Break the Chain The Gap Strikes Back

Exclusive (6/12/2000) Last year at this time, there was an e-mail circulating that promised free clothes from the Gap if you forwarded it on to everyone you know. Well, just when you though it was safe to check your e-mail, the Gap is back!


Hi! My name is Janelle McCan.

You have probably heard about the e-mail from Abercrombie and Fitch offering twenty five dollar gift certificates to every five people you sent that letter to.

My question is: DID IT WORK? Most of you who tried it will probably say NO. But this chain letter is no prank like others you have experienced.

I am offering thirty five dollar gift certificates to every seven people you send it to. When you have finished sending this letter to as many people as you wish, a screen will come up. It will tell you how much you have earned in Gap gift certificates. Print that screen out and bring it to your local Gap store. The sales clerk will give you your certificates and you can SHOP BABY!

This is a sales promotion to get our name out to young people around the world. We believe this project can be a success, but only with your help.

Thank you for your support!

Janelle McCan
Founder of Gap


As it circulates, people with way too much free time are adding to the message, trying to make it sound more credible. Here is a common addendum to the message:


Hey guys, I finally found one that is TRUE! I went down to the gap myself and redeemed my GIFT CERTIFICATES already!!! I sent enough e-mails to get over two hundred dollars worth of clothes from the GAP! You know, with all the crap sent over the mail, it is good to know that something finally rings true in this environment of virtual deception. Send it to everyone you know, and you too can have a whole new wardrobe, courtesy of THE GAP! Isn't it grand?


One more detail, my "screen" only came up after I had sent out nineteen different messages. It must have something to do with how the strange program works... What will they think of next...


Let's start by examining the facts that are missing or wrong in this letter:

  • Janelle McCan is not the founder of the GAP. According to the GAP Web site, the company was founded in 1969 by Don and Doris Fisher. Millard Drexler is the current CEO.
  • Yes, there is another chain letter circulating that promises free clothes from Abercrombie and Fitch, but it's as false as this one. And guess what, it claims to be in response to a similar campaign by the GAP! For more on the A&F hoax, read's explanation.
  • "When you have finished sending this letter to as many people as you wish, a screen will come up." If you can send it to as many people as you want, how will it know when you are finished?
  • E-mail messages cannot make a screen magically appear. You can send the message to as many people as you want, and you will never see a screen that tells you how much you have earned. E-mail tracking is as impossible as the magical pop-up screen.
  • Since virtually every computer has word processing software that can easily create official-looking documents, doesn't the acceptance of a home-printed piece of paper in exchange for clothing credit seem a bit foolish?
  • The additional author claims the screen popped up after sending 19 different messages, yet claims he got over $200 worth of clothes. Do the math: If you get $35 dollars for every 7 people you send it to, 19 people would only yield $70 dollars worth of fake gift certificates. - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.
The real money on the 'net comes from web sites, not e-mail. If a company really wanted to offer you free things over the 'net, they'd lure you to their web sites, where (with advertisers and partnerships) they can actually earn money from your clicks!

Break the Chain always recommends going straight to the source to investigate a chain letter, so we visited and found the following disclaimer:

"Chain letters and other email hoaxes regarding any Gap, Banana Republic or Old Navy promotions are not legitimate. If you have received any correspondence regarding a Gap or Old Navy chain promotion for free clothing or gift certificates, it was developed without the knowledge or approval of Gap Inc.

"We're sorry for any inconvenience an unauthorized email may have caused you."

So There!!!!

As was noted, this latest attack is very similar to another fake Gap offer from a year ago:


Abercrombie & Fitch have recently merged to form the largest hottie outfitter company in the world! In an effort to remain at pace with this giant, the GAP has introduced a new email tracking system to determine who has the most loyal followers. This email is a beta test of the new clothing line and GAP has generously offered to compensate those who participate in the testing process. For each person you send this e-mail to, you will be given a pair of cargo pants. For every person they give it to, you will be given an additional Hawaiian print T-shirt, for every person they send it to, you will recieve a fishermans hat! GAP will tally all the emails produced under your name over a two week period and then email you with more instructions. This beta test is only for Microsoft Windows users because the email tracking device that contacts GAP is embedded into the code of Windows 95 and 98. If you wish to speed up the "clothes receiving process" then you can email the GAP's P.R. rep for a free list of email addresses to try, at....""

(this was forwarded to me, it's not me saying this...)

I know you guys hate forwards, but I started this a month ago because I was naked and couldn't get a date. A week ago, I got an email from the GAP asking me for my address I gave it to them yesterday and I got a box load of mechandise in the mail from the GAP!!!!!

It really works! I wanted you to get a piece of the action, you won't regret it!


You can definitely see some similarities, and start to recognize that the new version is actually more convincing. That's bad new for junk-fighters everywhere.

What Do You Think?

Category: Something for Nothing
References: I, II,

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