Friday, November 4, 2011


While to many a store is a simply a place to purchase goods, as a former Visual Merchandiser, I view shopping as an experience. I like stepping away from the everyday to have my senses enticed, to feel inspired, to think anew. One store famous for wonderful interior and exterior design is Anthropologie. I love this quote from founder, Robin Osler:

“Each store makes you feel, as a customer, like it’s speaking directly to you. There’s an intimacy that astounds me considering the fact that this is a national brand.”

With that quote in mind, I give no excuses to other national stores such as Walmart and Old Navy who aren't doing more to create a better shopping experience. While living in Logan I shop at both more than I ever have since I prefer stores close to home. Originally I never shopped at Walmarts' because of all things I'd heard about them in the news with them putting smaller stores out of business and treating their employees unfairly, but again, I have limitations with where we live. I also tried convincing myself that the one on the south end of town is newer and therefore wouldn't be as stinky or as hard to find things but I'm still not enjoying my time there visually or personally. Here's some of my reasons why (these are all true encounters)...

  • Teenage boys skateboarding. Inside the store. 
  • People shopping with their dog. On a leash. In the food department. 
  • Employees who either completely ignore me when I ask their help for something (seriously, I once said "excuse me" three times to someone who looked at me but kept walking), or give me poor directions to find things such as "in the aisle after the laundry detergent"....when asking where the dishwasher detergent is located. Hmmm...what do you think made her think I would know where the laundry detergent was if I didn't know where the dishwasher detergent was?!
  • Too much stuff in those enormously large aisle bins. With as busy as that store is, they need to work on some major de-cluttering.
  • Out of the good stuff. Once I do find something I really like (their Canopy brand does have some nice finds like this garbage can for $30 cheaper than at Bed Bath & Beyond and these frames) they're either out of it, or only have a few left.
  • Awkward moments with the greeters (maybe it's the pained look on my face that appears the minute I step inside).
  • Weird policy of stickering return merchandise upon this really necessary when I have a receipt?
So all in all, I try to stick with Maceys and Sams Club (know that SC is owned by Walmart, but don't find the atmosphere as bad). Next up- Old Navy. I hadn't been there for around 5 months so....woah to all the changes of their NEW look! :O When they first opened back in 1994 I really liked them. I thought they had a fresh and casual look but in high school when brands were EVERYTHING they never seemed to match up with the trendiness of Abercrombie and American Eagle. Post high school I never really shopped there much because I found the stores to be a bit loud and obnoxious. Then around 2005 (coincidentally when GAP stores were closing), Old Navy stepped it up with a new "high fashion feel" (Wiki source) and really good deals...remember those saving sacks they used to mail out to card holders? Loved those! A few years after that when I was pregnant, I found quite a few flattering and affordable maternity pieces there, and as a parent, was also impressed with the quality (many are still in great condition for my second son) and cuteness of their kids clothes. 

Now things have changed again. After reading more from this Wiki source I learned they've fired the president who brought about all that necessary change in 2005. Now they're off on another re-branding campaign and it's back to being all crazy again! It even felt that way on a Thursday morning (hate to be there on a Saturday). While I still came away with a pair of corduroys and yoga pants (as a mom of two I've decided jeans are overrated), overall I'm very disappointed and think a lot of things there are now questionable....
  • All thermal tops felt like gauze
  • Tees are very very thin and not shaped well (even prior to wearing)
  • Kids clothes are not as thick or soft
  • Pill factor on many of their sweaters 
  • Took away their maternity line (from the Logan store at least) 
  • Odd shower curtain changing booths everywhere. The real dressing rooms (hello for moms with a stroller!) are located in the center of the store which isn't a very calming place to step away to. 
  • Register line is single file, not functional for the families they claim to be targeted towards
The one part I did like was the table and chairs with a bin full of paper and crayons for kids, but I'm pretty sure that could've been implemented without all the cheap-o gliz and glam. The silver lining to all of this is that it's made me hunt down all the GAP online promos and special offers I can. By doing that I keep our clothing costs close to (or cheaper!) to what we were paying for Old Navy wear. So far I've been very satisfied with the quality of all my recent GAP purchases and still find all their kid stuff super cute. Oh, and one other place for cute kids clothes in Logan that a friend shared with me is Kmart. I know, surprised me too but true!

Well, that sure was a lot to share about stores that most people probably don't give too much thought about, but I find anything related to consumer behavior interesting. For those of you who also appreciate a well designed store, here's a blog I just came across featuring some fantastic visual merchandising displays. Happy window shopping! Oh, and for those of you ready to get started on Christmas shopping, the Logan Holiday Gift Show is this weekend. Click here for details.


  1. I am a shopper and walking into a store that has a stimulating visual display is a treat. Love the holidays for that reason. I cannot go into a Walmart, love Target. Agree with you about Old Navy, same thing is going on here too. Gap had a great deal on jeans recently, but the store was so messy and crowded...not like when I worked for them.
    But, had a wonderful, friendly, very helpful young girl help me find the right jeans. I sought out the manager to tell him how great she was. Customer service is not always so easy to get, but sure nice when it happens. Happy Shopping!

  2. I too have simulare feelings about the big busy chain stores. They can be crazy! I think ON sales a lot of junk. don't get me wrong I still shop there but not that much. WM, I think everyone has a love hate relationship with them.... You organized my thoughts on this blog. Thanks! Tami

  3. I feel just like you when it comes to shopping in Logan. It really is hard to find a pleasant shopping experience. I had a difficult time finding the specific items I look for.

    My favorite place in Logan is JCPenney. I know, you're probably shocked. It was a place that the clothes (many of them) seemed to be a higher quality with some very stylish pieces mixed in.