We recently asked the people from the BuzzFeed Community who have worked in luxury retail to tell us what it was like. Here are the surprising results:

1."I worked for a boutique retail store geared toward Maserati-driving soccer moms. Someone came in with their 80-year-old sugar daddy, who stood and pointed at everything he wanted her to wear and dropped $1,200 on outfits for her. She walked in with her husband a week or two later like we didn’t recognize her from before."

"If we remembered anyone, it was the people who dropped four figures on clothing."


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2."I worked for Michael Kors, and the theft was unreal. While working one night, a group of known offenders came into the store and started grabbing handbags while making it known that employees couldn’t do anything about it. They were threatening anyone who even thought about trying to stop them, and customers were frozen in fear. After all was said and done, they got away with thousands of dollars in merchandise. I called the mall police who called in the city police, but the thieves were long gone."

"When I notified my manager, her first question was, 'How much did they get?' She never once asked if everyone was OK, physically or mentally. Her main concern was merchandise, which is insured and can be replaced. I quit three weeks later."

—39, Texas

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3.I worked in a high-end chain retail store for a long time on several malls. One of them pretty prominent in the Philly area. I had a few customers who would come in with their wife, and then later, their mistress. A lot of Amex black cards (this was the early 2000s) and a weekly visit — and sometimes lunch — from Bam Margera and his then-girlfriend!!"


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4."I worked for a very high-end luxury department store for six years. Let me tell you every single person, including myself, is doing some shady stuff. 'Accidentally' marking down items, hiding stock, stealing, hooking up with other coworkers and clients in the back, coke in the fitting rooms, getting items delivered to the wrong address on purpose, etc. The worst was we found out our store manager was using the client book to steal credit card numbers and got arrested. Great designer clothing, though."

—29, Las Vegas, Nevada

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5."I worked for a high-end retailer for home decor. The amount of people who would begin the call with their job title was very high. It gave an air of 'I think I’m more important than you.' And most of the time, they did act like they thought their 💩 didn’t stink. I was berated and threatened by many 'lawyers' about back orders or damaged items I had no control over, told how 'important' the order was, had people asking if they could be bumped up in the order line because they needed it for a 'VIP party,' or some other BS."

"The company itself was pretty shady about manufacturing practices also. They abused the 'made in USA' label in that only part of the furniture had to be made in the US for them to have that label, and they would get some parts from China, which really pissed people off when they discovered it on their pieces. I’m so glad I’ve long since left that place."


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6."Always be nice to the associate showing you shoes. I worked at a luxury department store, and so many times a colleague of mine would come to the back stock room, not look for a shoe, and just tell the customer we didn’t have it because 1) they didn’t think they would end up buying it, 2) the customer would return it within a week, or 3) they just didn’t like them."


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7."A lot of 'luxury' items are made in Asia, but the brands use loopholes that make it look like it was made in Europe or in the US to give the illusion it wasn't mass-produced next door to the Gap sweatshops. There was a big ruckus years ago about some brands getting purses made in India and only getting them finished in Europe, but it was only spoken about in the industry — never made it to the public. Lots of high-end 'American' jewelry is made in Hong Kong."

"Designer brands all have outrageous markups. They could sell at 80% off and still make money, but they rarely have deep discounts because they don't want 'the wrong kind of people' buying, so unsold inventory is usually destroyed."

—Anonymous, Toronto, Canada

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8."A sugar daddy came into our store with his two 'babies' — they were sisters, by the way. They had gotten him drunk at lunch and went around the store picking out clothes, handbags, and shoes. Anytime he would ask about the price of something, they would kiss his cheek and whisper things in his ear to shut him up. It was really disturbing. In the end, he spent, like, $20K on them. Who knows what he did or how he got that money. They all looked happy in the end, so it worked out, I guess?"

—26, California

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9."I worked as the assistant to one of the in-house personal shoppers at a high-end department store in Beverly Hills. Some of these extremely wealthy clients would not purchase anything in a size that was labeled anything different than the size they thought they were in their heads. So, I would be sent to the alterations department with multiple couture items that needed their size tags 'switched.' I would take them garments in a size 8, and they would remove the inside tags and sew in a new designer tag that would say it was a size 2 instead — even though the woman buying the clothes was definitely not a size 2. I was shocked that my boss made me do this, and I felt like I was committing some type of fraud. Now, I just look back and feel sorry for those women that needed to be fed a lie in order to buy clothes."

—48,  Los Angeles, California

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10."I worked at Nordstrom in downtown San Francisco (which is now closing) in the designer section. A famous news reporter came in (who was married) with a younger lady friend and bought her $3K in clothes in about eight minutes. Nordstrom also has a 'million dollar sellers club' for the sales associates that obviously sell over a million a year; they get special assistants to help them sell. The busiest time was the anniversary sale where professional women from all over the country would make appointments at our store with these associates to come and pick up their clothes or have them shipped out."

