Working at a Hot Topic means interacting with some unusual customers. From a man claiming to be a dragon to awkward encounters with bronies, Hot Topic horror stories are similar to GameStop employee stories - a very interesting read. In the following Reddit threads, former and current Hot Topic employees share their experiences about working at a store that's thought to be a refuge for teenage goth kids.
Not everything is terrifying, though. There are some refreshing stories about the lax dress code and relatively non-judgmental nature of the staff. Does that make up for foul-smelling customers and demanding middle-aged mothers? You can be the judge of that. If you've ever wondered what it's like to work at Hot Topic, these responses should give you a glimpse into that world.
Hot Topic Merchandise Has Changed With The Times
From a former Redditor, asked about whether the store stays true to its roots:
Essentially every thing you wanted back in 2002 to 2005 can still be bought online. However, you have to think of who is actually paying for the product. Most of the time, it's the parents. If it's just a bit more family friendly and approachable by both goth kids and Catholic mothers, the store is going to make more money. Moms love Sons of Anarchy, not so much love for Marilyn Manson. You get the idea.
The Company Has Strict Rules Regarding Employee Interactions
From Redditor /u/exhtemployee:
No shenanigans went on while I was there. The company has a policy forbidding employee interaction outside of the workplace unless everyone that works at that particular location is invited. For instance, if the store manager is having a party and he or she wants to include employees, everyone has to be invited for it to be legit. He or she can't hand pick employees to invite or they risk getting in some hot water if anyone higher than them in the food chain finds out. So, because of this reason, the sexy time is kept to a minimum for the most part.
Although what ends up happening is romances between employees that work in different locations. The store manager of the first location I worked at was dating the manager of another store in our district. This is a-okay with corporate.
Shoplifters Are A Common Occurrence
From Redditor /u/tonysbeard:
I worked at Hot Topic for years. We get a lot of shoplifters at the store and people just kind of f*cking around because a lot of kids's parents just drop them off at the mall so they think, "Hey, let's go f*ck around in Hot Topic." I have a lot of stories about the stupid things prepubescents thought they could get away with in our store that they would never try anywhere else. So, we get kinda wary of any kids coming in by themselves and especially wary when they start just picking things up without any apparent intention to buy them.
They Only Sell Products That Move Fast Due To The Small Size Of Stores
From a former Redditor:
Skinny is in at the moment, although they have Slim Straight fits now. The huge Tripp pants can still be bought online, the same with your obscure punk bands. The target demo has shifted, but the online store remains true to its roots. In a store like HT, if it doesn't sell out, it just sits there collecting dust most of the time. That's why the buyers go for product they know they can move. Otherwise, you end up with 60 pairs of $100 Tripp pants that take up an inordinate amount of space in an already small store.