All over Adelaide, parents are in uproar over the David Jones Magic Cave. The Magic Cave exists only in Adelaide, and is a childhood Christmas tradition stretching back generations to the Depression era. This year, David Jones has put on the Magic Cave as usual, but decided to drop the Magic. Don't worry though, they certainly decided to keep the Cave part.

elves hard at work in the former Magic Cave

Rather than the tacky icicle filled glittery grotto with funfair mirrors, the talking tree and mechanical elves making gifts behind glass windows, they given us all a black room with  few strung up fairy lights (the cave has also been moved to a "more convenient location" as David Jones has stated - the toy department). Nipper and Nimble the giant rocking horses are still there (surely there would have been riots in the street if they'd been removed), and the old carousel as well, but it has been shoved into a corner. It's just not the same. There's no special experience in going there for children, and certainly nothing to keep them occupied while they wait their turn for the extortionate visit to Father Christmas (as he is known in Adelaide), where basic photos set you back $40.

this years Magic Cave - I snapped this today when doing reconnaissance to see if it was truly as bad as everyone said. It is.

David Jone's Christmas Windows in Sydney Via Glamourdrops blog

And really, this is just symptomatic of all that is wrong with David Jones and where they have gone wrong over the past 15 years. A strategy of centralising operations into Sydney means that buyers and management do not have a feel for what the local stores in other capital cities around Australia want (and we all know that there exist enormous regional differences in local culture caused by weather/ lifestyle/ general wealth etc) and they give us all watered down versions of what they think works in Sydney, and what they think they can get away with elsewhere.



Cost cutting and this centralised vision means that Adelaide's flagship store has suffered - the beautiful Modernist 50's department store in all its marble clad glory was sold off at the end of the 90's and the new store reopened behind a small shopping centre that fronts the Mall in the centre of the city perhaps 1/3rd of the size of the original. This means that David Jones in Adelaide does not have any windows - so no window displays. You pass a "Body Shop" branch and some cheap chain store shoe stores to reach the underwhelming entrance. The soaring ceiling heights of the original store are gone, as are the women employed specifically to operate the lifts and call out the departments on each floor. Gone too is Mossman, who used to sit in a suit on a podium at a Grand piano and play music for the lunchtime shoppers. Every October would herald the special Spring floral festival that would draw people in to admire and gasp at the stunning floral creations. Twice yearly they would hold fashion parades that were glamorous events attended by the cities social set and that would set the forecast for the season ahead in an internet-less world (these things all still occur in the Sydney store). I used to sing Carols in David Jones every Christmas for the two weeks leading up to the big day with the Australian Girl's Choir (which I was a member of in the pre-Qantas advertisement days... unfortunately) - the Christmas buzz was something that the store worked hard to achieve. It was a special experience to go shopping in David Jones.



In an era where overseas department stores like Selfridges, Harrods, Bergdorfs and Barneys are falling over themselves to give customers an "experience" to draw them in and to compete with the myriad options available on the Internet, it seems odd that our Australian department stores still persist in driving things downwards. A focus solely on fashion (leading to fashion wars between Myer and David Jones who have been busy poaching each others "exclusive" designer label deals for the past 10 years) has seen them ignore other departments, like furniture (who goes to David Jones to buy furniture now?) and toys. Other departments have gone forever (the David Jone's food hall in Adelaide has recently closed), and things like cafes, restaurants and beauticians have also been removed. The stock in many of the departments is identical to any other big store - department or downmarket department (Kmart, Target, Big W) store. Rather than searching the world for special items, they're just bringing in more of the same of what we can already get.


If you've ever stood at a counter of a major department store searching in vain for someone to serve you, it's clear that the message of why people shop on the internet has not reached Management. It's ironic that Natalie Massenet (founder of Netaporter) commented that when setting up her Internet business she believed that in order to compete with the bricks and mortar department stores, she had to offer better service than they. She had all her designer clothes cosseted in tissue paper and put into special boxes tied with grosgrain ribbon. If you're in London or New York your purchase is delivered that day. She built her business on the belief that the service and shopping experience Department stores offered wasn't able to be replicated by an Internet site and she therefore had to work harder to offer a special experience for an Internet shopper. Well, she was wrong on that front in Australia, and there are some compelling statistics that show that almost every overseas Internet retailer (from J Crew to Matches to Netaporter) have Australia as their second or third biggest market… and we're a country where the population is only 23 Million.


