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Oct 22, 2010

Shopping with Mom at Lord & Taylor



Readers, do you like department stores?

I practically grew up in them.  When I was a kid, we generally went to Gimbels -- well known as Macy's closest competitor (remember Miracle on 34th Street?) and now defunct.  Then when I was older, in the mid-Seventies, the place to go was Bloomingdales.  I'd meet friends at Bloomingdales, eat frozen yogurt at Bloomingdales, shoplift at Bloomingdales -- it really was like no other store in the world.  

As an adult, I rarely go to department stores.  I bought some wine glasses in Macy's a few years ago (it's nearby) and a jacket at Barney's Co-op.  And that's about it.  Most people I know also avoid department stores: they're too big, the service is lousy, and the merchandise is meh -- the same stuff you see everywhere.

My mother, however, still likes department stores.  There are plenty of bathrooms, places to eat, elevators, and lots of other people there just like her.



Yesterday she asked if I'd meet her at Lord & Taylor, where she had to return something and shop for dressy pants to wear to my brother's wedding in a few weeks (I know, I know).  She'd already bought and returned a slew of stuff at their Eastchester branch, where a friend takes her by car.  My mother, whose name is Sonia, doesn't go for glitz and it's not easy for her to find something she likes that fits and flatters.  She also won't spend a lot and prefers T.J. Maxx.

Since 2006, Lord & Taylor, which was founded in 1826, has been owned by NRDC Equity Partners, LLC, which also owns the Canadian chain Hudson's Bay Trading Company.  Lord & Taylor had been owned by May Company (since 1986) which was then purchased by Federated (which owns Macy's & Bloomingdales), in 2005.  Got that?  NRDC has poured millions into upgrading the flagship store, apparently with some success.

It's hard for me to judge the results since Lord & Taylor is not somewhere I shop.  It certainly looks clean and bright, and it got quite busy.



My mother wears an 8 Petite, so we spent most of our time on the 6th floor, Petites, where there's also a casual coffee cafe operated by Sarabeth's (a little pricey but good).



The merchandise?  Well, to me it's the same brands you see everywhere:  Jones New York. Michael Kors, DKNY, Calvin Klein, and their own brand, Kate Hill.  Everything is made in China, Vietnam; don't "look for the union label" -- you won't find it.

If you want a skirt, say, you can't just go to the skirt section.  You have to look at every individual brand area and see what they're showing.  It's not very efficient to put it mildly.

Quality seemed OK, and prices mainly under $100 for separates.  Not high but not low either.   To me it looked a lot like what you'd see at Loehmann's -- and a lot of the stuff will probably end up there soon.
 



A lot of loose, casual styles in dressy fabrics.



And a fair amount of glitz.





Lots on sale.



The salespeople, who were extremely pleasant, are little more than cashiers.  Nobody's on the floor helping you find anything, though if you ask, they'll try to steer you in the right direction.  There is one attendant in the dressing room who hangs up clothes and returns them to the racks.  It's just like H&M.

The pricing is confusing.  They were having some big 25% off sale on most things, and then many people had coupons for an additional 15% off.  Some things were already marked down, and customers were often confused about how much things cost or whether they were getting all the markdowns they were entitled to.  The poor salespeople seemed a little confused as well.

Don't have the coupon?  No worries: they'll give you the coupon at the cash register!  (So what's the point?)
 

And if you're exhausted from shopping you can purchase a Godiva chocolate bar at the cash register!  It's like the supermarket.

My mother found a pair of Calvin Klein satin-y dress pants she liked well enough, and asked me to make her a skirt, which she'll need for a friend's grandson's bar mitzvah in late November.

Next we headed down to the shoe department.  It was mobbed.



And messy.



They have a large selection but not much for an eighty-year-old with mobility issues.  Almost everything was on sale and almost everything is made in China.





Jessica Simpson was well represented but my mother didn't think she fit the demographic.  They also offer brands like Kate Spade (for $300 plus). 





Overwhelmed by the chaos, we headed down to the ground floor and the Clinique counter, where my mother wanted to buy some make up for the wedding.  My mother doesn't wear foundation or powder or anything, just mascara and lipstick, and she generally wears Almay.

