Listen, My Children...

Every Little Helps

Saturday, December 06, 2003


Well, Abercrombie and Fitch have very very quietly pulled their catalogue, after much complaining, and there was much rejoicing (although they say it will be back soon).

In other news, CBS reports that A&F bases their employee practices on race and appearance. Not that that's a new story. Harvard's newspaper did a story on exactly the same thing four years ago, quoting several former and current employees. In a very clever move, they questioned a store manager about an alleged book detailing that and other disreputable practices; the manager insisted that no such book exists, and then the students produced one they had somehow procured. Denials were sputtered; crow was eaten.

In my opinion, the key here is not the practice itself, but the honesty. A clothing store, just like a television news station, has, or should have, the right to hire the people they feel their desired consumers would most like to be around or watch, based on both physical and personality characteristics. If they feel that their consumers prefer looking at 5'11" Germanic males with square jaws, then they should be able to hire to fit customer preference. They should also admit it; people who are angered should not shop there; and, if enough opinion turns against them, then the company should change their hiring practice -- not because of the opinion per se, but because it's good business to please the customer.

Guess that's the libertarian in me coming out (since, I hear, I'm definitely not Republican).


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