Tuesday, February 15, 2005

i hesitate to admit this

Considering how irritating I find their ad campaigns, how relentlessly cheerful their stores, how cheaply made their products. But I recently went to Old Navy because I needed a tank top or two, and some panties, and I was doing some freelance proofreading nearby, so it was easy to drop in. All I can say about that particular experience: oy. The logic of the layout completely eluded me. Everywhere there were displays of items in various combinations, but the items themselves, the ones one might buy, were nowhere to be found. Or hung on racks far, far away from the displays. Actually, this makes a perverse sense: if you have to truck all over hell and gone to find one "perfect fit ribbed V-neck baby-T", you might get distracted on the way to your Grail and end up picking up another item or two on the way.

Or maybe the place was just laid out by monkeys, a possibility I'm not discounting.

Anyway. It did remind me of something that has always bothered me. Not particular to Old Navy, but still curious.

Why, on racks or in stacks, do they put all the small things first, and work back to the large ones? Perhaps the super-skinny people who wear those S sizes are too fragile to dig all the way to the back? Maybe it's time to switch that around. Not that it will make a big difference to me, being a solid medium in all things but my massive feet, but still. I started to feel demoralized just flipping through to the M's; I can only imagine the cumulative frustration that must weigh on bigger girls (and guys) as they look for things that are going to fit in the way back, crushed against the wall, or at the bottom of the pile. A distinction that is made very clear at the Market Street Old Navy, as it happens: the area for the more generously-figured is all the way in the back of the store, and designed in such a way that you can't easily see into it from either the street or the rest of the store.

I can see lots of reasons why my suggestion wouldn't work. And I understand that the truly petite don't have it any better and often find themselves shopping in the Girls' department just to find things that fit. I'm just saying. Also, why are all the mannequins the same size and about the same height? Does that creep anyone else out?