Loss of a Chicago Icon - Marshall Fields

Posted by Judy Orr on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006 at 7:42am.

I think everyone knows that Marshall Fields will have a name change to Macy's sometime this Fall. Many people are extremely upset with this change. Although I am Chicago Marshall Fields clockvery sentimental and have great (mainly Christmas shopping) memories of Marshall Field's, this news doesn't bother me all that much.

I was never a Marshall Field's shopper. I argued with those that truly believed that items purchased through the store was of better quality. That might have been true about some items but most brand names that could be found in other stores were usually higher priced at Marshall Field's.

Another thing I couldn't understand is the fact that people that could afford to invest in stocks & bonds were excited to earn an annual return in the lowest of double digits, yet would spend 50% or more for virtually the same thing at stores like Marshall Field's. Just never make sense to me.

There will always be discount stores and their loyal shoppers along with the higher end places and the shoppers that wouldn't be caught dead in the discount havens. I remember a wedding of a friend that a group of the girlfriends didn't attend because of her snooty attitude that any gift not purchased from Marshall Field's would be returned.

There was more to it than that, though. She humiliated one of our dearest friends as she did not find the humor in a padded toliet seat as a wedding gift. Keep in mind that our friend was standing up in the wedding & had several showers to attend. At the time, padded toliet seats were the newest thing. The bride didn't care and a huge fight ensued and my other friend dropped out of the wedding. Most of the large circle of friends did not attend because of this.

So it wasn't all because of her insistence on gifts from Marshall Field's only, but it left a bad memory about the store in my mind. Why do some people (that are not necessarily that well off), equate a higher end store with their own identity? Sounded like wishful thinking to me or trying to be better than the rest.

The only shopping I really ever did at Marshall Fields was trying to find great deals after the holidays (where I could usually find even better deals elsewhere), and purchasing bridal registry gifts because Field's provided free wrapping! I hate wrapping.

Good memories include the huge Christmas tree and eating lunch in the Walnut Room with my Mom and Grandmother while viewing the tree. I also remember being so enchanted by the holiday windows and was let down when I visited as an adult. I expected too much with my memory of seeing things through a child's eye and the reality of the newer windows. Another good memory are Frango Mints, which Macy's will supposedly still sell.

So I'm not as upset about the switch as so many are. In fact, I'll give the Orland Park Macy's a visit just to check them out.

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