I recently wandered into the Abercrombie & Fitch store on Fifth Avenue. I’m not a regular customer there, and I always forget why that is… until I’m reminded by my next visit. Frankly, I would rather have a vasectomy live on "The View" than shop at that store.
I first take issue with the fact that they employ a stunningly perfect male model to stand (often topless) in the entrance way and greet shoppers as we arrive. Whose idea was this? I mean, under any other circumstance, I – like any gay – would be more than happy to ogle the hot male model. Certainly not, however, when I’m about to go try on the same jeans he’s wearing. What a cruel marketing scheme: “Welcome! Here’s what our clothes are supposed to look like. Now sally forth and fuck them up! See you at checkout!” Personally, I become self-conscious when the mannequins fill out the clothes better than I do. So if anyone’s going to be greeting me at the entrance wearing the new Summer line before I've tried it on, I’d prefer it be an awkward, middle-aged bald man with an eye patch and a beer gut. Thankssss.
Once inside, the place is so crowded and dimly lit, and the music so damn loud, that I can hardly concentrate on what I’m searching for – let alone see any of the items for purchase or locate an appropriate size... Shopping for clothing at the Abercrombie store is like trying to find a boyfriend at Splash. Good luck.
I head upstairs and I’m immediately intercepted. They’ve actually hired some drunk, blonde chick to stand at the top of the stairs and “touch-step, touch-step” back and forth to the music, slurring, “Hey, guyssss! What’s up?” as patrons make their way to the second level. I’m not even kidding. Shut up and get out of my way, Drunk Blonde Chick! I need to find a blouse!
My anxiety soon overtakes me, and I begin feeling around desperately in the dark for absolutely any article of clothing I can find; like Helen Keller at a sample sale in the woods. I run for the fitting room, tripping over one of the floor managers who’s break-dancing below the vintage fleece and t-shirt table, and ask the attendant for a room. By this point, I don’t even really want to try anything on; I just need an escape from this nightmare of a frat party, and to lock myself behind a door so that I can slide down it dramatically and cry (à la Barbara Hershey on the airplane in "Beaches".) Of course, neither of the fitting room girls are having anything to do with me. One of them is flirting with another floor manager, and the other is busy doing Jell-O shots off a customer’s ass.
I’m now having a full-on panic attack, so I drop the clothes and bolt downstairs and out the front door. EXIT THE QUEEN.
SORRY, but I need calm and focus when I shop - particularly for clothing. And it’s not only A&F I'm kvetching about. The trend in trendy retail has become to turn all these stores into rowdy nightclubs, and to then staff them with the cast of “The Real World." I can’t deal. Which is why I just bought an old Singer on eBay, and plan now to sew all my own clothes at home. I just haven’t got the stomach for this.