With the change in ownership of the store this year, a mini renovation of the Adelaide store, and the expansion of the shoe department and bag selection, I'd hoped that perhaps they had got the message about creating a shopping experience once more, rather than somewhere to go under duress to buy an essential. But perhaps not…. while Sydney still has their Christmas Windows (see Virginia's photos of last year's windows, scattered throughout this post), and Melbourne has Myer's Windows - both traditional to those cities, it seems that once again, the smaller cities of Australia are given the shunt.

While the commercialisation of Christmas means that much of the Christmas sentiment is lost in the frenzy of buying, it seems that the opposite is also true - that by giving a lacklustre Christmas experience to children in a Department store the generosity of the Christmas Spirit is also lost. And Bah Humbug, it's certainly lacking in David Jones.

55 comments:

  1. First things first- do you still sing??

    I haven't been to Australia for several years so can't comment but last time I was in Melbourne there was a feeling that DJ's had given up a little and there must be no mystery shoppers anymore bc I had the worst service in the make up counters to which I was very loyal at the Bourne street mall. The clothes section looked like it was a TZk Maxx even tho the prices weren't. They were being pummelled bc myer next door was slashing prices to compete. This will be a slow death if they don't do something quick. Otherwise that store will just be condos in a few years time...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No singing for me anymore!! Except for nursery rhymes - I have an excellent repertoire.

      They've done a big renovation of the Melbourne store. Certainly the fashion is good, but the prices have only recently come down into line with overseas pricing (and that's still spotty, so Max Mara is still double the prices on the internet, but a lot of others are now in line so buying locally is not such a rip off). But I find all the other departments so yawningly boring - books are basic bestsellers, toys are just big brand basic stuff, china and glassware just the big names with the main ranges…. nothing special. Hopefully the new management will turn things around, but I have to say doing this to the Magic Cave does not give me much hope. It's really sad!

      Delete
  2. Great analysis Heidi! In total agreement. So sad all the changes for the worse. No wonder all these on-line business are doing so well.

    I remember David Jones in Queen Street Brisbane in ancient times when I worked there in uni hols. It offered so much that is lacking in DJs and other stores today: great range of wonderful merchandise served efficiently and well: the wonderful food hall; the coffee bar with super elegant cakes; full service restaurant; an art gallery space with high class changing exhibitions, including the first occasion of a fabulous Georg Jensen exhibition (everything from jewellery to cutlery, platters, lavish candlesticks and epergnes); and, lots of other merchandise from finest lace handkerchiefs to Ferragamo shoes, dress materials, furniture, books etc. To supervise the service there were the floorwalkers: men in tailcoats and pinstriped pants with carnation buttonholes, checking that all was going well. At special times there was a pianist at a grand piano. There was even a ladies' rest room - as distinct from a ladies' loo - where women could leave their parcels, sit in easy chairs, use the house phones to make calls, etc. And of course there were the liftmen - in those days they were mostly old diggers who'd been injured during the war and provided with what then seemed like lifetime employment by a caring DJs management. It was a different age.
    In December customers included were the cattle station owners in town from the country to pick up their kids from boarding school and do their Christmas shopping. You could always tell by their conservative clothes (they used to wear suits to shop) and their broad brimmed hats. In those days too, in high summer when many men and women wore short sleeves, you could sometimes see arms with their concentration camp numbers burnt into them. Such a mix of people. In such a fabulous store. Sigh! Pammie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the 50's and 60's were really the heyday of the Department Store - service was the key component, and that is something that has completely changed in the past 20 years in Australian retail. Love all your reminiscing and the stories about the customers and staff P, have you read the book "The Women in Black" by Madeleine St John (and I suspect you would have!)? I loved it so much - a thinly veiled DJ's in Sydney post war, and it would surely bring back many memories for you and others.

