An Open Letter to Old Navy.

Below is the transcript of an email I’ve just sent off to Old Navy after finding out they have a one-day-only sale ($5 each!) on swim separates. Which of course, doesn’t extend to their plus size line. Old Navy: I and many others have had it with your shit.

‘To whom it may concern, 

 
To say I’ve had enough of your discriminatory sales practices is an understatement of astronomical proportions. This $5 swim separate sale today is the last straw for me.
 
Take a look at your straight size collection: 
Image
And now look at the same section (‘mix and match’) on your plus size section:
 Image
Not only are the plus size clothes SIGNIFICANTLY more frumpy/less stylish, but do you not see the MASSIVE price discrepancy? Even WITHOUT today’s sale, a straight size bikini top in a cute pattern goes for $15, while a plain, boring, black bikini top in plus sizes sells for nearly THREE TIMES as much. You can say what you want about plus size clothes needing more fabric, but there is no way you can possibly excuse charging THREE TIMES as much for an inferior product just because it’s made for fat people. That is nothing except poor sales practice.
 
 
Not including your plus size customers in today’s sale goes beyond oversight into straight up discrimination. Which shouldn’t surprise me. Your company refuses to sell plus size clothes in store, forcing your larger customers to have to buy online without any way to try on the product or judge the quality without spending money first. Even with a free return policy, it doesn’t make up for the convenience of being able to walk into a brick and mortar store and try on clothes the way everyone else can. Your practice sends a very clear message: ‘If you’re fat, we will take your money, but we don’t want to see you in our stores.’ That is a horrendous way to treat your fat customers. If you don’t want fat people in your stores, don’t sell plus size clothes at all. Treating us like second class citizens is rude and pernicious.
 
In addition: your plus size sizing is AWFUL. It’s inconsistent, and you can buy two products in the same size and have one be far too big and one far too small. This would be an issue even if you did sell in store, but since you only sell online a customer literally has NO idea what to expect when they order your pieces.
 
Please be aware that there is a MASSIVE market for plus size clothing. There is no shortage of fat people these days, and contrary to what you might think, most of us actually do enjoy wearing stylish, on-trend, good quality clothing. There are more and more independent and small businesses who cater to the plus size community, and they actually listen to their customers, treat them well, and give them what they want. Don’t believe me? Check out sites like Domino Dollhouse or ASOS Curve. You are quickly losing ground.
 
Please also be aware that there is a large plus size community online, and we talk. We have a very powerful voice. As of the time I’m writing this email, news of your sale has been posted in facebook groups with over 8,000 members, on multiple blogging sites and on social media networks including facebook, tumblr, and instagram. In this day of age, word travels quickly, and social networking is an extremely powerful tool. Your practices do not go unnoticed.
 
It’s time to start listening to your plus size customers. There are certainly enough of us. With some actual effort, your plus size line could be a huge hit, not to mention a money maker. And let’s be honest, it’s all about the bottom line in the end, isn’t it?
 
You have the opportunity here to make a real difference. I sincerely hope you take it. Until then, I will remain disappointed, and I will no longer shop at Old Navy, and encourage everyone I know, plus size or not, to avoid your store as well.
 
 
Regards,
 
Amber (last name)’

I also included a link to this blog post in the email. If and when they respond I will either update this post, or create a new one with their response!

UPDATE: 24 HOURS LATER.

Via Old Navy’s facebook page, over a dozen people have commented and made posts concerning Old Navy’s practices regarding their plus size line. An admin for their facebook page has responded to EVERY comment on their page EXCEPT the ones from or about their plus size line or customers. Don’t believe me? Check out the comments on this post. Despite an overwhelming number of comments from people concerned about the plus size line, Old Navy has nothing to say.

Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 1.45.20 PM

Janssen’s comment is spot on.

UPDATE: Got a response from Old Navy. As excepted, it’s a bullshit fill-in-the-blanks form letter in which they give me a 20% off coupon. Lol, no thanks. Here, for your reading pleasure!

Dear Amber,

Thank you for sharing your comments about our recent in-store swim wear promotion. Our marketing and promotions departments try to create contests and promotions that add fun to the Old Navy shopping experience, and we regret disappointing you.

It is never our intent to frustrate or make our customers feel excluded in any way and we apologize if you were made to feel this way due to our recent promotion. Please know that Oldnavy.com will honor in-store promotions for sizes offered exclusively online, including plus sizes. All you have to do is call 1-800-OLD-NAVY to place your order and we’ll be happy to honor any current in-store promotions!
Please be assured that we have shared your feedback with the appropriate individuals within our company so they can keep your feedback in mind when they plan the next promotion.

Regarding your concern with the pricing of our plus size items, we pride ourselves on our ability to balance great quality and style with fair prices. We appreciate you sharing your concerns and will share your concerns for further review.

Additionally, we apologize for any disappointment with the assortment and style of our current plus size selection. As a fashion retailer, we continually strive to create new designs and, as a result, our collections are constantly changing. As we learn more about what our customers want, we often expand or adjust our product selection. Your feedback will also be shared with our merchandising team for review and consideration of upcoming plus size collections.

