[L]egions of retail grads have spent countless hours neatly folding T-shirts and jeans and stacking them on tables and shelves. Now, their peculiar idea of perfection is straining marriages and leading to bizarre behavior ranging from buying clothes based on an item's foldability to straightening up sloppy displays while shopping....Straining marriages? Why isn't it nice to have a super-neat partner, keeping everything perfectly nice? I love when a place looks very neat, and sometimes I neaten things up myself and feel good about it, but then I let chaos set in for a while before I get remotivated.
Phil Walmsley, 24, of Vancouver, still uses the plastic folding board he stealthily slipped into his backpack on his last day of work at Club Monaco five years ago. "I like the idea of having a perfectly folded closet," says the graphic designer. "It's kind of like my own little retail store."...
Romey Louangvilay stopped working at Abercrombie & Fitch three years ago but it was only last October that he was finally able to go shopping without automatically spending 10 or 15 minutes refolding messy T-shirt piles in stores. The 22-year-old assistant account executive for a public-relations firm in New York forced himself to kick the habit after growing tired of having to awkwardly explain himself to other customers asking him for help. "I still kind of have the urge to do it," he says.
I suppose there are people who specifically like messiness or have their own order in messiness that they don't want someone else to ruin by imposing superficial neatness. And I realize there's this other problem of living with someone who insists that you behave the way they do, neatening beyond your natural — or job-learned — urges. But the people described in the article aren't doing that. They've just internalized a commercial aesthetic.