Today Show to Big Retailers: Show Us Your Dirty Underalls
Newman and Redford have nothing on the Today Show! Their shocking hidden camera investigation peeled back the sanitation strip of secrecy to reveal retailers such as Victoria’s Secret, Wal*Mart and Marshalls engaged in the unsettling practice of accepting soiled chonies for return and in some cases reselling those same items – as new – to unsuspecting customers:
The news team removed price tags and hygienic strips from panties, stained them with baby oil, and marked tags with two black dots for identification purposes. All of the stores accepted the soiled returns, and the show’s investigators found the merchandise back on the shelves at Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale’s. A Victoria’s Secret whistle-blower told Rossen it was common practice to put returned panties back on sale. Fortunately, the stained undergarments were not found at J.Crew or Saks.
Following the embarrassing exposure – reminsicient of those “Behind the Kitchen Door” hidden camera stings from LA in the 90s – both retailers Wal*Mart and Marshall’s swiftly issued statements:
Statement from Walmart spokesperson David Tovar:
“Selling undergarments or swimwear that may have been worn and returned is unacceptable and something we will not tolerate. We are taking this very seriously and working quickly to determine what happened. In the meantime, we are sending a notification to all field managers and Walmart store associates to reinforce the proper guidelines for handling returned undergarments and swimwear. To be clear, returned undergarments or swimwear that are un-packaged or un-sealed should never be placed back on the sales floor, regardless of their condition.”
Statement from Marshalls spokesperson Sherry Lang:
“At Marshalls, we take customer concerns very seriously and appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention. It is our store policy not to accept used or worn merchandise for refund, including bathing suits. Although we have not been able to investigate this particular situation, it appears that a used bathing suit may have been mistakenly accepted for return in one of our stores. We have communicated with our stores reinforcing our merchandise return policy.”
Having worked at numerous retail outlets the results of this undercover investigation did not surprise me. What did surprise me was the lack of analysis as to why it was so easy for the undies to be returned in the first place. For one thing, many stores are getting more nervous about not furnishing refunds to a customer possessing a valid receipt, regardless of the condition of the item. That said it doesn’t explain why several employees were seen returning the funky frillies to the salesfloor without noticing the stink make wavy lines in front of their faces.
I know times are rough, but has it really come to this – folks returning used chonies and retailers gladly accepting them for return and giving them another ride on the heinie-go-round?