December 13th, 2018 by Jan

I love New York, so when a show about Bergdorf Goodmans came on TV last night – I grabbed the popcorn!

Bergdorf Goodmans is the crown jewel of New York shopping! We are talking about serious fashion, fancy people, ridiculous designers, and money, money, money.

That world is so incredibly different from the life I lead and I could not look away.

While I am a small town girl, I’m not a stranger to New York City.
Both of my parents grew up in New York City. We visited often as children. My dads father was a cop who walked a beat. My other Grandfather was a doctor who lived on West End Avenue. My Grandma worked in a bakery and served John and Bobby Kennedy when they were boys. (She said they were very polite.)

My Grandmother Chambers shopped at Bergdorfs Goodmans and brought my mother with her when she was a girl. I know this because she both told me stories and she took me there as well.  Also, I found several BG boxes with beautiful, never worn, elbow length, fancy gloves, in my moms stuff, when we cleaned out mom’s hoard.

The opulence of the store is over the top in so many ways. I’m going out on a limb here and will guess the cost of the window decorations at Christmas is a tad more than the yearly budget for our homeless shelter here on the coast!

The shoes, handbags, furs, jewellery… they sell the designer’s name more so than the actual item. Begging the question… Who are you wearing? More so, though, you aren’t a designer, not really… if your line isn’t in Bergdorf Goodmans.

The thing I got a kick out of with the show was they made a point about how the owners (Mr. and Mrs. Goodman) lived “above the store.” Just like regular shopkeepers! Okay, so they had the top two floors of the building with eight windows over looking Central Park and five windows watching Fifth Avenue. How quaint!

Customer service is, shall we say important at BG. They call the clerks, personal shoppers, and they work on commission. Most are known to make upward of $500,000 a year. They are trained well and when the question is “how much is that?” The answer is straightforward. “It’s very expensive.”

A few years ago, Sandie and I went to Bergdorf Goodmans when we were in New York. I tried on a $15,000 vest. It might have been one on sale, because it actually had a price tag on it!

This vest would have been a “special occasion” type of vest, not your everyday vest. Certainly not something you would get years of use from. Sure, it was lovely and well made, but the $15,000 vest was not meant to be an investment in quality clothing. whoever bought that vest would have done so as a folly — maybe it would be worn once to a holiday party.

They talked about Yoko Ono buying $400,000. worth of furs at Christmas. Oh, to be on her gift list! They told the story of the lady who wanted her ashes spread at Bergdorfs when she died and they also remembered how sales fell – the day after Bernie Madoff was arrested.

I remember, thinking how strange it was that we (Sandie and I) were allowed to try these fancy things on without adult supervision. I don’t remember a sales person approaching us that day. As I said, they work on commission… perhaps, they knew, Sandie and I didn’t have a party to go to that night!

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