DMV, DEQ, VIP, OMG

Version 2

(This is not a rant, well, not a bad rant anyway.”)

I have yet to meet a car owner that does not dread receiving a letter with “Department of Motor Vehicles” as the return address. Just the thought of license renewals, surly government employees, emission checks, waiting for numbers to be called and getting your mug shot, sorry, license photo taken strikes fear in the hearts of many. It was with trepidation that I opened the envelope informing me that one of the cars needed its registration renewed.

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In retail history

Saks Fifth Avenue Designed by Starrett & van Vleck Photo by David Shankbone

Saks Fifth Avenue Designed by Starrett & van Vleck Photo by David Shankbone

Lord & Taylor opens their flagship Fifth Ave store in New York City. Founded in 1826, Lord & Taylor is the oldest luxury department store in North America and is a subsidiary of the oldest commercial corporation in North America, the Hudson’s Bay Company, itself founded in 1670.

The building was designed by Starrett & van Vleck which specialized in the design of department stores in the early 20th century.  The store is the first of many renowned 5th Avenue retailers that would soon include the likes of Saks 5th Avenue, FAO Schwarz, Bergdorf Goodman and many other luxury brands.

Did they hear you?

Version 2

Getting two flat tires on the commute home is a rare occurrence but that is what happened to my wife recently. The current tires had given her many miles of good service and were due to be replaced so she asked me if I wanted to go with her to our neighborhood bike shop to pick up some new tires. We both headed out since I rarely pass up a chance to check out the latest bike equipment.

We knew the store stocks a particular tire she likes since we have bought them their before.  She really loves the tires because they have reflective sidewalls, important for early morning commuters. In fact, reflective sidewalls have become so important to her that they have become the standard for any commuter bike tires.

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In retail history

The Woolworth's store at 3rd & Pike in downtown Seattle in 1986. Photo by Steve Morgan, Portland.

The Woolworth’s store at 3rd & Pike in downtown Seattle in 1986. Photo by Steve Morgan, Portland.

On February 22, 1879, Frank Winfield Woolworth opens his first store the Woolworth’s Great Five Cent Store in Utica, NY. Largely credited as being the first five and dime store, Woolworth offered discounted product at a fixed price. While the store got off to a successful start, Frank closed the doors of his first store in May, 1878.  He would try again.

In retail history

from the Department Store Museum website

from the Department Store Museum website

On February 14th, 1865, Abraham Abraham and Joseph Wechler partnered to open Wechler & Abraham at 297 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, New York.  The store became Abraham & Strauss in 1893 and at its height, provided the utmost in white glove treatment. Uniformed elevator operators whisked patrons between floors and patrons parked their horse-drawn carriages in an underground parking garage.  Departments include fine furs, gourmet food center, stamp & coin shop, wig bar, beauty salon, art gallery and restaurant. In 1929, A&S, Bloomingdales, Filene’s of Boston, Shilito’s and F&R Lazarus & Co combine forming the Federated Department Stores.  In 1995, the Abraham & Strauss rebrand themselves as the more popular Macy’s.

Iffy Swiffer – Part II

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It seemed only fitting that, unlike the sunny day when I went in to buy my Swiffer Wet Jet, the day I went back to return it,  was rainy and cold.  I generally do not like returning products (even though the store was at fault in this situation).  Maybe that’s because making a return reminds me that I failed at my first attempt at a purchase.

I was prepared for the worst given how many stores deal with returns.

When I walked back into the store, I was relieved to see my cashier from yesterday was working and thankful that the store was quiet. Figuring that I could make the exchange process simpler, I went to see if the store had gotten more Wet Jets in in the previous 22 hours.

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Iffy Swiffer – Part I

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It was such a gorgeous day and I had a few errands to run and since the weather was nice, I decided to walk and not take the car. One of the errands was to pick up a Swiffer Wet Jet for spot cleaning around the house.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first sunny weather we have had in a while as I spent 20 minutes walking to the store.

When I got to my neighborhood drug store, I was pleased to see that they carried the Swiffer Wet Jet and that they had one remaining in stock. Grabbing the last Wet Jet and a few other items, I headed towards the cash registers. There, a friendly and attentive cashier rang up my purchases quickly and efficiently while chatting with me about her plans for the Super Bowl. She even made sure that my purchases would be applied to my frequent shoppers account.

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In retail history

by John Delano from Wikimedia Commons

by John Delano from Wikimedia Commons

February 2nd, 1893, Sears, Roebuck & Co. open their first store in the Merchandising Building in Chicago, Il. This gave the young company its first brick & mortar store after seven years in business.  Along with an expanding assortment of general merchandise, the store includes an optical shop and a soda fountain.