I loved this article from the Wall Street Journal:
Excuse Me, Do You Work Here? No, I Just Need to Fold Clothes
The ranks of obsessive folders have swelled in recent years as a generation of Americans has done stints as clothing-store clerks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual nonsupervisory employment in clothing and clothing-accessory stores grew to nearly 1.3 million workers in 2007, up nearly 20% from 1990. Gap Inc. says it has trained "hundreds of thousands" of Gap store employees in the art of folding since the late 1980s.Suddenly, I don't feel so alone anymore! I spent a few summers working in a clothing store where everything was obsessively folded, even more so than at the Gap. My first couple of weeks were spent folding and refolding piles of sweaters when the store wasn't crowded, so I could learn to do it perfectly. (At first, I sometimes had a little bunchiness around the edges-- big no-no.) That perfectionism in clothes folding has never quite left me. My closet isn't quite as anal as it used to be, but I still have very neat piles of sweaters and t-shirts, and if anyone else folds my clothes improperly, I have to re-do them!
Along the way, legions of retail grads have spent countless hours neatly folding T-shirts and jeans and stacking them on tables and shelves. Now, their peculiar idea of perfection is straining marriages and leading to bizarre behavior ranging from buying clothes based on an item's foldability to straightening up sloppy displays while shopping.
Who knew that the jobs that paid for my college textbooks would have this life-long legacy... and who knew that it is also a widespread social trend!