Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Macy's Thanksgiving

 Atlantic Avenue with New York Harbor, walking home

I found myself in the bowels of Macy's today. And not just any Macy's. The white elephant Macy's in Brooklyn's Fulton Mall. A massive, throw-back era department store, the black sheep of Macy's Manhattan, the Macy's that time forgot, where the clock and its inventory seem to have stopped somewhere in the last century.

But I was on a mission and I was not allowed out until I had accomplished it. In short: jeans, and cashmere. Simple, really, and not subject to Fashion.

That's another story.

Waiting to pay the cashier who looked like she wasn't about to give a damn -  a very buxom girl, pierced in tongue and nose, head shaved on one side, dressed in Macy's black - I was talking to Vince in my head, imagining myself on the phone, trying to explain just where in the store I was in case we were trapped by fire. Ever since dating a carpenter obsessed by egress I tend to look for exits when I'm in any large building, and let's just say: Macy's must never burn down. Because no one will get out.

The cashier turned out to be very friendly. Very polite. Also funny. And hates shopping with fellow humans about as much as I do. I'm waiting for Cyber Monday, she said. See you there, I replied. She belly laughed.

The opposite of the indifferent and studiously ironic service you will receive in your pick of hipster merchants on the fashionable drag.

On my way out,  in Handbags, I screeched to a halt. I felt, suddenly, the horrible void where my Canon camera should be, hanging over my left shoulder. Half way up the first escalator I knew I had forgotten it on a chair (leaking foam stuffing) in the shoe department at the very beginning of my two hour shop. After assessing the potential loss - older camera body, very nice lens, memory stick...I decided that everything would probably be OK. Because it usually it is.

And thirty minutes later I left triumphantly, camera swinging.

It had been spotted and collected by a girl named Yvonne, who has been working for Macy's for three weeks. She sent me to the top floor, where all the staff offices are, and I waited there while they traced it and brought it to me. At every step of the way, from reception, to supervisors, to managers, to floor staff, everyone was kind, helpful and genuinely concerned. And then they gave me a couple of postcards for more deep discounts.


I have inherited my father's absent-mindedness. Case in point, the laptop, passports and money left behind at JFK a year ago. Returned, every crisp dollar counted, noted and left unmolested.

Most people are good...

So. I'd like to go back and give Yvonne a thank you gift. She'll be working tomorrow. First, I thought a bunch of flowers. Then I thought an Amex gift card. I'd kind of prefer the flowers but you can't spend flowers. Then again, you don't receive a bouquet of flowers every day.

????

What do you think?

31 comments:

  1. How about a promissory note for an autographed book, redeemable a year from now?

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  2. Macy's gift card? And the promise to shop there again? Glad you got the camera back.

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  3. I don't know...you'll think of something lovely for Yvonne. But it is lovely that you think about rewarding her. I left my purse in the middle of the lobby at the Waldorf-Astoria once. Didn't realize it for a half-hour, then raced back, panting, absolutely sure it would be gone. Down in the lost-and-found, the security guard took great pleasure in handing me back my purse, adding, in his best NY accent: "Soooo...you know how lucky you are, right? Right?" I did.

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  4. Ah...an old-fashioned store with old-fashioned service.

    And flowers are always lovely when the days are long and dark.

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  5. Flowers - always. A gift of flowers makes you feel so good

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  6. How about something from your garden, along with a promissory note for a copy of your book (brilliant idea John!!)? I know I'd be honoured to receive something so personal as a show of your gratitude of me doing my job!!

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  7. If I get flowers, I'm happy from the inside out :)

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  8. I like the flowers idea, it is very sweet and thoughtful, and who knows, maybe she has never gotten flowers before! and from another woman!

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  9. I have little to add but this: I really don't like getting gift cards. They're harder to use than their ever presence implies. Of course, it's not the gift that counts, but since you're wondering....

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  10. Some wonderful dessert, plated beautifully as you do, Marie. And share a little of who you are, your upcoming book, as she shared the honesty which was at her core. When the book comes out she can say, "I know that woman." A story to dine out on or a least get a drink.

