People who still want Marshall Field's to come back
I just don't get these people.
I mean, I miss some stuff from the past too. But the old style department store most of these people are in mourning for doesn't even exist ANYWHERE anymore, and wasn't a part of Field's even before it ceased to exist.
The big old style department stores are only surviving in a few places. I mean, let's be real: If you can buy a pair of pants at Macy's for $80 and the same exact pair at Kohl's for $30 or $40, where are all the fraus or khaki pantsed straight men going to shop?
It wouldn't be to place I grew up with...but the name should be Marshall Fields.
OP, ever hear of existing:
all large department stores
R2, I know some of those still exist.
Sears and JCP are not by any stretch comparable to the kind of department store those other stores are.
And while Nordstrom's and Neiman Marcus (and maybe Dillards) still have a bit of that cache, the point is that the things these folks say they miss about these stores - the elevator operators, the very personalized service, the great restaurants and cafes - have either been long gone, scaled down significantly or outsourced.
The Field's that most of these folks want is a memory. Field's circa 2000 was exactly the same as Macy's/Lord & Taylor/et al which is why those stores all started consolidating.
[quote]but the name should be Marshall Fields.
No, it's Marshall Field's
and I never even knew what the fuck this place was until I Googled it.
The "old" Marshall Field's had a quiet class, sales people who would go out of their way to help you, a politeness to the atmosphere (politeness without a tinge of snootiness), and a distinctive shopping selection. Those days are gone forever.
Those of use who spent many enjoyable trips over the years experiencing the atmosphere of Marshall Field's miss the history and the feeling of continuity. The people who worked htere made the customers feel important. They treated a $50 purchase as if you spent $500. and there was such special magic at Christmas....the store's windows were heartwarming and inside the store, there was a true festive atmosphere. The store's Christmas tree was a gathering place for people to meet and share a special time. Yes, these are memories of the past and we must live in the present, but it still saddens many for a lost opportunity to ever enjoy those special experiences again.
The old Marshall Fields was so great, I loved it. Now I can only afford second hand clothes.
The distinctiveness of department stores started dying back in the 70's and 80's when buying offices started consolidating.
In Atlanta, Rich's carried different lines than Davison's. Rich's was it's own entity (before selling out to Federated in the mid 80's) and knew it's customer very well.
Even though Davison's was part of the Macy's chain, they had buyers in Atlanta that were not enslaved to what was happening in New York.
Now all of these middle of the road stores carry basically the same merchandise all over the country.
They are alive and well in Japan. They only failed in the USA because the middle class lost its buying power.
Japan has a very inefficient distribution system for it's goods.... the efficiency of it's manufacturering processes are erased by the inefficiencies of the distribution system. So it does not surprise me.
I think the problem started earlier than most cite with major department stores.... I remember in the 70's my mother being disappointed at the casual dinnerware selections at the downtown department stores, which carried the same thing that Gold Circle and other discount department stores carried. She ended up collecting Fiesta as did a lot her other friends because of the lack of selection.... those who didn't either bought Bennington or Denby pottery from England. But neither pottery was carried by any of the department stores. Something happened in the 70's with selection at those places. All three major department stores carried all the same things, they lost individuality. It reminded me of what happened with cars in the 1980's.... every GM car make was identical to each other, just differnt tailights and grill. And look what happened, everyone bought imports. There is a pattern to this...
I had a friend who taught in the upper peninsula of Michigan--she was classy and soigne--think a non-republican, non-southern, blonde Julia Sugarbaker (and had the odd distinction of playing Lady Capulet to Goldie Hawn's Juliet in summer stock once). She said when the woods and yoopers would get to be too much, she'd drive down to Chicago. She had it put in her will that when she died she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes tossed from the top of Marshall Field's--alas, a codicil no longer able to honored.
And, that, my friends, is the night the lights went out in Georgia.
Growing up in the Chicago land area there were stores and brands specific to Chicago that couldn't be found anywhere else. Chicagoans were loyal to their local businesses. Some of them were swallowed up quickly but others managed to survive to around 2000. I loved going back and going to Marshall Field's, enjoying Maurice Lennell cookies, Jay's Potato Chips, etc. I understand how Chicagoans feel. I miss those things too.
[quote]same exact pair at Kohl's for $30 or $40
No gay would ever shop at Kohls. Ugggh turn in your gay card and go find a wife.
Chicago likes to revel in its insularity and exceptionalism to the rest of America, much less the world. The 'foreign news' on the 11:00 broadcast is typically Wisconsin and Indiana.
An early bf of mine was a rare stamp dealer at Field's. They had probably the largest rare stamp, coin, and book departments outside of Harrod's. My Mom bought antique silver plate from them as late as the 90s. Try getting anything like that at Walmart or Target.
..or at Macy's....
