Unbelievable Stories From Former Abercrombie & Fitch Employees

Abercrombie & Fitch is known for their high-quality, casual clothes. Those of us who go in there to buy a shirt might find it a pleasant experience, but have you ever wondered what it feels like to work there?
Getty Images Photo by Tim Boyle
Getty Images Photo by Tim Boyle
Abercrombie & Fitch is just one of the many companies that former workers lived to tell horror stories about. In this list, ex-employees will be exposing the shocking truth about working for the clothing brand.

The Naked Truth

According to many former A&F employees, if you don’t have the right footwear, you will be sent home. If you don’t want to go home, that’s fine; you can work the register, as long as you do it completely barefoot.

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Think about it, if they work behind the counter, no one will ever see their feet, so why do they have to be barefoot? Is this some kind of sick punishment?

Cologne is On

Trying on clothes at A&F might prove to be a challenging experience for those of us with a sense of smell. The clothes in the store are drenched in cologne. But how does it get there?

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Well, apparently, it is someone’s job to spray it on each and every clothing item in the store. They do this for every shift, a bit excessive, don’t you think?

Shut Up and Look Cute

If you thought working for a clothing store would be all about speaking with customers and helping them – think again. The most important thing about this gig is looking the part.

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Former employees reveal that during their orientation, they were told not to interact with customers. What if a customer tries to ask you a question? Ignore them, but look good while you’re doing it!

Hangers and Hook-Ups

In order to work for Abercrombie & Fitch, you have to look a certain way, and by that, we mean –  alluring. But what happens when you put a bunch of attractive people together? You know the answer; it’s basically the formula of every reality show on the planet.

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As workers don’t have much to do but fold clothes, once they are done doing that, they are free to engage in other, more enticing activities. Hook-ups were normal, as long as nobody got caught.

Stay on Script

Just like actors, those who are lucky enough to work for A&F have to stay on script. No improvising is allowed; it would ruin the whole vibe.

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If someone does have the audacity to say something other than the assigned “Hey, how’s it goin’?” they would be yelled at for running the brand’s reputation.

Be Aware of What You Wear

Dress codes and uniforms are a normal part of many jobs. At A&F, your face and body are your uniforms, and anything else is, well, optional.

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Guys had to wear pants that were too big so that people could see their undies and shirts that are so tight that people could see their muscles. We’re…speechless.

No Stubble

Before beards were in, they were super out. Regardless of fashion trends, just like the military, Abercrombie & Fitch has a strict no stubble policy. We don’t want to hide these pretty faces under beards!

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The worst part was that if you forgot to shave, you had to shave with a used, old razor. That can’t be safe, but who cares about safety? Not A&F, that’s for sure!

Spend Your Earnings

One of the most ridiculous parts about having a job you can’t wear your normal clothes to is that you have to keep spending money in order to go to work and make money.

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At A&F, this has reached new levels of absurdity, as you earned a paycheck and spent it in the same place. This left most workers in an endless cycle of working but still being broke.

Just Don’t Be Yourself

Abercrombie & Fitch management was allergic to any type of self-expression. Do you want to show your individuality? Please don’t.

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No nail polish is permitted, or piercings, which is funny, cause the A&F brand is all about inspiring people to be themselves. Everyone except for the workers, of course.

That’s How You Do It

Some employees were too smart to be fooled by Abercrombie & Fitch and found a way to game the system. Why pay for clothes when you can so easily borrow them?

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Just take a sweater from one of the shelves and put it back at the end of your shift. No one will notice, right?

No Colors

Workers have to make sure everything they do is always on-brand. Other than being “natural-looking” employees were also only permitted to wear neutral colors.

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Do you want to wear red? Bummer for you, the only time a year you’ll get to do that is Christmas. Green’s your favorite color? Go work for some other company.

Sprayed From Above

You’d figure having someone spraying cologne on each, and every clothing item in the store would be enough, right? Wrong. At A&F, there is no such thing as too much perfume.

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The ceiling literally sprayed perfume from above. That can’t be healthy or safe, but who cares?

Only Hot People Can Apply

A&F is way too exclusive to have just anyone applying to work for them. You had to be specifically invited to attempt to get the job.

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Yes, applying was password-protected; they wouldn’t people who aren’t movie-star attractive to even try!

Black is Off Limits

As we mentioned, some colors were just off-limits for workers. You literally couldn’t be caught wearing black because that would be a crime. Not a fashion crime, but an actual one.

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Why? Well, no one knew, but employees were told that wearing the color is prohibited for legal reasons. We are left to guess what those reasons could possibly be…

Selling Out

For as long as systems have existed, people have been trying to game them. As A&F employees have to work in the brand’s clothes, they get crazy discounts.

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Some people figured they could get hired, buy a bunch of discounted gift cards, and then quit. You have to admit it’s an ingenious plan.

