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Surviving the holidays at Victoria’s Secret

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Stylishly packaged boxes with gifts closeup.

By Deanna Bergers

Everyone knows how difficult retail and any job in customer service can be, and it all gets even more challenging around Christmastime. The congestion in the parking lot, the cold weather and the long lines make people prone to irritability. While the holiday season is known for being the time to celebrate your loved ones and giving gifts, let’s take the time to celebrate the people who aid you in your gift giving.

This year will be my fourth holiday season in retail and third at Victoria’s Secret. I began my career in retail at Journeys Kidz during my senior year of high school. I applied to Victoria’s Secret as soon as I turned 18 thinking it would be easy and have low expectations, but it was the complete opposite.

I had no clue how much work went into making sure each drawer of panties has the correct size and style and each stack is in the color order of the rainbow. But wait–you have to remember that pink goes before red and solid red goes before the red panties with the gold stars and the red panty with the white band has to go all the way at the end with the rest of the white ones. A lot to remember, right? That’s not even including the different collections and styles that separate them as well.

The 18-year-old version of myself was confused by each bra collection and what frame works best for each body type. I had no idea that a lingerie store would be such high maintenance and knew I had a lot to learn. Today, processing shipment and making sure the store is up to those standards is one of my favorite things to do.

The least rewarding part of the job is dealing with the people who show a lack of respect toward retail workers. The ones who use the fitting room as a bathroom, the ones who threaten your coworkers, and the ones who inappropriate things. The ones who throw mannequins or dump out the drawers full of panties onto the floor. The ones who yell at you when something is out of stock and no other locations have it. Or the men who come in shopping for their girlfriends and wives but make remarks about how great the attire would look on you instead.

As always, the good experiences outweigh the bad. I love hearing about why the customer is coming in to shop and what occasion they’re wearing the attire for. I love the emotional experiences with the ones who have survived breast cancer and/or recently had an augmentation. The people that I work with make the day so much easier and remind me why we do what we do. No job in customer service is ever easy, and I understand the rush of the holidays, but my main wish this Christmas is for everyone to be a little more empathetic.