OP, you're completely wrong saying that Marshall Fields of 2000 was exactly like Macy's. Marshall Fields downtown store was clean, friendly, had a variety of items for all ages, and had an air of class about it. Macy's is dirty, you can never find a salesperson, the clothing is skewed to 30 and under, they have kiosks to buy things instead of counters, and there is no air of quality that exists in that store at all.
Walmart is a department store, they just get away with pretending they are not.
By the gods, Field's was magical during Christmas time- we would make it a day there to look at the windows, shop and eat.
Marshall Field's was nice, but incredibly overpriced. It's no wonder they had to close.
Ah, the Walnut Room at Christmas.
During the year I used to go there with my mom and have a petite four while she had a cup of coffee.
I've tried to find a recipe for the juicy rum cake they sold at the bakery. It had a dark chocolate disk on each slice.
I miss Hudson's.
Marshall field's was a money-losing operation...all the bells and whistles at the Chicago (and smaller extent) Minneapolis store drained cash, and meanwhile there were a bunch of other stores in the mid-west (Fargo, nd,etc) that were dumps that made any Macy's look like harrods...if it worked it would still be around. Mis- managed by target, then by may co.
[quote] many enjoyable trips over the years experiencing the atmosphere of Marshall Field's miss the history and the feeling of continuity.
Well back in the 30s there was no TV or movies (at least talkies) and 90% of the population was illiterate. So you didn't have much to occupy your time, other than visit a department store.
How retarded can you get. Welcome to the 21st Century, where we have actual THINGS to do, places to go and homos to fuck. And we DON'T have AIDS either.
I blame Gloria Vanderbilt.
Once upon a time, perceived quality of an item was determined by the store that sold it. If you were an aspirational consumer, that Field's label was more valuable to you than one by Carson Pirie Scott.
As designer goods became more valuable than the store that carried them, Points of Sale became simple vendors competing with everyone else with the same generic mainstreamed items.
Now, there is a race to the bottom to see who can suck up the most change selling the same desired item at the cheapest price.
Pre-recs for a Marshall Field's resurrection:
1. Kill Mason Reese
2. Adopt a body scanning technology for consumers
3. Create an automated 3D cutting/serging/sewing machine that can adopt styles to a customer's unique shape that also adjusts for different fabrics
4. Bring back true name brands in domestics and housewares - including micro-brands with limited output
5. Drop poor quality suppliers like Claiborne and Ralph Lauren
Everyone should be boycotting Macy's as part of the "Dump Trump" campaign
[quote] As designer goods became more valuable than the store that carried them, Points of Sale became simple vendors competing with everyone else with the same generic mainstreamed items.
Thank you, R26.
I'm the OP of this old thread and this was the point I was trying to make. Years ago each store carried unique labels - yes, they might share a few national labels, but they also had great in-house labels.
Now, every store everywhere has the same shit. And the thing about the whole "boo hoo Field's is gone" thing that bugs me is that none of these people would pick spending $80 for pants at Field's/Macy's if they could get them for $30 or $40 at Target, or JCP, or Kohl's, or what have you.
Just like people often complain about not having great local fashion stores, but when given a chance to buy a shirt for $30 at local store A, or the same for $9 at Old Navy, will pick Old Navy EVERY TIME.
Does anyone still wear a hat?
OP, I grew up in New York, not Chicago, and I miss the Department stores that were more than a cut above Macy's. Macy's was never in the same league of more upmarket stores like Saks, Bonwit Teller, Best & Co., or B. Altman & Co.
I really miss Atman's. They had a wonderful Book Department and an even more wonderful Rare Book and Autographs Department. Going there was an event.
People don't miss Marshall Field's, just the uniqueness and adventure of the State Street store. Some things, like the Walnut Room, it still has. It doesn't have the more exotic things because those didn't pay in the end. Only Harrod's still has them in London, and only because they are propped up by tourists. Does Chicago, New York, and other places have enough rich people for a true high-end shopping experience? Of course. But they wouldn't have spent their time in Marshall Field's even at its height. They bought their dresses at Stanley Korshak's then and on Oak Street today.
Marshall Field's was about middle class aspiration and for that to work today you have to have a middle class that doesn't find it bothersome to travel all the way to State Street!
When people say they miss Marshall Field's ... or B. Altmans, etc., what they are saying is that they miss the experience. They miss customer service. They miss knowledgeable sale people. They miss quality over price. They miss real sales over fake, bait and switch sales.
I think a smart person could make money by defying the conventional wisdom and running an old fashioned department store, with the knowledge that the consumer base would be selective and that the consumer would rather pay more for customer service. It could not be marketed towards the mass- market consumer.