      Delete
    2. Yes, it was the latish 60s when I worked in DJs. Loved "The Women in Black", my favourite of all those by MSJ. All so kindly lent me by our Garden Tour Friend, A, aka Insane Housewife. Pammie

      Delete
  3. Heidi, it is hard not to draw a comparison between David Jones malaise and the current Australian Government's predicament. A policy based on Economic Rationalism with no thought of service to its customer but only what will reduce its bottom line. A pox on them all. Ciara

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sometimes think that the concept of reducing expenditure that can have a longer term detrimental effect has been lost on management at some stores Ciara. It probably seems like a smart thing to cut costs somewhere, but I'd say they'll find their sales in the store will similarly drop with people avoiding going there. It's sad for the kids.

      Delete
  4. We have a similar sad story here in Chicago. Our iconic Marshall Field's Department Store with it's magnificent State Street flagship store was bought by Macy's about 8 years ago. Nobody I know will refer to it by it's new name or has gone in there since it changed hands. I'm told the merchandise is just over-priced Target garbage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! The windows are just ads for products sold inside, not magical holiday stories to bring the kids to see! The service is horrible, and the signature chocolate mints are sold somewhere in the basement - last time I went (for a box of mints) I couldn't find a salesperson to tell me where the elevator is and gave up after 20 minutes of searching. Overpriced and underwhelming.

      Delete
    2. Ah, well that is sad, and we've had that here too - in Adelaide we had John Martins, which was bought out by David Jones who ran it into the ground and then closed it down in the 90's (and then built the new store on the former John Martin's site). And they did the same to Georges in Melbourne, which was revered and is no longer. Sounds like your Field's store is heading the same way.

      Delete
  5. Ah, no where near Australia, but know all too well the death of the dear old department store - ours have all shuttered in Fredericton, and while there are lots of lovely local shoppes, they cannot compete with the glamour that was the larger store at Christmas time! One of the reasons I love NYC so much is that those kinds of shops still exist! Sorry to hear you are going our way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I look with envy at the pictures of Christmas lights and window displays in New York and London - it was a magical part of Christmas there. Honestly it felt like Christmas wasn't even close considering the decoration in the street outside (terrible), and then the store had some sad looking trees around the escalators and that was it!

      Delete
  6. This is grim! It sounds like you once had a destination department store and now you have a sort of KMart. I guess they'll be closing their doors if they keep this up. We lost our big Canadian department store, Eaton's, many years ago. There was one down the street and around the corner from our downtown house and I do wish it was still there, especially at Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly it Dani. Most of my friends now park in the loading zone out the front and run in to grab what they're after as 10 minutes is all you need in the store now (providing you can find someone to serve you). That would have been very handy living so close to a good department store when you had it, and sad it's also now gone.

      Delete
    2. I remember shopping at Eaton's in Canada when visiting there ..in a time far away

      Delete
  7. I'll have to go into Elizabeth Street and report back ..certainly the DJ's at Bondi Junction is underwhelming ...well it's in a mall so there are no front windows. In Sydney there is just far too much retail, full of year round sale signs.

    I remember Charles Lloyd Jones (last of the family on the DJ's board) exercising his dog by letting it run beside his car whilst he drove and held the dog's leash. The family's house was a couple of blocks from where I grew up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really think their strategy is all wrong - they should get out of the suburban shopping malls as those stores are terrible anyway and water down their brand, and build a better internet presence with free fast shipping etc instead. Then concentrate on the flagship store in each state with the old special events they used to have and lots of staff, and more interesting merchandise - make it a destination again.
      Love the story about the dog!

      Delete
    2. Inclined to agree Heidi. Sounds like a good strategy. Will be interesting to see what happens under the new ownership.
      My local DJs is a "country store" - and has same probs as others identified. But I know the store manager does try, though of course he needs to follow his riding instructions from central management and their budget for his store. But he's nice, enthusiastic and out and about, serving from time to time on counters, particularly men's wear, to get a good picture of things at the coal face. Very approachable and deals with customer complaints quickly and sensibly - I know because I've been a complaining customer.
      Staff in fashion and accessories mostly seem know me and when I walk through store from car park they always greet like an old friend. G very suspicious about this - thinks I spend too much money there.

