Friday, May 17, 2013

A couple of better plans for dealing with Abercrombie and Fitch

By now, you're probably familiar with what clothing manufacturer Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries said about his company's efforts to keep their products off the sub-par bodies of certain people. Oh you aren't? Well, here it is:
“That's why we hire good-looking people in our stores,” Jeffries said. “Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don't market to anyone other than that.” He went on: “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” - The Independent, May 8, 2013
Of course, thousands of companies have conducted business by adhering to that exact philosophy since shortly after the day people started buying stuff, but Jeffries was the first dummy to say so outside of a shareholders meeting or a Marx Brothers film, so he's Hitler basically. But cool.

He's his own man. And also his own Madame Tussaud's wax figurine.
 Being as that's the case, there's some backlash. You might be familiar with the "#FitchtheHomeless" campaign, which some guy came up with to promote giving homeless people A and F clothing and also get lots of YouTube hits. This campaign's message is simple and direct: 'You don't like not-so-cool people, Hitler Jeffries? Well, we put your clothes on the not-so-coolest people on earth: the homeless! Ha ha ha and fuck you (and also share my hashtag)!'
That might sound great on the surface but there are several problems with it, all laid out here at "Rage Against the Minivan". Basically, the fact that exploiting people perceived as being unattractive for the sake of teaching a lesson to somebody who perceived people as being unattractive is kind of stupid and mean.

So what to do? Shitty, elitist corporate scumbags certainly deserve to be taken down a peg or two, especially when they go out of their way to hurt people's feelings. But we don't want to demean others in the process. Well, as I see it, there are a couple of possible responses:
  1. We do nothing. They don't want me wearing their clothes and I not only don't want to wear their clothing, I also don't want them having my money. That actually seems pretty reasonable (and easy) to me. There's lots of people like me and if A and F (and the other companies that subscribe to the same philosophy but are more subtle in expressing it) can make a go of it without us, so be it. Let the marketplace decide. In the meantime, we'll just keep avoiding each other. Now, if you're one of the young, attractive and cool people whose business they do want and you feel it would be appropriate to not give it to them, I applaud you for making ethics-based choices when it comes to being a consumer and I appreciate your gesture. You're on your way to being a kind, compassionate person who demonstrates empathy for your fellow human beings. Good for you! On the other hand, if you're one of those young, attractive cool people and you feel like you want to just keep on shopping there because "meh", go ahead. Odds are that if there's ever a horrible fire at an A and F store, you and people like you will be the only ones who burn to death inside, drowning in the toxic smoke from all the burning hoodies, low-rise jeans and graphic tees, using the last of your oxygen to scream in vain for help while an overweight lesbian firefighter sits outside eating a tuna sandwich. Hopefully. Sorry, but there are more of us than there are of you and I promise that nobody will miss you snotty, self-absorbed little pricks. Either way, this plan boils down to 'ah, fuck 'em', frankly.
  2. Too passive? Fair enough. Tell you what, me and a bunch of other fat guys will get ourselves all greased up and head over to the mall where we'll try on every non-fitting garment in the place. Not only will the salty stains generated by our swampy armpits and crotches completely devastate their inventory but our mere fat, hot, sweaty, hairy presence clogging their store aisles and just generally hanging out should do wonders for their sales. Maybe some tv cameras will even show up. That would be funny, wouldn't it? 

So what say you? My preference is for the first plan. Not just because it requires less effort and I'm lazy as hell, but because I honestly believe it's the most effective. Either way, at least we're not insulting and demeaning a group of people to show somebody that it's not nice to insult and demean a group of people.

1 comment:

Stella said...

Oh cool post!!!
So, really? Did he really say that? Really?
Just shows you don't need a brain to become a CEO. Maybe I could get a job there. . . although on second thoughts.
Now, has there been a fire in one of their stores yet? Please update me if/when there is one.
And please also implement Plan B- I like the sounds of that. . maybe you should be eating French fries and drinking coffees while you do it too. . .