Elayne, the Clinique rep, was extremely helpful, getting a low folding chair for my Mom to sit on since no way could Sonia climb atop one of those ultra-modern bar stools with two pins in her hip and a bad knee.  Elayne found her a suitable concealer and foundation, and didn't push the rouge.
 











Just the concealer and foundation cost nearly $50 -- but she did get a free gift with purchase!

After a quick bite nearby, my mother decided to poke into another shoe store, a chain whose low-rent name I won't mention but you know it.  She found a simple black shoe with a comfort sole and a little height for less than $25.  Sold!





And that was our day of shopping.  I'm exhausted, aren't you?

Friends, do you still shop at department stores?  What do you like about them?  What don't you like?  Can you generally find what you're looking for? 

Are you totally over them, but will pop in from time to time to use the bathroom?

What's your favorite department store, if you have one?

Would you like to take Sonia shopping some time?

Jump in!
 

48 comments:

  1. First off, your mother is just too adorable for words. I would take Sonia shopping any day.

    As a youngster we ALWAYS and ONLY shopped at Lord & Taylor in West Hartford, CT. My mother loved to shop and she used her L&T "credit card" all the time. I can still picture what it looked like...Green with the L & T script across it.

    I don't ever go to a department store anymore. Mehhhhh. I prefer to live with my memories of how they used to be.

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  2. Your Sonia is adorable. I essecially love the loving look on your face taking her picture. You win son of the year for sure. I keep on hoping that I move up the social ladder to shop at a department store. Until then and until I am no longer the mother to small children I am sticking to the Target.

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  3. Well. Now I know where you get your adorableness from.

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  4. I can see where you get your great smile. Your mom is beautiful! Love the purple jacket.

    I don't like department stores, but I don't like shopping in general. Mostly because I'm a non-average height and nothing fits well. Aargh -- those fitting room mirrors!

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  5. I know Sal, his mom is so dang 'ah shucks' isn't she?

    If I ever purchased anything new, I'd be with your mom at TJ Maxx, Ross and Marshalls. But, since my upper price limit is $4.95, I'm generally at the Thrift Town and the mormon thrift store we have here in town. (Even the goodwill is too rich for my clothing blood!)

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  6. Oh, god. I have the same shoes as an eight-year-old with mobility issues. *sigh*

    Although, she's so freakin' cute, I guess I could do far worse.

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  7. My favorite department store is Nordstrom. I have just always had good luck finding merchandise that i like there. I NEVER shop at Macy's but I biased because i am a Chicagoan and I miss my Marshal Field's and my special lunches with my mom in the Walnut room at the flagship store. I prefer not to shop at all, actually. Over an hour and I am asking for an anxiety attack. If i have to go to a store of any kind I prefer checking out the website first so I know what i am looking for so I can get out quicker. Department stores are definitely not what they used to be. Customer Service everywhere is non existent and that really bugs me too. I had to return 3 articles of clothing for the costume shop at Macy's and I had to go to 3 separate counters to do so. Pain in the lower end of the spine. and it took forever. thank god they were all on the same floor. What ever happened to the service counter?? there used to be service counters where you could just return everything or buy a gift certificate right??

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  8. I love the picture of you taking your Mom's picture in the elevator. You both look so happy to be with each other.
    I live on the West coast so we don't L&T but we have Macy's and Nordstrom. And, for the most part, I loathe them. The prices are generally more than I can afford to spend, the styles are all cookie-cutter, the service is terrible, and the quality isn't enough higher than Target to make the labels worth it. That said, they do have much higher quality socks and underwear so once a year we venture down to Macy's and stock up. Every couple of years or so I either go to Nordstrom or a small specialty store to be fitted for new bras; the Nordstrom is closer so over the years that's where I usually end up.I try and buy from local companies, make things myself, and thrift as much as possible. I find that I can generally find better quality for the money and I feel that it's a more responsible way of consuming.

