Victoria's Secret

Stuck In A Room Full Of Lace Panties Looking For Sexy Boots

Derek Everything Else 39 Comments

Victoria's Secret

It’s not often that I find myself standing in the middle of a room full of women’s lingerie, so when I wandered into a Victoria’s Secret store during my quick stay in New York City last week, I wasn’t at my most comfortable. I tried my best to walk around as if I knew what I was doing, as if I’d been inside that store dozens of times before, but I think my inexperience instantly became obvious the moment I bumped right into a scantily-clad mannequin and accidentally knocked off the Christmas hat that ‘she’ was wearing on her head.

The issue was that, ordinarily, a visit to a women’s undergarment shop, let alone one that offers such an impressively large variety of racy items, is not a part of my normal routine whenever I am back in the US. It’s much more common for me to make stops at electronics stores and bookshops.

However, even though I am more likely to purchase a portable hard drive than a sexy thong, it is important to note that whatever shopping I do partake in during my trips home, I am almost never shopping for myself.

What happens is that every single time I am about to fly back to the States, I suddenly begin receiving ‘requests’. At first, these requests come from friends, friends from whatever destination I will be visiting after my stay in the US is over.

For example, when I left Bucharest at the beginning of February for a two-week trip to Florida and New York, I knew that I would be flying back to Bucharest by the end of the month. So, one of my good Romanian friends asked if I could pick up a Kurt Vonnegut book for her that she had not been able to find in Romania. Sure thing. That’s an easy one.

But somehow, every time, the word quickly spreads and before I know it, I’m receiving requests from friends of friends, cousins of friends, friends of cousins of friends and people whom I never even knew existed before they decided to ask if I could bring them back an iPod and a special kind of chopping board (only if they have it in purple!).

And so it goes…no matter where I’ve traveled over the years, the requests have always poured in from near and far and I’ve always ended up spending a day or two wandering the streets, usually of New York City, shopping for…

laptops, cameras, t-shirts, shoes, belts, socks, jackets, hats, luggage, toys, bed linen, candles, oreo cookies, dvd players, passport holders, pyjamas, memory cards, magazines, travel towels, inflatable swimming pools, beer mugs, baked beans, tripods, board games, dolls and body lotion from Bath & Body Works.

I can understand. Many items are simply not available in other parts of the world and not only that, if they are available, they are often much more expensive than they are in the US. This is why, over the years, I’ve been more than happy to do some shopping during my trips home and bring back whatever has been requested by my friends, and some strangers, overseas.

And that’s exactly how I ended up in Victoria’s Secret just three days ago…

A friend of a friend of a friend in Romania, who had heard that I was going to New York City, kindly asked if I could buy her a pair of red Victoria’s Secret boots. ‘Why not?’, I thought. I’m always up for a new adventure and so, while in the Big Apple, through the doors of this famous lingerie retailer I went.

However, after two minutes of not being able to locate the boot section, I quickly found myself feeling a little flustered and quite trapped within this intense maze of lace panties and bright pink “Very Sexy” push-up bras. Everywhere I looked I saw more panties, but no boots. At one point, not sure where to go, I quickly turned a corner and that’s when I bumped into the mannequin, knocking off her hat and having to quickly grab her bare thighs in order to ensure that she didn’t fall over as well. Naturally, this created quite a commotion and everyone in the store immediately looked over at me.

Then, a saleswoman approached, I asked her where I could find the boots, she told me that the boots were only available on their website and I turned around and bolted out of there.

This was not my most successful of shopping missions at all. And it even made me question whether or not I want to continue with this part-time career as a personal shopper. Do I deserve to go through such embarrassment when all I’m trying to do is help a nice girl in Romania be able to wear a pair of sexy, fiery red, high-heel canvas boots?

Well, it should come as no surprise that, later that afternoon, when I received an email from another friend of a friend in Romania, asking if I could bring him back some kind of special white samurai sword that costs $150 USD less in the US than in Europe, I responded to his request in a way that I had never done before.

I said, ‘no’.


Do you receive similar shopping requests when you’re about to visit your home country? Or have you ever been the one doing the requesting?

