A former Primark employee has revealed the top secrets customers need to know when shopping with the clothing giant.
Georgia Ponton, 20, has dished the dirt on everything from how and where you can find popular sized clothing that appears to be out of stock, to how to find out what items will be going on sale after Christmas.
Originally from Kettering in Northamptonshire, the university student worked at Primark during the weekends after college, back in July 2017.
Georgia has now shared insider tips on what her experience was like and the best ways to shop at the popular fast-fashion chain as a customer.
Firstly, while it may sound obvious, always hide your best stash if you’re planning to come back for it later.
Where to find hidden stock
Georgia explained how both staff and shoppers would hide their favourite pieces in strange locations around the store when new releases arrived, as these items quickly run out of popular sizes.
However, most customers forget they put these items away – so it’s always worth a look elsewhere if you’re struggling to find a size.
The ex-employee recommends starting with corners of the shop and lower racks, especially in the nightwear section.
“All the popular stuff goes very quickly,” she said. “The most popular sizes, which are 8, 10 and 12 will go and once they’re gone, they’re gone.
“But sometimes people are undecided about a piece of clothing and will hide it in case they want to come back and get it.
“They almost always forget about it but sometimes if you check right at the back of the rails that are still quite full, some people hide stuff there.
“And in corners of the store. Since a lot of people glance over areas that are in front of them, the corners of the store are sometimes the most forgotten about.
“There was one particular corner in the pyjama section, on the lowest rack, where people would hide stuff.
“When I used to work and I saw something I want to buy on my break, I would put it in that corner too and come and collect it when I was on my break.
“Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure my managers knew I did that.
“It was so hard to not spend all your money in there since we worked around the clothes all the time and saw the items as they first hit the shelves.”
What’s going on sale after Christmas
It’s well-known that customers can often bag a bargain between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. So if you have your eye on a particular item, ask Primark staff if it is going up for sale after Christmas, as they know this in advance.
Georgia said: “Since staff have to be prepared for the upcoming sales, like Boxing Day or New Year’s Day, they might be given a piece of paper with all the things in their department that are going on sale.
“If you like something but think that it could be going out of season or there aren’t many left, ask a supervisor or manager.
“If it’s going on sale soon, and they should be able to tell you, then you can decide whether to buy it then or come back.”
Don’t try and cheat the system
Georgia added that some customers removed reduced red labels and pasted it on other clothes, hoping to bring the price down at the tills – however, this does not work as the prices are already scanned into the system.
She said: “We know what’s on sale and what’s not.
“If you come to the till with a piece of clothing and it has one of the red reduced-price stickers on the label but it scans as full price on the till then it’s full price.
“On very rare occasions, if it’s supposed to be on sale and we have to get our supervisor to go and check to see if the other ones are on sale and how much it is, and only then can they put the price down.
“So many times, people take the stickers from the reduced section and put them on the non-reduced clothes.
“The more you complain about not getting the discount, the longer it’ll take for you.
“Screaming at our face telling us to put the price down just because there’s a sticker on it isn’t going to work because we can’t do that, someone higher up has to do it and that’s the store losing money.
“It’s not our fault, we just scan the clothes.”
Where the items are in the store
The first two numbers on the sort code of a price tag are the department that the clothing item belongs to.
If you see a top that you like in a random spot and want to find a different size, look at the tag to find it.
Georgia said: “Each department has a number. If you look at the tag, the first two numbers on a six number sort code show you the number of the department you’re buying from.
“All women’s clothes start with 08 because women’s is department eight.
“All women’s bras, pyjamas and underwear have 04 on them because it’s department four. All men’s clothes have 06 because it’s department six.
“So, if you see a top you like but you can’t tell if it’s a men’s or women’s, look for the code!
“For reference, 01: Accessories, 02: Hosiery (socks), 04: Lingerie and Loungewear, 06: Menswear, 07: Footwear, 08: Womenswear, 11: Homeware and 16: Men’s Accessories.”
Georgia has also witnessed customers switching their clothes with Primark items and simply walking out of the shop.
On some occasions, others have tried to purchase items that weren’t even from Primark – which are likely left-overs from a swap theft.
She said: “This is very rare but it has happened to me, people switch the clothes they’re wearing for the ones on the hanger and walk out.
“I had a customer I was serving on the till and she wanted to buy a top but said it didn’t have the price tag on.
“If it doesn’t have a tag on, we manually put in the code on the label into the till and it should be on the system.
“I checked the label of this one piece of clothing and it wasn’t even from Primark! I had to break the news to her and tell my supervisor.”
What the bells mean
If you ever hear three rings on the bell, be careful – it signals that there is some form of emergency going on.
Georgia said: “The bells ringing in Primark have different meanings.
“One ring is to alert the floor staff that help is needed on the tills, two rings are to alert supervisors and site managers, and three rings is to signal for an emergency.”
Despite some unfortunate experiences with unhappy customers, Georgia thoroughly enjoyed working at Primark.
She added: “I loved working at Primark. My first job as a waitress was awful and put me off working in food forever.
“When I heard a Primark was opening up at the new shopping complex, I jumped at the chance.
“Since I started from the beginning, everyone was in the same boat and we all saw what the store looked like without any clothes or stock in.
“They brought in staff from all over the country to help us set up so we knew what we were doing.”