|Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries|
By now many of you have read, or at least heard about, the recent backlash regarding remarks made by Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, Mike Jeffries, in a 2006 interview with the online magazine, Salon.com. In the interview, Jeffries attributes part of his company's success to the decision to market clothing only to thin, cool, popular kids. Personally, I have experienced my own battle with this company regarding its lack of customer service skills and have not bought – or walked into – an A&F store in over five years. I know it’s not much, but it is my personal boycott, and I have always felt eventually karma will dictate that this company will suffer from its unwillingness to treat paying customers appreciatively. Hahaha, turns out I was right. People all over the country are now up in arms about this man and his ridiculous statements regarding how the brand chooses to merchandise its clothing. And, yes, they have the right to do whatever they want. But, let’s get real here, Abercrombie & Fitch does not sell things we NEED. They sell things we WANT – and so do a lot of other retail outlets. Customers also have the right to spend their money wherever they want and, thankfully, more and more people are choosing to spend their money with companies that exhibit a positive corporate conscience. Unfortunately, I imagine our complaining about A&F’s openly discriminatory and inflammatory remarks won’t change their successful corporate image, but maybe, just maybe, enough customers – and investors because, let’s face it, money talks and A&F is part of the publicly traded Limited Brand – will refuse to place their money with such an openly irresponsible and discriminatory company. Based on what I’ve read and seen about A&F, it’s been a long time coming, anyway.
Now, on to this week’s good stuff!
Here in Joplin a fourth grade student was one of three students nationally recognized in this year’s Scholastic Read 180 All StarAwards. Karen Alvaredo moved to the U.S. two years ago and spoke no English. Now she attends West Central Elementary in Joplin and reads at a grade level above her peers. I think that’s a pretty awesome achievement for such a young kid!
I don’t know if any of you read this piece in Huffington Post about Joshua Williams, who graduates this year from Bethune-Cookman University in Florida and was homeless for his first three years of college. Williams is also the first Bethune-Cookman student at the university to start his own scholarship. Of all the stories I read this week, I think this is my favorite and the most inspirational.
Also in Joplin, Mr. Obert, a social studies teacher at South Middle School, was named Missouri's Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year, which qualifies him to represent Missouri in the National Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year competition. Congratulations on a well-deserved recognition, Mr. Obert, and good luck in the national competition!
Finally, my friends over at The God Article shared this beautiful video endorsing random acts of kindness. I love it – and not just because they used Matisyahu’s song, “One Day” (although, it didn’t hurt….)