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5 Loehmann’s Takeaways about Life

Posted on: December 30th, 2013 by bubbyjoysandoys 11 Comments

Enjoyed this? Share it, and attribute it. Copyright 2014, Bubby Joys and Oys, M. Hendeles

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.

No returns.

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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11 Responses

  1. zifftech18 says:

    Woah, that’s really sad. even though I’m from California we had Loehmanns out here too. I have good memories about going to the original one on Third Street with my mom. I also remember going to Ohrbachs where the ,l.A county museum is now! Now that was a real shopping experience- especially when they had sales. but things change. people move away, stores close down, restaurants where we made such memories change owners or shut down.

    We really can learn a lot about ourselves from these changes. For myself, I acknowledge the changes, feel a bit sad, and then move on to embrace what’s coming. I can’t hold onto the sadness for too long or I get depressed. I have learned over the years from the many changes I’ve experienced that I must value the moments i do have with all my loved ones, friends and family, and cherish the memories and good times. I work on strengthening myself to accept the changes that I have no control over and look for the silver linings in those changes. Thanks for your article about Loehmanns ! I am sure many people out there feel the same way and it’s very cute the way you extracted your insightful lessons from the situation!

    Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 05:08:15 +0000 To:

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and memories
      of your Loehmann’s shopping experiences in California. I so agree with you about accepting the changes and moving on. Great points! Glad you enjoyed
      the post. :).

  2. Chavi says:

    Hadn’t heard that news. I am with you. A chapter is closed. Sadly. Such valid points, btw. I LOVED Loehmanns. Even though, as you stated, time is money, it had its niche, and successfully so! (I guess, though, not successful enough!) Even in my own, home-based, maternity clothing business, I often quipped when my dressing room was occupied, you can try on, if you wish to, in the “all-purpose room,” LIKE IN LOWEHMANN’S!
    Us Chicagoans can relate via experience. Marshall Fields shut its doors many years ago, and is very sadly missed! Nothing can take its place!

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      So true what you say – nothing can take the place of Loehmann’s, as with your Chicago’s Marshall Fields. Thanks for sharing, Chavi you cute reminiscence about the all-purpose dressing room! Haha.

  3. We grew up making excursions to Loehmans with my mother. She grew up going to the original store like you did . We went in CT and bought many important dresses there for special occasions. There was no where like it. In later years, I think the quality has slipped and the “special” atmosphere also. But still… no place like Loehmans. Love your “take away” advice. Loehmanns-RIP.

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      Thanks for writing about your excursions to Loehmann’s. I think it must have been a rite of passage through female adolescence. Wouldn’t you say? Now of course there was a Loehmann’s in Brooklyn (kind of meh!), and one in The Bronx – as I discussed,….and then there was one in Paramus (NJ). I remember going to that one as well when we were on our way to visit cousins past there. What a legacy that was. I guess it’s kind of like Costco of today. Everyone has to go to Costco. God forbid – that should close up! Oy.

  4. Cathy says:

    I love this, and I’ll also miss Loehmann’s as much as you will. Great post!

  5. Jessica says:

    Over the years, I have purchased so many wonderful dresses for meaningful occasions from loehmanns. My very favorite black pants of all time came from the LA store. I went to loehmanns last week ( which is “oh so close” to my home) and standing near the jewelry department I caught the eye of of a woman walking out. With sadness in her look and hesitancy to leave she said ” goodbye loehmanns….forever.” I returned the gesture with a sad glance letting her know that I understood and felt her pain. I will have to go through all the stages of grief after losing my therapeutic friend, loehmanns.

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      Thanks for sharing those memories jessica. It’s definitely a sign that we are getting older, times are a-changing or whatever. I think we should have a support group to process the stages of grief! No joke. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

  6. […] And speaking of Loehmanns, my friend Miriam wrote a great post about what we “take away” from  beyond the last sale sweater.  Check it out: […]

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