Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I'm a pretty loyal person, and not just to my friends and family. When I find something that I like, I usually stand by it. My last car was a Ford, and when it came time this summer to get a new one, I didn't have to look far. We went to the dealer and I got a brand new version of my old car (except this one takes E-85, yay me!) I frequent the same restaurants, buy the same brands at the supermarket (always the SAME supermarket) I have customer loyalty cards falling out of my wallet. I even used the same toilet stall way back in the day when I worked for pay at Fox Family Channel (TMI?) I suppose you can say that my loyalty should really be called familiarity and that may be true.
Retail stores go out of their way building brand-loyalty, if you use the store credit card you earn points to get discounts, free stuff and the ever popular title of "preferred customer." I love these cards, when I shop at the Gap or Old Navy I get gift cards for reaching certain spending levels, Victoria's Secret sends me coupons for free panties so often that find them in my drawer with tags all the time. I was at Old Navy today, I found a coupon from a mailer I forgot to use so I went to see what they had. All the new Spring stuff was in and I saw a super-cute pair of white jeans. Why would the mother of a six year old messy girl buy white jeans you say? They were already on sale and would end up costing me $15 with my coupon. Score! Or so I thought. Since I have recently lost weight (I went from about 134ish to somewhere around 110, but that changes daily) I brought in a few sizes, tried on the 6, my old size when I was squeezing into clothes, way too big. Cool. Tried on the 4, too big, yay! Put on the 2, what?? How are these too big? Shlepped back out to the floor, found a 0 (yes, I wrote 0) in a different style and they were too big. Huh? Tried on yet another pair in 0 and they were tight. WTF? I get that different styles fit differently but come on!!! The pair I really wanted was too big in a size 0, so I left Old Navy, without super cute white jeans. Had these jeans fit me in a size 0 Old Navy would have me for life, seriously, I can imagine D asking me "hey baby, what size are you?" and I can simply say "Zero." I was kind of psyched for a while and then I started thinking (dangerous, I know). I remember when sizes were S, M, L and sometimes XL, but not often. Now the sizes go XS, S, M, L, XL and even XXL. Just like sizing used to start at 2 and now it's 0, I've even seen 00. I made a joke earlier but what's after 00? Do you shop in the ghost department? I actually went to the kids section after not finding what I wanted, and yes, the kids stuff fit me.
I just want to point out that I am not anorexic thin, my weight is anywhere from 108 to 113 depending on the amount of birthday parties for that week. I eat plenty of food, I do eat healthier now, but I do eat. This is not about me, this is the retailers adapting to society and building brand loyalty. Seriously who wouldn't fill their closet with smaller numbers? I used to shop at Banana Republic for years, not because I liked the style of their clothing but because I fit into their size 4. I believe that kind of loyalty isn't about familiarity but about years of market research.
Will I still buy into this after my realization? Oh hell yeah! I'll be visiting Old Navy as much as I can now, hopefully they'll make those super-cute white jeans for kids.
Except then I'll be a size 14.