Remember the snotty, stuck-up, A-list clique of girls who always made fun of the nerds at high school? Ever wondered what happened to them after graduation? From what our readers tell us, they all got jobs behind the counter at Victoria's Secret.
"I went into Victoria's Secret to purchase a bra set and was told they didn't sell in my size and to go to a Lane Bryant Store. Or I could buy a catalog for $5.00 to purchase my size," Babette, of Dewitt, Iowa, told ConsumerAffairs.com.
"I know I was discriminated against my size due to the fact that was told to go elsewhere to make my purchase."
Babette is not alone in her irritation with the sexy underwear retailer. In the weeks after Christmas, when many women undoubtedly visited their local Victoria's Secret store to redeem gift cards and gift certificates, reports of rude, catty personnel rolled into the ConsumerAffairs.com complaint desk. They came from women in all parts of the country.
"I was purchasing a couple of bras at the local mall. I happened to mention to the cashier that the wire on the Victoria's Secret bra that I was wearing had popped out. She informed me that I could swap it out for a new one," said Susan, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Susan said at first she was pleased at the unexpected show of customer service. But her view quickly changed when the manager joined the conversation.
"She stated that she could tell by looking at me that the bra was too small and no wonder that it broke. I was shocked that she would make such a private matter public to the seven other people in line behind me. I told her this was a conversation that should take place privately in the dressing room," Susan said.
"She proceeded to walk from behind the counter to me with a tape measure in her hand, asking when was the last time I was measured, and telling me to raise my arms. I told her 'you are not going to measure me in front of the entire mall' and that this conversation was over.
But Susan said the conversation was not over, and her humiliation continued to grow.
"She again told me she could tell by looking at me that the bra was not the right size and that if I did not let her measure me, I would not be permitted to exchange any more bras. 'Lift up your arms, it will only take a minute,' she said. I asked for her district manager's number and told her if this is the way she talks to customers, I don't know how she ever became manager."
Judging by other complaints, it may not be such a mystery. Lacey, of Jasper, Georgia, found herself dealing with a Victoria Secret's manager to try to straighten out a case where the clerk had over-billed her credit card.
"She told me I would have to take it up with the credit card company. I told her that they were the ones responsible for crediting money back to a card at the time of a return not the credit card company. I can honestly say that she was one of the rudest, (most) unhelpful people I have spoken with."
Several consumers complain that Victoria's Secret clerks shadowed them in the store, as though they expected them to steal something. And in the case of Anne, an attorney from Salem, Oregon, actually made the accusation.
"Because of the winter rain, I wore a heavy black wool coat with pockets and was holding my gloves and car keys in my hand. While I rummaged through the sale bins, my gloves fell on the floor, so I put them and my keys into my pocket for safekeeping. All of a sudden, four or five snotty teenagers dressed in black come out from the woodwork asking if I need help," Anne told ConsumerAffairs.com.
Anne said she tried on some items while sales clerks hovered nearby. Anne says as she headed to the register, a clerk accused her of having something in her pockets.
"I had to empty my pockets in the middle of the store in front of all the customers and clerks while the little snot halfheartedly and quietly apologized," Anne said.
Customer service deficits aside, several consumers have noted that in the post-holiday period Victoria's Secret stores was again pushing "negative option" membership programs on customers at checkout. The Victoria's Secret Escapes program is offered as a free trial, but charges a fee to the consumer's credit card unless cancelled within a set time.