Taylor. Then as I stood in the mirror, two salespeople just stared at me in the reflection, as though I was a zoo exhibit. When I turned and asked one if the jacket came in petite, she seemed startled. “Huhhhh?” and I had to re-ask her. “Newp” she said, and kept staring in the mirror. I realized them she was staring at herself. There's an example of payroll dollars hard at work.

The worst thing? Now I have to GO BACK and remedy the wrong price/sensor issue. Let’s see how smoothly that goes. Ugh.


  1. June 19, 2007 / 9:11 pm

    Oh and Maureen I am SO rocking the Hanky Pankies today! Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale!!!!

  2. June 19, 2007 / 9:10 pm

    Actually I do know, and quite well as that I worked for Express, their sister company for 5 years from sales associate to manager to visual merchandiser. Shoplifting, nasty things in fitting rooms, scam artists at the register, mean customers with a chip on their shoulder about life, stealing and conniving sales associates, mall issues like bad AC, not enough stock, too much stock, floor moves every week…

    Thing is they pay the same as every other store (non-department store) in the mall, and they give a great discount. I worked for Express, i worked for The body Shop and I worked at a local store and I was always forced to pay my sales associates crap. Thing is if you are a good manager who cares and is aware, your shrink is less, your stress is less, your employees like working there despite the crappy pay and all is good in the world. I don’t think VS puts enough effort, training or inspiration into their management. Pay does not bring on better employees, I know from experience. Good companies bring on good employees.

    There is no excuse for bad customer service.

    But Limited Brands is always known for burnin’ em and turnin’ em. That’s why I don’t work for them any more…

  3. Anonymous
    June 19, 2007 / 9:05 pm

    My sister works at V.S. and you should hear the stories from her side of the register. Oh my goodness… if they would pay more they would get better help and the good employees wouldn’t have to suffer with the knuckleheads that don’t want to work.
    And the customers… I get a call once a week that is unbelieveable! I don’t think that you can imagine what goes on in those dressing rooms and what those poor girls/ women have to deal with!

  4. June 18, 2007 / 6:29 am

    My blood pressure rose 20 points just reading about your experience. Love your blog by the way!

  5. June 11, 2007 / 8:02 am

    Yeah, I’d be annoyed too. I had a bad experience in Victoria’s Secret during the holidays…

  6. maureen
    June 8, 2007 / 4:14 pm

    3 words for panties:

    Nordstrom Hanky Panky!

  7. June 7, 2007 / 1:52 am

    I hate going to Vickie’s too, but a girl needs her undies and don’t even get me started on Sephora — I think the sales people their train the sales people at Vickie’s!

  8. Bobbi
    June 6, 2007 / 9:00 pm

    God Alison this sounds horrid! Next time just come shopping with me in Atlanta…they are usually pretty nice here…esp. when you start slinging tons of items your arm!

  9. Anonymous
    June 6, 2007 / 7:35 pm

    Your experience at Vickie’s was horrible! I am eagerly waiting for the update when you tell them that the 2nd sensor was left on as well. Please update when you can!! And good luck.

  10. June 6, 2007 / 6:29 pm

    Can I just say your blog makes me so happy? You remind me of my college roommate (a good thing) this girl always had amazing outfits. Great style that I always hoped would rub off on me. She had an assortment of accessories and hair stuff that rivaled the selection at walgreens.

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