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  9. I agree that now that Mpls based Dayton's has been absorbed by Macy's (when it turned into Marshal Field's it was still terrific) I avoid department stores. I find Macy's cheap in general, and don't even like to go to their Oval Room to turn the high-end designer pieces inside out to examine construction and finish... I do like Nordstrom's, but it's out at the Mall of America, and I avoid that place as if it's the ninth circle of hell.

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  10. I think that a lot of people 50-55+ miss the 'old' department store experience. I grew up in Chicago, so the store of choice was Marshal Fields. Every December when my Grand Aunt came to town from Denver (on the train no less!) she would take me to the Fields flagship on State Street for shopping and lunch in the Walnut Room. Sales women would remember her from her last visit and show her pieces that they thought she would like. In those days you could make a middle class wage working in a large store. I think that the ambiance from those days is long, long gone. And the quality, well...
    I very rarely shop at department stores, let alone discount stores. I really dislike the disposable clothing mentality and try to buy only what I cannot make, like shoes. Political statement here, as clothes became disposable so did competent and loyal employees.
    All that said, I would love to go shopping with Sonia sometime-anytime that she's in AZ. She would get along so well with my mother-in-love Velma. I do sew quite a bit for her, but she loves to buy bling-y summer shirts!

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  11. I don't shop often in department stores, but when in Chicago I do LOVE Nordstrom's and where I live I do like Dillards and we have a sort of high end dept store called Von Maur. It's a nice store, has great shoes and bags and is overpriced.
    I shop a lot at Nordstroms' online and have great luck with them.
    Mermie

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  12. Oh and I forgot to tell you that your mother is adorable. I'll bet you two have a lot of fun hanging out together!
    Mermie

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  13. Haha if I even started a comment on this one, I'm not sure if I could end! I have worked in retail all my working life. Eight years of that time was spent between two very well known department stores. Oh the stories I could tell you..........but I shan't. So I love going into department stores from an ex-insider perspective! They are different but essentially, yes, all the same in lots of ways, I suspect - even the high end ones.
    Your mother is gorgeous.

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  14. son of the year indeed!! she is a lucky woman, wish i were in her shoes.

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  15. But not mine. LOL

    Mermie, it's definitely hit or miss!

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  16. I remember Gimbel's and Bonwit Teller, too. But it seems the era of the department store is over in the U.S. My absolute favorite department store in the world is Liberty's of London. Oh, the scarves. Oh, the gloves. OH, THE FABRICS! I just had an unbelievably great department store experience in Munich last week. Given the size and bustle of this place, it seems that the Germans are still quite enchanted with the department store concept. The place was called Karstadt and was literally two city blocks by the main train station. I was so happy to find it had a great (though not cheap) fabric section. I came away with a few satisfying picks from the sale tables, though. It's nice to know that British and German department stores still have fabric sections, but I haven't encountered it in Italy. Do you think that could every happen again in the U.S.? I might take many conversions to the vocation.
    And how great your mom looks . . . hope the wedding is fun!

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  17. Your mum has such a radiant smile. Now we know where you get it from!

    Living in London, I've never even heard of Lord & Taylor but I still enjoyed the read. I don't do department stores much these days, but I have a very strong nostalgia for how they used to be. As a child, I used to love Le Printemps in Paris - it seemed the height of sophistication and style to my young self; nowadays it's just confusing (or at least it was the last time I looked). I really miss the hushed atmosphere, the beautiful displays, the wood counters and glass cases behind which stood assistants who knew their stuff. Whenever I see one of the 'store' scenes in Mad Men I feel a twinge of regret. Even if I wasn't born at that time, that style of shop display seemed to endure throughout the 70s and early 80s. Now however it's all noise and identikit concessions, and you can usually find what you're looking for cheaper elswhere. The one store that seems to successfully bridge the gap between old-fashioned charm and modernity is Liberty, because you can still find things there that aren't everywhere else, and because the store is beautiful in its own right and worth the detour, even if you're not buying. It's become a bit too much of a 'luxury goods' store these days, but then again, that's what seems to have saved it as it was on the brink of collapse before.

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  18. I'm still a Nordstrom shopper, but mostly my RTW pieces come from specialty retail shops - Jcrew, Ann Taylor, BR, Anthro, etc. Not that I don't think your garden variety Macys isn't a fine place to shop for certain things, I just don't find myself there much anymore.

