Macy's is the new New Coke

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ONE QUESTION: What are the Macy's guys smoking?

By taking a fabled Chicago shopping legend-Marshall Field's-and renaming it for a New York department store, they have guaranteed themselves a place in the Hall of Fame of Idiotic Marketing Blunders. It's Dumb Day in retailing and the decision to change Field's name to Macy's will go down with New Coke and replacing Jane Pauley on "Today" as textbook examples of violating the first principal of staying on top.

That is: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. ...

As somebody who actually gets paid to go shopping ... I talk to a lot of Chicagoans and out-of-towners who tell me about their retail experiences here. Almost everyone makes a trip to Field's. It's like the Water Tower and the Picasso. You go there because it's part of Chicago.

Sure, it will still be the same building on State Street but without the name, you lose the fame. And you also lose the privilege of calling yourself a Chicago institution. We want the green Field's bag, not some Macy's misfit.

The day those big old brass plaques on the sides of the Field's store at 111 N. State come down and are replaced by the Macy's logo, my advice to those who want a taste of old Chicago will be simple: Keep your wallet in your pocket, keep walking south on State Street and enjoy the classic Louis Sullivan decorations as you push through the door of a real Chicago classic retailing castle: Carson Pirie Scott.

"What are the Macy's guys smoking?" by Ellen Warren, Chicago Tribune, Sept. 20, 2005

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