Not Hiring

When working at Abercrombie & Fitch, lying is key. All to protect the brand’s image. White lies are color employees are still entitled to wear.

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People who aren’t models shouldn’t even know if the company is hiring or not; that would just be so wrong; they might even try and get their unattractive hands on some of those application passwords.

Scouting Duties

Abercrombie & Fitch employees are more than just beautiful faces! They are beautiful faces that are tasked with looking for other beautiful faces.

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Apparently, scouting attractive people in the mall is just part of your shift, you know, right after you’re done spraying perfume everywhere.

Muscley Mannequins

Mannequins are supposed to help us understand how the clothes might look on us. True to their brand, the mannequins at Abercrombie & Fitch are supposed to help us internalize that the clothes are meant for models only.

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This brand isn’t about inclusivity but exclusivity; that’s why both mannequins and employees have six-packs.

Smelling Manly

The store is always sprayed with incredible amounts of the brand’s cologne “Fierce.” This means all employees, no matter if they are women or men, always smell like that perfume.

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After spending so much time in the store, they have no way of getting rid of the smell, which might make for uncomfortable situations in their personal lives.

Beautiful Minds

When you only recruit employees based on beauty, it means they might be lacking in other departments. All recruitment is done by scouting, which means A&F hires people without knowing much about them other than what they look like.

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This could create uncomfortable situations in which the people that were hired aren’t smart enough to actually get the job done.

Extra Attention

Because everyone who works for A&F looks gorgeous, the store is a great place for people to come in and admire the beauty. Past workers tell they would get hit on all of the time, which some of them actually enjoyed.

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People even wanted to take pictures with them as if they were A-List celebrities, a bit excessive in our option, but okay.

Working for a Cause

One ex-employee decided to pull off a Robin Hood-inspired operation and steal clothes in order to give them to the homeless.

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The management would have probably been appalled if they saw a homeless person wearing their expensive clothes. But some people thrive on creating chaos, and this worker is definitely one of them.

Nightmare Job

When people have dreams, they work hard to achieve them. Well, this girl’s dream was simple: to work for Abercrombie & Fitch.

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She did all she could, lost weight, and got in. But the job wasn’t as dreamy as it seemed, so she quit and gained weight. You go, girl!

Make it Ugly

We would assume a sales representative’s job would be to help us pick the clothes that look best on us. But not at Abercrombie & Fitch.

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If an employee even bothered to answer your question, there’s a great chance they lied to you just for fun. Recommending the uglier items means making sure they are actually sold.

Working, But Not

Nobody enjoys being someone’s backup plan, but when it comes to being “On-Call,” it’s a waste of both time and money.

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Sitting at home, not being able to do anything else, just in case A&F calls you and tells you to come in, isn’t a great way of making a living because, well, you are not.

A Senior Junior

Because A&F’s turnover is so high, and the people who work there aren’t “that smart” – working there for a couple of months means you are already practically a senior manager.

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This means you might be able to get away with a lot more than the newer employees, and they might even think you’re a lot more important than you actually are.

Be Nice

We have already established that A&F workers shouldn’t really talk to customers, but still, for some reason, if you want to ace your interview, you’ll have to show that you are personable and sweet.

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We don’t know why you’d want to work for Abercrombie & Fitch after reading this article, but if you do, you’ve got all the tips right here.

Unnaturally Natural

Abercrombie & Fitch employees have to adhere to a strict policy. The idea is to look natural, but not actually be natural, cause that wouldn’t be attractive enough for A&F.

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Never come in with your real hair and face; just make sure they look like they could be real. Good luck with figuring out what that means.

Tight Jeans

Abercrombie & Fitch is about everything but comfort. One ex-employee tells that they were instructed to only wear sandals and tight jeans.

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This meant having to deal with uncomfortable side effects that might change their lives forever. Not even the CEO could escape this bizarre rule.

That’s Tight

Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t even try to act as if they want to be inclusive. They only carry up to a size large, and even their large isn’t actually that large.

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This means that people of a larger size can’t think of working there, or even entering the store, as they’d be disappointed, which is a shame.

Take it Off

Job interviews are out; auditions are in. As all you need in order to work at A&F is to look like a model, there isn’t really any point in doing job interviews.

Getty Images Photo by Hannes Magerstaedt

Male employees have to audition as if it’s a modeling or an acting gig. Managers at A&F are basically like casting directors who have to decide who has the right look for the role.

‘Sup?

You’d think a job in a clothing store would be simple and casual. Well, think again, if you get in, you have to memorize a script. Luckily, it’s only three words long, but don’t you ever go off-script.

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All A&F employees basically have to be good-looking robots, otherwise, they’ll be fired. They also have a specific line for when they suspect someone is trying to steal goods.

