Monday, May 17, 2010

Through a shop darkly

About six months ago a sign went up in Milton Keynes shopping centre announcing the opening of a new shop and calling for 'attractive' people to apply for jobs. As I imagined how humiliating it would be to be rejected for a shop job on the grounds of your unattractiveness, I also wondered what shop would insist on such a condition. It surely couldn't be Superdrug where fairly ordinary people ask you if you want any stamps with your waxing strips nor was it likely to be British Home Stores, where staff range from homely to unthreateningly attractive.

Soon I had the answer. The shop was part of the Abercrombie and Fitch empire called Hollister. It has been done up to look like the outside of a nightclub with bare chested young gentleman standing at the door to greet you or put you off, depending on your viewpoint. I had a feeling it wasn't a shop meant for me and avoided going in until Flora told me she had ventured inside and and found it staffed by more bare chested men and good looking women in skimpy outfits.

Intrigued, I brazened it out and decided to take my chances with the hostile looking and inadequately attired young men. What greeted me was an interior of Stygian gloom. It was as thought there had been a powercut and only the emergency lighting was on. As I peered into the dark recesses I could just make out what I thought were clothes but the prices remained a mystery. As I felt my way around the shop, I could just make out the attractive staff; what a waste, I thought, when you can't even see them. They could have employed cheaper, ugly people and we'd be none the wiser.

It may be that the lack of lighting is supposed to add to the nightclub ambience but I suspect it's mainly to keep anyone aged over 35 out as you need the night vision of a younger person to find your way round. As someone who had great difficulty seeing the name of a lipstick in the blaring lights of Debenhams, I didn't stand a chance in Hollister. I was like a mole, bumping into things and blinking into the distance with no hope of actually seeing anything.

I only hope M and S don't decide to follow suit as I like to inspect my smalls before purchase.

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