Saturday, May 18, 2013

Awful Failure aka Abercrombie & Fitch

By now most of you are aware of the hailstorm caused by the reemergence of a 2006 interview with Abercrombie & Fitch's CEO. There have been a number of articles written, and quite a backlash in comments and tweets and blogs. Here is the quote as reported in the LA Times article, "Abercrombie CEO tries to stem backlash":

"Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends," he said in the article. "A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong."

It seems that if you are a teen girl who wears a large or extra large in women's clothing - you are not worthy - they don't even carry those sizes. Well, dude, I don't belong in haute couture, and some celebrities don't belong in the outfits that they wear to the awards shows, but really, why did you think it was a good idea to point this out to a segment of the society who are at the time of life where they are particularly vulnerable to others opinions????

Now I do need to add a disclaimer - you had never received any of our money before this. My teenagers are boys, and blissfully uninterested in labels unless wiring and an on/off switch are involved (really, really wish I had bought Apple stock). They are great kids, but not your demographic anyway. They think it's stupid to be so overwhelmed with appearances, and clothing. And I'm proud of that, (except when I make them dress up - Jimi Hendrix t-shirts are not appropriate everywhere). Maybe because it's a lesson I've tried to impart. No one is better than someone else. Someone who can't afford nicer clothes is not a lesser person. We all have our talents, and our faults.

Your lesson seems to be - buy our brand and be seen as a cool kid. If you're a fat girl - you aren't worthy. *&(&^%$^&*@##$%$@@! (please interpret the preceding with your favorite curses). HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD OF EATING DISORDERS? 

"THEY CAN'T BELONG".....&^%$#!%^@^&^&&&&@!@##$@@@!##$$$%%%%

Once again, I struggle to keep this a PG blog. Now I refuse to take part in the vicious comments I've seen regarding the CEO's own looks. Two wrongs don't make a right. And as an accountant, I understand the business sense in having a niche and sticking with it. But as a human being, I will never comprehend the need to dismiss others based on the outside appearance.

It seems your stock has not taken the pounding it deserves, and most analysts believe the teenagers will ignore or dismiss this and continue to shop at your stores. Maybe. And maybe the next generation won't - because maybe the next generation will be parented by those kids who weren't worthy. And maybe they'll remember how it felt to be excluded. My husband hates when I discuss how I was bullied. Because he loves me, and hates to hear about the pain. But I think the pain has made me a more compassionate and empathetic person. I remember being excluded. And I hope these kids remember it, too. It's a lesson worth remembering.

Let me leave this topic with the lesson I heard growing up - "Pretty is as pretty does." Note the word does, not appears...

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