Amber, the feedback we receive is crucial in understanding the wants and needs of our customers. Thank you, again, for sharing your feedback and allowing us the opportunity to improve upon your shopping experience. We invite you to shop with us again and take 20% off of your next online order with Old Navy. Please note that this offer can be used along with any current promotions, discounts, or rewards! You will receive an email at randomlancila@gmail.com with additional details and instructions on redeeming the offer.

We hope you find this information to be helpful. We appreciate your business and look forward to shopping with you again soon.
If we may be of further assistance, please contact us at custserv@oldnavy.com or by calling 1-800-OLD-NAVY (1-800-653-6289).

Sincerely,

Kimberly
Gap Inc. Customer Relations

Any ideas how to respond?

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21 Responses to An Open Letter to Old Navy.

  1. Claudia says:

    Amazingly written!!! I could NOT possibly agree more with you!!!! Goodbye Old Navy!!! Your getting NO MORE of my business until I can walk into your store and try something on!!!

  2. Such an eloquently written piece. It enrages me when companies charge so much money for plus suits due to “more fabric” yet a size 0 and size 10 are the same price.

  3. Tabby says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! I also woke up to the same email about the “sale” and just sunk a little after reading it. This kind of treatment to paying customers is demeaning and patronizing. I’m sick of the “more fabric =more money /less stylish” nonsense.

    I hope they sincerely reconsider their business plan regarding plus sizecustomers. We deserve to be included. We’re spending the damn money after all!

  4. This is excellent! We don’t have Old Navy in the UK but this is a pretty shoddy way to treat their customers, plus size or no. They need to buck their ideas up, BIG time (pun totally intended)

  5. I applaud you for writing this! I’ve felt this way about Old Navy forever!

  6. Jenny Lee says:

    I shared this on my blog because I have lots of followers who are often complaining about Old Navy’s treatment of larger sizes. I feel like the store is just turning into a joke because they keep screwing us over time and time again. Having an online only plus size section is a loud and clear message that they don’t want me in their stores and since that seems to be okay with them, then they can’t have my money. Instead, my money goes to businesses like ASOS where I feel like my business is appreciated.

  7. Heather says:

    I’ve never shopped at Old Navy, but now I know that I definitely won’t be shopping there.

  8. Ashley says:

    I have totally stopped shopping at old navy. They’ve always rubbed me the wrong way with their plus sizes for all the reasons above. Now ill defiantly tell people to avoid them! Fat or not!

  9. Jessica says:

    After recently losing weight, I’ve been looking for reasonably priced clothes, as all my old ones don’t fit. I was going to shop OldNavy.com for most of what I need, but I think I’ll take my money elsewhere instead.

  10. Mary says:

    Very well written. I’ve shared the article on my facebook as well.

  11. Jani says:

    When I gained weight, I stopped shopping at Old Navy. The notion that they didn’t carry my size in store but I could go online and order it? Just the idea of it embarrassed me & hurt my feelings. If I’m supposed to give you my money for your product, I’d like to do it without feeling judged.

    I used to still buy gifts & gift cards for others there, but if they can’t afford to treat ALL their customers with the same courtesies, then they don’t deserve their plus-sized customers’ patronage.

  12. Timothy B says:

    The person who wrote this article os absolutely clueless. You fail to realize that clothing for all people overweight…at EVERY store…is definitely not fashionable…just becuase you have a personal grudge on one store you think you can take a personal attack directly to them alone…you are naiive and are missing the bigger picture…for smaller stores like old navy they may not be able to afford space for a large selection of plus sized womens clothing…while i agree that they should set aside a small section of each store for such a selection…the simple fact is that they may not be able to simply for space limitations…as for the price difference…it is present in every store simply because there is not an incredibly large market for people who wear xxl and larger sizes…look at statistics…about 3% of the world wears xxl or greater…soooooo common sense is they should charge extra simply for the fact that the product may sit on the shelf for months before being sold…get your head out of your ass before you make an utterly ridiculous statement attacking just one store…you should attack all stores at once…not one that you may have a personal grudge against…
    Sincerly…somebody smarter than you…^^

    • Adipose Activist says:

      I don’t usually approve or respond to comments that are steeped in such condescending overtones, but in this case, you are SO WRONG on every point that you made that I feel it my civic duty to correct you. Let’s begin, shall we?

      “You fail to realize that clothing for all people overweight…at EVERY store…is definitely not fashionable.” Uhhhh. Have you seen the things I wear? Because my fashion is on point. Because, believe it or not, there are plus size retailers who actually listen to and respond to what their customers want. Fat people like to look stylish and on trend just as much as thin people do. Finding such clothing is so rare that when we find it, we WILL spend money on it.

      “smaller stores like old navy they may not be able to afford space for a large selection of plus sized womens clothing” SMALLER STORES? Old Navy is a small store? That’s why it’s in every mall. That’s why it’s got over 7 million ‘likes’ on facebook. That’s why Old Navy consists of 42% of sales for the Gap, which is the company that owns it. They certainly can ‘afford’ to have a plus size section. Maybe they could get rid of y’know, half of the creepy mannequins they have taking up so much empty space.

