Friday, July 11, 2008

How A Job Can Influence Your Personality: Obsessive Folding!

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.

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.

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!

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!


Noel Larson said...

Iguess out of all of the possible OCD issues, this one would be annoying, but at least functional :)

Anonymous said...

I wish I had a folder job, I can not fold clothing for the life of me.

MetaMommy said...

I don't see the problem. If my husband was a great folder, laundry would hardly be a pain. I could leave clean clothes for him to fold, and he'd be happy about it. Where's the "strain" on the marriage, there?!?

Anonymous said...

Not an obsessive folder, but I always organize my cash from lowest denomination to highest and make sure it is all facing the same way. I learned to do this while waiting tables.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone. Shirts, towels, jeans, and underwear all must be folded in their own (perfect) ways. Oh no, you are not alone... ;-)

Kady said...

so friggin' funny. I too worked in retail for like 6 months and the folding compulsion is soooo deeply ingrained. My hubs benefits from it though, since I do the laundry & folding, and he now hates it when anyone else touches his shirts.