Life as one of Abercrombie & Fitch’s ‘brand ambassadors’
Welcome to the fashion cave
The Third Street Promenade Abercrombie & Fitch is located right in the middle of Santa Monica’s famous shopping strip. The vast, two-floor store is slightly reminiscent of a hollowed out cave in some sort of mountain filled with the latest fashions and trends. The stone floor and canoe suspended fifteen feet below the ceiling towards the back of the store adds to the aesthetic. Pop music and purposeful lighting contribute to an ambiance of nonchalant but supreme style.
Keeping the store presentable is one of the prime objectives in achieving great customer service. In order to do that, the clothes on display need to be neatly folded at all times. Now, we’ve all been clothes shopping before. Most of us have rifled through hangers and stacks looking for a particular size or style. For the most part, once we’re done, if we haven’t found what we need, we’ll move on to the next thing. In the past, I’ve left some displays looking like ground zero, having no shame about the fact.
I can safely say I will never do that again. If you find doing laundry as a tedious task, imagine having to pick up other people’s clothes and arrange them neatly after they carelessly assailed a well-presented display.
Walkie-talkies: Can I get a stock check?
One of the most exciting things about working at A&F is having a walkie-talkie clipped to your belt, collar, or wherever you see fit. For the most part, each Brand Representative has one, as well as at least one person in the stock rooms. They’re used for Rep-to-Rep communication, but most frequently for Brand Rep to Stock Associate. Whenever a customer is looking for a size not available on the floor, a Brand Rep will get on the radio.
‘Hey can I get a stock check?’
Silence. The customer looks on credulously as you both wait for the reply on the other end.
The next part is what ties together the walkie-talkie experience. On each tag is a set of numbers that corresponds to sections in the stock room. The Brand Rep reads out the numbers so that the Stock Associate can see if it’s available. Ever looking for excitement, I like to read off the numbers as if it’s a symbolic code or the sequence to diffuse a bomb. I can’t help but think of the days when my friends and I would play with walkie-talkies as kids.
Waiting time while you take the security tag off
For me personally, the most uncomfortable part of the experience comes when I’m ringing up a customer. Most all of the clothes have one of those manila security pins on them that beep if they’re taken outside of the store. To ensure this doesn’t happen, we the employees remove the pin after the item has been scanned. I’m somewhat of a rookie at removing the tags, but even when I can find a way to get it off quickly, there’s still the process of folding the clothes before they go in the bag. All of this is done with my back to the customer so I can only imagine the boredom that must ensue while I prep their purchase.
I’m thinking about investing in some shirts that have some sort of funny picture, saying, or slogan on the back so that it might prompt a conversation while I complete the customer service experience.