      Wish we had stores like Le Bon Marche - or even BHV. Enormous variety and quality of merchandise and skill and knowledge of their staff amazing, particularly for specialist things like art materials (BHV) - and even toys. Would love to be in Paris at Christmas and see what the stores do then. Remember in Galeries Lafayette one of the perfume consultants, a gorgeous young guy, was speaking to me in French, switched to English for another customer, German for someone else. So I said to him "I bet you speak Mandarin too." He replied "un peu." I rest my case. How many staff in any department store in Oz could speak anything other than English! Best wishes, Pammie

      Delete
    3. Goodness - so many languages, that really is excellent for customer service!!
      I too long for the proper European store experience. I really don't understand why they've focused so solely on Fashion to draw people in at the exclusion of all the other things - events/ features, other departments, service!
      Laughing that they recognise you in your DJ's and G is not sure whether that is a good thing!!

      Delete
  8. When my daughters were little it was such a treat to go into David Jones in the city ( I live a couple of hours out of Sydney) and visit Father Christmas, look at the windows etc. Even in Sydney a lot of the sparkle has gone. I don't understand their logic, basic marketing tells you that the easiest way to get people to visit your store and ultimately purchase is to entice and at Christmas an experience for children should be a given. For what it's worth DJ's in Sydney still outshines Myers which this year is beyond appaling and an embarrassment. They have a 'giftorium'which is beyond tacky. Department stores didn't see online shopping coming and they appear to have no idea how to counteract it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what they do in Melbourne too - all the kids travel in on the tram and the trains to line up and look at the Christmas windows at Myer. It's a special part of Christmas for so many for generations, as was our Magic Cave.
      Agree with you about the basics of marketing - which was why those things were introduced in the first place. So strange that they think cutting it all back means that they won't lose sales in a corresponding manner?!
      The Giftorium sounds dreadful…

      Delete
    2. Giftorium !!!! I might go on moratorium against the word gift, we used to say present

      Delete
    3. present does seem to have disappeared somewhere along the way. My pet hate is all the cookies we have now instead of biscuits! I heard someone refer to an Anzac Cookie and nearly passed out!

      Delete
  9. I think I've said it before- you need your own magazine column.
    I agree with all of it.
    Myer in Melb have done well with their refurb- it's smaller but classier.
    The Japanese do department stores well, also.
    Have a great day xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, put my head into Myer last time I was in Melb and thought it looked better - the old store was just too big in my opinion. There was a Japanese department store for a while in melbourne in the 90's I think? Can't remember the name of it but it didn't work… aside from that I've not been to Japan (but want to go so much!), so can't compare with stores other than London/ New York.
      Hope the writing is going well….

      Delete
    2. That was Daimaru! Was just thinking about that store the other day, as it had a Tiffany & Co concession before Tiffany opened their stand-alone stores.

      That's a real shame about David Jones in Adelaide, so depressing when stores downgrade like that, especially when you have memories of how great it used to be. I have to agree that Myer Melbourne does look much better for their overhaul. They've dedicated one of their top floors to their Christmas 'Giftorium' and all things Christmas - it's a great idea and nice to walk around. They seem to have well and truly embraced the festive spirit this year!

      Delete
  10. Well said mate. I needed to buy my Mother of the Bridegroom frock for Son #5's wedding this Sat. (yep it is only 2 days away, but I do my best work under pressure!). Anyhoo I found the whole experience totally underwhelming too - except for the wonderful CS Rep who actually listened to what I wanted & won the sale. To the 4 others who could only see their daily sales targets as the prize & tried to foist frumpy rubbish onto me - your loss.

    The great old sense of elegance & style DJ's had has left the building in every way. I don't want to hang onto the past, but Management would have done well to gather a representative group of their customers together & consulted with them. The day I stop asking my clients how we can make doing business with them better, is the day I check into the Shady Acres Nursing Home. MOTH's given them flicko, as last time we went shopping together, they'd taken that last bastion of DJ's innovativeness the Husband's Chair away from the Level 1 Ladies Fashion, the ultimate sin!
    M xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope the wedding went well Milly - cannot believe you left it until 2 days before to find your outfit though!!
      So agree with you about getting a focus group together - it seems that they've never bothered doing this, in any of their stores…
      And don't get me started about the hard sell on the Amex DJ's card. Fortunately they're not going in quite so hard on that now, but it was driving me batty!!

