SOCIAL MEDIA

01 January 2014

Our Encounter With an Alternate Universe

{I didn't feel like smiling, so this is my other pose.}

While in Texas, we (Angel, his two brothers, and I) had the opportunity to wander around downtown Dallas on a chilly December day. We're getting colder the longer we walk, and we spot this store ahead of us called Neiman Marcus

Nestor says, "Oh, I've heard of that store, I think it's like a more expensive version of Dillard's."

We're cold so we decide to go in, expecting to wander around the expensive Dillard's for a few minutes to warm up.

What we don't expect is the cross-cultural experience that we're about to encounter.

Upon entering the doors of the store, spying signs proclaiming Chanel, Gucci, and Clearance Scarves: $250, it's immediately apparent to me that this is unlike any department store I've ever entered. I think it may have taken the guys just a few minutes longer to realize the differences.

There's a security guard with a gun leaning up against the wall next to the jewelry department, and I decide to give the jewelry department a wide berth. We take the escalator upstairs to the dress department, and Angel and I, who both have an eye for a pretty dress, try to check pricetags as sneakily as possible on dresses that we think are pretty: $1,375, $2,500, $3,450. 

I may have imagined it, but it seemed like I could feel the eyes of many a sales consultant staring at me. I felt as if I had accidentally entered a world where I really, really didn't belong.

Angel told me that at any minute he thought an employee would walk up to us and say, "Excuse me, but it's obvious that you aren't going to buy anything, so you need to leave the store immediately."

For reference, this is what we looked like when entering the store:

Such tourists.

Angel and Manny had holes in their jeans, the guys are wearing hoodies. I looked very much like myself with patterned leggings, a multicolored purse, Hot Topic jacket and well-worn boots. Somehow I can't imagine that's what Neiman Marcus customers look like

I spent nearly the entire time in the store imagining possible scenarios that might occur. Would the store personnel recognize us for the outsiders we were and escort us to the door? Would they try to sell me a dress priced higher than my car?

I was trying to decide between two different strategies of handling the situation: Avoid all employees and try to escape from the store without attracting too much notice. OR...Act like I'm the kind of person who does shop at Neiman Marcus, and that I felt perfectly at home and in my element. Turns out, I'm not much of an actor. We escaped quickly after our momentary venture into a very different world.

It was fun. If you ever have the chance to silently glide through a really expensive store and check random pricetags just for the shock factor...do it! As is probably obvious by now, this is my first venture into a "designer" store. (Actually, I have no idea if those clothes are considered "designer" clothes...so go ahead and let me know the correct terminology if I'm wrong.) It was a strange and surreal adventure. I'm not sure I'll ever go back, though I must admit that they had some pretty dresses! (Still--I think my car is more useful)

Have you been to Neiman Marcus or a similar (or more luxurious!) boutique?

44 comments :

  1. Haha! I've been in similar shops and felt the same, oh dear! I can't believe some dresses/clothes etc are so expensive. It's just material at the end of the day, right?

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  2. Haha yup! Neiman Marcus always makes me feel bad about myself. But they have an outlet which is not too bad in terms of price!

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  3. This post is actually pretty great because the funny thing about a lot of wealthy customers is that they don't usually look wealthy! My dad runs a Cadillac dealership and says his best customers are the ones that don't look rich! So hopefully those salespeople know what they're doin' looking at you hahaha. :) I think if you walked around like you owned the place it would be easier buwahaha. Still, I remember going into an expensive store and feeling the same, eeep!

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  4. I get upset when goodwill prices a dress over 7$...

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  5. That must have been a fun adventure! I've never been in a Neiman Marcus but I've been in some other upscale department stores and I was totally a fish out of water as well. I don't think I could bring myself to pay those prices even if I could, but to each his own!! I am hoping to get to Dallas at some point in the near future, so I may have to stop in too! :-)

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  6. I don't know that I've ever been in a Neiman Marcus, and I used to live in the Dallas area! But when we were on vacation one time, there was a huge row of designer shops off the main drag and my sister and I went into every single one of them, with no intention of buying anything, just because we could since it was a novelty.

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  7. I've never been to a Neiman Marcus but I have definitely had experiences like this before. I've done the same thing imagining what store employees were thinking or might say! Happy New Year! P.S. I love your leggings!

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  8. This entire post makes me think of the scene in Pretty Woman. "You work on commission right? Big mistake. BIG. HUGE. I have to go shopping now!"

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  9. I always wonder what employees must think of me wandering around a store where I can't possibly afford anything, haha. :P It can be fun just too look, though. By the by, I love your leggings!

    ~Vicki
    decked out in ruffles

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  10. You belong there as much as anyone else! :)

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  11. I usually stay away from places like this because I'll get depressed when I see all of the things I can't afford. Target is where it's at, baby! ;)

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  12. Sounds fun! There are way too many Nieman/Lord&Taylor/Saks 5th type stores in the areas where I live, so I am constantly stopping by just to check things out, even though a $1000 dress is slightly out of my price range, haha.

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  13. Girl, been there, done that and I don't like it! Now that I'm older, I'll "wander in" if I'm with a friend who does that kind of shopping, usually for purses. But other than that...I feel SO uncomfortable. I have to say that I did feel comfortable in one of those expensive purse stores and we even made a friend who said he wished we could all hang out. That was such a positive experience and if he worked at the store here I would shop there again and introduce my husband. Maybe they could be friends.

