Monday, October 20, 2008

The good old days at Dayton's

When I was a little girl, shopping at Dayton's was 'special.' It meant a drive into the cities (Edina/Southdale) and new clothes at the department store. When I was in college, I worked at the St. Cloud Dayton's as gift wrapper. Here I learned what it meant to have pride in the place you worked and to uphold a certain standard. Our dress code was "three piece." This meant you had to have a top, bottom and third piece, which could include a jacket, sweater, scarf, or perhaps a distinct peice of jewelry. Believe me, an extraordinary amount of care went into wrapping a gift at Dayton's. If it was not perfect, it was not acceptable to give back to the customer. It was not unheard of to rip off the paper and start over on a gift wrap if the seams did not match perfectly. Would you like to know what a "double wrap" is??? This large item wrap takes actual skill!

When Dayton's became Marshall Fields, I grew to accept the change, mainly because as a consumer, I did NOT notice a change in quality or standard from the service or products available. I do believe even the bag color remained the deep forest green.

As we all know, Dayton's/Marshall Fields was bought out. It has now become just another big box national retailer named Macy's. The icon I remember is long gone. Also, I have noticed a distinct shift in quality and service. Yesterday was the perfect example. Mark, Marly, Dean and I went to purchase a bridal registry gift for Nanny Auntie Kelly for her shower next week. We selected a lovely item (Yes, I had a $10 off coupon from the big box retailer!), and headed back to customer service for the 'complimentary bridal wrap.' At Dayton's/Marshall Fields the bridal wrap was a standard white on white paper. The paper was very simple, but high in quality. The bow was also plain white, but again, the same quality as the paid wrap. Well - you can kiss the 'complimentary wrap' Good-Bye!

Now, the 'complimentary wrap' is nothing more then the standard white Macy's box with the logo across the top. This would be the same box you could get for ANY item you purchase in the store. Oh... but they will put a ribbon/bow around the box to cover the logo! My gift was already in a sturdy box from the manufacturer. Macy's did not have a white box that was an appropriate size for this box. I expressed my disappointment to the sales person. The poor, unsuspecting woman was from India and had only been employed at Macy's for two weeks. I assured her I was not upset with her personally, but rather Macy's as a company. She was so distressed by me and my remarks, she gave me a partial roll of the ribbon.... a LOT of ribbon, for me to use at home, since she had no 'complimentary' box to accommodate my gift! I swear, I was not a B-I-T- (you get the idea), although Mark may disagree. I swear I was VERY polite ( but pehaps terse and pronounced in my language and delivery) the entire time.

I miss Dayton's! My dad tells me the Midwest Macy's have seen a decline in sales since the change over. Big surprise!


Anonymous said...

As a North Dakota girl, I had the exact same experience with Dayton's. I remember the days of what it meant to have a Dayton's Christmas tree and how my mother lusted after them. Macy's just can't deliver the same standard of service or quality, which makes me feel like the "specialness" of shopping has disappeared. I wish I could replicate all the shopping memories I had with my mom and Dayton's!

Anonymous said...

Andrea! I too, was a Dayton's gift wrapper back in the day. I am still proud to bust out my superbly wrapped gifts. If only I had the jing to have the highest quality paper and spendy velvet ribbons for every gift... We'll have to have a wrap off someday! XO, Molly


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