A week ago 175 people at J Crew’s corporate headquarters in New York received pink slips and were told they had no jobs to come back to the next day.
Alejandro Rhett, vice-president of men’s merchandising at J Crew, was not one of them.
Just the opposite. According to the New York Post, Rhett was the one who delivered the bad news to some of the laid-off workers. After he had relayed the news, Rhett and a couple of other still-employed J Crew employees went to drinks to celebrate the fact that they had kept their jobs.
Photos posted on Instagram by Rhett and other J Crew employees show the group drinking and jumping with joy. The photos were also accompanied by hashtags like #hungergames and #maytheoddsbeeverinyourfavor, which refer to the popular series of books and movies in which 24 teens are forced to fight each other to death in order to survive.
In a caption for another photo, Rhett wrote “On Wednesdays we wear monochrome pleated shorts” – a plan on the meme from Mean Girls, a movie with cult-like following among US millennials.
And while Rhett and some of his colleagues lucky enough to avoid layoffs might fancy themselves the Regina Georges or the Katniss Everdeens of the fashion and retail industries, it’s not all that simple.
“Whatever game you think you’re playing, those out there are not playing with you,” President Snow, the villain of Hunger Games series, warns Katniss at one point.
J Crew “does not condone” the behavior displayed by Rhett and other J Crew employees in the photos from that night, the company spokesman told the New York Post. “As soon as we were made aware, the appropriate actions took place.”
J Crew staff are not the only ones to compare layoffs at their company to Hunger Games. Last year, bankers at Morgan Stanley spoofed the popular movie in a 10-minute video, Margin Games: Manager on Fire.
“If it’s only you and I at the end, I promise I will make it as quick and painless as I can,” a woman playing Katniss tells the Peeta character in the Morgan Stanley video.
The video was to be shown at a managers meeting in 2014, but was ultimately not shown after objections from top brass. Two months after the meeting Morgan Stanley cut its number of regions from 12 to eight and reduced its divisions from three to two.
This article was written by Jana Kasperkevic in New York, for theguardian.com on Thursday 18th June 2015 19.51 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010