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PAPER TRAILS: Child calls out retailer on pockets

by Sean Clancy | April 18, 2021 at 8:31 a.m.

In this age of email and cranky social media posts, let us not underestimate the power of a well-worded letter.

In January, Kamryn Gardner saw an issue that needed addressing (pun intended) and sat down with pencil and paper.

The jeans she'd gotten at Old Navy were lacking an important feature, front pockets, and she hoped something could be done about it.

Kamryn, by the way, is a first-grader at Morning Star Elementary in Bentonville.

Here is what she wrote:

"Dear Old Navy,

"I do not like that pockets of the girl's jeans are fake. I want front pockets because I want to put my hands in them. I also would like to put things in them. Would you consider making jeans with front pockets that are not fake? Thank you for reading my request."

"Sincerely, Kamryn Gardner age 7."

Old Navy replied with its own letter thanking her for her feedback. Even better, the retailer sent Kamryn new jeans and jean shorts.

Yes, they have pockets.

"I got two shorts and two pants," Kamryn told us.

Democrat-Gazette reporter Mary Jordan wrote about Kamryn's letter and Old Navy's response in a story last week.

It reminded us of another young letter writer, Vivian Lord of Little Rock. She was 6 when she wrote to toy companies requesting that they make green plastic army women along with green army men.

One of those companies, Scranton, Pa.-based BMC Toys, started making the little female action figures in 2019 in part because of Vivian's letter.

Kamryn's request to Old Navy came after she and her classmates learned about persuasive writing, says her teacher, Ellie Jayne.

"Our class had worked on writing letters to their parents, asking them for a specific toy," Jayne says. "We also worked on writing a letter to our principal, asking for new playground equipment."

Outside of class, Kamryn decided to write to Old Navy about the faux front pockets on some of their jeans.

"She had talked about contacting Old Navy for a while," says Kim Gardner, Kamryn's mom, who is also a teacher at Morning Star. "We had a day off from school where I could sit with her and guide her. She did a majority of it on her own. I was just there to support her."

About a month after they mailed the letter, Old Navy emailed Gardner. A month after that, when she was on spring break, Kamryn received a letter from Old Navy along with her new jeans and shorts.

Her favorites, she says, are "shorts with white flowers and fringe."

In the story last week, Gardner said Kamryn learned through the experience that her voice matters.

"I hope she keeps that determination and her confidence in speaking up and not being afraid. I hope she keeps that going and can change more, because I know that she will."

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