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17 Secrets And Stories From People Who Worked At Hot Topic In The Early 2000s


17 Secrets And Stories From People Who Worked At Hot Topic In The Early 2000s

“The most complaints we got were about having Happy Bunny merchandise in the window.”

1. “Back in the day, our best customers were strippers, so we always had a ton of singles in the register.”


2. “My worst day on the job was when a girl came in to return her belly button ring. I asked her to give it to me so I could make sure that we could return it — all piercings had to be in the original packaging and unused — and she proceeded to lift up her shirt and take out the piercing. I didn’t even know what to say as she handed it over. I called the manager over and walked away!”


3. “On more than one occasion, parents did complain to the mall that we had an ‘offensive’ shirt or sign visible from the outside. The most complaints we got were about the Happy Bunny merchandise.”


4. “I worked there several times throughout the late ’90s–early 2000s. There was a coveted award back then known as the Crimson Skull Award. Hardly anyone ever got it. Your store had to be running perfectly in all aspects: loss prevention, customer service, sales, merchandising, training — and I won it back in 2005 (or maybe 2006)!”


5. “Corporate would have us go to shows (they wouldn’t pay for it, of course) so we could report back on what everyone was wearing to gauge what trends would come next.”


6. “Getting pierced by your coworkers was the norm. I once got a basement tongue piercing from the mohawk’d 40-something-year-old who worked there!”


7. “One time, a lady passing by the store said we sold ‘the devil’s panties.'”


8. “Hot Topic used to have an annual manager meeting and have bands perform like Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Weezer, Korn, Flogging Molly, and Alice Cooper (who even had his own employee account since he loved the store so much!). Also, every year at the manager meeting, usually two or three employees would get fired because of their shenanigans.”


9. “I SAW SO. MANY. NIPPLES. Everyone with a nipple ring wanted to show them off and would lift their shirt up to ask what size the piercing was. This was not limited to customers!!!”


10. “I remember we had these Super Mario energy drinks that never sold AND were never restocked or replaced, so the same drinks sat on the shelf for, like, THREE YEARS!


11. “I worked there when I was 17–18 and it was the height of the first Twilight craze. It was rough. The majority of the clientele were flocks of loud teenage girls who would unfold every single shirt or middle-aged women who would buy a ton of stuff but never leave. All the punk and goth stuff was on its way out by that time.”


12. “More than once, I had to kick guys out for jerking off in the fitting rooms.”


13. “I really liked trying to help those lost parents. I made sure to be soft with them, because I figured shopping there was the best way they knew how to support their child who was ‘different.'”


14. “The best part of the job was the discount. I once bought some gift and got 90% off. I also became a fan of Coheed and Cambria because one of the supervisors played their new album on loop. I’ve kept up with their music since.”


15. “We always had teens hanging out in front of the store and the managers would send us, more teens, over to stop them from loitering. It was awkward.”


16. “Our stock room was the size of an elevator, and was split with the bathroom. If someone took a dump, then that’s what the merch would smell like. That’s when we’d Febreze the clothes!”


17. “It was always so obvious that the younger customers were trying SO HARD to be cool. I could see through their attempts right away, but I loved validating them and watching them turn into actual cool kids after a few years.”


Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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