The Gap's canny knack for spotting trends and providing quality merchandise at reasonable prices is just part of the story behind its success ("The Gap," Cover Story, Mar. 9). These stores also stand out as oases of order and civility in an often disorderly and uncivil world.

I recall one evening stopping to look into one of their windows after closing and observing a young employee meticulously arranging a row of sweaters so that the position of each one on the shelf exactly matched all the others--and I mean exactly.

Compare that--and their employees' customer-friendly deportment--to the "that's not my department" attitude too often encountered in department stores, and you can see why The Gap is the store of the '90s.

William M.H. Hammett

New York

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