Cosmopolitan recently published a piece by a former (and anonymous) Abercrombie & Fitch corporate employee and the story speaks worlds about the company's currently flailing brand. Unsurprisingly, the internal operations of the A&F corporate headquarters are just as strange as the company's bizarre founder, Mike "No Fatties" Jeffries. What is surprising is that the strangeness is less "Tim Curry's Devil Lair from the movie Legend" and more "sad rave after the ecstasy has warn off, but everyone is still forcing themselves to pretend like they're having fun."
Here are the employee's five most miserable revelations:
1. They have a "casual" dress code that's strictly enforced. Everyone must wear Abercrombie all of the time.
We were strongly encouraged to wear A&F clothes and, weirdly, told never to wear black or purple. (You’ll never see those colors on Abercrombie clothes.)
You’d hear rumors about people who didn’t wear A&F clothes appropriately and were told, "Please don’t eat lunch on campus anymore, go to the distribution center" — a hidden-from-the-public building off-campus — "and eat there."
2. Say you said "fuck it" and decided you didn't want to eat food on campus (what they call headquarters) anyway. Too bad. Campus is located in the middle of nowhere so there's nowhere else to eat. Note: All food served within HQ is rigidly healthy.
...I wonder if there’s an almost insidious spin on it, like, 'we don’t want our employees to get too fat.'
3. The Abercrombie & Fitch security force is made up of male models...who also double as cater waiters:
...It wouldn’t be unusual to see them leave the front desk and play Frisbee or kick a soccer ball out front. Then during office parties, they would pop their shirts off and serve a tomato-mozzarella appetizer — cater waiters. I mean, these are people who work here.
4. The staff parties took place randomly and in the middle of the work day — which would be awesome if they didn't sound so tired and depressing:
Sometimes at the office parties, which took place mostly after our quarterly staff meetings in the middle of the day, a beer truck would show up. One guy, it became legend, got so drunk that he either stole a golf cart or urinated on it in full view of the company. It was very surreal, having these "parties" during office hours and then going back to work.
5. The print offensive shit on their t-shirt because, according to Jeffries, being sued means being cool.
Everyone talks about the lawsuits. When The Situation sued us, people were very happy about it — like, "Bring it on, this is free advertising." The shirts are designed to be widely offensive on purpose, to make parents upset and get them to sue the company. That buys into [CEO] Mike Jeffries’ idea of being cool — what’s cooler than something your parents would never want to wear?
All in all, the A&F headquarters seems exaaaaaaaactly as horrible as you'd expect: they're sexist, fat-phobic and employees (even the one's who aren't women or fat!) are treated like absolute garbage. (You can read all about it here.)
The good news? You never bought their clothes to begin with so there's no need to boycott.
Image via AP.