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As I read the news about the closing of Loehmann’s, I’m feeling old, nostalgic and wistful. It is the end of an era and time is definitely moving on.
None of us, whether we were “into” Loehmann’s that much or not, likes hearing this news. I know I don’t. I have such vivid memories of traveling with my mom from Brooklyn to the Bronx where the Loehmann’s was supposedly so amazing. Choosing, Sifting. Trying on. Discarding. Sorting. Deciding. And the buying…and having the distinct pleasure of wearing something that you just knew you got at a ridiculously low price.
So many emotions, childhood experiences. But never mind, it’s over. Loehmann’s is soon going to be shut down.
Yet, I, the optimist, believe that some important things can be salvaged from the Loehmann’s experience, if not the brick and mortar of the store itself. I trust that I can take away some wisdom borne of teenage angst. Experience gained along with the frustration of trying to close zippers of a size 8 dress on size 10 hips, because the price is just too good.
I think something can be savored, even as the Loehmann’s workers empty out the last of the pink-sticker tagged gowns from the coveted Back Room. Something wise can be grasped and shoved into my mental shopping bag, even as they wheel out the chrome racks from the infamous public dressing rooms.
Even as they cart off the perfumes from the checkout area, I will leave with some important lessons.
Why? Because I just can’t walk away from Loehmann’s empty handed.
And so, to commemorate the closing of an era, and the evolving trend of a new one (online shopping anyone?), I have compiled a list of intangible takeaways from Loehmann’s.
Loehmann’s Takeaway #1: Every day is a new day, so if at first you don’t succeed, try again. It’s hit or miss at Loehmann’s. You can go one day and find nothing, and go another time and return home with a shopping bag full of clothes. Similarly, in life, we just have to try our best one day at a time. A day of failure or disappointments could be followed by a successful day the next day.
Loehmann’s Takeaway #2. We’re all in this together, so don’t fret too much over privacy. Just find your own niche and work with that. In Loehmann’s dressing rooms, no one has any shame about trying on clothes with others several feet away. Of course, people maintain basic decency and mind their own business (most of the time, except for the sideways sneaks of the eye at that lady who seems much – ahem – heavier than you were), and didn’t interfere with others unless asked. (“Um, could you please tell me if this looks good on me?”). But the bottom line is that it worked. Everyone finds her own corner and works in that space.
Loehmann’s Takeaway #3. It’s important to get an advocate when in a tough position. You can’t do it alone. How many of you brought along a trusted friend or relative to shop with you when you went to Loehmann’s, or especially the Back Room in Loehmann’s? How many of us even became BFF’s with someone in the back room of the back room so that she would secretly hold or hide some great finds for when we came shopping? These were just part and parcel of the Loehmann’s experience. The salespeople were on our side and we used their kindnesses to our advantage.
Loehmann’s Takeaway #4. You can’t force a square peg into a round hole. Accept the reality and move on. This is a lesson that I personally have a hard time following. I like to “pretend” that something can be fiddled with (mended, taken in, out…) and made to look good on me. The reality is that when it looks good, it looks good. And when it doesn’t….guess what? Yep. It doesn’t. This applies to life and relationships, whether it is with dating, jobs and living situations. If something is not a good fit, it usually won’t work, even with tweaking and fiddling.
Loehmann’s Takeaway #5. There is no such a thing as a free lunch. So be careful what you wish for. Come on, no matter how many discounts one gets from Loehmann’s, we have to admit we pay for it in other ways besides money. How? We pay for it in time. Yes, how many times do shoppers return back to the store to find the perfect match to that beige top that they found? True, in the end, we can boast that we paid only $13.97 for a full outfit for that wedding. But isn’t time money? This applies to life as well. Don’t ever fool yourself into thinking you got something for free or cheap. There almost always is a price that you are inadvertently paying.
There you have it. The 5 Loehmann’s Takeaways. Read them, study them, and heed them.
And then leave fast before you change your mind and return them.
Please share below any takeaways that you have received from your experience shopping at Loehmann’s or any other discount store?
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