Friday, July 24, 2009


OU WHAT? You sent it out already? Dammit, Simmons I told you to check with me first. I not only said it to you in person and on the phone, but I also e-mailed it to you—and I used rich text formatting to highlight the importance of it. Didn’t the big, bold, red letters and angry emoticons tip you off to how serious I was? Do I have to tattoo it on the inside of your eyelid next time? Because I will. Don’t test me, Simmons.

Gladys, contact the mailroom and see if you can locate a direct mail piece addressed to Victoria Sweeney of Ferguson, Kentucky. And if you do, pull it from the outgoing mail cart. You hear me Gladys? Pull it. And if anyone gives you a problem, you tell them you’re under direct orders from me.

Simmons, oh Simmons, you better pray that unjustifiable welfare gift card hasn’t gone out yet.

I don’t give a shit if we’ve sent a birthday gift card to her for the last four years. Victoria is done with the free rides at Banana Republic. Did you even bother to look at her purchase history, Simmons? That’s rule number one. But apparently I have to say it nice and slow once again so maybe, just maybe, it’ll sink into that thick head of yours: Look. Over. Everyone’s. Purchase. History. Before. Sending. Out. FREE STUFF!

Get over here, I’ve got her file up on my screen. See that? Far as I can tell, Victoria Sweeney hasn’t even crossed the threshold of a Banana Republic in the past three months. She hasn’t picked up a ribbed cowl neck sweater, a twin set, not even a pair of textured knee-high tights. Not a blessed thing. She should be in the inactive database for crying out loud. If she deserves anything, it’s five percent off any purchase of $5,000 or more.

Oh, we’re not done here, Simmons. Let’s look at Victoria’s entire past year’s purchase history. Stretch cotton trousers (from the clearance section) and a long-sleeve ruffle-front shirt, which was marked down 25 percent. In other words, Simmons, she’s bought shit in the last year. And you know what we did? You know what YOU did when you decided to send out a free fifteen bucks to her? You positively reinforced that cheap-ass behavior. By sending that card to her, you said that Banana Republic is O.K. with getting walked all over by customers like Vicky Fucking Sweeney.

Save it, Simmons. Just save me the headache of listening to your excuses. I don’t care how big our database is, it’s your job to manage it and make sure the right offers get into the right hands.

What is it, Gladys? Dammit. They’re too efficient in the mailroom. Well, this one’s gonna look nice on the books, isn’t it Simmons? Maybe we’ll put a big asterisk next to it in the annual report and put your name in a footnote: “This is a Geoff Simmons signature fuckup.” Maybe we’ll stick your home phone number in there, because once the shareholders see this, they’re gonna want answers.

You know what makes this so much worse, Simmons? You sent this undeserving woman the version of the card that doesn’t even require a minimum purchase. Do you understand that freeloading Vicky can just waltz into any of our 500-plus stores, and pick up a couple of pairs of socks for virtually nothing? If she goes into one of our outlet stores, it gives me shivers just thinking about how many pairs of free socks she could score. Maybe she’ll even get a classic A-line skirt that’s been marked down to an absolute steal of a price. You’d like that, wouldn’t you Simmons?

Now listen and listen good: You are now on Victoria Sweeney detail. I’m pulling you off all other duties. You have one mission in your life: To find out why Victoria Sweeney isn’t shopping at our stores—not even our outlets. You won’t rest until you learn why a woman, who until 2007 was buying Banana Republic cotton camisoles like a crack-addicted hooker buys the rock, no longer sees the need for even one camisole. Your family and friends take a back seat. I don’t care if you have to work 19-hour days and it ruins every one of your personal relationships. You got Banana Republic into this mess and you sure as hell better get us out of it. Or I’ll kick you down to that shithouse Old Navy faster than you can say animal-print taffeta dress.

By the way, Simmons. When you pick up your paycheck next Friday, it might feel a little lighter than usual. I’d say $15 lighter.

Frank Ferri is a copywriter who thinks he’s funny. Visit him at

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