Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Miss Cavendish, Fashion Activist for J Crew

I'm starting my own movement--Occupy Fifty-seventh Street.
 If anyone happened upon my Twitter feed this morning, they'd see that I had entered fashion activism full-tilt.  Here's the proper narrative:

I received an email from J Crew inviting me to gain 24-hour "private access" to its spring/summer collection in order to, well, pre-order. I thought I'd accept the invitation to see what would be in store for the warmer weather:

click images to enlarge

I filled in the box provided with my email address, and, on the following screen, my name.

That took me to this screen, below, which asked me to provide names and email addresses of up to three friends so they could be invited too.  I wouldn't want my friends providing my contact information to businesses, so I left those boxes blank and pressed "Submit."

But as you can see below, J Crew would not let me proceed until I ponied up at least one friend's name and contact details.  In other words, the invitation really wanted me to Submit, in more ways than one.

So I signed up my alter ego, Kate Cavendish, the journalist.  This is the email that she received:

And to proceed, she was expected to sign up a friend as well, and could not proceed without, ahem, Submitting. (She signed up her new pal Privacy Please to see whether the process was identical.  It was. Privacy Please's email address is in the red box below. Privacy also seems to have a Policy, just below the Submit button):

I also wrote an email to J Crew in which I communicated my disappointment that loyal customers were asked to, no, required to provide what could be construed as private information about at least one friend in order to look at clothing. 

I am confident that J Crew can sell enough skirts without my selling out a friend. 

Indeed, the thought Occupying my mind (see above cartoon) at the moment is that it is inappropriate for J Crew to hope or assume that, in the excited heat of receiving a J Crew invitation, its recipient will feverishly type in whatever information is requested, just so she can see and order clothes before anyone else. 

Of course, maybe some friends would love to receive the invitation. But I'd rather play it safe and let them be in control of revealing their own information.

Would I be as annoyed if J Crew had stated up front, in the opening email, that the invitation was contingent on my inviting a friend?  No, because that would not have been duplicitious.  Insisting on that information halfway through the invitation acceptance is.

What do gentle readers think?

The fashion police: "I protest!"


mamacita said...

You did the right thing! That is so annoying of them. At the very least, you ought to be able to look at the clothes to see if they're worth recommending!

Jennifer said...

I wholeheartedly agree! Companies use so many underhanded ways to get more information out of us; good for you for taking a stand against one policy.

Elizabeth said...

I'm with you all the way. This is NON-permission marketing.

Belle de Ville said...

We don't do this nonsense at Beladora.com.

On another topic, my daughter is looking PhD programs in English specializing in the long 18th Century. Where would you apply if you were her? Any advice?

Miss Cavendish said...

Belle, I've sent you an email re: grad school. Please let me know if it hasn't arrived!

Karen said...

Are they joking? For all that work just to preorder something--forget it! I can wait! Seems J.Crew is trying to market exclusivity.

thatdamngreendress said...

Ugh. That is such an annoying ploy to farm more contact information (I think companies can use the number of subscribers as some kind of statistical collateral...). I don't hate it quite as much as I hate the branding of social networking though that kills me. Last week a friend told me they got a notification that I had just logged on to facebook with my sony ericson phone- wtf? Who wants to share that kind of information with the world? And woe betide the friend who uses my real email as collateral!

Mary W. said...

Good for you! I agree--I would never give out my friends' info and would hate to have anyone supply mine. I hope this idea backfires on JCrew.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting how companies try to use the internet with new ways to control and sell us. I do believe that the internet actually makes us more independent and gives us more choice. Bad behaviour spreads very quickly in cyberspace. I also want to believe that if you have good products one does not need to go this low.

Sister Wolf said...

I think it is fucking nuts. The sad thing is, I too clicked on this stupid ad, even though I never shot at J. Crew. It didn't try to make me sell out my friends! Now I feel uneasy, like it knows I have no friends or something.

Suzy said...

I was actually able to submit the first page before getting the second page asking for a friend's info.

But I tried again, and added a second email address of mine, and rec'd that same email you show above at the second address. But where was the early access??? The new items are on line today. I never saw the items early. (Except that I had a catalog already given to me by a personal shopper at our store.)

Miss Cavendish said...

Well then: I just checked out the collection online and concur that there was NO early access to it. I must admit, though, I am coveting a couple of items in gorgeous bright summery colours . . .