I'm going to Bergdorf's to recover

I bought ugly ties for my father and hankies for my mother at Bloomingdales when I was six, and I thought Bloomie's and I would love one another forever. Presents, events, weddings, trips, job changes -- Bloomies and I have been there together. SAs look at my card and ask when I got it (answer: before I could vote). So when my errant feet guided me up the little staircase to the remains of a once proud hosiery department, I assumed Automatic Me had detected some good markdowns. And did I ever! Hue cotton socks, $16.50 now at $2.59, plus 40% off. I figured if I stood by the counter long enough, someone would pay me to take the socks away.

But no.
I was in a hurry, so I just bought two pair.

And that's when it happened.Cue foreboding music... She asked if she could show me anything else, I said no thanks, and, in an accent I'd only heard before on Saturday Night Live, she asked "How long will you be in town?"
"What?" I said, not sure I'd heard correctly.
"Where are you from?" she asked.
"Here," I said.
"Where? In city?"
"I live around the corner," I said, deciding to pay cash so she wouldn't get my address from my card and follow me home to - what? mark the socks down further? See if I got into a cab headed for Pierre, South Dakota?
- the interrogation continued. "Where will a city girl wear such socks?"
"On my feet," I muttered, thinking that if I was rude enough she'd figure it out for herself. But why persist in trying to make me feel like a stranger in My Store?

Bloomingdales has been through many ups and downs over time, and through bankruptcy and reorganization at least twice that I can recall, and Himself thinks my spending keeps that store open. I want the magic back. I want my home away from home again -- resting barefoot in the shoe department at the end of a long day, where noone will disturb your contemplation by trying to sell you shoes, getting made up on the way out to dinner, snacks in the housewares department, serendipitously being offered champagne to celebrate the opening of - well, anything! A door! or a restyled department. Knowing I could always go to Bloomingdales was like having a friend who always carries confetti because the two of you are bound to find something to celebrate. Bloomies has always been a friend. This experience was the opposite of friendly. I felt sad. Tired. My feet hurt. I hurried to the shoe department to sit down and relax. Barefoot.


  1. (godzilla music). OH dear, snarky SA! Sad for you, I have to say I've never had any bad CS when visiting south of the 49th parallel, all my snarky/over bearing/infuriating CS stories are from up here in the frozen north. Well, I say, off to Bergdorf's you go. They have lovely accessories.

  2. I still have my B.Altman's credit card - now that was a department store!

  3. What a ridiculous question and questioner! Preposterous! But a very, very funny story is the awesome result...worth a couple of bucks!

    (oh man, a shoe section you can hang out in without fear of incurring attention, that is incredible!)

  4. "Where will a city girl wear such socks?"

    I read this yesterday and it's still bothering me, lol. People in NYC wear socks. Why would she think we don't wear socks? Very, very strange.

  5. Well, I didn't know what was happening -- couldn't figure out the motives, couldn't get away fast enough. All I know is that I suddenly felt very uncomfortable, for no good reason, in a place where I've been at home since kindergarten. Oh well. On to other things.

  6. Good help is hard to find! The subway station below Bloomingdales was the closest to my job in the 80s, so I was a frequent shopper but not a big one. All those wonderful umbrellas were destroyed before they could be lost. But I still have the most handsome brief case imaginable, bought at 75% off as it was the last one.


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