Friday, April 25, 2008

No XXL At Gap

The other night after a long day at work, I walked into my longtime favorite store, Gap, and decided to remedy my solemn mood with some retail therapy. I found some polos in some colors I liked and began rummaging to find my size, XXL. Sadly, I couldn't find it in the blue. So then I looked at the pale blue. Not there either. Charcoal? Not there. Green? Not there.

Not thinking much of it, I walked over to ask an associate to look in the back for me. Some stores, like American Apparel for example, keep their XXL sizes in the back, I guess to save room on the sales floor. All you have to do is ask for an XXL. In a way, it's kinda fun, like a secret no one else knows. So when I asked a Gap Associate for my size, I was told that Gap was no longer carrying XXL in the stores and I would have to order everything online from now on.

I'm not sure what I felt at that moment, but part of it was embarrassment. Regardless of the words the associate used, all I heard was, "we're not serving your kind anymore". I felt discounted and almost ashamed for some reason. Basically, Gap hurt my feelings. But as I turned to leave the store, my feelings of inadequacy quickly turned to anger. On my way out, a different associate approached me with, "find everything ok?" to which I could only muster a boisterous "NO!" and walked out.

How dare they do this to ME? Me, who's been a faithful shopper to that company for the past 20+ years. Me, who worked for the company in both full and part-time positions for a period spanning 8 years. Me, who stuck by Gap even back in the late 90's when they had their identity crisis and then subsequently apologized to an abandoning public. Me, who has mentioned that I love Gap on this blog about a dozen or more times.

Being my size, my choices are already limited. I can't buy stuff at the mens' boutique shops because nothing is above a large. Another favorite store, Club Monaco, usually only stocks one XXL in everything and there seems to be someone beating me to it all the time (and CM doesn't have online shopping). My choices have been pretty much reduced to Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy. And since all of those stores are the same company, it's a pretty good bet that Banana and Old Navy will follow Gap's lead if they haven't already. Which basically reduces me to zero options.

I sent a letter of complaint to Gap and asked for the reasoning behind this situation, but all I got back was a canned apology, thanking me for my correspondence and telling me how important my feedback is.

Eventually, I guess, I'll get used to this. I just won't be able to run in and pick up a new shirt for a party or trip or even just to make myself feel better. I would think that in today's economy, no retail company would want to disclude any type of shopper, let alone make the process more difficult.


  1. Firstly I have to say that I will always choose rightous anger over being sad. But thats just a statement about my attitude toward the world and how I deal with things.
    Secondly however, your right, it is rediculous. If it makes you feel any better this has echo'd all the way down to the smaller sizes as a whole.
    Now, I know for a fact that I am a medium/large kinda guy. I know this as I lost quite a bit of weight over the last two years and came down from being a XL.
    Just in those last two years I have seen clothes getting . .well . . smaller.
    What was a large two years ago is clearly not one now, what is a large now is more of a medium.
    I'm not sure if this is because "tighter" is more in fashion, or if it's a result of people being "more healthy" (aka looking like sticks), but to me, it seems things are just going that way in general.
    Sadly I think that this means those sitting at the top, aka XXL, are going to be knocked off the clothing chain. Which I agree, is bull crap.
    On a personal level, I feel guys are supposed to be big. This skinny, twinkish, I can see your ribs, look has to go.

  2. It is their loss to lose a good customer like you. Fortunately, like you said, at least, you still can buy the right size on-line.

  3. knight of swords- just as some guys are built big, others are skinny. it's not a "look", it's a person.

  4. I'm an XXL guy too and have the same issues. It's tough when it's limited or no selection--like big framed guys don't matter. Here in Hawaii, the best shirts for XXL men are Reyn Spooner--they fit the best. I hope The Gap gives you a better reply.


  5. Look at it this way: The reason why you buy XXL is because you're buff, not fat.

    Does that make you feel better?

  6. Hey Dop, I really appreciated your blog today. You are right..most store like the Gap, A.A., etc., stock clothes for a certain market (young, thin, etc.). They are missing out on a market that is older and bigger, whether they are in shape or not. I too usually need a XXL and even if I go to Wal-mart (yes, I said Walmart), I am too late to find XXL in certain colors. The only other store that carries XXL or XXXL is Burlington Coat Factory. They sometimes have name brand clothes in larger sizes. I found a Kenneth Cole overcoat last fall, marked down from $200 to $65! But I have a hard time sometimes finding a sports jacket at certain locations.
    The fashion industry seems to be penalizing those of us who are larger, whether it's muscle or girth.

  7. I saw a bunch of cool Rag CIE T shirts at Macy's last night in XXL...I couldn't believe my eyes. They look just like what the "average" guys are wearing.

    Also, if you don't mind the designation, JC Penney has a Big and Tall section, Land's End carries nice bigger stuff (not sure if Sears has it on the shelves) and there's always Casual Male Big and Tall...again, if you can get the courage to shop the B&T sections, stores, or online, you can find some decent if only the sizes were semi-standard - I have had XXLs that range from XL to XXXL - very frustrating!