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Friday, March 9, 2012

Spartan Discipline at Abercrombie & Fitch in Milan?

Discipline is fierce inside the walls of A&F Milan.
The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has shared with the public a leaked email that has been raising eyebrows in Italy. The email in question dates from April 2011 in which an employee at the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store in Milan privately shared that "from today, every time we make an error we'll have to do 10 press-ups[push-ups for men], or squats for the women. This will bring about a great result - we will learn from our mistakes."[source] The "punishment" would be given out for whatever mistake be it for not folding clothing properly, for not greeting a customer with full cool-enthusiasm, or for simply just not following supervisor orders correctly. The isolated practice was exclusive to A&F Milan as it was implemented by the store's loss prevention manager, and it was all supposed to be a sort of "team-building" discipline.

What was the reaction?

One employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told that he had to do "hundreds" of press-ups: "That's how it works there - you take it or leave it." Then Italy's largest union responded by saying that this affected the dignity of the employees and that "if this is the American model, then we have have little to learn from them."

Abercrombie & Fitch stepped in and did an internal investigation which concluded by stating that the discipline practice was "misguided" and that it has since been stopped after the supervisor of the loss prevention manager got word of the whole thing: "Needless to say, using push-ups or any physical activity for discipline is not A&F policy. It never has been, and it never will be."[source] The Company does not deny that the practice went on in the flagship, but asserts that claims of it were exaggerated by an unhappy store model.

Maybe if the store model hadn't been so stupid he wouldn't have had to do so many push-ups to begin with! 10 push-ups are nothing anyway! Still, exercise for discipline at a near-luxury fashion retailer...um, nobody wants a sweaty store model handling the clothing!

Stay FIERCE!