Chris and I were in Bloomingdale's in Manhattan last week. It was the first time either of us had stepped inside in two decades.
It's possible we'll go again. If we live to be 100.
Bloomingdale's used to be IT. When I last lived here in the early 80s it was a destination filled with atmosphere, attitide, aspiration and Big Brown Bags.
Today all that's left is the attitude.
Bloomingdale's owns Macy's. Who own Thanksgiving. And large parts of Christmas. Well, one street's worth.
Macy's is spending several millions of dollars refurbishing Bloomie's. Construction is everywhere. Which gives the impression for a few minutes that something is happening.
Money is being wasted. Display case fulls at a time. Because regardless of what they stock, Bloomingdale's staff is singularly uninterested in selling it.
In a twenty minute excursion we asked for help from five different people. To say we were an inconvenience would be to suggest that root canal during love making is a distraction. And the person who smiled at us most warmly? The man who held the door open as we left. As he pulled it closed we turned, half expecting to see the staff offer us a collective grimace before returning to the pursuits we had clearly interrupted.
Building a better business means making sure what and where you're selling comes after who you're selling to.
Because once they've walked out the door, all the fresh paint in the world won't bring them back.