An Open Letter to Forever 21: Get your ship(ping) together

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Dear Forever 21,

You’re missing an opportunity and it’s called post-25-year-old millennials. Since graduating college, we are too busy and self-important to shop at your physical stores, too impatient to rifle through your endless pages of online options, and have become savvy enough to know it’s not worth investing serious dollars in single row stitching and Katy Perry inspired prints. But all love is not lost: I will still come running back to you when I have important adult business like my pajama bar crawl this weekend. And I know you still care about me, Forever 21, because I’ve watched your style and your clothing assortment not only grow to department store quantities but evolve to include some more mature and on-trend styles that are sure to be ignored by college go-ers. Nice try with the Barbour lookalike also. It’s clear that you are trying to keep pace with Asos.com, who says you’re not 21 forever so stop looking so cheap. You can still have fun and look authentically hip in somewhat disposable clothing; Clothing that doesn’t need to be an investment and doesn’t compromise self-expression in the name of maturity.

You’re lucky we have a long history or the featured styles on your category banners would cause me to bounce and never return, no matter what degree of retargeted advertising you have dispersed on the interwebs. I’m not going to “the club”…ever. You say bohemian, I say bag lady. Now, I focus on strategic covering of body parts, not on discovering new places to incorporate cutouts. (How did we never before realize how underutilized the section of the stomach is between the belly button and chest?)

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But back to the pajamas. Now that I have grown up and my days of compromising taste, quality and self-worth in the name of a night out are over. I come back to you now for very specific reasons – a theme party ensemble (in my case a pajama bar crawl), bright blue pumps to cover in hot glue and feathers for my Twitter bird Halloween costume, or a cheap nude bag to wear to a friends wedding. And it’s rare that any of these reasons would get me to your $50 minimum free shipping threshold.

A precipitating event brought me to your site, which you could not have seen coming but let’s face it, you know who I am. I have an account so you know where I live, how old I am and my purchase behavior. You know my demographic shops at places like Nordstrom, Zappos, and Amazon and is accustomed to service, speed and accuracy. The nature of our events aren’t like the events of teeny boppers – where you plan a month in advance. For us, a Facebook invite for a theme party pops up on Monday, with the event date set for Friday. With your week plus shipping timeframe, my pending outfit doesn’t stand a chance.

I placed pajamas in my cart, looked at at least 3 pages regarding shipping FAQ’s*, and left. 24 hours later: generic abandoned cart email arrives in the promotions folder. THINK ABOUT THIS. There is Valentine’s Day coming up, a weekend, and I previously expressed concern about shipping. Message me with something relevant to my experience. Send an offer for a bonus lower free shipping threshold or discounted expedited service. It’s the beginning of the week, so reference the weekend ahead. In my 21-year-old days I would given into impulse and paid the $15 shipping fee if I really needed something guaranteed but now, as an “adult” shopper on Forever 21 (oxymoron?) I have nagging thoughts in the back of my head that, first of all, this isn’t your parents money anymore and, second of all, I really don’t need this. You have now given me too much time to stop and think logically, “if I need to get flamboyant print pajamas for my bar crawl sent to me overnight that means I probably didn’t plan appropriately and am undeserving of this extraneous gift to myself.”

All that is to say, there are many things I would purchase from you today if you offered me free shipping or could cut your shipping timeline in half. But, as an adult, I must stick to principles.

Side-Pocket Skinny Workout Leggings $19.80

Standout Fit & Flare Dress $32.80

Retro Grid Cropped Sweater $17.80

Sweet Side Dangle Earrings $6.80

Boho Queen Necklace $8.80

C’est La Vie Sweater $15.80

*My favorite (and most popular #ootd Instagram post) featured a Forever 21 sweater. But it took a week and a half to get to me. So a subsequent time-sensitive purchase (of the same sweater for my sister-in-law) required expedited shipping – all traceable on my account and further evidence that I am concerned about shipping.

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