As we reported in the December issue of CE Pro Retailing, Circuit City has imposed strict requirements for subcontractors who want to participate in the new Firedog installation service.
Among them: No denim pants or cargo pants.
In the same issue, however, there are at least two Firedog personnel pictured at a Circuit City store wearing cargo pants. A third guy — parked in front of a “customer's” house and carrying boxes may or may not be wearing cargo pants, depending on your definition.
At least one dealer discussing the discrepancy at RemoteCentral.com says that all of the Firedogs pictured in the magazine are wearing cargo pants.
How can we be sure?
Here's how Wikipedia defines cargo pants:
Cargo pants are much like regular khaki pants, but are baggier and have several additional “cargo” pockets. Cargo pockets generally have accordion folds in the sides for increased capacity, and often have large flaps secured with snaps or velcro. Cargo pockets were originally used on battle dress or sport hunting clothing for clearly functional purposes.
This type of pants is popular especially with younger people because of the useful side pockets in which personal items can be stored (e.g. cell phone, wallet, cigarettes, pocket knife, lighter, etc.) While cargo pockets were designed with functionality in mind, cargo pants are often worn for purely fashion or aesthetic reasons, with fashion often dictating that the pockets go underutilized. They became popular particularly among adolescents in the late 1990s.
(By the way, in case you're wondering — I know I have been — according to Wikipedia, “Denim jeans occasionally feature cargo pockets but this is generally considered unfashionable; the cargo pockets disrupt the smooth line and form most clothiers seek to attain in jean designs.”
The two in-store Firedogettes in the magazine clearly are wearing khaki pants with accordion folds on the side. The pants, however, are not necessarily baggier than regular khaki pants. We can only surmise that the Firedog dudes behind the counter are similarly clad.
Consulting the most august source among the casual pantalia, we find that Old Navy most certainly sells “cargo pants” that look exactly like the ones worn by our Firedog models.
Wikipedia, on the other hand, provides only a single illustration of cargo pants: fatigues. Applying a literal interpretation of the attire in question — as installers are wont to do — we find no violation of the Circuit City dress code here.
Hypocrisy in the Dress Code?
Let's move on to the Firedog delivery boy on the cover of the magazine. While there is clearly a larger-than-usual pocket on his khaki pants, it has no accordion-like features, and there are no additional pockets knee-side. None of the myriad men's cargo pants sold on OldNavy.com look anything like the pants on our Firedog. Ergo, these are not cargo pants.
There is one final issue. The Firedog rules we published in CE Pro Retailing are specifically for Firedog subcontractors. Clearly the Firedogs in the store are not subcontractors, but actual Circuit City employees.
As of press time, we were unable to confirm whether or not the cargo pant rule applies to Firedog employees. If not, what a despicable double standard, particularly since the folks in the field are the ones who actually need those “useful side pockets.” After all — see additional rules below — they are prohibited from borrowing a customer's tools.
The Firedog delivery guy on the cover could indeed be a subcontractor, meaning the apparel edict most certainly applies to him; however, I believe we established above that he is not wearing cargo pants.
In any case, as long as the CE Pro Cover Curse continues, the point is moot.
Some of the other Firedog subcontractor requirements include:
– No visible piercings other than earrings, and no more than three earrings
– No jewelry that may pose a safety hazard
– Never park in a customer's driveway
– Never borrow a customer's ladder, tools or vacuum
Will the tyranny cease? What's next?!
– Never borrow a customer's toothbrush?
– No cross-dressing?
– No tap dancing on customer's hardwood floors?