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Worst Work Uniforms: Foot Locker


We call foul on the referee get-ups.

Foot Locker, Inc. (FL) is a global retailer with stores in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. According to the company's latest 10-Q filing, Foot Locker has a market cap of $1.49 billion; its shares trade at a P/E ratio of around 17.6, and the stock's dividend yield is 6.3%. Foot Locker's balance sheet is strong, with $438 million in cash and a mere $138 million in long-term debt on its books.

But, enough of all that stuff. Let's talk about the vaguely humiliating uniforms Foot Locker employees wear while they're on the clock.

Say you're at your local Foot Locker and you can't decide between the Nike Air Max Lebron VII and the Reebok Answer XIII.

Not a problem -- let the "ref" make the call!

Mimicking the style of the hands-down most-hated people in all of sports -- the officials -- Foot Locker has thoughtfully costumed their entire workforce in ersatz referee outfits that are an apparent attempt to simulate some sort of "on the court" feel for those shopping for athletic gear.

It would be almost akin to dressing Barnes & Noble (BKS) employees as English professors, complete with pipes and tweed sport jackets. Or forcing Blockbuster (BBI) employees to wear berets, carry megaphones, and sit in directors' chairs when not assisting customers.

Why the ref get-ups?

Lacking a clear explanation from anyone at Foot Locker corporate, one can only assume the company's employee uniforms are designed to impart an air of authority; a customer can hardly help thinking they could get called for any number of possible violations caught by the flinty-eyed salespeople/referees.

Touch a window display and accidentally knock over a mannequin?

There goes the whistle -- illegal use of hands!

Mistakenly enter a stockroom not meant for the public?

Out of bounds!

At the checkout counter for too long while you fumble through your wallet for your credit card?

Delay of game!

Now, onto the physical well-being of Foot Locker staffers.

Heaven help those with an allergy to polyester -- referee uniforms are almost always 100% poly, which can cause contact dermatitis in sufferers.

Other symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Redness at the point of contact
  • Rash/lesions
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Eczema

Of course, for every cloud, there's a silver lining.

Even though you might be toiling away for minimum wage in an outfit spun from petroleum-based fibers at "The Locker", the experience must leave one knowing their way around a foot quite well. And there's certainly no shortage of people who would likely welcome the opportunity to make the acquaintance of an expert in all things podiatric.

Notable foot fetishists include:

  • Tommy Lee, who was once quoted as saying, ""My mother was Miss Greece in 1957. She's gorgeous and she's got beautiful toes. That's one of the reasons I have a foot fetish today. When I was a kid I'd massage her feet."

  • Model and television personality Brooke Burke says, "I like feet. I definitely have a fetish. Toe sucking is just so good."

  • Rocker Marilyn Manson, who was described in porn star Jenna Jameson's autobiography as a foot lover.

Other rumored foot worshipers:

  • Jay Leno
  • Mandy Moore
  • Enrique Iglesias
  • Ludacris
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Rosie O'Donnell
  • Ted Bundy

Okay, so maybe Ted Bundy isn't the best example. But the guy loved feet, no question about it. And, to be perfectly frank -- the kid working at Foot Locker fitting you with a new pair of Asics Gel Trainers probably does, too.

He's certainly not working there for the uniform.

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