Thursday, September 22, 2005

Save Marshall Field's

If you don't live in Chicago, this won't matter to you. But it's so typical of New York's attitude toward the rest of the country.

Recently, those condescending, arrogant bastards made a pre-emptive strike on a Chicago institution. Marshall Field's will change its name to Macy's. They've also done the same thing to Portland, St. Louis and other cities with famous destination department stores. But everybody in Chicago is fed up to here with their attitude and the fight has just begun.

I hate New York. Compared to Chicago it's filthy and mean. Every time I've had to spend time there the garbage has been piled up on the sidewalks because of a strike.  And the double parked delivery trucks out front tying up traffic all day? WTF? Didn't anybody realize that one of the most populous cities in the world might need a place to leave its messes and drop off its stuff?

Chicago was built on a grid. We utilize a remarkable concept -- alleys -- to run between and behind the buildings for deliveries and garbage. You don't put your toilet out in the living room, do ya?

The fathers of my city, as opposed to the wankers of their city, preserved the extraordinary beauty of our waterfront instead of letting it be defiled with docks and industry.

As a matter of fact, back in the 1800's Chicago passed New York in size, as it rebuilt itself from the ground up after the fire. So New York, like a jealous bitch, annexed Brooklyn to remain the largest city in the country.  

As if by some inalienable right, New York has always flaunted its size and allegedly cosmopolitan status and shoved it down Chicago's and everybody else's throats. To them we're second class.  The Second City.

So, like Avis, we shrugged our shoulders and embraced the designation. When you're number two you try harder. And it keeps paying off.  For example, where would the phrase LIVE FROM NEW YORK be without all the actors from Second City to say it?

But New York doesn't like it when anybody shows them up. So, instead of just wishing us well, they keep trying to horn in on our turf. The Donald started pressing the envelope when he put one of his casinos in Gary, Indiana, which is right in our backyard. Then he had the balls to announce plans to put a huge skyscraper on the Chicago River, something akin to bringing a stripper home to meet your mom. Nobody in Chicago wants any fooking Trump Towers here.

And now this latest insult. When the president of Federated Department Stores announced that Chicago's 140 year old shopping institution, Marshall Field's, will have its name changed to Macy's next year.

With the kind of patronizing audacity you might expect, he went on to say that two thirds of the people they surveyed said they would not mind the change. Who did they talk to? New Yorkers?

As Roger Ebert put it, changing the name from Field's to Macy's is like coming to Chicago and changing the name of the Cubs to the Mets. Roger Ebert? Pissed? You know when you get a movie critic incensed about something that has nothing to do with, well, movies, the gloves are off.

My personal feeling is that all the flagship stores that have been swallowed up by these and other huge buyouts ought to revert back to their original names. Hudson's in Detroit. Famous-Barr in St. Louis, Marshall Field's in Chicago, the list goes on and on.

Return the original flagship store to its home. Honor its heritage and meaning to that city. Each town can have that one store restored to its former look and feel. Bring back its glory. People used to come to those cities just for the chance to shop at these legendary department stores. Let's return to the good old days.

What exactly does the name Macy's bring to the party anyway? The thought of giant balloons floating above the street?  Yeah, that's classy.

Personally, there is only ONE Marshall Field's store for me. It's on State and Madison in Chicago with the big clock marking its presence. Restore it to the grandeur it had in the old days. Before it got sold. Harrod's has nothing on that magnificent place. The tradition of the Walnut Room, the window displays, and The 28 Shop, the first of its kind, made it a one of a kind place. So make it one of a kind again. Then bring back its old tagline, "There's nothing like it back home."  

That's what they ought to do.  But they won't.  They're New Yorkers.

Looking for the name of the the president of Federated, so I could write and tell the guy he was FOS [thanks Mo] I found this web site:

Fields to Become Macy's in Fall 2006

Just noticed the Trib has a breaking news story - In the fall of next year, all Marshall Field's stores will convert to Macy's. This includes all 62 locations in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Indiana, Ohio and SD. So.. Marshall Fields on State St. becomes Macy's on State.

Federated, who bought the May chain that Marshall Field's is a part of, says that they respect the legacy and traditions of Field's and that they researched customer preferences and studied alternatives before making the decision to incorporate Marshall Field's into the nationwide Macy's brand.

They say that while the store's name will change, much (how much is "much"?) of what customers love about Field's will stay the same. They add that they'll do everything they can to "honor the Marshall Field's heritage, particularly in its Chicago birthplace."