Photo above by Lucero Design
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Comments 39

  1. wally

    when working in the middle east it was a regular thing to bring home mail to post in the U.K. and to take back certain items like perfume and scanties that would go on to a girl or wife somwere else but after getting turned over by customs at both ends a couple of times well enough is enough as they say

    1. Earl

      Hey Wally – That makes sense to me…a couple of thorough customs inspections and that’s definitely a good reason to stop being a personal shopper! And it’s a perfectly valid excuse so nobody can complain when you tell them ‘no’ 🙂

  2. Ron | Active Planet Travels

    Hahahahahaha!!! I must say I’ve gotten some pretty decent request to bring stuff back for family and friends (ie a snow globe from Aspen, a creepy wooden mayan figure from Peru, and other things) but never have I received a request like this….way to keep your fans happy! 😉 hahaha Great write up!

    1. Earl

      Hey Ron – Good to know you’re familiar with this personal shopping stuff as well and seems like you’ve had quite a wide variety of requests too 🙂 It certainly does keep people happy as you know…

      And it’s funny because tonight I’m about to go out to a pub here in Bucharest and meet up with some friends, one of whom is the person who asked for the boots. Hopefully she won’t be too upset that I didn’t find them in NYC!

  3. Vishal

    Funny. I have brought laptops for my family as well as for some friends. Apart from some small gifts, that’s all. Never done any requesting yet though.

    1. Earl

      Hey Bula – Haha…it’s an idea! And you’re in Southeast Asia, I should be asking you to bring me a new sarong and a tuk-tuk 🙂

  4. Gary Huynh

    It’s tough to say no because you may be hurting your friends’ feelings. However, they should respect your time. I don’t like to go run errands when I’m traveling because my time is valuable so I never ask a friend to do so for me unless it is critical.

    1. Earl

      Hey Gary – That is true but in the end, I also do like to help people out whenever I can, which is why I usually say ‘yes’. Also, when I’m in NYC, during the day my friends and family are at work anyway, so I have some free time to run around…but I will start regulating these requests a little more closely from now on 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Samuel – More like the things we do for our friends of friends and strangers! And I’ll throw on the boots for Halloween if you don a pair of high heels yourself 🙂

  5. Patricia GW

    Awww, poor Earl! It’s a really intimidating store for a guy to shop alone. When I was in California, I met a guy from Brazil who shopped until his credit card was maxed out. He said everything was cheaper in the US, so he was taking shopping requests from all his family and friends. Have you ever experienced it the other way around – shopping outside the US for American friends?

    1. Earl

      Hey Patricia – Haha…I would have been okay if there was actually a boot section in the store! And I haven’t really experienced it the other way around because most of my friends from home haven’t traveled enough to know what is out there and what they would want me to bring back home for them. So luckily, my backpack is usually quite empty when I fly to the US 🙂

  6. Melissa Anderson

    This post brings up a question that I have, which is probably way too personal but I can’t help but ask. Is it difficult to have a normal sex life when you are traveling so much? I guess it’s difficult to define ‘normal’… but you know what I mean.

    And now I’m wondering, should I really ask this question? Should I press the ‘post comment’ button and make Earl feel uncomfortable? I can’t be the only person who is thinking this.

    1. Earl

      Hey Melissa – I guess you went ahead and pressed the ‘post comment’ button on this one 🙂 But don’t worry (which clearly you didn’t!), this question doesn’t make me feel nearly as uncomfortable as my excursion to Victoria’s Secret. Anyway, yes, normal is a bit difficult to define but I would say that there really isn’t anything out of the ordinary or too challenging in terms of a sex life while on the road. You meet people just as you do at home, you spend time with some, you have actual relationships with a handful of those… in fact, you probably meet and socialize with more new people while on the road than at home as I tend to meet new people every day, no matter where I am. And the travel social scene is quite active, especially around hostels or in cities that are popular with travelers…so the odds are quite good that you’ll end up interacting with someone who you will connect with (and which will lead to something) to some degree. I hope that answers the question!

  7. Matthew Cheyne

    You had me at lace panties 🙂 I must admit I wouldn’t have said yes to all the requests that you’ve had to buy stuff on people’s behalf. There are tonnes of forwarding companies US based and otherwise who do this sort of this for a nominal fee of usually 5 percent of the purchase involved. Maybe you could refer people there instead.

