Talking Shop: I worked at Primark and here are their secrets | The Sun

PRIMARK may be heaven for shoppers on the hunt for a trendy bargain – but for the staff manning the tills and keeping the store in check, every day brings something new.

As part of Fabulous’ new series, Talking Shop, we’re lifting the lid on what it’s really like to work in your favourite high street stores.

And this week, we’re meeting Martina Brannigan, 25, from Newcastle, who worked at Primark for one year in her teens.

Here, accountant Martina, who lives with her partner Josh, 30, reveals the area of the store staff are banned from and what’s really kept in the stock room…

“HAVE you got this in another size?”, the customer says, indicating towards a dress she’s holding from our latest collection.

“No, I’m sorry the only sizes we have are on the shop floor at Primark,” I tell her.


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She rolls her eyes and storms off. I can tell she doesn’t believe me but it’s true.

The Primark stockroom is full to the brim with clothes but it’s all new stock – you’ll only see it on the rails once all the old season has sold and the sizes that are out are the only  ones available.

But that didn’t stop customers from getting shirty of course.

Primark was my very first job and starting in December was a true baptism of fire for me.

The queues of shoppers was extraordinary and I just wasn’t prepared for the mess they left behind.

It was absolutely manic and customers would be so rude, they certainly weren’t feeling the holiday spirit.

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By the end of the day you would be dead on your feet, and you couldn’t even take the lift at the end of your shift because staff are banned from using them – don’t ask me why!

The worst part of those busy shifts was being on table duty.

As most regular shoppers will know, Primark loves to put things like jumpers and pyjamas on tables rather than hanging them up.

That’s fine if you’re shopping but for staff it’s hell.

I would be assigned to one table for up to four hours where I would continuously stack jumpers up only to watch customers knock them over time and time again – it was soul destroying.

If I was lucky sometimes I would be assigned ‘greeter’ which is the easiest part of the job, where you would essentially hand out baskets.

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But those baskets were as much a curse as they are a blessing for Primark staff.

Because everything is so cheap, customers tend to fill them to the brim only to reach the checkout and decide they no longer want half of it, leaving me to return the items to the four corners of the store.

Primark might be cheap but that certainly doesn’t deter shoplifters.

One woman came in wearing nothing but a thick coat on a rather humid day – she asked whether she could try on a skirt so of course I said yes.

It was only when she asked whether she could walk out wearing the skirt and take the tag to the tills that things got weird.

When I told her no, she made a run for the exit – but there is only one of those at Newcastle Primark – so she was quickly caught.

Your shopping habits in numbers

We polled our readers to discover your experiences of shopping on the highstree

  • 84% of readers shop in Primark
  • 80% love charity shop hauls
  • 85% find it hard to buy clothes for bigger boobs
  • 80% have had problems with inconsistent sizing
  • 70% have had an online fashion fail experience
  • Over 60% are worried about their spending
  • 80% are tempted to buy returns pallets

Shoplifters were always worst in the fitting rooms and they were always most likely to strike during browsing hours which took place an hour before the tills opened on a Sunday.

People would always use the excuse that there’s no one at the tills, but of course there weren’t because they don’t open until 11.

Staff had a secret manoeuvre if they thought they had spotted a light-fingered customer. 

We would say ‘I’m just going to find the manager’ for example but you would just walk behind the customer to keep an eye on them.

People always ask about the ‘secret’ codes you’ll hear on the tannoy, but it’s nowhere near as exciting as you’d expect.

The numbers just refer to departments and usually whoever is making the announcement is just asking for a hand on the till.

People always ask me about work perks, but when I worked there, there was no staff discount whatsoever apart from in December when you’d get ten per cent off – I never bothered even using it.

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And customers have got no chance of getting any money off either.

As everything is already so cheap, if you show us an item that is damaged don’t expect ten per cent off – we’d just take it off the shop floor.

Fabulous has contacted Primark for a comment.

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