"Customers were mostly pleasant at Nordstrom, although I did have a man try to come to return a pair of shoes from 1993. And yes, I did it. But only gave him the value of what they’re worth today. Oh, and I met Michael Kors's mom when she came in to present a new line of his."

—30, California

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11."Saw Christian Slater at an art store I worked at. One of the featured paintings was of him from Heathers. He said he'd buy it if I could give him a discount."

—34, Texas

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12."I had a client who would buy three of the same item — one for his wife, the other two for his side pieces. He said he'd buy the same things so he didn't forget who he gave which item or get confused and blow his cover. And there were many, many of these guys who would do the same. We also had a lot of cash purchases that usually still had drug residue on the bills."

—39, Pennsylvania

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13."I worked in a women’s boutique in an affluent area outside of San Francisco. It was easy to distinguish the rich from the wealthy by how they treated our sales associates when the owner wasn’t around. Rich customers were some of the rudest and most insufferable people I have ever encountered while working retail. I’ve had shoe boxes thrown at me and full glasses of wine spilled on designer handbags without as much as an apology. In contrast, the truly WEALTHY were the most unassuming and appreciative."

"We got a lot of lonely housewives of tech millionaires (and billionaires) coming into our store regularly just to chat for an hour or two between spin classes and spa breaks. They were an absolute pleasure."

—30, California

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14."Not necessarily 'luxury,' but I sold high-end designer watches once and had a customer come in whose English was wanting. The associate who was helping her became frustrated at this and asked me to take over. Turned out, the customer ended up practically clearing the counters! A little patience goes a long way."

"Also, turns out...some associates buy up newly released products, or hide them 'in the back,' to sell on eBay."


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15."I worked at a large luxury department store in the UK, and the customers who didn't have money were so rude. We had a few regulars who would come in and buy the odd candle or designer jumper every now and then, and if you couldn't bend everything to their whim, they would become so aggressive it was unreal. The customers who would regularly do large orders with us or were shopping with us daily, however, were some of the nicest, most polite people I've ever met. One day, close to Christmas, we had a family come in with their children who proceeded to absolutely terrorize the store. When we approached them and told them they needed to control their children, they screamed that they were spending a lot of money and didn't have to do anything we asked. They spent around £200 on the cheapest things they could find in store."

"Our next customer came in with children, too, and one of them broke a rather expensive vase by accident and proceeded to panic quite a bit. She calmed him down while her other children stood quietly looking at toys. She insisted on paying for the damage (I knew it wouldn't be much for her), but we told her she really didn't have to since it was an accident. She proceeded to buy every single staff member a bottle of our best champagne (around £600) and wished us a Merry Christmas. I feel like it shows you don't get anywhere in life without being nice to people."


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16."I worked at Rolex for exactly 30 days during busy season as their 'ambassador,' meaning I was every sales person's sales assistant and the store manager's personal assistant. Any time someone would come in and sit down to discuss a purchase, it was my job to offer fancy coffee and sparkling water; I'd then take down the order, run across the street to the boutique coffee shop, cut the line, and pay nothing (because Rolex had a limitless tab set up). When I wasn't doing that, I would be handed the boss's Amex and car keys and told to go shopping for his holiday gifting with a vague direction of 'this high-end store, no more than this amount' (which was usually a couple grand)."

"Celebs and other well-known millionaires came in at least once a day, and there were always stacks of cash — like an only-see-in-movies amount of cash — in the back after large sales."

—30, California

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And finally...

17."There are demanding customers — especially the ones who pretend that they have the money but don't. Many of the repeat customers, especially socialites, often buy expensive outfits to wear to a fundraiser or major event and return them a few days later for all sorts of odd reasons. These ladies can't be seen in the same outfit again, so they constantly wear and return garments. One time, a lady returned an expensive designer dress and claimed that she hadn't worn it, but was caught in a lie when the salesperson showed her a picture of her in it from the society column of a newspaper. She was stunned and said that she had forgotten what she had worn to that event. I've seen women try on expensive clothes and throw them in the corner of the dressing room instead of hanging the garment back on the rack or laying it on the chair in the room. There were women who would buy the same garment somewhere else on sale and return it to store to get a full price refund."

"There were always women who ordered clothes during designer truck shows and not show up to pay for garments when they arrive. And the most disgusting thing I witnessed was women who would wear and return expensive handbags and/or garments with stains on them and sometimes smelled like bad body odor. I've seen it all!"

—Anonymous, 50s

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