    1. Earl

      Hey Matthew – That should do the trick and I’m sure that my friends and friends of friends would not actually go through with it if they had to use a forwarding company. But at least it gives me a break from doing some shopping!

  8. Linda

    Sooo funny! I agree that a video would have been great!

    As as expat I guess I’m very familiar with this, yes. I’ve brought all sorts of rubbish back for friends who “can’t” find a substitute for something on the islands. The baggage weight restrictions we have now are actually a godsend – makes it so much easier to say “No, sorry. I won’t have the weight to spare!”

    1. Earl

      Hey Linda – That is another great excuse and nobody can argue with that one…I’m not sure why I haven’t been using it already! Time to start I guess 🙂

  9. Meg | One Love Meg

    Hilarious. I can understand how Victoria’s Secret can be intimidating. I can’t imagine if I had to go into a mens jock strap/brief store. 🙂 I have never had to buy anything on request for anyone because most of the people I know live in the states but if I did, I would just remind them how light I am traveling and that I won’t have room to pack it. I guess you could always send it….. but I will stick to my excuse. 😉

    1. Earl

      Hey Meg – That is certainly a valid excuse and I have used it on occasion if the requests become too much. Otherwise I just take a larger carry-on and fill it up with the stuff I’ve bought. But I think after this experience, I just might use the ‘sorry, I’m traveling light’ excuse a little more often 🙂

  10. Someday I'll Be There - Mina

    Oh man I was just about to ask you for an iPad that you’d keep it with you until we bump into each other on the road! What a bummer! Lol

    I’m sorry for your embarrassment but I had to laugh, this must have been bad:D but well it made for a good post 😛

    1. Earl

      Hey Mina – Oh, that is a shame 🙂 And I won’t be headed back to the US for a while now. But maybe I should ask you to bring something for me…I can play the role of ‘requester’ as well!

  11. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    While I was living in Buenos Aires, I realized that all the expats look for friends of friends to “mule” stuff in because the government taxes imports so much, but they also don’t have any companies that can make the same stuff at the same quality. I got some Dove chocolates and Burt’s Bees 🙂

  12. Ali

    Hilarious! There’s only so much you can do. I can understand helping out a close friend but when your friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s dogwalker starts asking you to pick something up, it’s getting a little out of control.

    1. Earl

      Hey Ali – It does get a little out of control and I think I might implement a new rule where I won’t buy things for anyone who is more than one person removed from an actual friend!

  13. Scott

    I think knowing when to say “no” is a very good thing. A samurai sword is a definite “no”. The boots, well…without a picture (which she could have probably looked up on the internet and provided you with) I probably would have also said no. In your situation a “yes” is a good thing, as it’s a you rub my back, I’ll rub yours type of thing as friends let you stay over, etc…but saying no is ok for you, as it is for them. You have to set boundaries…and it sounds like you have, so…it’s a good thing. By the way, next time you are in Vienna, could you bring me a…….lol

    1. Earl

      Hey Scott – I did have photo of the boots as I generally won’t buy anything unless the person gives me specific instructions and a specific item to buy. I certainly don’t want to spend even more time trying to choose something for someone I don’t know…but you are right, if I do manage to find the item, then usually it works in my favor in the end!

      And as for Vienna, sorry, but, umm…I think the Austrian government just made a new rule in which foreigners are no longer allowed to take anything out of the country 🙂

  14. Adam Mayfield

    lol brilliant post! I chuckled a few times. I’ve spent more time in Victoria’s Secret than I care to admit. Although someone did tell me once (Dad) that going in there with a woman is like being able to pick out your own birthday present. 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Adam – You dad’s words make sense to me…unfortunately, I was shopping for a stranger and certainly wasn’t going to benefit from those boots! I guess I should have sought your advice before walking into that store considering that you’ve spent a good amount of time in there!

    1. Earl

      Hey Matthew – Had I known this trip to Victoria’s Secret would be a disaster ahead of time, I would have been more than happy to have filmed it 🙂

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