The question posed by this Today show video is, “Have retailers stopped selling used lingerie?”
Um, WTF?!? Did I miss the memo? Were retailers selling used lingerie in the first place? I swear to God, if Victoria’s Secret is to blame for my HPV…
Turns out, friends, that the answer (guard your vaginas) is yes (re: the lingerie, not my HPV). As a creepy dude narrates the sting operation, saying things like “our thongs” and “our bikini,” viewers watch as several unscrupulous retailers are caught retagging returned undies and putting them back on the shelf after the panty-detectives bought the underwear, cut the tags off, took off the sticky lining that goes down the crotch, and then stained the underwear using baby oil.
I have the kind of tingle in my spine right now that is usually reserved for crushed snails that I accidentally re-crush on the sidewalk. Not cool, Bloomingdale’s, Victoria’s Secret, and The GAP. Not. Cool.
One New Yorker in the video is quoted as saying, “You don’t want grossness down there, especially if it’s foreign grossness.” Well, there’s no need for xenophobia, but she does make a good point. Grossness is usually what you’re trying to get rid of when you buy new undies, so you can throw away ones that you’ve been wearing since college, or upon which your monthly visitor made her mark, perhaps even more than once.
A former Victoria’s Secret employee is also interviewed, saying that at a few of the locations where she worked, employees would simply hang the returned underwear up overnight to let the funk air out, then retag and put it back on the shelves. First, I have to wonder if that’s store policy, or mayhem devised by a bored, townie manager, perhaps to get back at someone who fucked her ex-boyfriend. But even if it wasn’t quite that malicious, if you’re letting employees resell dirty undies, what is the likelihood that a memo from corporate asking you to stop is going to get anywhere? Having worked retail myself, I can safely say that new policies are not always followed, especially at chains like Victoria’s Secret where one would be hard-pressed to even deliver a message to all stores, let alone have every gum-smacking 17-year-old who works there pay attention.
Either way, the good news is that when the panty raiders went back, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, GAP and Bloomingdale’s all passed the test on the second time around. Marshall’s and Wal-Mart, on the other hand, let the baby-oil stained garments return to the rack.
Almost as disturbing as the whole idea of rebuying used panties, though, is the near-final clip of the dude filming the video asking an older lady who works at Marshall’s about the store’s policy on not taking back bathing suits and underwear without the tags. “It’s unsanitary?,” he asks. “Yeah, definitely,” she says. “Dirty?,” he queries. “Dirty. Very Dirty.”
Ew. Don’t say “dirty,” dude, when you’re talking about used panties. Maybe next time you leave the panty buying and exchanging to the ladies.