"Only Blonde Girls Were Allowed To Work The Floor": Former Popular Mall Store Employees Are Sharing Shocking Stories Of What It Was Like To Work There

Many people have had or currently have jobs at a retail store in a mall, and I'm sure a lot of frisky business takes place. I recently asked the people of the BuzzFeed Community to share any juicy secrets and stories they have as employees of popular mall stores. I was shocked to read some of these submissions! Here is what some people shared:

Note: Some of these responses have been edited for length and/or clarity. 

1."I worked as a guest services supervisor at a mall in LA. We shared a kiosk with security. A lot of people had sex in their cars in the parking structure. While one member of security went to stop it, the rest of us were watching on camera and laughing our asses off. We saw a lot on those cameras."

A close-up image of a white security camera with blurred background
Krisanapong Detraphiphat / Getty Images

2."I used to work at a Victoria's Secret PINK store. People came in all the time to return underwear that had been CLEARLY WORN, and one of the managers would still make us accept it. To make it worse, if there were any stains, she would tell us to 'just wipe it' with a wet wipe and put it back on the floor."

—Nina, Illinois

3."I worked at Abercrombie in the fall of 2005 during my freshman year of college. The manager and assistant manager literally would walk around college campuses in cities near the mall for 'hot people.' They really preyed on the young people from small towns, made them feel important, and told them how different or hot they were, and they 'needed' them for the brand. I obviously fell for this being young and impressionable."

Storefront with "Abercrombie & Fitch" signage above the entrance and rainbow flags displayed in the windows

4."I worked at Nordstrom in the mall, and I had to go to the bathroom. The employees, unfortunately, didn't have a designated bathroom. So, walking into the public bathroom, I thought, do my business and be on my way... I was wrong. The stalls in the bathroom have indicators to let someone know if they're occupied. The stall I was about to walk into read 'unoccupied.' I walk in without knocking (something I'll never do again), and who do I see but some jerk off, jerking off. I immediately turn around and leave the restroom entirely, wishing I could bleach my memories."

—Josh, Chicago

5."Back in the 1990s, I worked at a mall kiosk store famous for engraving and glass etching. The mall was open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the mall policy was that every store needed to stay open the entire time the mall was open. At the time, I was the manager. I had only one part-time employee besides myself, so I worked many 14-hour days, often without breaks or lunches. And, as manager, I was salaried, so I wasn't even doing overtime. Eventually, after multiple requests from the district manager for help with hiring (classified ads, whatever), he said I could only put a 'help wanted' sign on the counter. After four months of this, I was burnt out. At the end of a shift one night, I called in the daily sales totals and told him I was quitting. I set the alarm, threw the keys onto the center counter, and left. I would NOT recommend it."


6."Retail store employee here. Nothing is ever really on sale. Or rather, the 'original price' on it was never meant to be sold at that price. '30% off jeans' doesn’t mean jeans are 30% off; it's just that the 'price' they shipped with was marked up by $15 to make you think there’s some great deal happening. Also, not everyone is allowed to use the cash register at any time. When there’s a long line, and you see me folding clothes, don’t yell at me about it. I can’t walk up and randomly decide to open another register unless I wanna get fired."

—Eden, Canada

7."I worked at a Claire's store in the mall just last year. Our back room was so small that we had boxes full of stuffed animals and backpacks labeled and stacked in the employee bathroom. Two people could not comfortably be in the backroom at the same time. It was definitely a health hazard but there was nothing we could do about it."


8."I worked at American Eagle for several years in college, and almost no one knew that you can return their products ANY TIME, even without a receipt, for a store credit at their current sale price. It was never less than $11 (even for jeans 10+ years old), so it’s a good option for anyone wanting to make closet space. They use the SKU code on the jeans to look up the value."

People walk past an American Eagle clothing store with mannequins in the display window on a busy city street

—Brittani, Indiana

Sopa Images / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

9."Shoplifting has always been an issue — it’s nothing new. Customers are becoming more aware of it because thieves are not as concerned about being sneaky since it’s become known most stores will not prosecute. Most stores have a policy prohibiting sales staff from doing anything other than attempting to deter theft. This seems to make many customers angry, as though this is a sign of the downfall of society. Please understand the policy is in place to protect the employees, and nobody should be risking their personal safety over the theft of a dumb t-shirt. Also, ALWAYS WASH NEW CLOTHES BEFORE WEARING! They are coated in preservative chemicals and filthy from falling on the floor or being tried on by people who may or may not have bothered wearing underwear."


10."Sometimes the music that plays in stores at the mall is strategic. The louder the music is played, the more customers the store will bring in. When customers enjoy the music, they shop longer. The longer they shop, the more items they’ll purchase. I’ve seen it happen too often while working at a clothing store at my local mall. I had a general manager who would hook up his own playlists to the speakers in the store & he would blast it. Whether he was opening or closing, I’d watch people flock into our store like crazy during his shifts. When comparing analytics and conversion rates, the customer count and revenue would always increase at a high rate whenever he did this compared to when he’d play the store’s regular playlist at a regular volume. I thought it was genius."

People walking inside Solana Mall, some holding umbrellas. Stores with glass fronts and a high arched ceiling are visible

—Kai, WI

Greg Baker / AFP via Getty Images

11."A lot of the cameras are fake. Just used to deter bad behavior."


12."Whenever you see a store at a mall that is going out of business, keep in mind that though you think you may be scoring some great deals on merchandise and such, no one in the store is making a dime off of anything you buy. Everything is owned by the bank that is liquidating the assets of the business. Everything that was able to be sold to the public had a price tag slapped on it also. Even items that were normally free to customers, such as books of matches that had our shop's logo on them, had a price. The fixtures and displays were all priced to go as an employee who was tasked with making sure that anything and everything that was on the sales floor had a price tag on it. Needless to say, through the two months that we were 'Going out of business' it was quite depressing and chaotic. We were putting price tags on things that I had never even seen before that had been dug out of storage."


13."I worked for the mall itself, customer service. We worked closely with maintenance, housekeeping, and security. I would see mice from time to time when closing up the mall. Housekeeping said it's good to see mice, but you should worry when you don't see mice. It means rats!"

"Also, if you turn in money to the lost and found, it will likely not find its owner. Anything under $50, if it has no distinguishable features (envelope, specific damage, etc.) and wasn't picked up by the end of the night, gets donated to the local children's hospital. Anything $50 and up gets held for a month and then donated.

Finally, you'd be surprised how many people die at the mall. It's a popular spot for the elderly, so...I worked there for four years and saw at least six people die or already pass."


14."I worked for Abercrombie and Fitch in the early 2000s. There was an unspoken but widely understood rule that prettier people were hired to work as 'models' (regular floor staff). Also, Abercrombie and Fitch and Hollister are owned by the same company, so if one store were super shorthanded, they would send us to work at the other store for a shift. Employees weren’t allowed to wear black at all, or they’d be sent home. Apparently, black was too formal for the brand. Every 15 minutes, we’d have to walk around the store and spritz their Fierce cologne, pretty sure I breathed in too much of that to be good for my health. We also took jeans, spritzed them with water, twisted them, clamped them with binder clips, and then let the jeans dry. This was all to give the jeans that perfect wrinkled, worn look."

Row of jeans on hangers in a clothing store with a blurred framed picture of a person in the background


Antonin Utz / AFP via Getty Images

15."I worked at Boscov’s in the shoe department. 90% of the time I spend looking for shoes in your size from the back, I just chill. I know right where the shoe is, but if I take longer then you think I worked harder finding it."


If you have a mall store secret or story, share it with me in the comments below!