It is interesting how consumers have changed. A perfect example is the commercial for the new tap credit cards. The commercial shows a line of consumers movie through checkout with conveyer belt efficiency. The hole thing comes to a grinding halt when a shopper uses a check or conventional CC. Older consumers hate the notion that they are just product on a conveyer belt. They find the commercial dehumanizing. Younger consumers relate to the new technology and the efficiency. Similarly, younger consumers do not like to be assisted by a sales person.
Sorry, "moving through..."
Did Federated/Macy's target all those local brand name department stores to get control, or were those stores happy to let go?
In Boston, there was Jordan March and Filene's.
In LA there was Robinson's and Bullocks
Seattle had Nordstrums, I think and Houston or Dallas had Neiman Marcus
[quote]Marshall Field's was about middle class aspiration and for that to work today you have to have a middle class that doesn't find it bothersome to travel all the way to State Street!
Blog post about Altman's. Would love to have visited in its heyday.
Macy's has instituted a stud policy of not sending coupons to cardholders who spend less than a certain amount per year at their store. Now I won't shop there. Also, the only online coupons they have are 10% off store wide and occasionally 15% off for certain products (Ralph Lauren bedding, eg).
Ten percent and 15 percent off are not sales. Sales started at 25% off in the past. I hate this "10% off" Internet bullshit.
Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Le Bon Marché, Venez voir le vrai, cheri.
[quote] Macy's has instituted a stud policy
I guess I missed a letter when typing "stupid" and iPad "fixed" it for me.
[quote] When people say they miss Marshall Field's ... or B. Altmans, etc., what they are saying is that they miss the experience. They miss customer service. They miss knowledgeable sale people. They miss quality over price
And this is, to some extent, why Apple stores do so well today. It is a very different kind of store, but you still get an experience there.
True r38 -- visiting those stores was like a blast to the past. Professional staff, good product layout, pleasant atmosphere...
Too bad all their stuff is made in China, except when it is made in Belarus...
I need a packet of celluloid collar stays and thought I would have lunch in the tea room, you know, make a day of it.
Thank goodness for our very own DataLoungeDepartmentStore!
Oh, I loved the State Street store.
Anyone remember the Willy Wear section in men's, on the 4th floor, I think?
More generally, they had 400 buyers in the 80's towards the end. That's why their clothing selection (and everything else) was so distinctive and stylish. Those people KNEW their stuff, they knew what would sell, they knew what looked good. After Federated came in, boom, they were all fired. Such a shame.
Yes, it was inefficient, but inefficiency is where the fun is.
R38, yes, Le Bon Marche is terrific, just like the old department stores stateside. GL and Printemps are not quite as good.
Sorry to disappoint you, R28, but I would never choose Old Navy for anything.
I'd much rather spend my time and money at Nordstrom than Target, Macy's, JC Penney or the like.
And I don't even make $60k a year.
R28, well duh, if it's the same shirt, why would you pay $30 for it if you could pay $9, unless you're a pretentious drama queen?
As I stated, they had 400 buyers in the 80's - that is, Marshall Field's - as a local department store - employed 400 buyers at the State Street location ALONE to purchase goods for sale primarily there. It was inefficient but THAT was what made Marshall Field's "Marshall Field's" - it gave them distinction and style. You may not have liked it - okay, understood.
[quote] if it's the same shirt, why would you pay $30 for it if you could pay $9, unless you're a pretentious drama queen?
Because for $9, I guarantee you that it is NOT the same shirt.
R48 - well is it or isn't it the same? I can't read minds here. You said it was. Now, it's not.
Frankly, today, most of them are the same. Socks are made in the same single factory in China, according to that Frontline documentary from 2010. Foxconn makes almost every single smart phone sold anywhere in the world.
On the other hand, Egyptian cotton is worth the premium, because it lasts for so long, it's incredibly comfortable and looks good.
I had a boyfriend once, and we'd argue about snooty labels on food - he'd say, "salt is salt, whether it's sea salt or Morton's" and I'd respond honestly, "no, it's not - I can tell the difference."
Most "Egyptian cotton" comes from Bakersfield.
I miss Hudsons.
It was fun to visit other cities and shop at their stores. Now every city has all the same stores. This started with the malls, but now it is everywhere.
Yeah but Federated came in thirty years ago...
Kohl's is shopped by many diverse people, including gays. Pretending to be a snob to snob to Kohl's is stupid. They're a lot affordable than about all other major department stores.
Please, most of you buy your clothes at the local Farm&Fleet.
First of all there are department stores.
Second, the complaint is that they are all owned by the same stores, and stores which had a local color, which defined shopping in certain cities are now Macy's.
It's not a huge fucking problem. In the scheme of things, it's inconsequential perhaps. But it has some validity, OP.
It's similar to the neighborhood coffee shop, and the character it gave the neighborhood, being replaced by the same coffee company you can find anywhere, i.e. Starbucks.