    I once found an elderly lady's purse filled with what looked like vintage costume jewelry, but was in fact entirely the real thing (huge clear gems, beautiful settings. I estimate minimally worth $100,000+, probably a lot more. She was shaking as she grabbed the purse that I had locked in a safe, until she back-tracked (no ID, or personal items, just the jewelry). She gave me a $100 bill and left, rapidly. I would almost have preferred how she came to be on that lonely stretch of road, in my restaurant, with her stash.

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  11. First, congratulations. What a relief it must have been to see your trusty camera again! About the gift, flowers all the way. With a nice little card thanking Yvonne and all the helpful Macy's folks who took part. (Some people would feel weird about monetary gain for a simple good deed.) And I don't expect you will heed the odd self-promotional ideas presented by a few. Gardeners and foodies have a hard time understanding that others wouldn't have the same obsessions. (Spoken by a hardcore gardener and post-foodie home cook.)

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  12. Thank you! Flowers it is. That will be fun.

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  13. Yep, I agree with John, a promissory note for your book. That's a personal gift. Unless she doesn't cook. There should be a web site: "I want to gift you- which would you prefer?" then have a selection. Glad you found the camera. And thanks for reminding me of similar lucky or fortunate incidences for the retrieval of things absently left behind.

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    Replies
    1. NoNoNo :-) - no book, although I thank you for your confidence in its appeal!. No reason to suppose she would like anything in it, or would care a hoot that I have written one. The gift would suddenly become all about me.

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  14. such a nice story, all around. it's good to hear them.

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  15. This is a perfect posting for the day before Thanksgiving.

    I thank you for your wonderful blog.

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  16. They may not be able to accept monetary gifts but flowers? Always! ps. It's good of you to think of thanking her.

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  17. Flowers, of course! Lovely story.

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  18. Flowers would be great. Also, put in a good word with her boss. That kind of notice is golden to retail employees.

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  19. Flowers, and a note to her supervisor. I worked in B Altman way back when I was in college.....a written thank-you from a customer can have benefits for the salesperson, while money from a customer would be unacceptable.

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    Replies
    1. I so agree! Letting management know that an employee has gone above and beyond goes so much farther than any other token of appreciation (although flowers are STILL nice). Especially if she's new.

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  20. I agree: flowers and note to her supervisor. If she only got hired as a holiday temp but wants to stay, a positive note might help. Glad to hear a positive Macy's story because as former employee (twice) and customer it has become quite grim experience shopping there recently. Maybe I should have worked/shopped at the Fulton Mall location!

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  21. I vote for flowers and a note to her bosses at Macy's commending her. Happy Thanksgiving

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  22. Me four, I agree! As someone who spent many years working customer service (restaurant industry), a conversation or note to an employee's superiors goes leagues and leagues for their employment security. Huzzah to the commenter who noted her recent start probably means she's a holiday hire -- she'll want a boost for either staying or moving on to something good just after the holidays. Honesty is an essential quality in her line of work, but not one that employers can always be certain about -- unless she receives accolades about as much from customers! And I love flowers -- something so beautiful and precious but that you're less likely to indulge yourself in as much as you'd like.

    So flowers + note to management would be the perfect thank you!

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  23. Flowers and a note to the boss sounds wonderful (and helpful to her). You might also make her something from your wonderful kitchen.

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  24. I'm with the rest: food is the way to go.

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  25. A beautiful act deserves an equal beautiful reward. Flowers all the way.

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  26. A bouquet and note, with promise for an autographed copy of your book in the future.

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  27. I always reward excellent service with a personal nice note to the boss, with details of why this person is super. It means a lot to them.

    Years ago we wrote a letter to the honcho at a lovely restaurant on Kauai, praising two servers. Couple of years later we returned, they recognized us, thanked us for the letter, and came out with free drinks. Nice all the way around.

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  28. I delivered flowers today, with a note - one bunch for Yvonne, another bunch for her supervisor. Neither was at work yet: their shift began later...So I left the fleurs with HR and hope they receive them!

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