I remember that Abercrombie & Fitch was a pretty big deal when I was in high school.
The guys liked it, the girls liked it, and it was hot, hot, hot!
But what went on behind the scenes at those popular stores?
People took to Buzzfeed to talk about their experiences working at Abercrombie & Fitch in the early 2000s.
Let’s take a trip down Memory Lane!
1. Don’t go off script.
I worked as a ‘model’ — what they called their sales associates — folding clothes at the front of the store and it was my job to greet people who walked in.
The only greeting I was allowed to use was ‘Hey, how’s it goin’?’ because I guess it seemed more ‘cool and laid back’ or whatever.
I literally got yelled at by my manager once for going off-script and saying, ‘Hey, welcome to Abercrombie’ instead.”
2. That’s weird.
“We had a poster in the back with pictures of what was acceptable to wear.
One time, I wore the wrong flip-flops and was told to go home or work the register and stay behind the counter barefoot.”
3. Overpowering smell.
“There was someone assigned during every shift to spritz each individual piece of clothing with the latest cologne once EVERY. 30. MINUTES.”
4. Running a tight ship.
“During orientation, we were told to not interact with customers.
Our jobs were to ‘fold shirts and look good in the clothes.’”
“People would hook up with each other while working. Stock rooms, on the floor hidden from the cameras, etc.
It was a cesspool for people who were told they were good-looking to mingle with each other while making minimum wage.”
6. Oh, boy…
“Men had to wear their jeans one waist size bigger so you could see their underwear line and the logo.
Our shirts also had to be one size smaller so it was tight in the chest/arms so you could see our muscles.
Oh, and we had to wear our belts extra long to hang in front like a p**is.”
7. Didn’t stay long.
“I’m naturally blonde and showed up to work with the ‘natural makeup’ they required. However, I had black mascara on.
I was then told by my manager: ‘You have blonde hair, so you would never have naturally black eyelashes. Go to the bathroom and pick your mascara off.’
Needless to say, I didn’t stay at the job very long after that.”
8. Nice and natural.
“No one was supposed to use the words ‘attractive’ or ‘good-looking’ to describe the ideal Abercrombie look (even though that’s clearly what they were going for).
Instead, managers would say, ‘We want our employees to have a nice “natural look.”‘”
9. Elite company.
“Managers had to give the people they ‘scouted’ a password to be able to access the online application so that only people who were personally invited could apply for a job.”
“You’d get 50% off your first purchase (to allow you to buy the clothes you were going to work in) and then 30% off all other purchases.
I recall a number of employees getting hired, buying a crazy amount of gift cards (and getting 30% off) and then quitting. The turnover was wild.”
11. We’re done here.
“I cut my hair into a short afro, and the next day when I came into work with it, my manager immediately told me to go home because my hair no longer fit the approved styles in the company look book.
They showed me the approved styles — all of which I obviously couldn’t replicate with a one-inch curly afro. It was very clear that when my hair was chemically straightened it was approved, but that when I allowed my hair to grow naturally, it became a problem.
As a young Black woman, it definitely hurt to think my natural look wasn’t ‘acceptable.’ They essentially refused to schedule me until I made my hair look white again, so I just never showed up again.”
“Our store literally had perfume misters built into the ceiling that were set to go off on a timer.
Every time I had to fold clothes near them, I’d walk away feeling nauseous and dizzy.”
Did you ever work in any stores like this back in the day?
If so, tell us about your experiences in the comments.
We can’t wait to hear from you!