Think Snow


Email to Macy's October 24, 2019


Jeffery Gennette

Chairman and CEO Macy’s

Hi, Jeff,

     A guy with an important two-title job probably thinks a lot about time management. So do I and I’m title-less. When you’re in your early 80s, time management is more than an expression. Will I live until the next election? Will my Volkswagen last longer than I do? Et cetera.

     Today, in need of a mattress and frame, my wife and I went to your Carle Place, New York, furniture store. We walked around, took a look at the mattresses, sitting on them, trying to guess how comfortable they would be for seven or eight hours. When we had made a decision, we went looking for a sales person. 

     We asked two of your sales associates, “What should I do if I wanted to buy a mattress?” Neither one of them said, “Go to Mattress Firm.” They both promised to find someone to help us. It wasn’t said where they would go to summon this person.

     After a wait of say 15 minutes, a very efficient, patient woman appeared. Fortunately, she worked at the store and could help us. Or so she and we thought. Irene, the financial whiz in my household, had not brought her Macy’s card but figured your store had the ability to look up her account, charge the $1,000+ to it and off we would go after getting a delivery date.

     Ha, ha, ha. Irene had not used her card in more than a year plus our credit limit was something like 84 cents, so she provided her Social Security number, her address, her phone number, her email address, her shoe size and her favorite color to the sales lady who forwarded it to someone else at Macy’s via the telephone.

     Not a lot of progress was made for the next half an hour, and Irene provided all the above information (her favorite color by the way is aqua) two or three times. While we were waiting, I told Irene we would go to lunch when we finished this transaction. This little old small town boy guessed she might like that. Yep, she did.

     Apparently no trace could be found that Irene ever had a Macy’s account. Nada. The search continued. At some point I was brought into the act, talking to the Macy’s lady on the telephone, providing her my cellphone number. She said she would send me a text message containing a passcode and that would, by golly, get us out of the store and on to lunch. Ha, ha, ha. 

     No text message was ever received, though the phone lady said she tried to send it twice. I suggested she send me an email with the passcode. She couldn’t send emails she said. Being in a good mood, I did not ask whether she perhaps had the technical capability of sending me a   smoke signal.

     The computer equipment the in-person sales lady was using seemed from the 1960s or from Radio Shack’s subsidiary in Uzbekistan. As our visit kept getting lengthier, I told Irene, “Forget lunch. We’ll go to dinner when we’re done here.” 

     During one of Irene’s conversations with the Macy’s phone lady, I suggested she tell the     woman, “We didn’t vote for Trump,” hoping that might speed the process. Irene ignored me so our struggle continued.

     More phone conversations ensued with a supervisor put on the phone. I told Irene, “While we’re here, why don’t I buy some night vision goggles.” She told me to zip it. 

We could have charged the mattress and frame to our American Express card but your signs said if we used our Macy’s card we could take 12 months to pay with no interest. An attractive offer, so we plodded on.

     But the supervisor couldn’t help us. It was suggested we should open a new Macy’s account, which we did. When the patient sales lady finished all the paper work and hit “print,” she had to walk approximately 13 blocks to where the printer was located. Modern, really modern.

     We’re told the mattress and frame will be delivered the day before Halloween. We hope we are not expected to be in costume when the delivery folks arrive.

     Jeff, no wonder people shop online.


     Larry McCoy

     P.S. There was no lunch out. The place where we had planned to go was closed for renovations. We went home, and I had my usual yogurt, peanuts and fruit, and Irene had day-old chicken and two kinds of dessert, but you didn’t hear me say that.