----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: Macy's For Life

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Macy's For Life

Up until about a year and a half ago, I only shopped at Macy's occasionally. In fact, I didn't tend to shop at any big department stores, preferring instead stores like Express, The Limited and Rampage. Now, however, I shop almost exclusively at Macy's.

What happened? It all began when my then-fiance and I decided to register for our wedding at Macy's. We have dissimilar tastes, and yet we found china, crystal and bedding that we both liked. (Wedgwood Blue Fin Lustreware with dragonfly accent plates, Waterford Merrill crystal and Calvin Klein Bamboo Flower bedding, if you're curious. And the big thick fluffy Hotel towels.) But what really got me shopping there was the fact that Macy's was offering an incentive program where we would get 5 percent back from anything our guests bought from our registry and 10 percent back from anything that we purchased. The catch was just that we had to open a Macy's charge account. But I'm not one to pass up a deal, so I signed right up.

My mom saw an advantage. She decided to use my Macy's card instead of her own to buy all sorts of pricey items, like wedding presents, luggage and jewelry, so that I could benefit from the 10 percent back. And when it came time to "complete" our registry after the wedding, we had hundreds of dollars in store credit to use.

Now, Macy's continues to draw me in. It seems that every weekend, there's a sale, and if there's not a sale, I get some $25 loyalty certificate or an exclusive 10 percent off card in the mail. They know how to keep me coming back. And because my mom charged so much before our wedding, I am an elite Macy's customer, entitled to all sorts of "Star Rewards," like special sales and free shipping.

So why this paean to Macy's? Well, I recently shopped at another store (the Gap, if you must know), and I realized that it's not just the coupons and the deals that will keep me returning to Macy's. I also appreciate their consistency in sizing. I generally wear a size 4 petite or maybe a 2 petite if the item is not too fitted in the hips. (Thanks for those Greek genes--love my full hips. Ha!) But at the Gap, all sizing went out the window. I tried on two size 4 skirts that were huge, as was one pair of size 4 jeans. Even a size 2 skirt was a little roomy. But then another pair of size 4 jeans were too tight. I do not understand this at all. I would expect sizes to vary more widely at Macy's, because they carry all sorts of different lines of clothing. But all the clothes at the Gap are Gap brand, so shouldn't they have some consistency?

I also realized that I really like the traditional department store way of displaying clothes. Macy's doesn't have a big wall of folded jeans that you have to scale to find your size. And why does Gap insist on putting their smallest size jeans at the top of the wall? Don't they realize that usually, the women who wear the smaller sizes will tend to be shorter? Unless the store is catering to supermodels and freaks of nature, that is. This has been a pet peeve of mine for years. I can never reach my size, and of course all the little Gap-lings are too busy with their folding boards to help an actual customer, so I have to sort of climb up myself if I want to get a pair of jeans to try on. And then the neatly folded stacks have an unfortunate tendency to tumble down on my head, and I must leave the store in disgrace. Sure, I could ask someone for help, but usually, they're all congregated in the dressing room, handing out those plastic numbers to make sure you don't smuggle in more than six items, so it's faster to try and get the jeans myself.

Anyway, it's not that the customer service at Macy's is wonderful. They aren't as good as Nordstrom, of course. But what I like about Macy's is that they'll give you the hangers for all the stuff you buy. It's so much easier to put the clothes away when they're already on hangers. And I have too many clothes, so I never have extra hangers. Plus, department stores have good hangers, not the cheap wire kind you end up with from the dry cleaners.

I am sure that I will shop at other stores from time to time. But I'll still do the bulk of my shopping at Macy's. I even buy clothes for my husband there, and he is hard to shop for. So keep those coupons coming, Macy's. And I'm on to your little trick with the constant sales--if everything is on sale all the time, then it's not really a sale. But I convince myself I'm saving money anyway, and it makes me feel better. I also like it when the sales associate circles how much I've saved at the bottom of the receipt and draws a little smiley face. And the free hangers clinch it.

This weekend, I have a 15 percent off pass to use. Yeah, I'll be at Macy's.


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