America’s most hated retailer? It’s upscale casual retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, which ranked at the very top in a survey of nearly 10,000 shoppers. Perhaps it’s the elitist attitude. Maybe it’s the overly sexualized ads featuring kids too young to even copulate or the lawsuits alleging racial discrimination. And the fact everyone who works there has a six-pack of abs certainly does not help. Either way, no one like A&F it seems (except our kids).
Reports NBC affiliate WPTV.com on Feb. 25: “A new survey finds that Abercrombie and Fitch is the most hated retailer in the country. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Abercrombie earned a score of 65. That’s almost 10 points below the entire retail sector’s overall score.”
The clothing retailer, which has over 300 locations in the U.S., came in just above Walmart as the most hated. Walmart however, is doing just fine, though many have a polarizing love or hate relationship with the big box store.
“Normally when we see that kind of a gap, it’s a company so large it has monopoly power like, Walmart or McDonalds,” commented Forrest Morgeson, ACSI’s director of research. “Abercrombie and Fitch is not that, they aren’t that large – this can spell serious trouble for the company.”
According to CNN Money, the survey broke the shopping industry into several different sectors, including “department and discount stores, specialty retail stores and supermarkets.” Across all categories, Abercrombie came in as the best – at being the worst.
At the opposite end of the survey were companies that scored high marks, including Nordstrom, Amazon, Wegmans and Costco.
In 2004, Abercrombie was hit with a class action lawsuit that alleged discrimination against minorities. The suit said – and proved – that the company was handing out floor sales and management positions primarily to white males. The outcome forced A&F to shell out $40 million in damages, revise its hiring practice and complaint policies and appoint a Vice President of Diversity, who would oversee the hiring of two dozen recruiters who would then seek out minority applicants.
The company also had to stop setting up recruitment tables at white fraternities and sororities. Yes, they really did that.
In 2009, the company was again sued, this time by a British law student with a prosthetic arm. The employee was told her stump violated the company’s “Look Policy.” She was sent to work in the stockroom. Needless to say, A&F lost.
The following year, they lost again when a federal judge ruled that Abercrombie unlawfully dismissed a 17-year-old for wearing a hijab. Same deal. Look Policy violation. We believe the Nazis also operated under a similar policy, no?
The company has also been fined or sued for: Refusing to allow a girl into a dressing room to help her autistic sister, for videotaping women changing in the dressing rooms, and for refusing to accept so-called expired gift cards that explicitly said “no expiration date.”
That, along with allegations of copyright infringement, marketing thongs to ten-year-old girls, selling shirts with obtuse phraseology (“Wong Brothers Laundry Service – Two Wongs Can Make It White,” “It’s All Relative in West Virginia,” “L is for LOSER” “Who needs brains when you have these?” etc.) and it’s clear why the company is America’s most hated.