Friday, September 30, 2005

Last Respects ...

I went to Marshall Field's on State Street yesterday, my first visit since Macy's announced it will be changing the name of the great store.

Of course, the names of all the Marshall Field's are changing, but somehow the others don't matter. Macy's can stick its ugly, modern signage on all of them. I don't care.

But Marshall Field's on State Street is living history. Despite the existence of J.Lo merchandise inside its hallowed halls, it is still the same Marshall Field's generations remember, restored in recent years to its former glory and polished anew for the millennium. It has existed through three centuries, not that it's 300 years old. But it was built in 1881.

Yesterday, I walked in an entrance near Wabash on Randolph. The Christmas displays are up. In September. At least that hasn't changed.

But as I made my way to the central escalators, I wondered if I would still be able to shop there once Macy's digs in its claws. L.A. Dave predicts that the name will change on all the Marshall Field's properties except the State Street store. He – and I – would like to believe that no executive is really stupid enough to tamper with history in such a radical way. Terry Lundgren, the chairman, president, and CEO of Federated Department Stores says he might leave the famous brass nameplates on the building. What a guy!

I'd already decided that my Marshall Field's card will be cut up into small pieces and mailed to Mr. Lundgren's office pending his final decision. But as I wandered through the men's department yesterday, I paid attention to the attentiveness of the staff. No one asked if they could help me. No one even said hello. And I wasn't staring at T-shirts. I was browsing in Kenneth Cole, Perry Ellis, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren. You'd think someone would have wanted to help me, in case I was about to spend several hundred dollars on something that probably cost $3 to make.

After 20 minutes, I went downstairs to jewelry. I lost my favorite everyday earrings on the walk, so I thought I'd look for a new pair. I actually stood at a counter, directly across from two saleswomen, one of whom looked right at me and said nothing.

I left. I think my Marshall Field's days are over, no matter what happens to the name.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am thoroughly disgusted with the disappearance of a Chicago landmark. The store will still be there, but the name will not. Macy's sucks, plain and simple. It's a cheap, disorganized classless store. Sadly, the era of customer service there has come to an end, as well as the name that is synonomous with Chicago.
Beth, I will join you in cutting up my card.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Here, here!
I think the Federated folk have sorely underestimated how pissed off Chicagoans will be about this. If Roger Ebert has already cut up his card, it's going to be ugly. Even when I'm in New York, I don't shop at Macy's. I shop at Bloomingdales. But when I'm in Chicago, I don't shop at Bloomingdales. I shop at Field's. Well, I used to.

11:40 AM  

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