You’ve GOT to be Kidding (or, why greed will put you out of business).
Step up my friends, an American Institution is dying. I could write a dissertation on this (and maybe I should) but the store you know and love as the Gap is in financial hot water, is shedding corporate executives like a dog sheds hair, and guess what? I think I know why.
I’m going to start a file called “WTF.”
The first entry in my WTF file:
Last week, South Street Seaport, Manhattan.
I haven’t been in a Gap store in about 2 years. I popped in to see what was new — the store was a catastrophe. SUPER uninterested workers (one was on her cell phone), HORRIBLE merchandise (in fact, I saw that the GAP folks have decided to re-introduce a navy blue hooded sweatshirt that I bought 17 years ago in the same store — funny thing, it wasn’t cool then either), and REALLY BAD graphics.
Here’s the deal: That’s how the Gap got started. When Don and Doris Fisher opened their first store in 1969, the Gap was a motley mess of jeans, ugly polyesther clothing, and records. Don and Doris opened a bunch of stores, and they were replicas of the first — chaotic trash bins.
The stores were nearly bankrupt, and on the verge of closing, when along comes Mr. Mickey Drexler. Mickey had vision, and transformed the Gap from dowdy and chaotic to dapper and, well, the American icon that is known around the world. Mickey’s creative force guided every facet of the company: merchandising, sourcing, interior design, real estate, and image/brand management. In his spare time, Mickey revolutionized Banana Republic, and conceived of Old Navy. Apparently, Mickey was able to make this vision a reality because he ran the GAP like a sweatshop in China. His opinion mattered most, and it was Mickey who had ultimate veto power, he was the arbiter of “GAPness.”
To make a long story short, the GAP Board of Directors gave Mickey the ax about a year ago, because the stock price was lagging. (Um, hi, we’re the board of directors and we’re greedy.)
So since Mickey got the boot, every Lanny, Molly, and Anne are lashing out with all of their pent up creative juice — and in essence, no one is driving the bus, the arbiter is gone, and the lunetics are running the asylum.
So, why the hell is this on my blog?
Well, when I went in to the store in Southstreet Seaport, I found this great black t-shirt, but to be honest, the service was so poor, and the music SO loud, I really didn’t want to give the store my business, so I went to gap.com, and ordered 4 black t-shirts, size large, no big whoop.
Today, I received a package from the Gap. I opened it to find not only the wrong t-shirts, but a strange assortment of sizes: 3 Medium, and 1 XL tall. (Here’s where the WTF comes in.)
So, I called 1-800-GAP-STYLE, and spoke with a rather strange guy named Dave. Our converstation went something like this:
[What can I do for ya?]
!? With whom am I speaking?
!!?? The Gap, is that your name?
[Oh, no, I’m Dave]
REALLY LONG PAUSE
(considering that he’s not saying anything, I figured I’d start:) I have a little problem
[sure, what’s up] (backround noises that sound mysteriously like AIM)
well, I purchased 4 shirts, and they are the wrong size.
[oh, that’s not good.]
[so, what can I do for ya?]
Well, I’d like to get the right size shirts.
[yeah, no doubt, hang on a second, just let me… 945T, log on damn it… ugh, what the…? … 9-4-5-T, ok, enter, 2, find, send.]
(I’m thining about hanging up, but instead I say:) Boy, I’d really like to exchange these shirts.
[oh, yeah! sorry…]
and the conversation went on like this for about 1/2 hour. Apparently some new shirts are on the way.
It’s no wonder that current Gap financials are so poor. My prediction: Gap. Out of Business by 2010. If I were you, I’d dump your Gap stock (Ticker Symbol: GPS) now.
Sad thing that greed, huh? Well, I’ll let you know if I get my shirts…