Condolences from Banana Republic

If you've ever called to cancel a credit card, magazine subscription, or anything else for a deceased loved one, you've heard the ridiculous phrase, "Condolences from [insert corporation or organization here]."

It's that absurd phrase heard over and over that inspired this short fiction.

 embroidery by Kiddo

embroidery by Kiddo

Thank you for calling to cancel the account of your deceased loved one. We are sorry for your loss, here at the customer service — nay — customer care center of Banana Republic, parent company GAP and subsidiary companies Old Navy, Athelta, INTERMIX, and all “Factory” discount variants of GAP Inc. commodities.

We are so sorry for the loss of account 6224785300961218 and the light she brought into the oft-rotating floor staff of the Echelon Mall Banana crew. Her keen sense for sale and its red stamped Non-Refundable receipts showed a true predilection for frugal fashion. What would we do without the opportunity to be of magnanimous service to this GAP Inc. card holder, who would reliably stroll in 13 minutes before closing every Wednesday to “Just try one sweater, really quick.”?

Although her card read Banana Republic, her heart (and non-reusable plastic bags) generously read GAP Kids, Banana Republic Factory, and GAP Holiday year after year. Each December during the 40% pre-Christmas — sorry, Holiday — stretch, she’d go straight for the novelty print pajama shorts. …And maybe throw in a body mist travel size, Air if its proximity to a friendly GAP team member at checkout was just right. And don’t forget the year 6224785300961218 visited Athelta, direct mail catalog in hand, asking to see a pair of “these in black maybe a small? Or medium?” Wavering on the decision and asking for weigh-in from both clerks and customers, ultimately abandoning the pants. Later returning to buy an unrelated sweatshirt. Large. Plum.

Our heart-felt condolences from Banana Republic at large, and from me, Jolene who in fact never interacted with your mother, but imagine she made a real splash at the office with the tulip print pale blue button-down from the Spring ’14 line. Phillips & Cohen LLC will be in touch for outstanding debt collection services, be on the look-out for threat-adjacent letters coming your way.

Press 2 to transfer to our customer retention specialist and get a Banana Republic relationship of your own started today. 30% off your first in-store purchase for pre-approved credit applicants. Best to you and your devastated family.

 embroidery by Kiddo

embroidery by Kiddo

FictionKathleen Cunningham