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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Update: Macy*s Sip and Scan Registry Event

Mooflyfoof, cubes, and I had been looking forward to getting together again to work on our registries. We had high expectations going into the evening after our experience at Crate and Barrel. We were also excited that Ed was going to be able to join us.
We were the first couple to arrive, having been warned by the organizers that they might not have enough scanners. Everyone's registries were nicely laid out for easy check in. (We decided to skip the hardcopy as we had our hands full with the scanner and camera.) The registry team checked our coats and bags so that we didn't have to worry about them. This was a nice touch that I was thankful for (it's "spring" in San Francisco which means I had a three-quarter length wool jacket with me). We'd started our registry online and hadn't yet visited the store to work on our registry in person so the team showed us how to use the scanner (which kept wanting to configure itself every time we went to use it) and gave us a quick tour of the 6th floor.

The Spread
After getting the lay of the land, we decided to grab a drink and some nibbles. From a distance, we thought we spied champagne. Upon closer inspection we find out that it's sparkling water.
Both cubes and I sampled the Sparkling Napa Raspberry Mocktail. (Note that raspberries are not yet in season in the bay area so they weren't very sweet or flavorful.) I love mushrooms so I sampled the Grilled Portabello, Herbed Focaccia, and Aioli Basil. This dish would have benefited from being served warm with the focaccia lightly toasted. It was a nice bite - the basil balanced the mushroom nicely. I would have liked another bite but the looks we got from the staff dissuaded us.
I was excited by the appetizer that was served on an Endive leaf. This reminded me of one of the appetizers we've chosen for our wedding reception. The menu billed this as Roast Chicken, Strawberry Champagne Vinaigrette, Candied Walnuts, and Gorgonzola. While the presentation was lovely, the taste was not. The bite was not a symphony of flavors. The chicken appeared not to have been seasoned. I asked who the caterer was as I wanted to make sure I didn't book them in the future. The food was prepared by Macy*s own food services and not an outside caterer.
The third option was a Curried Chicken Salad served on a Wonton Chip. I'm not a fan of chicken salad so cubes tried this appetizer. No comment.

Wedding Cake
The highlight of the nibbles was of course the dessert (which being loaded with dairy is supposed to be off limits to me). We passed by the table three or four times before I gave in. Mooflyfoof was sampling the lemon cake and from the look on her face as she tasted it, I knew I had to have a bite. That bite was worth it. I'm even more excited about our wedding cake as I love sweets and typically can't enjoy dessert with my friends. That we have a wedding cake that's dairy and refined sugar free and tastes great is a dream come true for us.
Window Shopping
Macy*s Union Square is a large store. Couples can register for items on the 6th (dinnerware, china, bedding, linens, etc.) and 7th floors (luggage) and in The Cellar (electronics, knives, etc.).

We started on the 6th floor as we wanted to check out our dinnerware and look at bedding and linens. Having traveled and stayed in hotels with Hotel Collection sheets and towels I wanted to get a better idea of the colors, styles, available. One of the sales representatives walked us through the various thread count options explaining the pluses and minuses of each.

Mooflyfoof and Ed met up with us in the bedding department after we finished with the sales rep. Nothing really screamed out at any of us. So after a quick stop at the Wedding Cake table we headed up to the 7th floor to register for luggage (both cubes and I seem to only have duffel bags). A sales representative helped us figure out which line of TravelPro we wanted to register for - Platinum or Crew 7 (I couldn't remember what I used to have; just knew I'd had it over 10 years and it looked brand new in spite of logging over 200,000 miles.)

Next stop was The Cellar. And here's where an event that already didn't meet expectations went off the rails (JustRegistries summarizes the Sip and Scan bridal events as always having Champagne or Cocktails. Jem talked about Cosmopolitans and Sprite at the New York event in addition to San Pellegrino as well as a larger spread of food. Divadan80 went to the Houston event last year and talked of Champagne. Teresa and Leigh attended an event in PA last year and mentioned cocktails.).

We were mobbed by two vendor representatives immediately. While talking to one the other tried to force their product information into our hands. Now we'd researched our brands and were buying different things from each vendor (we both have these brands on our registries). Ed borrowed the scanner and added Gummy Sharks to their registry, horrifying one of the vendor reps. And that's when the four of us decided to get the heck out of dodge.

One of the main reasons that we registered at Macy*s was that it's everywhere. Also, I'd gotten my Dansk Christianshaven Blue casual dinnerware here and thought it would still be available. When we first started registering we were going to complete our dinnerware set (part of it had gotten stolen from storage during college). Unfortunately this plan didn't work out - 1) Macy*s no longer carries it and 2) Over the years Dansk has changed where the dishes are manufactured and pattern variations are apparent. "Our" set was only available on eBay or Replacements Ltd. So while in the process of setting up our online registry, we (ok I) discovered dinnerware that screamed us (and this particular pattern is only available at Macy*s). Our pattern is Noritake Colorwave Graphite Square.
When we met up for our first Wedding DIY Project Crafting Day, Mooflyfoof shared that they'd deleted their Macy*s registry based on the aggressive behavior of the vendor representatives. While writing up this post I thought about this.

