Not since pushing open the door of an entirely inconspicuous building on a tiny street in Barcelona and finding a beautiful cathedral, filled with candles and flamingos, have I been as confused or surprised as I was when I entered another door, down a little street in London. This time however I wasn’t surprised in a good way, more in a ‘what the fuck is this and why is that guy only wearing pants?’ way.
For anyone who hasn’t visited this particular establishment; upon entering the Abercrombie & Fitch store you will be greeted by a man without a shirt on, twitching to some bland euro-trance and smiling at you with his mouth while crying for help with his eyes. The mock-American (Mamerican if you will) accent really threw me off as well. To be fair it did justify the horribly cheesy welcome of ‘Well hello sir, a warm welcome to you, enjoy your time inside’ somewhat more than if I had heard it in a Scouse tongue, but is it really necessary?
After this peculiar shock to the eyes and ears, the nose is then confronted with the overwhelming stench of Eau D’Abercrombie, or whatever it’s called, that management choose to spray over anything with a logo, including their staff. Now I don’t want to personally attack any of the staff members, because I’m sure they are all lovely people, but fuck me, are they weird when they’re at work.
Firstly, there are about five staff to every customer, so just as you’ve finished being accosted by one set of pearly white teeth, another appears asking you whether you would like a hand picking any of the identikit, ‘sexily lit’ pieces of clothing in front of you. Secondly, the dancing doesn’t stop at the door, oh no…the real party’s happening inside; above your head are what looks like the Hollyoaks cast, dressed in next to nothing, some grinding each other and some awkwardly jolting to Scooter’s greatest hits. Lastly, Abercrombie appear to monitor their staff closer than Disney are guilty of while grooming their next child star. From the look of it, jeans must have no less than three rips per leg, eyebrows must be streamlined and hair must be elegant, yet just dishevelled enough to remain ‘edgy.’
I wonder what they’re like when they go home. I suppose its kind of like being a kids TV presenter, at the risk of falling victim to work induced bi-polar syndrome. Both talk loudly, move in a funny way (the ‘dancing’) and smile like an imbecile all day before, I imagine, going home to a microwave meal for one and an unsuccessful wank culminating in tears. I can only hope it doesn’t end with hoards of false smiles killing their girlfriends and hanging themselves at Paddington train station. (Too soon?)
I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I just felt like I needed to share the inner workings of perhaps the most surreal store in London with someone other than those fake tanned girls with white lips and Ugg boots who were standing outside.