Miracle on 34th Street: Why I shop Macy's

I've spent most of my career writing and speaking about online marketing. But today I want to write about something that is unique to the Brick and Mortar store experience. Something that can't be replicated in an online enviornment. I want to talk about why I shop Macy's. 

Like a lot of men, I suppose, going out to a store to shop is something I would rather not do. Let's face it: I'd rather have a root canal than shop for clothes. In fact the whole Brick and Mortar experience is one I'd rather avoid (unless I'm shopping for guitar or stereo equipment: I have no problem wasting a day doing that!). But beyond that, I get nervous, my palms sweat, I feel dizzy everytime I step into a clothing store. 

All that changed a few years ago. My mother was dying in Pittsburgh. I flew in to see her. We knew the end was coming but Hospice had told us we had another month. I just had the clothes on my back, expecting to spend a day with her before flying out again to deal with the demands of my everyday life. The day after I flew in, I stood by my mother's side as she breathed her last and passed away in my arms. 

Instead of the quick trip I was planning, my sister and I now had to quickly make the funeral arrangements. I had no clothes to wear: nothing. No shoes, no socks, certainly no suit that I would need for the service. I was to deliver the eulogy in the next 48 hours. I was a mess. 

I went to the Macy's store in Pittsburgh and stopped at the mens department wearing torn jeans and a tshirt, dirty sneakers and mind that refused to function and focus. An impeccably dressed Macy's salesman came up to me and asked if if he could help me. I told him: my mother had just died. the funeral is day after tomorrow. I needed everything. 

He looked at me, held his hand to his heart and said "Leave everything to me." He walked me through each department, picking out my tie, my belt, helping me with my suit, my shirt, he took me by the hand to the shoe department and made sure the salesperson there knew to treat me well while he went to argue with the in store tayloring department to make sure my suit would be altered while I waited. He came back to me. He talked about his own mothers death, he treated me as if I was part of his own family.

Afterwords, I went to the management of the Pittsburgh Macy's store and in tears told them what that man had done for me. They said: "yes, he is a special person." 

Today I went to the Macy's store in the Palicades Mall outside my home in Nyack. The woman who waited on me showed me the various coffee makers and how they worked. Then she walked me over to the linen department, understood as I vaguely described why my current sheets didn't fit right - I needed "extra deep" apparently. She even helped me pick out the colors that looked the best. 

In other retail stores I feel lost. I watch disinterested sales people staring off into space, if I can find them at all. And I always feel that they couldn't care less in me or what I needed. I have never found that with Macy's. 

It isn't the merchandise that keeps me coming back to Macy's (although I like it). It isn't the prices (although I like those to), I shop Macy's for one reason and one reason only: the quality of the salespeople who work there. That day two years ago, they earned my undying gratitude and loyalty. They didn't treat me like a customer. They treated me like a person who needed their help. 

And that is why I shop Macy's.