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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Think globally, blog locally

I ran a couple of errands at the Meier & Frank store at Lloyd Center [bang bang] this afternoon. The signs of the changeover from M&F to Macy's were all over the place. Over the door that faces the ice rink, the raised letters proclaiming the store's name are gone, their old resting place covered by a canvas banner with Meier & Frank hastily stencilled across. Soon the new name of Macy's will appear.

Inside the store, I used my new Macy's card for the first time. It worked. The salesperson advised me that if I had any questions about The Transition, I could go onto the website noted at the bottom of my sales receipt. "Are they keeping you?" I asked with a smile. "Yes, they're keeping everybody," she replied, beaming. Cute kid.

When I got home, I cut up my old M&F card, and I thought that maybe I'd post something about today's experience. After a minute's reflection, I decided against it. "Nothing new there," I told myself. "The switch is old news. Everybody knows what's happening."

But later, when I sat down for a minute with my Saturday New York Times, I had another think coming. The darn story was front-page news.

Comments (1)

There's one other minor change: The Rose Festival Parade will now be held on Thanksgiving.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at August 26, 2006 05:41 PM

Bill gets a rimshot for that one...

Posted by: TKrueg at August 26, 2006 05:48 PM

I thought Frango mints were a (Seattle) Frederick and Nelson institution. Not so?

Posted by: Juanita at August 26, 2006 06:18 PM

Check out the picture of that Macy's CEO. You don't want to see the portrait of him that they keep hidden away in the attic at Herald Square.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 26, 2006 06:24 PM

BTW, I was daring enough to stop into the M&F watch repair shop for a quick wristband repair today. Miraculously, the guy manning the counter there actually seemed to know which end is up.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 26, 2006 06:28 PM


Thanks for blogging on this subject. The O did a piece on the transition yesterday, but your link was more insightful.

Seeing the covered signs and the soon to be transition makes me nostalgic. As a M & F alum like many in the area, the chain has seen a ton of change the last few years. With the merging of operations of May Company, and all of those executive jobs lost here in 2002, and Macy's converting the Bon Marche stores, look out Nordies.

Other future changes: it sounds like they do not have as many adertised sales as M & F did, so local adverting for the future Macy's wil go down, and will definitely affect The Oregonian.

When we were in the local store last week doing back to school shopping, the quantity of merchandise was lacking based on past years, and they stuff they had was boring. Target had a better selection last night, and we lamented not going there.

Most interesting part of the article: having the people who wrote complaining of the potential name change having their credit card transactions pulled. I don't think they expected that.

Posted by: Tex at August 26, 2006 06:49 PM


I still have my original Bamberger's card. Had Macy's pulled my purchasing history back in the day, they would have seen a lot of activity. Since the takeover, I've spent very little in Macy's. Every few years, I figure I'll give them another chance, but the shopping experience has been so maddening each time, I've finally given up.

The offerings are no more inspired than at any other department store, the clothing racks are reminicient of Two Guys or McCrory's, the "sales associates" are rude and disinterested, they don't honor gift cards after a certain period of time, and the layout of the store is worse than a house of mirrors.

In case you missed my point: Macy's stinks.

The exec discussed in today's NYT seems to want to please on a superficial level. Their problems from my point of view go far deeper than candy and name plates in a corner of the building. Reading the story got me all riled again about losing a piece of Newark's history.

Posted by: Bernadette at August 26, 2006 07:29 PM

My daughter and I are very disappointed with the new Macy's. The clearance sale prices aren't nearly as good as M&F's, and they wanted $60 for a regular pair of jeans in the youth section this past week. We won't be shopping there nearly as often as we did at Meier & Frank.

Posted by: Amanda Fritz at August 26, 2006 09:13 PM

"In case you missed my point: Macy's stinks.

The exec discussed in today's NYT seems to want to please on a superficial level."

How true, Bernadette!! I am a Macy's alum (from Valley Fair, Santa Clara) in the early 80's. When Nordies was planning on coming down into California from the NW, Macy's tried to train their people to be 'customer focused'. Us Northwesterners who were employeed at Macy's just laughed, knowing that Nordies customer service was stuff of legends...that Nordies sales people actually liked helping customers, and that they were given latitude to really "do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer" ... "they are always right" ...etc. In the Macy's training, it was even mentioned about the story (myth?) of when a lady returned an automobile tire to Nordies! The sales person politely asked: "Since I am unfamiliar with the price of that item, please let me know how much you paid for it."

Even with massive training, Macy's California never did get the customer service thing very well. We will see how well Macy's NW does.

Posted by: Harry at August 26, 2006 09:17 PM

The Meier & Frank of my youth (Xmas monorail,Xmas store windows, lunch with Grandma in the Georgian room) had nothing to do with the Meier & Frank of my adulthood- poor service, rude salespeople, more poor service.

I haven't shopped there in years. I think Dept. stores like Macy's are a thing of the past. I'd rather go to a store that specializes in what I want, has great customer service, and appreciates my business. Call me a dreamer.

Posted by: Robert Canfield at August 26, 2006 10:21 PM

Contrary to some of the comments above, I see Macy's as a marked improvement to the retail scene in this region. From a merchandising standpoint, their wares are of a higher quality than those offered by M&F in recnet years. When our local icon became part of Robinson May and management left Portland, the store slipped big time. Sale du jour cheapened the shopping experience even more.

Having lived in Macy's markets for many years (NYC and Silicon Valley) I've shopped them regularly and been more than satisfied with their quality and service, especially from their menswear and housewares departments. Their less frequent sales events were also better deals for the consumer.

Sure, we'll miss the Oregon institution that was Meier & Frank, but let's remember it ceased being ours when May Co bought them many years ago. Give Macy's a fair chance....betcha like it.

Posted by: mike rose at August 27, 2006 08:20 AM

poor service, rude salespeople, more poor service. I haven't shopped there in years.

I shop the downtown M&F nearly weekly, know many of the sales people by name --and they know my name. It's called developing a relationship...which you can't do if you don't shop there. (The reason buying wine from my favorite wine shop in Portland --VINO-- is different than buying wine from Safeway...Bruce knows me, and my tastes.) Being a good customer is part of the equation.

I'll miss the many, many lunches I had with my Mom at her favorite lunch spot at M&F. But then, too, I was raised in NY and we spent an awful lot of time "going into the City" just to go to Macy's at Herald Square.

The M&F building could've gone the route of the Frederick & Nelson next door, which is simply gone. I'm glad that didn't happen.

Posted by: Frank Dufay at August 27, 2006 08:41 AM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


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