    The last picture of you and your mom is so stinking cute!!

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  19. It is not often, but when I DO go into a department store, it is with a mission (ie: CK suits on sale, Lancome free gift, etc). I know exactly what I am there to get and where to find it. Browsing in a department store just doesn't work. But then again, I really don't have the "shopping gene" - I shop only under duress, not for fun. Which, I suppose, is why I sew! Although, I will say that Lord and Taylor has a very reasonably price cashmere section, as well as winter accessories. Good for holiday gifts.

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  20. What a lovely Mom! I bet the two of you had a wonderful shopping day - Mom looks like a lot of fun and she was clearly having a good time with her wonderful son.

    I have to admit I have a real weakness for Bloomingdales in New York - I like the convenience of having a selection from a lot of different brands under one roof and I think that their stock is generally nicely selected and displayed. And I'm very partial to the frozen yoghurt in the 40 Carrots restaurant in Bloomingdales. But I'm actually more likely to buy stuff in Loehmann's or Century 21 or the new Nordstrom Rack in Union Square - I like the thrill of the chase for a bargain! In London I can't stand Selfridges - I find it far too flashy and fake for my taste. You are much more likely to find me in dear old solid and safe John Lewis because they sell homewares (I just love browsing amongst the pots and pans) and they still, just about, have a fabric and haberdashery department (although most of the staff there are clueless about sewing). Liberty is also very nice - it's a lovely old building and they have some quirky and interesting fashions and home stuff and, of course, their own fabrics. On the whole, I think I do quite like department stores - I would definitely hate for them to all to disappear.

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  21. Oh! And your mother is a vision of loveliness in grape! I see where you get your fashion sense.

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  22. I remember going to Wanamaker's Crystal Tearoom in center city Philly with my mom when I was young. Mom worked in the city when she was single, and lunchtimes were spent hitting all the great department stores on Market Street--Gimbels, Wanny's, Snellenberg's, Strawbridge & Clothier. By the time I was working in the city 40 years later, only Strawbridge's and Wanamaker's were left. Now they're gone, too, and I'm not sure what cookie-cutter stores have replaced them. I live in the 'burbs and my RTW comes from Penneys, Sears, Target, or the thrift store.

    But I do miss the dept stores of old. They had class! And your mom is adorable, Peter. I would go shopping with her and my 80-year-old mom in a heartbeat.

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  23. You're both soooo cute! I adore your last pic in the elevator. Shopping with mom is so fun! Of course my mom and I only shop garage sales and thrift stores and my daughter (22) and I only shop thrift and vintage, so not much room for the department stores these days. I, like you Peter, have fond memories of the department store (I'm 46). I grew up going to the Bay and Eatons and Woodwards here on the west coast of Canada. 2 of those 3 don't even exist anymore. I still shop the Bay once in a while as there is one right across the street from where I work, but mainly to pick up some tights when they're on sale, or if I need a work dress and they're having a sale (and let's face it everyting is always on sale!)

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  24. I am over department stores. Unless I am in Paris, then I take a turista pass through Galeries Lafayette and Printemps for entertainment purposes. I have fond memories of tea sandwiches from Frederick and Nelson in Seattle, though. They made them on pastel colored bread, and you could buy loaves of the bread to take home, too!

    The only brick and mortar stores I go to are fabric stores in Paris, London, San Diego, San Francisco, and Guadalajara.

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  25. i remember the haberdashery in the basement of Gimbels @ 34th--my mother would buy patterns and fabrics there. then we would go over to macy's and i would get an ice cream made up as a clown face in their cafeteria. my mother still misses Gimbels.

    i can't stand department stores now. when i was younger, i remember them being much more organized by garment types (career, casual) than brands; i remember that your salesperson hung around and helped you with fitting and selection. now you have to pay for their personal shopping service to get that kind of treatment . . . so they can better fit you in the cheap, trendy garments they're hawking. not worth it.

    if i have to, i'll suffer through nordstroms; i think they have a different commission system there so the staff is a little more helpful. i like muji for basics, and i'll go to places like liberty just to visit. but for the rest, no. it does mean i'm dressing the frumpiest i ever have in my life, but i can't stomach spending all that time and money to come up with a few pieces that don't fit well and aren't made well.