Chicagoist asks, "Why not honor the Field's heritage by leaving it's name the same!?"

To let Federated know you're not down with this name change, head over to and sign the petition or as we've suggested in the past, let's fill the Federated CEO's mailbox with mail by writing him at:

Mr. Terry J. Lundgren
Chairman, President and CEO
Federated Department Stores, Inc.
7 West Seventh St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202

[Don't let the Ohio address fool you, these are New Yorkers]

Roger Ebert, in a moment of protest, cut up his Marshall Field's charge card.
It's a start.


suzypwr said...

In the Detroit area, we had J. L. Hudson's. It was a landmark local chain for us. It was sold - to Marshall Field's. Same store, same stuff, new name. Well, they added the MF chocolates. Now it will be Macy's. At this point, we don't care much any more. The customer service dropped several notches when it went to MF, and I suspect it will drop more to be Macy's.


globetrotter2u said...

I enjoyed Chicago when I was there. It is definitely a lovely city, the charming brownstones near the lake, Lakeshore Drive, etc.,the buildings were clean and well placed. I agree with you about New York. A once a year trip to the theatre is about all I can tolerate. And even that is wearing thin.

sistercdr said...

Federated did the same thing down here with my favorite Memphis based department store, Goldsmith's.  I felt fortunate that they branched out to put a store in a town of 80,000 people near where I live now.  Goldsmith's, while nowhere near the size or prestige of Marshall Fields, was a deep Memphis tradition.  The original store was built on the site of an historic hotel that had been condemned. They salvaged aspects of it to incorporate in the store, including the historical marker about a Confederate general riding his horse through the hotel lobby.  Its women departments were named after older streets in town and going to church meant a Gayoso Room dress. Now it's a Macys' and just another bland box in a bland mall.  I cut up the charge card when it happened months ago.

emmapeeldallas said...

Forget cutting up my Marshall Field's charge card; I'll cut up my frigging Macy's charge card.  When I lived in Chicago, Marshall Field's on State and Madison with the big clock was where I took my girls each December to stand in line to see Santa (the REAL Santa), after which Anthony would meet us and we'd have lunch in the Walnut Room.  Each spring, it was where I took the girls to see the Easter Bunny, again followed by a festive lunch in the Walnut Room.  The girls still remember that, 25 years later; it was such a tradition, with so many families, that a few years ago, Gourmet Magazine featured the Walnut Room in a story they did on Chicago.

I love your idea that the flagship stores that have been swallowed up ought to revert back to their original names.  I think you could get some numbers behind this idea, and count me in.


mosie1944 said...

Here in my Kansas City area, it's the Jones Store they're taking over.  

robbush6 said...

Can you buy me a pound of Frango mints before it's too late? A city with no alleys? Sheesh. Faghettaboutit.

heathyrxmarie said...

As a TRUE Chicago-ian, I am so sad!  I am going to write! LOL!  I *love Marshall Fields!

judithheartsong said...

I want to see Chicago someday... I have flown in and out, but Virginia says it is a wonderful city. Poo on Macy's. judi

thisismary said...

Thank you for the heads up!  Chicago will not be Chicago without Marshall Field's!!  Not care?  Not care? Macy's Frango Mints will taste like dirt.  I have no words for the depth of my distress.  Fortunately, I will find the words, and you have provided an address to send them to.  Bless you Mrs. L.!

sunnyside46 said...

I love how you stick up for your city.All I knew about Chicagobefore I met you is that on ER it is always bad weather!

bluwave9 said...

I'll take a drive down Lakeshore over a night in the Big Apple anytime of the week.

bosoxblue6993w said...

in boston ... MACY'S took over JORDAN MARSH.    and then THE NY TIMES gobbled up the BOSTON GLOBE.

yakvette said...

HEYYYYYYYYYYYYY HEYYYYYYYYYYYY...I'm with you on keeping the Marshall Field's name, but what is up with all the New York City bashing?!   I'm on my way there this Sunday for the New York Film Festival.  I LOVE NYC.    Central Park, Lincoln Center, The Met, Guggenheim, Tribeca, SoHo, Chelsea, East Village, Greewich Village, it is one of my favorite places in the world.  (And remember, I'm a diehard Boston Red Sox fan).    And I sincerely hope noone judges New York City based on a once a year vist to see a show.  There is SO much more to NYC than Broadway.  

I don't have a Macy's or Marshal Field's charge card, so I already feel like I'm helping the cause.   The less plastic debt, the better.

