The summer before Senior Year I decided to leave no stone unturned and say yes to brand new opportunities being presented to me. Being offered a job at Abercrombie was nothing short of that. So here I am shopping with my friend 3 years ago at Abercrombie Kids (I was 16) when we are both approached by a manager wondering if we would like to work at the store. We inform her that we are 16 and she tells us to come back when we turned 17. I just brushed it off and didn’t go back, although my friend did. Why would I work for a shallow company like that anyways?
I was approached a dozen times by various managers over the next few months and I turned all of them down, until april of junior year. I simply said, ‘What the hell’ and applied. This was the same store that I had been approached at the first time and the one where my ‘friend’ now worked. I went in for my interview with one other girl. Abercrombie does group interviews…awkward right? Instead of it lasting 15-20 minutes like it was supposed to it lasted an hour and a half. The interviewer and us interviewees had really hit off. We talked about everything. She sadly informed us that there were not very many positions opened currently and that she didn’t want to fire anybody right now but she would let us know. I never got a call. I was a little bit annoyed because I had been pestered by managers over the year and once I had actually applied I hadn’t gotten the job. I said no for the next two months to any manager that asked until I went to a Hollister I rarely go to. I decided to give it another shot. I mean who doesn’t want Abercrombie/Hollister discounts? Okay, not a lot of people but their clothes fit me well so I rolled with it. I went in for another interview this time with 3 other people whom I befriended again. They were actually very nice and not stuck up like I thought they would be.
This interview was not like the last. It was much more serious. I kind of rocked it. Not to brag but interviews are my shit. Also being a customer at the store kind of helped considering that I knew what the managers wanted to hear. I received a call 2 weeks later and soon after went in for my first shift! After my first shift I didn’t get scheduled for 3 weeks. I was assured that this was normal because I was new and there weren’t many people around to help train me. I was also informed that I needed to go buy my triple A’s. Also known as our work uniform. No one actually knows what the AAA’s stand for but I’ve been told it means ‘Abercrombie Associates with Attitude.’ Bleck. One day I was at the mall at which I worked just looking for a friend I was supposed to meet. I was followed by two girls wearing denim on denim. Weird. I walked around the entire mall once and they were still tailing me and snickering. I stopped to buy a pretzel and they approached me and asked me if I wanted to work at the new Abercrombie Outlet that was opening. I informed them that I already worked for Hollister. They said Okay and left to go recruit somebody else and I went and met up with my friend. So my friend and I went in to purchase my Triple A’s and went up to the counter and asked for the guide. Here’s the thing about Abercrombie/Hollister, you have to follow a strict dress code. You can only wear the jeans of the store you are working in (No abercrombie jeans in hollister and no hollister jeans in abercrombie), no nail polish on your fingers and only pink or red on your toes, you must wear clothes out of the triple A guide, no colors other than white gray and navy, no jewelry, hair must follow the guide, no eyeliner, natural make up, and only leather flip flops or white or navy converse. So I get the guide and wander around the store looking around for what I want to try on when I am approached by an employee I hadn’t met before. She asks me which store I worked at and I tell her ‘This one.” She looked kind of shocked and said ‘oh, don’t you know we’re closing?’ I was dumbfounded. No, I was not aware the store was closing. Apparently they had called the wrong number. So I go in the back talk to the manager and she tells me I can either quit or get transferred to the new outlet store that was opening down the street. I chose to transfer. This is how I became an Abercrombie and Fitch Model.
Let me start of by saying that Abercrombie calls their store associates Models. Anybody you see on the bag or advertisements for the store worked in the store. There are these things called Cast Ofs where they take your picture and essentially they send it off to a district manager and they either say yes or no to you and this determines how many hours you get. Cast Of’s tend to get more hours and tend to greet more. There are only 8 Cast Of’s in an entire store so it’s really an honor to be one. Cast Of’s also get their pictures taken every time the Triple A’s change and these are sent off to headquarters to decide who the next season models will be. I will not lie that having Cast Of pictures taken is incredibly awkward and sketchy.
So here I am walking into my new store to get my transfer paperwork completed when I find out that the two girls who stalked me in the mall were my new managers. They looked at me and said ‘We recruited you didn’t we’ to which I replied ‘Yup’. They seemed satisfied. They had me stand against a white wall and took a couple pictures. I thought it was kind of weird but I can never say no to a picture. I signed a couple sheets of paper, got a new associates card, my schedule for the next week (I worked a 6 hour shift every day) and I was on my way. I came in the next day for my first shift. Here’s the thing, we were setting up the store and I had never actually folded anything or met anybody from the other store. The store was packed with upwards of 60 beautiful people. I felt like a fish out of water. I was placed at a table with a few new girls and we were stuck folding jeans. I cannot tell you how sick I am of jeans. I alone folded a shipment of 500. We were also required to wear the Triple A’s these days because a lot of important people (including the man who worked directly under the CEO) were visiting. I made a lot of friends that week and something weird happened. I was popular. This had never happened to me before. I was considered cool. People knew who I was. Hot guys were flirting with me and asking for my number. I was not used to this kind of attention. I kind of liked it. The shifts from hell turned into pastimes where we would fold and gossip about some of the creepy kids. It came time for the store to open and I worked 20 hours opening weekend, including the opening shift. The opening shift ‘models’ were featured in the Abercrombie magazine. It was pretty chill.
One of the things that really took me by surprise was how flirty the guys were. I go to an all girls school so it’s not like I experience that daily. I walked into my first day being the only Indian girl and really the only ethinically diverse person at all. You would ask someone to describe one of the girls ‘Oh you know blonde, skinny, really pretty’ oh you mean everyone other than me? I was the only girl with dark hair. But I think the weirdest thing for me was really how straightforward guys were. I had one boy tell me ‘You know, you look like someone famous. OH yeah Salma Hayek’ I pondered how that was a thing 1. she had boobs 2. she was hispanic 3. she’s Salma Hayek ‘Well you’re both smart, short and really pretty’ he responded. Turns out he used a similar line on one of my guy friends too. Bummer. Also the ‘You’re really pretty for an Indian Girl.’ Kind of offensive asshole. I also had a bra thrown on my with a (hot) guys number on a sticky note attached to it. (The bra was from the store not like random one. But it was also the only bra in the store…weird). I could have gotten used to this until school started and all the Abercrew outings came to an end because all my friends were in college and had left. (More Aberdude stories to come)
The life of an Abercrombie Model includes standing at the front of the store and yelling ‘Hey, How’s it going’ and ‘Catch ya later’ at customers. It is imperative that every customer be greeted as they walk through the door and walk out. We must always be flirtatious because sex sells. This is obvious by the clothing (or lack there of). We stand around like aberzombies just looking pretty and directing customers around the store and folding like the mindless abercrombiods we are. We run the registers with a smile. Abercrombie and bitch for life.
I still work at Abercrombie although every shift now is a shift from hell. There are not very many cute guys and since I’ve had to reduce my hours I don’t work the same timings as them anymore. Except last week one of the cute boys winked at me and told he would see me around. Little does he know I took a break for two months. Awkotaco. Once an Aberzombie, always an Aberzombie. The Epic Abercrombiod Saga is To Be Continued…
(Pre- work picture)