I’m Just Sayin’: Abercrombie and Fitch Is Definitely An Experience (But Not In A Good Way)
As much as I love fashion and do, in my own head, consider myself to be some kind of a fashionista, I don’t particularly enjoy the actual experience of shopping.
To tell you the truth, it’s a much too gruesome production to get your booty out of the house, drive to the mall, find a parking spot, walk to the store, skim through all the merchandise to spot that one item you absolutely can’t live without while all along battling against the constant mental harassment of the sales reps trying to overkill you with fake niceties; then stand in line for hours to get your credit card swiped and remember to validate your parking ticket; and finally walk back to your freaking car hoping you’ll remember what level and specific lot you stationed it in the first place, and wait bumper to bumper to exit said parking structure while trying not to get more aggravated by that one moron (you know who you are) who inevitably forgot to validate his/her ticket and is now causing a major traffic jam, clearly as a deliberately calculated maneuver to personally piss you off.
Yet a couple of weeks ago, as an exception to my rule, I had to subjugate myself to go through that ordeal. More than a masochistic move, it was rather an emergency measure. My gay cousin who had been visiting from Belgium was flying back to Brussels the next day, and my auntie and I decided at the last minute to turn the scheduled afternoon family lunch into a pre-birthday celebration in his honor. What can I say? We just suddenly happened to remember that his birthday was only a month away and estimated it necessary to acknowledge it – we wouldn’t have heard the end of it otherwise.
That evidently meant, I couldn’t show up empty handed and had to pronto go in the early morning buy a freaking gift or two – you know, something unique and special that says “I love you” and thoughtfully shows much I’m tuned into his personality, not to mention am in perfect sync with his fashion taste buds.
Naturally, one store immediately came to mind: Abercrombie and Fitch – not because he’s gay but because he’s European and apparently with the exception of London – and I believe Paris – the rest of that continent is (luckily) sans Abercrombie & Fitch store locations.
So sticking to the program, off I went to the Grove. The only minor hitch in my otherwise perfect plan was that I was absolutely not prepared for what was about to happen. And seriously, if I didn’t know better, I would for sure start to believe that the fact that the unlikely always seem to happen to me is a direct personal vendetta from God trying to punish me for my absurdly delusional belief that I’m uniquely special.
All I have to say is that the ongoing fad with A & F, which for the record totally escapes my mental abilities to associate, clearly involves a very special kind of human species that are opting to acquire this not so nouveaux trend and fit it in their own individual very universally unoriginal fashion system. And I fully do not get why!
Talk about an out of this world experience that store takes shopping to whole new level. I don’t even know where to begin! Let me just lay this out on the table: that was absolutely NOT my idea of shopping … that much is clear!
First of all I do not comprehend why I had to be greeted right at the entrance by some shirtless moron with the six-pack abs and a tight ass ripped body who was continuously striking uncomfortably awkward poses against some humongous black and white poster displaying another half naked young male idiot equally epitomizing the definition of the “you’re so gay” stigma (whatever that means). What was even more beyond my comprehension was the anxious borderline star-struck-like desperate need from a slew of random customers to stand in line just to snap a shot with this wannabe (nobody) barely out of adolescence model. But I’ll excuse their seeming pedophilia endorsement for being foreigners and not knowing better than to just buy into cliché of the stereotypical hot Californian surfer bod image and wanting to capsulate it into a Kodak moment – God, please tell me they were tourists, right?
Admittedly that was just a benign detail in comparison to the wild adventure that was awaiting me inside the freaking store – if you want to call it that. Because evidently, there were more surprises in store for me -no pun intended.
As soon as I step foot into this so-called gay paradise on earth, a series of atrociously painful events instantaneously occurred the first of which was immediate physical impairment. That’s right! In nano seconds, I went from a physically healthy forty years old human being to a completely disabled AARP card member very much qualifying now for the handicap parking sign. I not only became blind by the nearly pitch black atmosphere that reigned throughout the entire cavernous establishment, but I also instantly suffered “Anosmia”, meaning I lost my ability to perceive odors (and potentially to taste anything anymore) courtesy of the overly potent scent of that horribly nauseating so-called A&F perfume constantly permeating the air. If you ask me, I am convinced they spray that cheap ass fragrance through the AC so that it stays with you for the whole duration of your shopping experience – you know, as a subliminal marketing tool to fuck with your brain and ultimately make you buy that shit; why else would the bottle conveniently be available for purchase at the cashier?
And last, but certainly not least, my other trouble was that I became deaf, certifiably needing hearing aids now. Why? Have you take a trip to your local A&F store lately?
That place is worse than a nightclub on ecstasy. The music is so effing loud, you can’t even hear your own private thoughts. On that note I have to say that the DJ is seriously lacking in taste. To say that his/her selection is pretty lame is to put it mildly. For god’s sake, if you’re gonna blast some very gay dance remixes at least have the decency to play some George Michael, please – grrrr … kids today!
