Friday, May 17, 2013

Did He Really Say That ?!

I have been thinking on this particular blog post for a few days now, since shortly after the whole hoopla around Abercrombie and Fitch's CEO Mike Jeffries began.  And I have a problem.  I have a concern.  I am bothered.  I am upset.  I am disappointed.  And I feel the need to share those concerns in my blog post.

But I am not angry with this CEO, nor am I offended by his comments.

Instead, I am frustrated with how our society lives by 'sound bites.'

If you care about my opinion, please read on and see things from a different perspective.  If not, that is your choice and I do not judge you for it.  Life is busy.  We all have to prioritize where we spend our time.  Honestly, my opinion shouldn't be very high on anyone's list.  Not even mine.  But I write my blog because it is a good release for me to share my thoughts.  I never expect anyone in particular to read them or even get much out of them.  But if you do, I thank you for your time.


The original article (linked HERE if you actually care to read it) was written back in 2006.  I doubt you can remember the 'world' at that time, let alone the state of the economy.  Spend a few minutes thinking about what you were doing around that time and then I encourage you to read the WHOLE article.  Be forewarned though, that you might have a change of opinion ... that is, if you can be open-minded enough after the deluge of media lambasting the CEO and company.

For those that won't take time to read the whole article, I've made it a little easier by sharing the portion where I presume the major brouhaha came from:
As far as Jeffries is concerned, America’s unattractive, overweight or otherwise undesirable teens can shop elsewhere. “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he says. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

What is interesting to me is how these comments have been taken out of context of the whole article.  The primary discussion of the article was to learn more about how this company became successful amidst many other companies losing market share and/or changing their business models to meet the changing demands of consumers.  I am certain there are many things we each say in our everyday lives that could be twisted in all sorts of ways.  I just wish the average person was willing to dig a little deeper and understand more fully where someone is coming from when they speak.

I find it not at all amusing, but sad, that the people who expect to be "understood" are so quick to judge another person without understanding where THEY are coming from.  Do you not see your own hypocrisy with this attitude?  This is, in fact, the biggest challenge to creating a more diverse and inclusive world.  We are slowly being led down a path where anything and anyone is acceptable as they are rather than maintaining certain standards.  It's a little too close to the scary world depicted in the movie Wall-E for my tastes.

So boycott (or girlcott?) the company and CEO.  As a consumer, that is completely your right.  But be careful when you justify your decision based on 'sound bites' that are directly intended to elicit an emotional response.
You may think you are deciding for yourself, but if your decision is based on ANY information you heard, then you ARE being influenced by others.
Choose wisely my friends.

Song Of The Day:
I am using the great Michael Jackson classic "Human Nature" today for two reasons.  First, it is human nature to judge others.  Judging isn't always bad, but it often comes with many unintended consequences.  Second, in the song there is a repeated refrain of "Why?  Why?" and this is my favorite kind of question.  If we asked "Why?" more often, we'd all be better able to understand one another and be understood.  And that's my interpretation of the Golden Rule.

If you've read this far, please feel free to comment below or on my Facebook post.  I welcome your opinions and will read every one in their entirety.  I would apologize if my comments offend you, but then, if you truly know me you would already know that is not their intent.


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