Could This Be Why I Don’t Shop at Macy’s?   5 comments

I know Macy’s has great sales, not only because my friends rave about the bargains they find there, but because I used to partake of them over the years. What stopped me was a problem with my Macy’s card. The problem was not my credit, but for some reason I was unable to activate my new card over the phone. That alone tells you how long ago that glitch occurred since if it were today, I’d have activated it online. Eventually they stopped sending me their sale fliers and coupons, and we parted amicably. I never looked back because for some reason I was never crazy about shopping there. Maybe it was the waiting in line at the cash registers scattered around the various departments. Or maybe it was the necessity of having to go to the mall. I am not a fan of malls.

Well I was recently on 34th street passing THE Macy’s yes, the one from the classic movie, Miracle on Main Street; the one that hosts the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, floats, and balloons; the original Macy’s famed for being the largest department store in the world. Needless to say it can not fit in a mall since it takes up an entire square block.

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Upon seeing the entrance, I had a flashback that revealed to me the root of my Macy “problem”. This store was the bane of my early childhood existence! Back in the early days when I was still an only child, which meant younger than five, my mother would regularly drag me down to 34th Street to “go shopping.” We’d have to walk nine blocks to the subway, (but that wasn’t the part I hated) then ride 129 blocks underground. That’s eight stops if you’re counting. I wasn’t, but I was asking “Are we almost there yet.” (Nope, that’s not what I hated either.)

Finally we’d emerge into the daylight of Thirty-fourth Street and make our way into the store. It seems like it was always crowded, even though it was usually a weekday morning. (Nope the crowds didn’t bother me either). It was the fashion faux pas, my mother visited on me.

As soon as we emerged from the revolving door, she’d take my coat off, but leave my leggings on. Leggings back then referred to the heavy wool pants that were part and parcel of  the matched set that also included a matching hat. That’s what I  hated –  I wanted to keep my coat on like all the grownups, but there I was walking around with my dress stuffed into a suspendered overall type pants. But my mother had a theory. If I kept the coat on, my body would get used to it and when we went out into the cold once again, I’d feel cold. But I noticed she didn’t mind “getting used” to her coat.

This looks like a Sunday coat, and since stores didn’t open on Sundays back then, it couldn’t have been a shopping coat, and I’m probably younger here than the days I’m talking about – but look at the leggings. Get the picture?

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If walking around unfashionably clad  was the beginning of my, as she liked to put it, crankiness, (a word often applied to me, especially at nap time and bedtime), it was reinforced by having to wait until she’d bought everything else before going up to the fourth floor or the fifth floor. One held the children’s shoe department and the other, the toy department. I regarded them both as sources of joy, and perhaps enjoyed buying shoes even more than a toy. (Some things never change!)

But n-o-o-o-o. I had to  wait until last. Another one of my mother’s theories was I’d be less of a pest if I had to wait. Pest was another word often applied to moi.  The reasoning behind this was, once I had what I came for, I’d suggest “Let’s go have lunch”. Well, maybe it was more like whine, so if she saved my shopping until last, she’d be able to shop in peace.

Once her mission was accomplished, we’d either have a hot dog and orangeade at Nedicks, an indoor stool and counter. If I recall, that’s all they sold; at any rate it was a New York icon in the Fifties and Sixties.

No more Nedicks! Today, it’s a

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Sometimes we’d go across the street to the 5 & 10, as we called Woolworth’s, where we’d also have a hot dog, but a coke instead of an orange drink.

No  more 5 & 10. Today, it’s a

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Although  lunch was fun, it remains overshadowed by the shopping. But you know how they say  misery loves company ? Well, about thirty years later I discovered I was not alone. The man to whom I was once married, upon hearing my tale of woe, assured me that he was there too and he was very surprised I hadn’t seen him.”I was the one tagging after my mother,” he told me crying.” the one crying.”

I wish I’d asked him if he had to take off his coat!

 

 

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5 responses to “Could This Be Why I Don’t Shop at Macy’s?

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  1. Whiner!!! When we went shopping it was to Brooklyn, 18 stops from 46 St in Queens to Hoyt Schermerhorn in Brooklyn. The trip was endless, and no hot dogs as a reward. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. I read this post with great twinges of nostalgia, having had only one trip to New York City, during which i most assuredly shopped at Macy’s. I loved the store, possibly because of the many references to it in the novels I have read over the years. My husband is a great fan of Broadway music (a piano showman) so i did all of the New Yorkey things he did during several visits to New York before I met him. Sadly, we have not been there again, although we still hope to. (Time doesn’t run out, does it?) Thanks for these wonderful pictures, which I will show to Bob, who will adore them!

  3. Here’s how the mind operates. I worked two blocks from Macy’s
    many years ago. When I read this blog, I thought of a man who walked by me there one day (those many years ago) and said, “You have the bluest eyes I have ever seen.” Who was that unmasked man?

    Susan Schefflein
  4. Oh, Virginia! I love the picture! You were such a cutie 🙂 I enjoyed this “blast from your past” and am sitting here in awe. As a child, you actually got to shop in Macy’s on 34th St. Wow. I’m impressed 🙂 I was lucky to get to go to a Woolworth’s.

  5. Ohhh. I only whined for the toy dept, and when a bit older I wanted the sheet music floor, it seemed like a whole floor dedicated to sheet music. Hated waiting while mom shopped for curtains or material. My reward for waiting quietly would often be a Bobbsey twins book…. Loved them

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