If Gap is crap1, then Old Navy is shit crazy. And by that I don’t mean that they’ve lost their marbles (although that’s also entirely possible), but that the quality of their merchandise and the manner in which they sell it is shit. (OK, technically, I suppose I should say shitty, but I’m trying to maintain some rhythm here.)
I just got back from one of Old Navy’s stores in New York City, where I was looking to buy some long-sleeve waffle-knit T-shirts. (I’m not a big shopper. I like to joke that I shop like a straight man. But my current long-sleeve waffle-knit T-shirts have so many holes in them, I could be mistaken for a homeless person.)
No biggie, right?
So I went to their Chelsea location, thinking they would have a large selection of smalls (i.e., my size), and what did I find? Nothing but XL and XXL (because, apparently, everyone who shops there is morbidly obese).
Plus, the shirts were 50% cotton and 48% polyester (and 2% spandex) because God forbid anything at Old Navy should be made out of a natural fiber.
And, of course, they were made in Vietnam. (Consider, for a moment, the irony of that statement. If you didn’t think Vietnam won the war before, then surely you must now, because now they’re making crappy clothing and sending it back to the United States for us suckers to buy. OK, so they’re making it in sweatshops, but still…)
Nevertheless, there was a line out the door to buy this garbage.
Now, mind you, Old Navy has had some of the most entertaining commercials on television. Their current commercials feature Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia fame. (Consider, for a moment, the irony of that statement. Alternative heroes Armisen and Brownstein are hired to lend indie cred to the largest clothing company in America.)
And therein lies the problem.
I would guess that 5% of the cost of any item at Old Navy is spent on manufacturing and the other 95% is spent on marketing.
But that’s true for pretty much every product in the United States.
Which reinforces my argument that America is indeed a Third World Country2, where the 1% shop at luxury stores and the other 99% are relegated to the Third World crap sold at First World prices that is Old Navy.
If you really want to buy top-quality, American-made clothing at reasonable prices, I’d highly recommend walking across the street and going to Dave’s New York, a decades-long New York City institution. (I used to shop at their original location on Fifth Avenue.) The only problem with Dave’s is that it’s often so crowded with European tourists, it’s sometimes hard to find sales help. (For the record, I did go to Dave’s before I went Old Navy, but their long-sleeve waffle-knit T-shirts were a little too utilitarian for my needs. I may not have the gay shopping gene, but I am still gay!)
But for jeans, socks and underwear (not to mention outerwear that even at Dave’s has gotten a little pricey, but is still cheaper than at most other New York stores), Dave’s is my go-to Army Navy store.
Fuck Old Navy.