They said/We said: Milan Abercrombie & Fitch employees subjected to physical exercise as punishment

A punishment six pack
A punishment six pack

It seems like Abercrombie & Fitch just can’t stay out of the news. First there was the lawsuit regarding the employee with the prosthetic arm who was forced to work in the stockroom so no one would see her. Then there was that time the retailer tried to pay off Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino so he wouldn’t wear their T-shirts on TV. Weirdest of all, though, is the news today that the Milan flagship store forced its workers to undergo boot camp-like punishment for their misdeeds.

When store workers weren’t cheery enough or didn’t follow orders they were forced to do 10 push-ups (for the men) and 10 squats (for the women). The company has yet to provide a comment but has seriously stepped in it, especially as a company email (written in April) was quoted as saying that the push-up and squat protocol “will bring about a great result—we will learn from our mistakes.”

Ignoring the blatant sexism (women can do push-ups too!), this is one of the most ridiculous things we’ve ever heard. How anybody thought this was a) a good idea or b) a feasible idea is completely beyond us. I mean, did the shop clerks just “drop and give them 10” on the floor? Mid-sale? Shirt-less? Bi-zarr-o.


The Guardian: “Dropping to the floor and doing press-ups for punishment is a common experience for cadets at an army boot camp.” [The Guardian]

Bitter Wallet: “[Abercrombie & Fitch] are back in the news again, after a new set of guidelines was introduced in their Milan stores, with male staff who fail to follow orders or greet customers with enough enthusiasm being ordered to hit the floor and do 10 press-ups. Female staff members are made to do 10 squat thrusts instead. Sexist claptrap.” [Bitter Wallet]


Elio Iannacci, features editor: Forcing physical exercise on workers —regardless of the reason—is a surefire way to crush the morale of any team and inspire a few lawsuits. Try motivating your staff with gift certificates or compliments or anything that doesn’t resemble a reality show challenge.

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