What Do Victoria’s Secret And Wal-Mart Have In Common? They Both Sell Used Underwear

Regardless of the quality of the store you shop at to purchase your unmentionables, you deserve the expectation that the underwear you are buying hasn’t spent time deeply wedged into the sweaty space between other people’s legs. Especially if its labeled ‘new.’

So, whether you are at Wal-mart or Victoria’s Secret, it’s alright to assume that all underwear labeled ‘new’ is legitimately new and not … what’s the opposite of new? Used, right. It shouldn’t be used.

Turns out we shouldn’t be so naive. An investigative report by Today has found that retailers are returning worn underwear and putting it back on the shelves.

[The Rossen Reports team] purchased women’s underwear and removed all the tags. Before returning the undergarments to the stores, the Rossen team put two little dots on each label with black marker to identify the items.

…at Victoria’s Secret, the sales clerk quickly tossed two pairs of returned underwear behind her, and it didn’t take long for both items to wind up back on a table for sale, as new.

It should be noted this happened in New Jersey, where no one should have a reasonable expectation of sanitation or general human decency. The lower you shopped on the store food chain, the worse the behavior got.

At Marshalls the Rossen team bought a set of underwear and a swimsuit, not only taking off all the tags, but also removing the protective liner from the bathing suit so it looked used. When the items were returned, the saleswoman wasted no time putting on new tags. The bikini and underwear were carted out and put right back on the racks as if they were brand new, even though a sales associate assured a Rossen producer that “we can tell if it’s used or not.”

Is it as foul as it sounds? Yes. Yes, it is.

Putting used garments back on sale is “disgusting, and it’s gross, and it’s something that you wouldn’t expect to find at a major retailer,” according to Tiffany Yannetta, managing editor of style and shopping site Racked.com.

“To sell a bathing suit bottom without the sanitary lining would be like selling milk without the seal,” Yannetta said.

Groddy. I wouldn’t buy that shit. What if I was shopping for my [hypothetical] wife and gave her a bra that had someone else’s titty juice on it? I’d probably get accused of purchasing underwear for a paramour, then giving it to her after the paramour had worn it, which is not, Rebecca, is not the case.

Meanwhile, what was the worst offender? The Wally Wally Wally Wally Wal-Mart.

But Yannetta was even more surprised by what happened at Wal-Mart. After the Rossen producer returned the underwear, a hidden camera captured the sales clerk stapling new tags on and tossing the used underwear into a cart of returns.

An associate seemed to realize that the underwear had been used, asking, “You think they wore that?” But when the Rossen team returned to the store the next day, they found the same underwear right back on the rack for sale. (The Rossen team bought the underwear again to remove it from sale.)

All the companies declared the behavior unacceptable and pledged full investigations when informed of the report. Still, best move, from now on, only buy pre-packaged underwear from Uniqlo. And always, always, always sniff first.

[Via the fine gents at Esquire Magazine]