No Big Deal

A clothing store’s aim is to sell as many clothes as possible, right? Well, not exactly. Apparently, it is more important for Abercrombie & Fitch to maintain the brand’s image than to actually carry larger sizes.

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Any size that is a bit bigger than skinny is stored far far away so that no one would ever be able to reach it or try it on.

Too Loud

If you want to go to work and enjoy some quiet time, don’t you ever work for A&F. It is their policy to play obnoxiously loud music. Why? No one knows.

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Maybe they want to make sure the aloof, unattainable workers would never hear what the customers are saying, in that case, it’s definitely working.

Young is Old

Part of A&F’s brand is making sure they always look cool, hip, and young. This means workers can’t be too old. What is too old? Young is already way too old. How young?

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Very young, if you are older than 20, it’s already too late for you, at 23 you are practically almost deceased. You can’t be a manager at that age, as your old age will damage the brand’s reputation.

A Hairy Situation

Usually, employers prefer the neat, tidy look that comes with putting your hair up in a ponytail, but not Abercrombie & Fitch. For them, having your hair up is too plain.

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Workers had to come to work with their hair down, and if they didn’t, they’d have to find a way to put it down, like washing it in a sink at the mall, which is less than ideal.

A&F or Nothing

Abercrombie & Fitch’s dress code has been already discussed here at length, employees had to wear the brand’s clothes to work. But what if one day, you came in, god forbid, wearing something that doesn’t have an A&F logo on it, you’d be in serious trouble.

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You could get fired for not wearing the right clothes, which may be why many workers never managed to actually make money while working there.

It’s Alway Sunny in A&F

Flip-flops, for some reason, despite not being the most professional shoe, was the brand’s footwear of choice. It had to be worn all year round, regardless of the weather.

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It’s hot? great, wear flip-flops. It’s snowing? great, wear flip-flops. I guess they took trying to look cool and natural too far. Wearing flip-flops in the winter is not cool, but super cold.

An Awkward Introduction

When you work a customer service job, you are sometimes excepted to say or do very awkward things, but it doesn’t get more embarrassing than talking about “meeting” perfumes as if they were people.

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We’d assume the confused customers would ask who are they, and the workers would have to point at the colognes and look very silly.

Lucrative Business

When you have to spend all of the money you make in the same store that pays you, you could find yourself resorting to some questionable behaviors in order to try and regain all the money you lost.

Getty Images Photo by Tim Boyle

How did workers get away with this? It is unclear, and also very illegal, like more illegal than wearing black or going off-script.

No Trust

You’d expect a place that has a lot of expensive merch lying around to at least try and hire people they could trust, but that’s not really a priority in A&F’s hiring process.

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Where there is no trust, there are frequent security checks, which could get very awkward. Especially if one of the employees was trying to steal stuff so they could sell it on eBay.

Training Your Brain

Training is an important part of learning how to do your job and being a professional employee. But, according to some, the training at Abercrombie & Fitch isn’t really about learning important skills.

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A&F’s training consists of making up stories and trying to look cool, which might be fun but that doesn’t sound like a skill you’ll be able to use in your next job.

Toxic Environment

Some former employees tell horror stories about entitled managers who create a toxic work environment. Sure, this isn’t a part of the company’s official policy.

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We would have hoped they would take care of a manager that is so scary that employees find themselves hiding behind clothes. We mean, it’s not even a good hiding spot.

Bossy Bosses

Bosses are almost always difficult in one way or another, nobody likes authority figures, but at least getting used to one and knowing what is expected of you provides some comfort. Well, not at A&F.

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Managers are replaced as frequently as clothes, while confused employees are left to try and appease different people with different management styles and demands.

Nothing New

If you are accepted and hired for a job, it is a pretty basic expectation to actually get to work. But Abercrombie & Fitch would never do anything that is basic, they have to be the coolest.

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New workers don’t get any shifts, which seems counterintuitive, why would you hire someone if you have no work to give them? Makes no sense. But nothing does when it comes to A&F.

Not a Lucrative Business

You’d think that a business, that has the clear purpose of making money, would at least put current trends as a priority, as it would help in the money-making process.

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But that would just be too rational for A&F. Why not stay in the past? It’s much easier. Who cares about making money?

High School Drama

Like in almost all companies, there is a huge difference between how A&F tries to brand itself and the actual reality.

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While they want to seem like an accepting company, workers will tell you it does the opposite. If you missed out on joining a sorority during college, don’t despair, as long as you are not too old you could join Abercrombie & Fitch and get the same experience. 

Sabotage

Abercrombie & Fitch believes in healthy competition, sorry did we say healthy? We meant unhealthy. If a manager eyes someone who might have more potential than them, they’ll take care of it.

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How? The only way they know, with good old sabotage. If you thought you’d be able to get a promotion, think again, it’s basically “Kill or be Killed” at A&F.