      “as for the price difference…it is present in every store simply because there is not an incredibly large market for people who wear xxl and larger sizes…look at statistics…about 3% of the world wears xxl or greater” Uhhhh. Want to give me a source on that? And more importantly, Old Navy is an AMERICAN company in AMERICAN malls. Funny how I can’t turn on a tv without hearing about America’s ~obesity epidemic~ or how EVERYONE’S FAT. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say everyone in America is fat and then in the same breath say there’s no demand for plus size clothes. That is illogical and nonsensical. Old Navy COULD make an effort to actually advertise that they have a plus size section. Because if I know a store doesn’t sell my size, I’m not going to go in periodically just to check if they may have changed their minds. Old Navy has NEVER advertised that they have plus size clothes at all–so how the hell are people supposed to know? You have a new product, you advertise it. Old Navy NEVER did that.

      “you should attack all stores at once…not one that you may have a personal grudge against…” Hmm, well, judging from the 1500 views I got in 12 hours, and the comments on this post (besides yours, of course) I think it’s fair to say it’s not a ‘personal grudge’ and that my concerns are valid and shared. And just because I only made this one blog post doesn’t mean I haven’t ‘attacked’ other stores.

      Now, who is it who needs to remove their head from their ass?

    • Laura says:

      I am really curious how someone who chooses to write “…” between every sentence instead of using proper punctuation can sign a post as “somebody smarter than you”. Lol.

    • Cor says:

      Hey smart one:
      Can you tell me why a store that only caters to the tiny has primarily small sized clothes in their clearance? Why would a store that does not have clientele that is not bigger than a size small have small clothes left over? Shouldn’t those be the ones that are sold first? Why are there not sized L or XL in the clearance? People aren’t fat right? Those clothes don’t sell right? There should be tons of L and XL clothes left for months and months. Sorry Charlie, that is not the case. There are tons of small/medium clothes left on the shelves and maybe one L or XL at the end of a clothing run. Your size logic doesn’t work here.
      Can you tell me why a store that displays their clothing on tables may have only 10 colors but 30-40 spaces for those clothes? Yeah, that’s three spaces for every color on that table. They’re on the top of the table, the next shelf done and sometimes tucked behind. Sometimes they’re even on the other side of the table. There’s plenty of room to put clothing that’s not S-XL on that table. Maybe they need to train their workers to actually keep track of what’s on the table and make sure they stock the right sizes more than once a day. Fold up a dang shirt and use that other space wisely. Your space logic doesn’t work here
      The reason most of the plus sized clothing at stores is unfashionable is because they don’t really want anyone that’s not barbie to shop there. How hard is it to stamp the same logo on a size XXL? Really, it’s the same old stamp. And true, it’s not just Old Navy, but they’re not even trying. At least other stores have the nasty unfashionable sections. Old Navy once had plus sized clothing. I knew people that shopped there. They don’t anymore. People stopped shopping there. They went looking other places for fashion. This means that it’s not that hard to have fashionable clothing at Old Navy. Your fashion logic doesn’t work here either.
      Sincerely
      Been there, tried it on, put it back, shopped where I was welcome.

    • KateH says:

      Timothy B, fighting for the rights of small businesses… such as Old Navy.

  13. anne says:

    go amber!

  14. cindy says:

    I’ve tried Old Navy. Didn’t care for the size difference. You could pick up 2 of the exact item and have a difference of 2 or more inches. If Old Navy didn’t cover their racks with the same size for 10 feet or more they could fit some plus size. Also it would give the salespeople something to do other than just stand around. I do a lot of impulse buying in the stores I go to. If I am looking for a skirt and I find it then I start looking for items to go with it. So a sale that would have been $25.00 turns in to a sale that could go into the hundreds. If they care plus size. No plus size no sale. Sorry.

  15. Couldn’t agree more! I shop at Old Navy because there are multiple conveniently located near me, and because I’m able to fit into the larger straight sizes. But for bottoms, in which I wear a size disproportionate to my top half, it’s a nightmare. Old Navy is one of the only companies that carries jeans that don’t look like they could fit another person in the hips, but I can’t get them in stores! And for most pants in straight sizes, stores only carry up to a 16, even though they SUPPOSEDLY carry up to a 20. It just doesn’t make sense. Like you said, there is no lack of stylish fat women in this world, and I think that Old Navy could do great business if they marketed to them appropriately, with stylish, reasonably-priced merchandise.

    Most importantly, though, why are real women modeling the straight sizes, while the plus sizes are relegated to the headless (read: faceless, invisible) not-actually-all-that-fat mannequin?

  16. Kendall says:

    Thank you! Wonderfully written. Being curvy and tall I have a horrible time shopping in almost any store, and I hate having to guess and order online because 50% or more of the time I then have to deal with repacking, printing a shipping label and paying to send back what doesn’t fit. Old Navy lost my business long ago with the discrepancy between clothing of the same size- there is NO consistency. Not to mention even with the ‘low’ price tags the quality is lacking, and then add on to that their discriminatory practices? No thank you!

  17. Pingback: Friday Links, 8/2/2013 | Tutus And Tiny Hats

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