Thursday, July 5, 2007

Why you don't see fat people at Macy's Stamford

If you ask for plus sizes on the women’s clothing floor at Macy's in Stamford, Connecticut, you’ll be directed to the escalator. You’ll travel down past the second floor where Macy’s keeps the men's clothing department and the jewelry, and then down again to the half-floor on the basement level, which has no pedestrian link to the rest of the mall.

The down escalator ends at the furniture department, where you take a U-turn and pass luggage, cookware and tableware, and, bearing right, arrive at a tiny women’s collection tucked into the most remote corner of the store, across from the much larger linens department.

Or as they say up in management: “Presto! The fat people have disappeared!”

Now, I know that cross-marketing is a big deal in store layout, but one wonders. Plus size women are drawn to cookware; that’s food, right? The appeal of tableware is just as obvious. But does Macy’s think plus-size women flatten enough chairs to merit a trip past the furniture department?

Or, if fat women don’t find the clothes they want or need—a likelihood in a department that doesn’t include suits, coats, or lingerie--does Macy’s expect them to step over to Linens and buy togas?

It’s clear that plus-sized women are not welcome at Macy’s Stamford, but it is worse still when the plus sizes are put on the only floor that has no other apparel of any kind. It implies that plus-size women are not human beings at all.

Some people actually believe that size 8 is normal, size 12 is embarrassing, and fat people cannot be considered entirely human. Honestly, though, do those people have to make the decisions about department store layouts?

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