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  26. I cannot comment much on department stores, since we have totally different brands here in The Netherlands. I do pop in our two big department stores occasionally - one has nice bags right next to the entrance, the other has the nicest cosmetics department with the nicest service in town, also right next to the entrance, so I never have to venture far. But I still wanted to comment since I was also shopping with my mom today! It's a rare treat since we live some 1600 km apart (my parents are visiting us for two weeks so we will get another chance soon). We drove half an hour to an outlet center in Germany, spent there two hours including a cafe visit, then decided to go home since her back and my neck were hurting - and bought absolutely nothing. Your shopping trip was definitely more productive :) . Your mother might have found something to her liking in the Ara shoe outlet (German design, made in Brazil). Or maybe their selection would have too "old" to her liking, when I see the nice shoes she managed to find!

    Justiina

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  27. That picture in the elevator is a keeper. Your mum looks so happy to be out with her son, and she looks great! Love that she wears colour!

    Department stores - who needs them? I only go as a last attempt when I cannot find something elsewhere. I've still not forgiven them for removing the French Provincial easy chairs from ladies wear.

    I never shopped there much anyway as I'm tallish, and both the ultra skinny and fat versions of me could not find clothes the right colours to suit me plus anything fashion forward that I could buy in, say, black, costs the earth. Sheets & towels on sale and the odd kitchen widget I can't buy anywhere else is all I go for these days.
    Heather

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  28. I live in London, UK so I love 'John Lewis' who's motto is "Never knowingly undersold" (i.e. they promise the lowest price within a certain mile-radius of their stores). JL's staff are always helpful, polite & knowledgeable. The fabric/haberdashery section is a little pricey for my wallet, however it's always well stocked & you can find something you need in an emergency (ie thread colours LOL!). I like that they have a fabric remanant section too, though too often it seems empty when I get there :(.

    For normal shopping I like the original branch of 'Selfridges' on Oxford Street - a grand spectacle of a building, with dazzling window & in-store displays, they are always holding special events & evenings or even art installations. Plus until I recently organised a 'Thread' magazine subscription for myself I could (if I was quick before they sold out) get a copy from the WHSmith's newsagent dept. inside the dept. store too.

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  29. thanks for introducing your mom to us:) I can see the resemblance, you took the smile from her;)

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  30. I still shop at Macys, because I have a card there, and the sales are good with coupons. But I miss our local department store, Bacons (Louisville.) It was absorbed by Dillards, which I hate. I'm nostalgic for Bacons and some of our other old downtown department stores... now you have to go to a mall, which I just don't enjoy at all.

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  31. I walk through the department store on my way into the mall to go to places like Borders (slightly less dangerous than the fabric store), Payless (the baby's shoes come from there during BOGO) and the movies. I'm not fond of malls or anything smacking of cities. They don't agree with me and my allergies. I have allergy induced asthma, and I breathe easier without being medicated out in the country.

    I like outlet stores. And thrift stores. And for clothing for the babies, consignment sales.

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  32. Oh dear. When I was younger you couldn't get me out of the mall and department stores. Now you have a harder time getting me in them. Now that I sew on an almost daily basis again, I find I'm extremely dissatisfied with the prices and lack of quality in a lot of ready made.

    And since I lost my own Mom a decade ago, I'd love to go shopping with yours. :) I miss shopping with Mom!

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  33. Um, I have met you in real life and you are not old enough to have shoplifted at Bloomies in the 70s. Did you even exist in the 70s? I think not.

    Love this Mom post.

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  34. I love the last pic of you and your mom. It is very nice. I grew up in Famous Barr and Stix Baer and Fuller in St. Louis. Stix is long gone, and Famous has been gone for a decade(?). I now shop at Dillards. They gave me a charge account when I just had started work so many years ago. They made it so easy and I've remained fairly loyal. If I want a new handbag that's where I go.

    It is so nice that you will take your mother shopping! I hope she knows how lucky she is. And I agree she is lovely.

