When I was 16, I needed an easy job that could fund my many expenses (like the two beers that got me drunk on the weekends and movie tickets for 7pm on Fridays). The mall was an obvious choice, since I’d always have someone to hang with on breaks (the place employed my entire high school) and I’d have a sweet employee discount.
This was a bad, bad decision. Little did I know when I started at Abercrombie & Fitch that I would come home every night nursing sore legs and an achy jaw from a 5-hour shift standing at the entrance asking shoppers to “try our new sexy fleece.” (WHAT IS A SEXY FLEECE!?) Then, it took me 4 days to wash the smell of boy’s cologne out of my clothes, and don’t even get me started on the hits my self-esteem took when I was banished to the stock room on bad hair days. The place was a hell-hole and to this day I can’t walk past the shirtless girls modeling the newest bikinis the storefront without shuddering (and it has nothing to do with the overwhelming scent of cologne). So it makes me beyond joyful to find out that I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Corporate Responsibility magazine (don’t worry – I don’t have a subscription either) is in the works to publish a corporate “black list” of the worst companies in America. Not surprisingly, Abercrombie and Fitch is on the top of the list. While Corporate Responsibility’s reasons for blacklisting Abercrombie are a bit more…er…corporate than mine, I’ve got a pretty good idea of why A&F is the Taco Bell meat of retail stores.
1. They’re grossly overpriced
$200 for a pair of ripped jeans and $89 for a simple sweater? And my personal favorite – $30 for a pair of plain flip-flops. Why should I shell out big bucks just for a moose logo? It’s a moose! In this tough economy I’d much rather go next door to American Eagle or Forever21 and find the same exact things for a third of the price.
2. They’re oversexed
Okay, so the giant walls of guys with 6-packs might be nice, but Abercrombie degrades their employees and over-emphasizes physical appearance. Did you know that everyone gets hired as either a “Model” (meaning you get to work the floor, cash register, and greet), and an “Impact Team Member” (meaning you’re in the back stocking shelves and pinning clothes)? Yep, since they can’t legally discriminate in hiring, they just stick the uggos in the back. And the tan shirtless guys in the front, taking Polaroids with customers.
3. The atmosphere sucks
The place REEKS of cologne (we were required to spray “Fierce” around the store every 40 minutes!), it’s too dark to even see what you’re trying on, and you can hear the techno bumpin’ from the Food Court. Seriously, is this a respectable shopping establishment or the freakin’ Jersey Shore!? Not to mention that you often get stuck in fake trees while sifting through the racks. Seriously?
4. Seasonal confusion
Sometimes it’s winter, sometimes it’s summer, but at Abercrombie seasons don’t matter. Puffy vests with booty shorts and legwarmers? Winter jackets paired with flip flops? Flowy, flowery miniskirts with boots and hoodies!? As long as it’s got the brand name on it, it seems like anything goes. Until you step outside in the snow with your flip flops and soak the bottoms of your $200 skinnies, that is…