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A call for the firing of Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries

Old comments made by Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO have led to an apology for misinterpretations of the prejudiced words, but the gesture may not be enough.

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Abercrombie: apologies will never be enough

Retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has come under attack recently about previous statements made in 2006 which have re-emerged to take the internet by storm. Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and others, the outcry has been loud and resonating.

A&F’s CEO Mike Jeffries attempted a half-hearted, at best, apology this week saying, “While I believe this 7 year old, resurrected quote has been taken out of context, I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense.”

It’s obvious in this statement that Jeffries is still blaming others for “interpreting” his comments “in a manner” that wasn’t how he supposedly intended. When he said A&F is “absolutely exclusionary” and only markets to “cool, good-looking people,” we’re supposed to believe there’s an alternative way to interpret that statement other than the obvious? No, there’s only one interpretation and that’s what people are justifiably outraged about.

Bringing prejudices to light

Even more telling is a recent meeting held between Abercrombie executives and teen protesters at which Jeffries was not present. In the meeting, Benjamin O’Keefe, who created a Change.org petition, pleaded with the executives to change their company’s “DNA.”

Furthermore, what is an aging and obsolete individual like Jeffries doing judging other people? He’s not some icon of saintly virtue or sexiness, he doesn’t give unselfishly to the community, but yet he points a finger at others and deems them unworthy of over-priced clothing that will fall out of fashion in its own time and way. And the reality is, this media storm has brought his prejudices to light and painted him in a spotlight so bright it’s blinding. Woe to the retailer who incurs such public wrath.

How A&F can apologize

If Abercrombie & Fitch as a company wants to truly apologize, they will fire their CEO. Immediately. Without any bonuses or benefits, because it’s a guarantee that if another employee other than a top executive had made those comments, not only would they be in court, but fired immediately.

Abercrombie’s continued allowance of this individual to represent the company is unacceptable and makes Jeffries’ apology worth less than the paper or screen it appears on. It’s obvious from his statement that Jeffries is only pandering to the media and telling consumers what he thinks they want to hear to save face. It will not work.

For A&F to repair the damage, it will undoubtedly take time. They need to find new leadership that will help steer the company in a better, more positive direction. And it’s possible for retailers to be properly exclusionary toward your market without being ignorant or prejudiced in the process. Let this be a warning to retailers everywhere: the American public will hold you accountable. Corporate executives must be held responsible for their actions.

Charity Kountz is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction author as well as a Realtor and certified Paralegal. Her writing has been featured in Coldwell Banker, iPhone Life, Strategy magazine, Duck Soup magazine, and more.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Chris Johnston

    May 24, 2013 at 8:34 am

    “If Abercrombie & Fitch as a company wants to truly apologize, they will fire their CEO. Immediately. Without any bonuses or benefits”

    Unfortunately this is a fantasy that will never happen, there is a reason those executive packages are called golden parachutes, and often negotiated in advance. Despite all the public outrage has the stock price taken a dip? Well, the answer is no. In the last month the stock has risen 17%, and as a CEO one his prime motivations (and usually something his bonus is based on) is an increase in value for the shareholders; he has delivered that.

    If people are really outraged by Abercrombie, they would stop buying their clothes. People who don’t wear Abercrombie getting mad at Abercrombie just proves all along what the CEO was saying.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 24, 2013 at 10:27 am

      Although I agree Jeffries should get the boot, I too believe Abercrombie should be on the “no buy” list for people who hate his philosophy. We showed our teen the #fitchthehomeless video (alluded to in the story above) and she sent it to all of her friends, so that’s 25 teen girls who have vowed to get rid of and stop buying A&F. And they have. By choice. That’s how the free market works. It’s beautiful.

      • Charity Kountz

        May 24, 2013 at 11:52 am

        I’m so glad to hear that Lani! That’s great! Together we can make a difference, I just know it! I’ve started a twitter & FB campaign to help raise awareness too. Thanks for assigning this topic to me, who knew I’d become so opinionated? lol

  2. Charity Kountz

    May 24, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I absolutely agree with you Chris – it’s a fantasy. But both could work to solve the situation – not buying the clothes and keeping the heat on the retailer’s executive team. While I realize they’re unlikely to eliminate him without benefits, they CAN and SHOULD eliminate him, regardless of contract. Look at what JCPenney did to their CEO – yes, there were performance issues but with the level of bad press the retailer is getting, it should be getting A&F’s attention and concern. Great comment @techchris:disqus! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Zach Paul Bowyer

    May 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I spent $500 on new clothes this past week IN OTHER STORES. I used to be a serious A&F customer but no more. It’s really too embarrassing.

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Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.

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Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.

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Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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Business Marketing

Your business’ Yelp listing may be costing you more than you think

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The pay per click system Yelp uses sounds good in theory, but it may be hurting small businesses more than helping.

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Man browsing Yelp for his business listing in open office environment.

We all know Yelp – we’ve probably all used Yelp’s comment section to decide whether or not that business is worth giving our money to. What you might not know is how they are extorting the small businesses they partner with.

For starters, it’s helpful to understand that Yelp generates revenue through a pay per click (PPC) search model. This means whenever a user clicks on your advertisement, you pay Yelp a small fee. You never pay Yelp a cent if no one clicks on your ad.

In theory, this sounds great – if someone is seeking out your product or service and clicks on your ad, chances are you’re going to see some of that return. This is what makes paying $15, $50, or even $100 a click worth it.

In practice, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. When setting up your Yelp account, you are able to plug in keywords that correspond with your business. For example, owner of San Francisco-based Headshots Inc. Dan St. Louis – former Yelp advertiser turned anti-Yelp advocate – plugged in keywords for his business, such as “corporate photographer” and “professional headshots”. When someone in the Bay Area searches one of those terms, they are likely to see Headshots Inc.’s Yelp ad.

You are also able to plug in keyword searches in which your ad will not appear. That sounds great too – no need to pay for ad clicks that will ultimately not bring in revenue for your business. In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan plugged in terms such as “affordable baby photography” and “affordable studio photography”, as his studio is quite high-end and would very likely turn off a user who is using the word “affordable” in their search.

How Yelp really cheats its small business partners is that it finds loopholes in your keyword input to place your ad in as many non-relevant searches as possible. This ensures that your ad is clicked more and, as a result, you have to pay them more without reaping any of the monetary benefits for your business.

If you plugged in “cheap photography” to your list of searches in which your ad will not appear, Yelp might still feature your ad for the “cheap photos” search. As if a small business owner has the time to enter in every single possible keyword someone might search!

In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan ended up paying $10k in total ad spend to Yelp with very little return. Needless to say, he is pissed.

So what does this mean for you if you use Yelp for your business? If you don’t want to completely opt out of Yelp’s shenanigans, try these 3 tips from Dan:

  1. Try searching some potential irrelevant keywords – are your ads showing up in these searches?
  2. Do your best to block the irrelevant keywords. It’s impossible to get them all, but the more you do the more money you will ultimately save.
  3. Keep an eye on the conversation rate on your profile – does more clicks mean more client inquiries? Make sure Yelp isn’t sending low-quality traffic to your profile.

Ultimately, it’s about protecting your small business. Yelp is the latest in big tech to be outted for manipulating individuals and small businesses to up their margins – a truly despicable act, if you ask me. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars for ad spend, then either boycott Yelp or try these tips – your company may depend on it.

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