Tuesday, 12 January 2010

UberGrumble And Filch

Accessorising that perfect top
A good tale from my neighbour. Let's call him Ken1. Ken is a good-hearted man; he bought his lovely daughter a top from AberCrombie and Fitch which was the wrong size. No problem; planning a trip to London anyway, he offered to change it for her.

We live and learn.

Upon arrival he is surprised to find a queue snaking out of the shop and round the corner. A queue for a shop? Is the queen visiting? Or David Beckham? Apparently not. There's always a queue at A&F. Ken joins the line to find himself surrounded by eager teenies. And when Ken sensibly takes the opportunity to eat his cheese and pickle sandwiches with curly-wurly and diet Fanta, they all noisily disrespect him.

So Ken feels a little out of place by the time he reaches the door. But upon entry he is concerned to discover they have a power cut, or a fire. How come they're still letting people in? It's completely dark, and sirens are going off.

But as his eyes adjust to the gloom, he realises this is how it is all the time. And the sirens are in fact loud and trendy music. Has he accidentally lined up for a nightclub? How embarrassing.

But no; he puts his hands in front of him and advances gingerly until he bumps into what feels like a clothes rail. It is the shop.

Now call me old-fashioned but I quite like to see clothes when I'm buying them. Ken's in the same camp. Wishing he'd brought his head-torch, he manfully squints at tops for a while. No help is available; the A&F employees are busy dancing, half-naked, on a dimly-lit balcony far above. Ken shakes his fist at them, but they mistake it for a dance move of yesteryear, and kindly shake their fists back.

Ken is now quite cross, but he's come this far and he is made of steel. He finds the right top and gropes his way to the tills.

There's another queue. This one takes half an hour. Ken is beset by suspicious glances from more teenies who obviously assume he is a pervert come to spy on their shopping. But at last he is at the front, by now grinding his teeth. The assistant, very fetching in a bikini and buffed up with what looks like margarine, asks did he want the pink top? The old one's orange.

No he didn't. He just couldn't see the difference. So she stands him to one side and fetches the orange one for him. But then it turns out the one Ken chose was indeed orange; it was just labelled wrong. It takes a manager in a thong and a bowtie with a shaven chest and more margarine to sort out the mess.

By the time Ken gets out, two hours have passed.

What sort of evil genius can conceive of a shop like this? Buy a job lot of clothes from a sweat shop in Cambodia, put BIG LABELS on them, and then hang them in the dark. And hey presto! The kids are converging from miles around. No matter what you charge, because they all have vast cash reserves.

Ken, here's to you mate; you're a better man than I. Next time I buy pants and socks from M&S I'm going to keep my eyes closed the whole time in solidarity. Maybe I'll end up with a nice shade of pink. Or orange.

1 - Because that's his name


  1. Hilarious! Write a book of these, seriously. I will buy it!

  2. Manager in a thong and a bow-tie - in this weather??
    But I believe the rest of the story.

  3. If you're walking about M&S with your eyes closed watch out for elderly pickpockets. They are everywhere.

  4. That's just some more guerilla marketing!

  5. This is how I met my first wife.

    You live and learn, my friend.

    You live and learn.

  6. I thought A&F was like Austin Reed - guess I won't be getting my cravats there... Mind you I thought Chevvy was a luxury car brand!

  7. Even when I was young (and hopefully cool!) I would have been too afraid to step foot into such a shop.

    I'll stick to internet shopping....

  8. A&F? Isn't that what is says on chav girls' knickers so they know which way round to wear them?

  9. This is the BEST story I've read in a while. Hilarious. This is why I stay away from A&F.
    And I just read GuessWhat?'s comment and it's hilarious, too!

  10. The only thing worse than A&F is Hollister. Louder music and a darker dungeon.

  11. Ruel or some such bullshit and closely named store is like a nightclub.
    In fact, my very handsome nephew worked as a BOUNCER in there. Yep. Because you know what happens to teens when they have loud music, dark lighting, comfy chairs and a lack of adult supervision?
    They play catch my tongue. That's what.

  12. when i was in highschool, i used to work at AF (it was the cool thing to do) and we used to have people come in and constantly complain about the music being too loud, or the scent being too strong. We were FORCED by company policy to have the music on loud, and there are actually timed scent diffusers....intense...and insane. I can't even walk past an AF without gagging a little these days, God forbid going in...