      Delete
  11. I've never been a regular DJs shopper - I find it mostly overpriced for my budget - but I was planning to take my daughter in to the Magic Cave this year (she slept through her first experience). When I'm in there I feel like the store still believes it is a luxe grand department store but doesn't back it up through customer service and products available. I totally agree with the poor-relation Adelaide thing too. We're only just getting a Tiffany & Co when they have been resplendent in other cities for years and the big designer brand flagships are still but a distant hope. Not only that, but the high-end staff as well, rather than graduates of the Are Youse Right school of customer service.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly there's not the wealth in Adelaide to sustain many of the big name designer stores, but Tiffanys will do well here, and I'd think that Louis Vuitton would probably be able to work here too.
      The products in the store have been so lacklustre - I was heartened to see the shoe department has now got more than just the "basic" style in designer brands (you know - the black high heel and not the special occasion or statement shoes), and I've seen a lot of them being worn around Adelaide now so it seems that maybe they've realised that they didn't make good sales with just the basic, boring stock they were putting in…?

      Delete
    2. On the lightning visit to DJs while in Adelaide, it seemed more like a large shoe shoppe with a small department store attached. At least they had the Valentino rockstuds! Pammie

      Delete
  12. This post should be published in the SMH Heidi....well written, perfectly timed and 100% accurate! I hope DJ's CEO and others in their management have the opportunity to read it. I worked very briefly for the store (six weeks) and resigned because I was totally shocked by their poor workplace policies. They were very driven by appearances but were so fiscally tight, I was constantly appologising for the lack of staff to offer assistance to waiting, wanting to pay customers. Still the same now and yes, I've taken my bussiness elsewhere. I undertand that 'the bottom line' is important but I think they'e gone in the opposite direction to achieve growth and shopper loyalty. The glitter has definitely faded for this store irrespective of the season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh the waiting!! The staff, once you find one, are always so apologetic… which is fine, but really it's not their problem it's the management and they don't have to deal with the annoyed customer. Agree with you that the shine is definitely off the big department stores, and they have to realise that you have to spend money to make money sometimes and stripping out a lot of the experiences just means short term savings and long term harming the business.

      Delete
  13. Oh no, I am alarmed that the Sydney DJ's Magic Cave will be horrifically altered as well. The 9 year old will be outraged if that is the case. Last year I made the mistake of trying to take the boys to the QVB Santa. In my defence, it had been a long day, the queues at both were almost biblical and and the QVB Santa was closer. The boy took one look at the Swarovski Crystal Christmas Tree and the QVB Santa and announced loudly that it was all wrong and that this was absolutely not how you "do Christmas!" He insisted we walk up to the Magic Cave at DJs. It will break his heart and I am sure hundreds of other children if they have done the same to the Sydney "Magic Cave." Bah humbug indeed. (... and yes, you would be a fabulous columnist!). xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be interested to hear if it is Emma - please report back! I'm definitely not taking the kids into ours, they'll be so sad.
      So funny though that your 9 year old has set ideas on how you do Christmas… I'm planning to take mine to a similar Santa, and suspect they may feel a bit ripped off after last years extravaganza!

      Delete
  14. It's easy to sound 'dinosaur like' when talking of Adelaide's David Jones.
    Whilst there on Monday my husband and I remembered what had gone,
    Booking in for 'Breakfast with Santa' either the kids.The Christmas catalogue that was posted to store card holders.of course, the Food Hall.Theres a token food department up in kitchenware, but really, it's a shadow of its former 'glory'. I remember working in DJs as a school leaver in 1980. The 'white carnations' (supervisors), with there all seeing gaze over department s, and we plebs under strict instruction to move between floors by the service stairs, never the escalators.progress is measured these days at the stock exchange mores the pity.
    I love shopping in Singapore however. The tradition of Tangs through to the Aladins cave of Takashymas. Wonderful!!
    Adelaide's David Jones , soul less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to Love that Christmas Catalogue!! When we first got our store card (in 2000) it was one of the things I looked forward to… and we never got sent it. Seems it went out to the old store card holders, and then they started to cut it out altogether. So strange!
      Oh that food section is depressing. Not at all like the old food hall with the baking biscuit smell. So agree that it's soul less.