Carry on.


jevanslink said...

I wondered what took you so long to get here.  I love everything you mentioned about New York myself. But every city in this country has great stuff to recommend it. NY is still the meanest and dirtiest of them all.  Plus its PEOPLE have some serious ATTITUDE.   Love and kisses, Mrs. L

psychfun said...

You know quite frankly if Macy's was going to bring back the Marshall Fields I grew up with I'd be all for it. You know Marshall Fields is not Marshall Fields! They have changed so much it is unrecognizable almost. The old great boxes are gone, the individual service helping you in the dressing rooms (ok, so some of the ladies were stuffy snobs but it did have a place too!) they use to have this AWESOME cheap basement floor downtown. The window displays at Christmas are nothing like when I was a kid! I see clothes that MF has at Carsons & Pennys - and cheaper sometimes! Use to be that MF was unique! You did not find their items elsewhere! You got a lot for your money also! If it was more expensive you didn't find it anywhere else & it was sooo much better! They had much more of a selection then too. Ahhh the Walnut Room yes! And shopping bags were free! Everywhere else you had to pay a quarter (back then) but Fields wanted to make sure you were treated well & would thus be a customer! Oh & the memories of their Santa Claus...they would have this long line with all kinds of scenery to watch while you headed in. I know many stores have gone to the gutter but if they want to revive under any name they should distinquish themselves different than all others & bring back the attitude that we value customers like no other!

kjk808 said...

Ah...the "typical New York attitude". Sounds more like jealousy and a defeatist attitude toward NYC. We've gotten lots of breaks (and to show the importance of NY over Chicago - YOU weren't subject to a terrorist attack) Do you still want to trade places now? Do you want to be the victim of being "#1". There are plenty of families, little boys and girls who would want to make that trade.

Don't forget, without our grid - you wouldn't have yours.

Make a difference with your words to make this country (your city) safer instead of wasting it on the name changes of a retail store.

A Proud Born and Bred New Yorker

jevanslink said...

New York attidude -- the arrogance to think that what goes on there is more important than anywhere else in the country.  I stand by that.  Basically you said the terrorists agreed.  

Without your grid we wouldn't have ours. BFD.  That wasn't my point.  My point was we were smart enough to include ALLEYS in our grid.

I wasn't being defensive about Chicago I was on the offense.  You got defensive.

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a nice day.

Mrs. L

jbidle said...

What ARE you thinking? Are you business smart enough, survey savvy enough, politically clever enough to realize your gigantic decision error in changing the Marshall Field name to Macy? And do you have the corporate courage to reverse that decision? You still have time to win customers, not lose them...KEEP the Marshall
Field's name!!

essnomore said...

Besides eliminating the name Marshall Field's, Macy's is also eliminating full-time employees and replacing them with part-timers, further empoverishing Chicagoans. I won't shop at Macy's. Besides, I heard their merchandise is of lower quality and reliability than Field's was.

angelaangel04 said...

I refuse to spend my money at Macy's.  However they just sent me a free $10 card good for merchandise.  I will spend that.  I will buy $10 worth of merchandise at their expense.  Candy will taste oh so sweet!

bet8095 said...

I do hope there still is an active protest pursuing the fight to restore the dignity of our great city.  I do have one question though, where have our Chicago politicians been?  They represent Chicago and without people like Marshall Field we would not have a city of this magnitude to represent…please help us all in our fight to bring back the true essence of what Chicago stands for.  New York does not have the right to dominate this nation…nor do they have a right to humiliate our city with low-class  and disrespect.  We see what that got them, a filthy ,un-desirable cold city.  Chicago has a spirit of warmth and cultural richness, we cannot give up the fight to protect after our fathers and grand-fathers built it from the ground up.  I’ve been to numerous Field’s stores after the conversion and I can tell you the frigidness and low-class of NY rings true from the customer service, the cleanliness of the stores and the merchandise itself.    

A note of reassurance though:  Macy’s is not forever, as we have seen a name can change over night (and let’s face it…I’d much rather see a wall-mart sign over the doors on State and Randolph than a third class smut name such as Macy’s) but one thing will remain.  The legacy of Marshall Field as a man can never be taken away…his name is forever on the brass signs that  still honor the building on State Street.  Macy might have taken the store, but what legacy has Mr. Macy built himself?  Nothing more than a large chain of discount stores struggling to understand the richness of heritage, the ins and outs of business and the American dream.  They just don’t get it do they?