So with no sense of smell, no hearing ability whatsoever, but a very pressing present nauseous desire to vomit any time soon, and a desperate need for night vision infra-red goggles, I decided it was high time to select my items and get the fuck out of there ASAP. That was the fabulous part where I dared approach the “all-dressed the same” personnel to ask for assistance. All I can sadly say is that while I kind of sort of needed some assistance, they, on the other hand, collectively needed serious help – and by “serious” I mean the professional kind. I personally had never seen such a group of incompetent buffoons gathered all at one place at one time. But then again, they probably haven’t either seeing that you absolutely don’t see crap in that store!
What I was attempting to accomplish, with monumental efforts, was to identify the (real) color of a shirt I had picked as a potential gift for my cousin. But when I politely asked one of the sales reps, she couldn’t even tell me if the damn shirt was navy blue or black. And guess what? Turned out it was neither – the shirt was forest green, which I found out by moving it away from the visually distorting (tragically dimmed) neon-lights and putting it against the screen light of my iPhone.
Now going back to the A&F staff for a minute, can I just say that they absolutely look retarded with their uniformed form-fitting plaid shirts and skinny jeans? You just have an unnerving sense that in no time these people are going to invade the entire store to deliver a special flash mob a la “The Stepford Wives” meets “Glee, The Movie”. It’s pretty spooky and freaky if you ask me! That unnecessarily added extra stress to my shopping anxiety, but looking on the bright side, it definitely made me accelerate things up a bit more.
So finally, there I was standing in a looooooooooong ass interminable line at the one and only open cashier out of six they have spread out throughout the 3-level store – because evidently opening one or two more registers is way too much work for these A&F employees and absolutely not part of their “sales rep/vendor” job description, right? Clearly it’s their store policy to have buyers wait forever to purchase their stupid merchandise – that’s what I call adhering to excellent customer service ethics!
After a solid ten minutes had elapsed, I found myself, at last, at the counter handing my 3 selected items to this twenty-something-years-old wannabe Justin Bieber who greeted me with his fabricated kiss my ass smile and his very much recycled welcome line “did you find everything you were looking for?”
Was he kidding me? Were we not in the same store? I didn’t want to cause a public scene but again how can you logically find anything when you’re shopping in total darkness?
As my luck would have it, one of my purchases didn’t have a price tag, which of course meant that my not-so imminent departure from this Twilight Zone store was going to experience a major delay. Yet I was quickly reassured that I might potentially be out of there sooner than anticipated when I spotted this young girl at the end corner of the counter (dressed in A & F from head to toes, which indicated she worked there) standing rather uselessly – as in doing absolutely nothing. I thought Justin Bieber would ask her to go fetch another shirt to get the exact price, which he actually did. What I did not anticipate was for that “uselessly standing there” chick to literally exercise her “uselessness” and arrogantly decline his request for assistance. Obviously miss thing considered the task to be underneath her because clearly working at A & F is something of a prestige – NOT!
When the whole price tag fiasco was over and done with, I hurried to get the fuck out of there! Finally I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, figuratively and literally speaking. Seriously, as I was passing by the same shirtless moron that greeted me upon my majestic entrance in the store (about an hour ago), I felt as if I had seen daylight in years. Needless to say, it took me a minute to readjust my blinded eyes. But just when I thought I was out of hell, they of course pulled me back in. Guess what? Freaking Justin Bieber had forgotten to remove the sensor on one of my purchases. Another useless idiot grabbed my bag and proceeded to remove its entire content to look for the “suspicious” item. After checking my receipt to make sure I wasn’t stealing anything (as if that store was worth stealing shit), he disappeared with my shirt for about five minutes. When he came back, he took all of my merchandise and dumped it back into the bag without refolding anything.
It goes without saying that I immediately gave him a murderous look – you know the one that says: “oh noooo you didn’t!” … Oh yes he did! But only for a second as luckily for him he caught my killer drift. Then a miracle occurred. I was finally out of that store! I really thought I would never see the joyful day I would be back in the real world even if that meant that I was now permanently deaf, had irreparably lost my 20/20 vision, and would never EVER be able to perceive the odor of my own favorite perfume (“Addict” by Christian Dior, if you must know), much less the wonderful scent of LA’s pollution and my nicotine sticks, because the fumes of their atrociously potent perfume somehow gets through the every fiber of your clothes and stays with you indefinitely.
Long story not so short – but how could it not be when shopping at A & F is truly more exhaustingly depleting than working on a big deal production movie, not that I’ve ever worked on one! – You will never catch me dead shopping at “Aber’zombie & Shit”, oops sorry, I mean, Abercrombie & Fitch, again!
… I’m just sayin’!