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:
And now look at the same section (‘mix and match’) on your plus size section:
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.
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or by calling 1-800-OLD-NAVY (1-800-653-6289).
Hi there, I'm Amber! I'm a 26 year old fat activist hailing from slightly south of Boston. I've decided to tackle the heavy (pun intended!) topic of self image for fat people after dealing with an eating disorder and self-hate for nearly two-thirds of my life. The internet is a powerful tool and a huge chunk of the reason that I finally began to love my body. My hopes are that in writing this blog, I can help do the same for other people.