I support Mike Jeffries (Abercrombie & Fitch)

Inside Cover Page from 1909 Abercrombie & Fitc...
Inside Cover Page from 1909 Abercrombie & Fitch Catalog, their first catalog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,’ he explained 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 , and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.’

He argues that ostracizing some customers, by using sex and six-packs to sell clothes, leaves his loyal customers wanting more.

‘Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,’ he said. (here)

This is Jeffries’ attitude and suddenly, people are getting really upset. Why? Because how dare Jeffries tell you what we already knew… businesses market on an exclusionary principle. He is creating an image he wants to sell too, and has every right to do so. And why shouldn’t he have that right? He is an American entrepreneur. This is capitalism. This is how companies make money. Why should we force him to change marketing emphasis just to meet our demands? I do not like Pepsi products — should they be forced to taste more like Coke for me to like them?

I agree — the image he is presenting is one that is damaging to men and women alike. It is the image that you do not matter unless you look like a model, unless you have money, unless you are widely popular. But, he is a businessman selling to the image we have allowed to be created and an image we will feed. Why criticize him for that which we have created? The image that the person’s value is only as good as the person looks. Personally, I hope he goes out of business, but I do not care about criticizing him and begging him to change his business strategy to make me feel good. Instead, I’m going to teach my children that their self-worth is not bound up in the way they look or the money they have, or the friends they keep and that they should respect the images of others — and guess what, they will not shop at A&F.

But, you know… People are really up set about a guy and his remarks about not wanting to sell to poor, unpopular, lower class uglies. I guess with all of this rage, they have missed the nearly 700 dead Bangladeshis or the fact that he is making the second highest ratio of CEO-to-employee salary in the U.S or the fact A&F burns unsold clothes rather than donate them or sell them at reduced costs. The Bangladeshis were garment workers, by the way, working to fill the orders of American consumers for cheap goods.

I don’t know… something about these two stories (Bangladesh and A&F) seem connected… What do you think?

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8 Replies to “I support Mike Jeffries (Abercrombie & Fitch)”

  1. Of course there’s a connection.

    Vanity. Ego. Self-centeredness to the point of national sociopathy (I like that … national sociopathy as opposed to national socialism … hmmm …) … where was I? … oh, yeah …

    If you buy magazines with pretty people on the cover, or watch shows because they have a big name on them, or all kinds of other things, you’re doing the same thing in a way.

    I don’t demand that this jackass change his philosophy, but I do want people to realize that his sales philosophy and school bullying are essentially the same thing.

    I find it stunning how few people give a damn about the Bangladeshis. We hear a lot about the Boston bombing (3 dead, 200 or so wounded). A whole lot about Benghazi. We were hearing about West, TX but apparently that’s run its course. Scarcely a peep about Bangladesh.

    The US still practices slavery, we just do it offshore so we figure it doesn’t count. (Isn’t that the same attitude that justifies torture, as long as we do it in Guantanamo Bay?)

  2. In a way, there are churches that do much the same thing by catering to all the people that fit their particular faith. Were this not the case, Dana Carvey’s, Enid Strict, aka the Church Lady, wouldn’t have been a late night comedy staple during the late 1980s. It’s also why the Pharisees castigated Jesus. He simply did not fit their brand of religiosity.

    1. Go to church wearing the wrong clothes some day and pay attention to how you’re treated.

      It’s pretty instructive. When I was younger, we had a man in my church who sometimes wore shorts to services. The scandal!

  3. Have you seen his terrible plastic surgery?

    If kids knew what he thinks “looks good”, A&F would be out of business in a day.

  4. If you’ve got the stomach for it, follow the link below. As images of death go, this photo is rather tame. On other hand, if you’ve never seen or, worse, smelled death, then you might find the photo linked below to be quite disturbing. Nevertheless, the image reveals that love is stronger than fear. As the Roman poet Virgil famously pointed out in one of his Eclogues, “Omnia vincit amor [love conquers all].” It also a powerful reminder of Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 6:10.
    .
    http://lightbox.time.com/2013/05/08/a-final-embrace-the-most-haunting-photograph-from-bangladesh/#1

  5. The only thing that upsets me is that he hires his employees based on their looks. According to his standards, he can’t work in his own store. He can market to anyone he wants, I don’t care. None of my friends or family buy his stuff and never have so it doesn’t affect me at all. I buy the cool clothes. And if he were to investigate a little deeper, most people don’t shop a store based on how the people appear, it’s all about customer service.

  6. This may be late but perhaps heated emotions have died down enough for people to see some sense. He is running a business. His business appeals to a particular target market. It doesn’t define who he is as a person.

    What he offers by way of explanation for excluding fat and uncool customers is rational and wholly based on the demographics of his customers. Businesses run on profit; they aren’t charities.

    To hope that his business fails – is that in line with Christian values or what Christianity preaches. I should think not.

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