This is a letter that I have sent to J.Jill's customer service department, as requested, by J.Jill on twitter, regarding my recent experience at their outlet store. This is not the typical sort of thing that I post, but I thought it was important to share. Also, this applies to Land's End, LL Bean, H & M, and Old Navy. ~ Amy
To Whom It May Concern,
I have been a loyal and frequent customer of J.Jill's for twelve years. I have come to appreciate the beautiful, well-made, clothing J.Jill offers. More than that, I have been so appreciative of the fact that J.Jill recognizes that the average woman in the US is a size 14 or above and that J.Jill carries sizes up to 4x for a wide variety of styles. And while it's always been frustrating to never have the option to shop for clothing in stores (as there weren't any nearby until the recent addition of the South Portland store at the Maine Mall), I was reasonably content to shop at the outlet stores in both North Conway, NH (until it closed) and the Kittery, ME store, (and I almost always spend several hundred dollars at a time, in addition to giving good reviews and recommendations to my friends about J.Jill.)
However, on Sunday, August 25, I stopped in at the outlet store in Kitttery, ME, which was full of smart-looking shoppers. I looked in all the usual places for the women's sizes racks. When I was unable to find any, I asked a clerk about where the women's sizes were located. The clerk answered, "We don't have those anymore. J.Jill took them away." To which I responded, "oh, I see. Like I'm about to take my business away?" At which point, a second clerk said, "You can shop on-line." I assure you, every other customer in that store was made aware of my dissatisfaction. I went into the store, ready to spend a significant amount of money, and left unhappy and treated unfairly.
This is not okay. Not even a little, is it okay. If you offer women's sizes, as J.Jill does, you must offer them in your stores, as well. Not just the outlets, but in the stores in the malls. Otherwise, the message you are sending is that money from your fat customers is unacceptable, that fat people in your stores are unacceptable and that fat customers are not worthy of the same service and quality that your petite and misses-sized people are afforded. By any standard, this constitutes horrible business practice. Not only have you treated your women's-sized customers unfairly, J.Jill is practicing size-discrimination. J.Jill is alienating previously loyal, regular customers. How can that be a sustainable business model? J.Jill had the opportunity to shine as a store that offered beautiful, well-made clothing in extended sizes in an industry that is unbelievably size-biased, and instead, J.Jill has alienated customers. What a shame!
All people prefer the chance to try on clothing before purchasing it and appreciate being able to return items to a store. All people want immediate access to clothing (because we need to clothe ourselves - it's not a frivolous desire, it's an actual need), and all people deserve to be treated with dignity and kindness. Shopping on-line meets none of these needs.
Over the twelve years that I been a loyal and regular customer to J.Jill, I have come to associate the brand with diversity. No longer is that the case. I'm not embarrassed or ashamed to be a fat person. I am embarrassed and ashamed that there are companies out there, such as J.Jill, who engage is discriminatory business practices. I have told all my twitter and Facebook followers about my experience, and I plan to blog about this as well. (I may just post this letter).
Also, I thought you should know - I have a daughter who wears misses sizes. She won't be shopping at JJill, either, because she doesn't believe in J.Jill's discriminatory, size-shaming policies.