Withering Glance: Price-check in Aisle 4

  • Updated: April 12, 2013 - 2:25 PM
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Southdale shopping mall in Edina has undergone a recent renovation aimed at reviving the famed mall.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

 

CP: I would go shopping with you, but I will be on Lanvin.com for a few more hours.

 

RN: And here I was under the impression that you were a Gilt.com devotee.

 

CP: It seems that it’s been decided: I must have orange chinos and a rope-bottom sneaker for spring. Who am I to object?

 

RN: Your enthusiasm for online browsing does make me curious about the shelf life of the bricks-and-mortar shopping mall.

 

CP: Oh, I have become more than a mere browser. Where I browse is at actual stores. Then I come home and fire up Laptopdale.

 

RN: I think I just felt the collective shudder from the owners of the newly — and, I might add, quite handsomely — revamped Southdale.

 

CP: Macy’s may not have that sneaker in my size, but Zappos does. That website is to me what booze is to Ray Milland in “The Lost Weekend.”

 

RN: To me, Zappos is to 2013 what Dayton’s was to 1998. You know, my shopping be-all and end-all. Well, minus the eighth-floor auditorium flower show. And the Oak Grill. But who needs validated parking when you can shop at 1 a.m. in your boxer briefs?

 

CP: And with the postage-paid envelopes offered by some e-retailers, you can toss a merch return in any mailbox, no need to trek to the post office.

 

RN: Another Zappos plus is how its packages arrive in a flash, the hassle free-ness of which was racing through my mind as I competed with the driver of a rusty Pontiac Aztek for what appeared to be the sole remaining parking spot at the Mall of America.

 

CP: Yet the peeps keep shopping. The other day, when you were picking up those deep-discount curtains, Pottery Barn was teeming with customers.

 

RN: No wonder. Its newly remade Galleria mega-store is gorgeous.

 

CP: You and I were the only males on premises.

 

RN: True, I was feeling a teeny bit Mrs. Roger Sterling in there. Did I mention that my very helpful salesperson ended up ordering my items through the store’s online catalog? Retailers everywhere could learn a lesson from her.

 

CP: That meshes with a study I saw of the growing number of shoppers who use stores to check a price, then buy online. Nearly half of these “showroomers” said it was not about price, but because they encountered poor customer service in a store.

 

RN: Lousy service at the mall? I’m shocked by this news. Shocked, I tell you.

 

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib

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