      Delete
  15. Melbourne's Myer windows were a childhood tradition for me. I always thought Myer and DJ's were meant to be a 'premium' experience but last year in a Canberra store I tripped over ripped carpet and duct taped power leads running across the floor. The saving grace for me is that when I do finally receive some service, the staff are often cringingly apologetic, particularly the ladies of a certain age who have worked there for many years. A lady in my local DJ's recently told me that management conducted a service complaints review for a mere few days in the quietest period of the year and then told them there was no case to warrant up-staffing the store. Funnily enough, I still go quite regularly because my local store has a great Max Mara Weekend selection but not the market for it so when it is heavily discounted I can always find my size!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This seems to be the way in a lot of the "regional" stores - there are certain brands you can get a full size range for heavily discounted in the sales as obviously no one is going there to buy it full price. Some advantage to the otherwise lacking customer service. My pet hate is all the security loop things they put on the clothes. You then have to hunt someone down to remove it to actually try the thing on in the first place… and it suggests to me that if they actually had staff around they wouldn't run the risk of so much merchandise being stolen in the first place.

      Delete
  16. I totally agree with everything you have said, Heidi. I think you should send the link to this post to the Management of David Jones.
    I haven't checked out the Magic Cave this year (my children are all too old now) but am shocked that this is what they have done. Truly the magic has gone. Not just from the Magic Cave, but the whole store.
    After a trip in there yesterday to purchase a few necessary items, I ventured to the newly-placed "Food Hall" (ie confectionary counter in the kitchenware department) and, after spending a good 10 minutes waiting/trying to find someone to serve me - I finally got the attention of the young (clearly stressed and challenged) girl working in the adjacent "cafe" (a couple of tables in the middle of the store). After an eye-roll and huff she told me to go and wait at the other counter (where I had already been waiting) and that she couldn't help me. I returned to the original counter and lo and behold - someone appeared....to subsequently answer the phone! She didn't even acknowledge me. I left.
    Oh, how different to the DJ's of old, whereby the tinkling of piano keys and the smell of baking cookies drew you in for a shopping experience. People DO want service. And to feel special. They have got it so wrong. No wonder online shopping is so popular. Caroline x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I saw that new cafe Caroline!! Terrible! I just couldn't believe how basic the Christmas decorations were either - 4 small trees around each level of the escalator in a boring purple themed bauble display. Nothing else. It just didn't feel very Christmassy to me at all. The piano, carols, huge displays are long gone…

      It will be very interesting to see if things change under the new owners - apparently Woolworths in South Africa is amazing, and has fantastic stock and is a great shopping experience, so perhaps we should hope that things improve. I blame Mark McInnes who reigned during the boom period, ignored setting up an internet business and then brought service standards down/ cut costs in cities other than Melb/ Syd.

      Delete
  17. This is a great post, Heidi!
    So sorry to hear that DJs in Adelaide is such a shadow of its former self.

    I find the department store experience in Aus pretty dire, really. I grew up in London, worked in Harvey Nics all the way through uni and never really appreciated how amazing London Department Stores are until I moved here.
    DJs in Sydney is so underwhelming.... full of 'Sales Prevention Officers' as we call them, dreadful merchandising, terribly overpriced and a very small selection of sizes. Grrr. It makes me furious whenever I try to buy anything there. The staff are generally rude and unhelpful and it's a terrible experience.
    The only redeeming feature is the wonderful window displays, and the floral arrangements they have in Spring.

    How I long for a trip to Liberty, Selfridges or Harvey Nics. Even John Lewis during sale time has more appeal than DJs.

    I never even go into Myer these days. Terrible place. It's how I imagine Dante's 7th Circle of Hell must be

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well Ruth, you've grown up with a very high standard that we're only bound to fail by comparison here in Oz. The complacency with service/ amenity means that Australians shop on the Internet instead. My pet hate at the moment if you do want to buy something in DJ's and they don't have it in your size/ in stock you're told to ring another store, purchase it on the phone and they'll ship it to you… but they don't do it for you in the store that you're standing in. They told my Dad to do that when he was trying to buy me some perfume for my birthday, and he just went home, got on the internet and ordered it - from somewhere else. Much easier….
      Agree with you re myer. In Adelaide it's just awful, awful awful. From the ugly green and yellow 80's building to the cluttered interior and terrible stock….