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  35. Your mom is so cute! She looks very stylish in that purple jacket - totally chic.

    I don't mind Macy's when I shop for DH or the random item for the kids or even me on occasion, but I never pay full-price. I am a clearance rack queen. I have to dress a family of six, so if the Dockers aren't on sale...they aren't coming home.

    The only department store that truly excites me (mainly for snoop shopping) is Belk at Crabtree Valley in Raleigh. It's their flagship store and full of lovely designer labels that do not abound elsewhere at the mall. I don't buy much there, but it is a pleasure to browse.

    Dillards at Triangle Town Center is also very snoop-shop worthy. As an underpaid public school teacher, my best shot at couture is DIY - so not a lot comes home from the mall anymore for me and almost none for DD (except Dillard's stuff for kids is better than Macy's and Belk's by a long shot).

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  36. Thanks for making me smile. I love shopping with my mom, and don't get to very often as she lives in a different country (US, while I am in the Great White North). Funny - I went shopping with my mom last week I dragged her from tiny store to tiny store looking for a pair of black lace tights. Finally she said, enough of this, we are going to Sears. Sure enough, huge selection of lace tights to choose from. Mom knows best - it would not have even occurred to me to check a department store.
    After many years of working in a very high end department store here in Toronto (Holt Renfrew, i was not a salesperson, had an office in the basement) I have fond memories of wandering the store when I was bored. I still like to wander pretty department stores when bored, but I rarely actually shop there! Too expensive!

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  37. I buy almost all of my clothes online, from Talbot's and Banana Republic. I rarely buy anything except accessories at department stores. Most department stores, these days, feel like grocery stores.

    Of all the stores in our local mall, Dillard's is the only one that has retained that department-store feel. The staff still provide service, and the clothes aren't so cheap-looking. With the economic downturns they've faced recently, their staff has become more diverse (and less snobby) so I'm actually getting better service than I used to get.

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  38. Sonia is a hoot, my kinda' gal (TJ Maxx all the way - same as the bigger stores, and half the price!).
    I rarely shop at dept. stores, really, I do shop (a lot!) at TJ Maxx. The big stores are busy, crazy, expensive, just not worth it. There are sales, but what's the point, you can rummage through other stores (Loehmann's, TJ Maxx) for much cheaper.
    Occasionally, I'll take my teen daughter into the city (SF) to Nordstrom's or Bloomingdale's, but we don't often actually buy anything there. I do point out, though, my deals - that I bought the same white Ralph Lauren pants/jeans that we found at Bloomie's (where they were $85 - for a teen!) at TJ's for $15 on clearance, or the Waterford runner ($75 at Bloomingdale's) for $13.99 at TJ's (seriously!!). So if nothing else, I'm teaching her "value."
    By the way, love Sonia's makeup/makeover and would love to take her shopping, should she visit San Francisco!

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  39. Your mother is a doll and if it were not for the fact that I live in California I would be tickled to go on a shopping trip with her! Shopping in California, say at a suburban mall, is frightfully anonymous, sterile and bland. Sometimes I think I was born too late for I wish to find myself in the emporiums of old where a distinguished gentleman would hold the door open for me and lovely clerks at the glove counter would give me their full attention while I sipped a cup of tea. Who says progress is always a good thing?

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  40. I've learned to shop for what I want, not what I can find. Department stores are the latter, a giant box of settling for what they have, rather than what you want.

    I hate spending $25 on 3 pairs of okay shoes rather than saving for one $100 pair online that is *exactly* what I want. RTW? forget it!

    Yay sewing!

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  41. Those pictures could actually have been taken at David Jones, Adelaide, South Australia. Utterly predictable but yeah, they do have great toilets! Maybe they actually catch some of their market by luring us in for the loos?

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  42. I think it's interesting how many of us miss the experience that the big department stores used to provide. I grew up in rural NH and a trip to Boston was a BIG deal. The subway actually stopped at Filenes. As a child, and even as a teen it was a shopping wonderland of sorts. There was merchandise that you would never find in your hometown, presented in a bustling and grandiose setting. Speaking of grandiose, nothing could top the Boston Bonwit and Teller. It was housed in the former Museum of Natural History and the "salons" were straight out of a French chateau. When it closed, Louis of Boston moved in, gutted the interior and turned it into a post modern horror, filled with merchandise priced into the stratosphere. Sorry, but that's a shopping experience we can all live without. And what of Filenes? Macy's took over, demolished the building and now it's a giant hole in the ground in the middle of downtown. Quite literally the grave of the department store.