Now don't get us wrong - this was a great opportunity for the four of us to get together and at the end of the day this is a FREE event. (We had yummy cocktails and a wonderful dinner at Urban Tavern after we left Macy*s.) We weren't ready to abandon our registries based on the lack of alcohol or the choice in appetizers.

What we were not happy about was the way that as potential customers we were treated by the reps. Many in the industry talk about going with your gut. I'd blogged previously that I'd hoped we'd continue to be surrounded by positive energy. So we changed up our registries. We moved more items to our Crate and Barrel registry and we created an Amazon registry with most of the items we had previously at Macy*s. For guests who prefer to let their fingers do the walking and shop from the comfort of their own home, we created a master MyRegistry.com registry (password: cubeseden) that syncs the Amazon and Crate and Barrel registries.

Did your registry experience have you looking for other options?


  1. I'd hoped to find more to add. Maybe some nice sheets or something. Really, though, what ultimately turned us away from Macy's (aside from those ridiculously pushy salespeople) was their products. Their sheets and towels are nice but a) they're WAY overpriced and b) they just don't come in interesting colors. Macy's really needs to update their look if they want to grab the younger generation. The one sheet set we were interested in was that purple one. At $600 for a duvet cover and $200 per flat sheet... yeah, that's not happening.

    I think if I hadn't been to the Crate & Barrel event first, I wouldn't have been so down on this one. Let's compare:

    Crate & Barrel:
    - Closed the entire store so only people there to register were browsing
    - Had a few product demonstrations, including knives and a panini grill on which they actually made sandwiches and asparagus for us to eat (which were delicious and fresh)
    - Had several food stations set up throughout the store with meats, cheeses, fruit, and tiny sandwiches
    - Served us wine - as part of a product demo (the Vinturi aerator), but also to be gracious hosts
    - Salespeople were friendly and smiling. They greeted us then left us alone unless we had a question. And if we had a question, they left us alone after answering it, rather than pestering us further
    - The products were nice, pretty, had a good color selection, and were reasonably priced
    - The gift they gave us at the end of the evening was a set of delicate heart shaped champagne flutes: not really our style, but a nice gesture just the same.

    As a result, I ended up learning a lot, squealing over all the different pretty products, leaving happily full and tipsy and feeling cared for. I definitely added several items because I was a little drunk! Granted, I deleted a lot of them later, but still, getting my brain to associate their products with being happy and tipsy is a GOOD IDEA.

  2. (continued...)

    - Did not close the store, so we were there along with a zillion other random shoppers (I suppose I can understand how it would not be in their best interest to close such a huge store, though)
    - Had no product demonstrations
    - Had one small food station with three overly fancy but ultimately mediocre hors d'ouvres. I would much prefer a simple cheese and meat plate than frilly appetizers. The cake was good, but it was presented not as a token of thanks for registering with Macy's, but as a sample from a local wedding cake vendor: a bite or two followed up with several pieces of paper literature to try to get you to buy their cake. Not appreciated! Even the music was provided by a local wedding DJ trying to get you to take his card (at least he wasn't pushy about it).
    - Did not serve us any wine. And in fact they faked us out by having a display of what looked like champagne cocktails only for us to discover it was just water upon the first sip. That was the start of me being irritated, that first sip. Furthermore, in general the guys that are attending such events are not going to have much interest in being there. One good way to keep them at least moderately interested would be to booze them up a little. I think they failed hugely by not providing alcohol.
    - Had salespeople so pushy that I was afraid to stop and look at or touch *anything* for fear that I would catch the notice of one of them. Once they noticed us looking at something, they would scamper over and eagerly try to impart knowledge upon us, and then not go away. In general I am a very informed customer and don't need additional information! If I have a question, I will ask, thanks. As you mentioned, this was the worst in The Cellar, where the kitchen items are. I really wanted to browse the kitchen section more, but after being badgered incessantly by not one but two salespeople in the 10 minutes we were there, I wanted nothing more but to run screaming out of the store. Ed's scanning of the gummy sharks was his small and hilarious act of defiance against their ridiculous sales tactics.

  3. (continued...)

    - Ultimately, their products were what remained most unimpressive to me. I'm sure there were a few things in the kitchen section that I would've added, had I been able to escape the watchful eyes of those awful salespeople! But really, everything else was aesthetically unexciting, outdated, and, in my estimation, horribly overpriced. Overpriced to the point where I didn't want to add any of it to our registry because I would have been embarrassed to ask our friends and family to spend that much money on us!
    - They gave us a gift of champagne glasses too, which was quite generous. I shouldn't complain. However, these glasses were obviously very cheaply made and had the Macy's star logo on them. "Here, have this item for your home that advertises our store." Great for our friend who likes stars! :) (I am glad they found a good home.) But as a gesture from Macy's, it kind of fell flat.

    In the end we pulled all the items off our Macy's registry because this event did nothing but turn us off from their company. I didn't want to bring money to a company that clearly only sees us as potential dollar signs. We barely had any items on our registry to begin with, and since we were unable to find anything more to add (thanks to pushy salespeople and overpriced, boring products), we moved what little we had over to our Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond registries.

    In the end, I feel a little silly complaining about what amounts to a no-cover party with free food, beverages, and a gift at the end. But when you're throwing an event to try to get people to buy your stuff and you end up pushing them away? You have failed, Macy's, you have failed.


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