      Delete
  18. The owners of that store need to see the doco ???about that department store in New York, where a team of people seem to work for months on the Christmas window.
    I actually find Nordstroms and Macy's here a miserable experience because its just loads and loads of stuff all over the show. Neiman Marcus is better (called here Needless Mark-up for its prices, but at least its not a muddled shopping experience)
    I only shop in person (I don't allow myself to do online as floodgates) so the store is important to me.
    Barneys is pretty good in new York but a bit precious here in San Francisco, but my heart still belongs to Harvey Nicols, which presents things beautifully and the buyers take risks.
    I have a boutique i usually go to in Oakland as that is the real spa experience I'm looking for.
    P>S> that's so sweet that you sang in the choir - love that

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jody, the doco I think you refer to is 'Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorfs' and I liked it too.

      Delete
    2. I haven't seen that doco, but I've heard about the Christmas windows being the most important of the year and something visual merchandisers take very seriously. So sad there are no windows to decorate now!!
      The one thing I will say is that I usually walk through a department store and feel overwhelmed at the amount of stuff in there - and wonder who is buying it all?? Certainly there is an element of overconsumption going on given how little I buy (or so I feel…).

      Delete
  19. Oh dear, I do feel your pain. I used to love being taken to the west end in London (the main shopping district) to view the windows at Christmas time as a young girl. It was magical. Most of those windows are not anymore, except for Fortnum & Mason. I don't know how they do it each year, but they weave the most beguiling magic through their themed window displays to delight both adult and children alike.

    In San Francisco, there is little to report in the way of great windows. Macy's does attempt it (somewhat), but the best thing about their main window is the kittens and puppies inside that are up for adoption, so at least some good comes from this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think anything can compare to London for the magic of the street lights and decorations, and the way the big Department stores decorate their windows. It's such a special time of year there (and tricks you into not minding the bleak weather!).

      That's so nice that Macy's do that with the adoption pets, and it would definitely draw crowds of children I'm sure!

      Delete
  20. Let's hope someone brings all these comments to the attention of both Myer and DJ's management. Such honest feedback is hard to find. Agree wholeheartedly with most of these comments. Service would have to be hands down the most critical aspect of shopping in Department stores. You can never find staff to help you so in the end give up and shop online instead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have a lot of things to fix with the service. The lazy "it's available in x store so when you get home ring that store and organise payment over the phone and they'll post it to you" rather than them actually doing it for you while you're in the store is my pet peeve. As everyone seems to agree that the service is abominable it would seem that DJ's management (and Myer and others as well) just prefer to bury their heads in the sand over it sadly.

      Delete
  21. Could not agree more

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. well… fingers crossed it changes with the new owners. Not holding out a lot of hope however.

      Delete
  22. Here here! I agree you should send this post and the comments to DJs mgt! They had such a strong brand position but chose to compete below themselves and the magic is gone. These are sad days for retail generally I'm not sure where its headed. Christmas retail magic is something I hope we can hang onto somehow. Esp for kids I hold my memories of enchanted grottos and waving elf statues very dearly.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Can I do a P.S.... While we're on the subject of shop service.
    Shopped in Aesop the other day. Service standout. Huge product knowledge, massive bundle of sample products and (the best bit) a spritz of their beautiful parfum on the calico bag. I thought it couldn't get better until the lovely assistant walked me and my products to the door, opened the door handed me my goodies and said enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so good to hear about Aesop - product knowledge is vital in that store as the products really are unique.
      It really does seem to be a race to the bottom with the department stores. I can't help but feel that they've lost a lot of their market as they've done this too. Nothing special in their merchandise anymore - they need to take a trip to Liberty in London to see how it's done.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Search This Blog

About Me

My photo
Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
Powered by Blogger.

Follow by Email

Follow this blog with bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin

Followers

Things to read....

.