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  43. You mom is adorable! I'd hit the department stores with her any day!

    I grew up in Pittsburgh, so I'm a fan of Hornes and Gimbles, but as they were Back In The Day. I don't love what department stores have become. Also, my mom would only take us to see Santa at Gimbles because he was a real old guy with a real grey beard and the only one in town. He was The Real Deal.

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  44. I was an executive trainee at Bloomingdales in the mid-seventies. So that was you I saw shoplifting? Just kidding! Bloomies employees entrance was wallpapered with the mugshots of every shoplifter they had ever nabbed, so that we associates might recognize the fleet-fingered on the way in. It was the place to be in the 70s and, oh, the stuff that went on in that store. I think Bloomies was on the leading edge of the supermarketization of dept stores. The company mantra was that Bloomies merchandised stuff so well, that sales help was superfluous. This was unusual at the time. I was also there when they first started opening in the evenings. We were paid time and a half to work evenings!

    My own fond memories of L&T are of having lunch at the Birdcage in Short Hills and then snoop shopping with my mother. I remember getting a lovely tweed coat with matching tweed leggings and hat in the early 60s. She also took us to Best and Co. for things she wanted to last. Most people don't care if things last anymore. My own girls wore that L&T tweed coat and a few Viyella dresses of mine which were sent from relatives in the UK. I still am saving the Harrods coats which I bought for my daughters. Do kids ever wear wool coats anymore? You have to love Harrods and Liberty. Where I live we lost L&T and now only have Macys.....sigh I have to travel to shop or I hit the outlets.

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  45. Pam, honestly, I only did it once. A tie.

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  46. I get splitting headaches every single time I walk into Macy's. I only go there when I have exhausted all other resources (usually in my annual search for knee high boots that will fit around my 17" calves)

    I used to work down the block from Bloomie's, and was finally seduced in there when I needed to buy an emergency present for a co-worker. I've bought one or two high ticket items (Coach bag, poofy winter coat) since then, but it is definitely not my preferred place.

    I just don't do department stores. And now, since I don't work, my shopping has DEFINITELY been curtailed....

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  47. I don't like department stores because there is so much merchandise I have trouble making a selection- but my late mother adored department stores on one occasion my brother escorted her to Bloomingdales and he said that it was like she got an adrenaline shot as she approached the front door
    Sarah C

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  48. Terribly miss the Eaton's cafeteria with decent seating, varied specials and their February Eaton's Uncrate the Sun promotions (travel deals, cafeteria menu & recipe book, clothing for spring, themed shopping bags!). There was a spry older woman with gloves who operated the store elevator with the metal gate she opened and closed! Also in the 80s when scarves and scarf clips still had momentuum, one of the saleswomen in accessories would do a demo of different scarf tying techniques while using a microphone to get the first floor shoppers to know she was doing a demo.. I'd eye her from the lingerie dept across the floor. Think only once I actually approached the scarf counter during a demo but I did purchase a scarf clip for someone there and later one for myself The counter also sold handkerchieves. When the new 3-storey store was opened, the ladies' bathroom stalls had a large folddown metal shelf for bags plus more lateral room. True, it was not like the swish loos at Yorkdale Shopping Centre of late but Eaton's did a bit more to impress the downtown shoppers. Also, the senior ladies shopping at the store got loads of attention. There was a candy counter in the basement of the old store (fond memories for a child) plus boxed candies/chocolates for gift giving occasions. Children's and youth clothing used to have a chance to see a year's wear.

    With the decline of manufacturing jobs, the dept store's decline was evident (in addition to mgmt not keeping the store current with retail trends aside from late in the game store interior update) as well. Dept. stores anchored malls and the communities that lost their main employers tended to see their customers buy less or buy only if there was no other option.

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