  13. ;-)

    We have one of those and like the over-40 I am, I had to get out my readers to see the tags. I wanted to turn on a flashlight to help me see the racks.

    It was mainly young adults and older, not teens. Go figure. Maybe it was their parents shopping for them.

  14. A trendy young girl I know once excitedly screamed at me that she had been scouted as potential to work in hollister. They must be employed as models so that the manager in the bow tie can tell them to lose weight. Who needs hollister(or AandF or jack wills etc...)?

  15. Wow, our A&B sales people don't wear swim suits. Believe me if they did more people would shop there! LOL!

    Personally I don't like A&F clothes.

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  17. Now with less retardation:

    Abercrombie & Fitch is straight from the bowels of hell. I swear it is. HORRIBLE. Full of fake, "good looking" youths you want to punch and that's just the staff. Then their clothing only fits wood nymphs and twelve year olds and falls apart in a week. Awesome.

  18. Tina ~ Fancy a collaboration? I know some publishers...

    KAZ ~ You got me. Mild arctistic (sic) licence.

    mo ~ :) I'll be sure to listen for their Zimmer frames

    secretia ~ Yeah, sneaky

    Mooooooog ~ Wow! How many wives do you have?

    BP ~ Cravats? Ooooooooo

  19. Nat ~ Good plan, Amazon man

    GuessWhat ~ Wasn't that C&A?

    MiMi ~ Me too!

    Hunter ~ Are they the same company? Seem to refer to each other a lot on their websites

    JenJen ~ Ha! Illicit tonsil tennis amongst the smalls and socks eh? Disgusting

    Julie ~ Timed scant diffusers? Well, bugger me

    RefGeek ~ Everyone seems young to me these days :(

    Reading This ~ Welcome back! How's it all going? With you on Jack Wills...

  20. Christie ~ What, they serve you naked? Is that hygienic?

    Vege ~ Yeah! and Yeah! I wish I'd written that

    Clever thing you did with the post removal thingy. I suspect you are a computer wizard

  21. Brilliant. I think I love you

    Kate xxx

  22. I used to be intrigued by Hollister and A&F and thought it was amazingly cool. Having UberGrumpy as a father, however, I have now come to despise shopping in Hollister. The phoney trying-so-hard-to-put-on-a Californian-accent youths in there that actually live round the corner from WestQuay in Southampton make me itch. And the clothes aren't even that nice. Tsk.

  23. Bloody hell, I'd have run a bleedin' mile as soon as I saw the queue. Hats off to Ken for devotion to his daughter!

  24. Just your title had me laughing. I still have a couple of things I bought from A&F about 25 years ago (true statement) when they seemed like a pretty normal store. The next time I went in, they had turned themselves into...whatever they are now. As my hubby says, we are not the demographic!

  25. My husband and I just encountered this store in the States...we both were wondering what the hell, there was a lineup there too. Hardly any clothes on the shelves either, from what we could see. Great post.

  26. I am not going to that store!!!! We have one here but it's just not like that. Good dad though.

  27. Did he finish the curly wurly, or was he too distracted? If not, can I have it? Please!
    love to you,

  28. I had to come over because of the title. Love the post.

  29. Kate ~ I think I love you too, in an avuncular, old-enough-to-be-your-dad sort of way. Ahem

    Mini ~ Way to go! Come to Primark with me

    Richard ~ indeed. He's quite a guy

    Blissed-Out G ~ 'not the demographic' - like it!

    ResYours ~ Yeah! Think about the profit margin on each top eh?

    JP ~ Me neither

    Robyn ~ Not 'til I get that gum

    Peach ~ Ah ha! Thank 'ee

  30. Are you kidding?? Primark is even worse!

  31. I'm always afraid to go in A&F. Like there's really a bouncer at the door and he won't let me behind the velvet rope because I'm to old and stodgey for them.

  32. Mini ~ Is it? Oh. How about Matalan then?

    kys ~ Me too. Sigh

  33. I have seen those stores. I knew right away I was far too old to enter:)

  34. I don't care how nasty of a mood I am in, you always make me laugh. Thank you UG, for being so weirdly and delightfully wonderful with your writing.

  35. I loved this post! Hilariously written!

    I used to shop at A&F - on the rare times I went to America, and then a few times I bought online and had it shipped.

    But either the style changed, or I grew out of it.

    Once it came to the UK I lost interest. I've never been in the UK stores at all, and now have no desire to.