Monday, July 03, 2006


Jenna, the young woman I ate with today, works at an Old Navy that hews to the entire length of the eastbound stretch of Route 66 that runs through Manassas, Va. She manages the Banana Clip department, which includes the mezzanine-level Banana Split Cafe and the Kiddy Klippery in the basement. Laid flat, her territory's square footage approximates that of the ground floor of the Empire State Building, as she recently noted on the resume she updates every two weeks.

You might think a responsibility of that scale would come with some kind of job security, but Jenna knows better. Her fiance, Kai, was the Wristband Manager at the Old Navy that ran the length of the westbound stretch of Route 66 through Manassas, VA, but a cool August, followed by an autumn where elbow-length gloves covered every well-dressed wrist between Birmingham and Bangor, saw Kai's department slowly engulfed by the multiplying rows of gloves and glove accessories: glove caddies, snap-on glove bling.

"You understand, it isn't personal," the Accessories VP told Kai. Then he stopped to attend to a dressing room drama that was unfolding over his headset. "I'll be down in ten minutes," the VP said into his microphone. He turned back to Kai. "It's just that we really don't have a place for someone with your expertise anymore." He fished in the pocket of his cargo pants for a business card, handed it to Kai. "Keep in touch," he said, then left the office.

The Blank Book Manager offered to put a word in for Kai with Target's Holiday Supervisor. But that would have been more of a stopgap than anything else, and Kai was looking forward to having more time to study Chinese. He took home forty cartons of wristbands to sell on Ebay, then moved in with Jenna, who is still supporting him.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been in that Old Navy (the Westbound). In the spring, the afternoon light streams through the windows like the light through stained glass into some of the old European cathedrals, and the parking lot is awash with blossoms from the flowering trees. We thought about holding our wedding reception there, my wife and I, but could not afford the rental. I'm sure Kai will miss it.

August 19, 2006  

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