Abbie Walsh-Greenfield, a 20-year-old blogger from Wales, was shopping with a friend at Victoria's Secret Cardiff location on Monday, January 30, when she approached by one of the store's staff members.
Rather than asking the 20-year-old if she needed help finding anything, the salesperson had the nerve to ask, "Are you aware of the sizing in this store?"
Walsh-Greenfield claims the rude staff member was insinuating that she was too large to be shopping in the lingerie store.
The unnecessary comment left Walsh-Greenfield feeling victimized, so when she got home from shopping that day she decided to write an open letter on her blog, Dream0graphy, that called out the body-shaming salesperson.
In the painfully honest letter, Walsh-Greenfield wrote,
Stores like this don't intimidate me. Walking around this store is the same as walking around the next. I didn't feel uncomfortable by the lack of XL's (I actually don't believe that I saw one in that size, anyway), nor by the 5 X-Smalls, 4 Smalls, 2 Medium, 1 Large and 0 X-Large ratio that seemed to be a common theme on the rails around the store. It wasn't even that, that had bothered me.
As she browsed through the store, lacy pink shorts caught her eye, and she began searching for a pair.
In the blog post, she wrote,
I flicked through with determination this time, looking for an XL and flicking through again for a L when the XL was clearly one of those 'order online' sizes. I found my L, (the only L on the rail, may I add) and turned around to see my friend a few meters away, wandering around the bras.
As she looked for her size, the sales assistant walked past her "average-sized" friend and approached the blogger.
According to Walsh-Greenfield,
I turned around with the large lacy, pink, baggy, elasticated bed shorts in hand, and went to head for my friend to show her my 'might-fit-me-might-be-tight-but-worth-it' bed shorts.
That's when the savage sales assistant asked Walsh-Greenfield the hurtful question, "Are you aware of the sizing in this store?”
Walsh-Greenfield was understandably caught off guard by the salesperson's outrageous inquiry and after a moment of silence she responded to the women saying, “Yes, fine, thanks.”
But the crude, body-shaming comment left the blogger feeling so uncomfortable, she actually left the store.
According to Walsh-Greenfield,
I shuffled away, with my tail between my legs. I didn't even want to hold the shorts anymore. I walked over to my friend, who was being helped by a lovely lady, and I stood there in silence for about 10 seconds. Before walking back over to the rail that I picked up the cutest bed shorts ever from, and I put them back down. My friend knew there was something wrong, but I laughed it off. I actually said the words, “It doesn't even matter, I'm literally fine.” But it seemed that this hadn't only mildly affected me.
Walsh-Greenfield's friend was also upset about the way the saleswomen had treated the blogger and wanted to go back to the store to complain.
However, Walsh-Greenfield wrote in the post, "I didn't want to go back to complain, I didn't feel welcome."
Walsh-Greenfield then decided to take her business elsewhere, spending $125 in an Ann Summers store that made her feel comfortable.
At the end of the letter, she tries to make sense of the sales assistant's question, writing,
I don't actually know what the sales assistant meant by her comment, but surely there's no two ways about it. I can't even imagine another sentence that she could have tried to say.
Victoria's Secret responded to incident, stating,
Victoria's Secret expects that all customers be treated with respect. We are reaching out to the customer and will take the appropriate actions as we're committed to ensuring that everyone feels welcome in our stores.
Ann Summers also commented on Walsh-Greenfield's eye-opening letter, saying,
We are thrilled that Abbie found what she needed and that she received a positive shopping experience from our amazing store colleagues. We believe all women are beautiful, whatever their size. Curves and confidence go hand in hand, and there's nothing sexier than being comfortable in your own skin.
Based on this experience, it looks like Victoria's Secret could learn a thing or two about body positivity from its rival store.