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  14. I think I would almost have a panic attack because of nerves ha. Too much money! I think hollister is crazy.
    I do love your leggings!

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  15. Yes indeed - we have a mall here called Tysons Galleria and that place is only if you have money.. I don't venture in there since there's no need to spend $250 on a scarf (shoes maybe) - Neiman Marcus is in the same arena of hoity toity stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales - I only enter when I need specific makeup brand not carried in Sephora or Ulta. I avoid. I don't need to see things like that - it's unnecessary for everyday life. :) Hope you had fun though and happy 2014 Rachel! -Iva

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  16. Lol! Oh yes, btdt! I went into a store once with my younger sister, glanced at a necklace $200...I gasped, grabbed my sisters hand and carefully walked out. For sure I'm a forever 21/thrift store/ cheapie! ;)
    Natasha
    A Modest Fashion Blog:
    Www.natashaatkerson.blogspot.com
    Ps: I think your outfit is cute :)!

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  17. Hahaha! Yes! Those places make me feel so uncomfortable. I think I wouldn't fit in even if I were rich!

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  18. When I was chaperoning a school trip to NYC In 2009, a fellow chaperone (who happened to be a guy) and I walked into Tiffany's and pretended to be about ready to get engaged....the sales crew there took one look at us and were some of the snobbiest people I have ever experiences, and rolled their eyes when we asked to try on a particular ring. When we asked to try on another one they said, "if you don't plan on buying anything today then we have nothing else to show you!" RUDE!!!!!

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  19. Jon and I had a similar experience when we went to the rug department at the top floor of Macy's -- $65,000 for a Persian rug! Ah! They were just laying around on the floor.. Talk about pressure not to spill your soda pop!

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  20. oh my goodness, hilarious! I SO know that feeling. And yes Neiman Marcus is a whole different universe for SURE! I'm so on edge in that store, worried I'll break something, haha. I don't think I've been there in a very long time. I remembered the kids area looked like a dream though. Once we went through with my mom when I was younger. I remember them having a beautiful wooden doll house and oh did I want that. Who knows how expensive it was! haha.

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  21. Wowie! That's CRAZY!!! I've never been in a store like that but I feel like it would just make me mad. Haha.

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  22. Oh man, I haven't been in a store like that in FOREVER. I always waver between whether I wish I were fancy enough to fit in there, or being glad I don't...!

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  23. My mom, aunt, and I had a similar experience in the Neiman Marcus in Chicago a few years back. One of the first things we saw when we walked in was a pair of shoes priced at $800 and a skirt for $4000. Yeah.... we got out of there pretty quick. I think, even if I had the money, I would probably not shop there. It seems absurd to me to spend so much on one item of clothing. I'd rather spend $4000 on an awesome vacation.

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  24. Even if I can't afford those things I love to look around. Maybe I see it a bit different thn most people, I look at houses out of my price range as well just to keep me informed and too keep me motivated that I want to go ahead, being able to move into a better home, this kinda stuff, I am bad explaining things Rachel, you know that. It's not ....oh I want that dress because it's by blah blah brand, no, it more like... if I can afford shopping in those places than all my hard work paid off. I work for my career, I want to go ahead. Does it make sense?

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  25. If you come to NY, we can go around to all of the huge department stores - it's so much fun!

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  26. I know people who consider Neiman Marcus their second home, but every time I walk in to NM, I feel very… inferior. I have a sudden awareness that I probably need a manicure, my regrowth is showing, my makeup is not as glamorous as needs to be to be amongst such finery, but then I think, whatever! I've never been treated poorly there, though. I think the customer service is great- and everyone is *supposed* to be warm and friendly to anyone who wanders in.

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  27. I went into a department store similar to NM and had the same reaction. I thought maybe I could shop in the clearance section so off I went to the clearance shoes. Woah. All I could do was stare at the pretty shoes because there was no way I could afford them Hah

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  28. When I went to DC, I went to Tysons Corner, which has a bunch of those hoity toity stores. I did buy stuff from Nordstrom and Bloomingdales and Michael Kors but it wasn't anything too outrageous IMO. However, they did have Chanel and things that I would never spend money on even if I had it.I'm too frugal and thrifty for places like that.

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  29. I think I would feel awkward in that situation too! Even going into stores like Pottery Barn, I keep my arms crossed and make sure my purse isn't going to hit anything because I'm afraid I'll break something expensive!

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  30. Following you on Bloglovin, sad I missed this post :) I am in Fort Worth- so the next time you are in DFW give a warning, We can head to Niemans and NOT SHOP! It looks like you had a great time.

    xo-Brittney

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  31. I've seen plenty of wealthy people dressed much more casually than you guys. Haven't you seen those rich ladies wearing their designer track suits? So what one thing would you buy in Neiman Marcus if you could have anything you wanted?

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  32. Sadly, I've found myself in similar situations where I had no idea how expensive the shop is... I try to look nonchalant as I gawk at the price tags and then feign disinterest and leave to take my business elsewhere ;)

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  33. We have an entire mall filled with upscale, highly expensive stores. I always feel woefully out of place, even in the food court!

    If I walk into a place with an armed security guard, I want to immediately walk out. Not because I was planning on robbing the place, but because I know I won't buy anything there anyway! (But then I always feel suspicious, so end up looking at a few things, internally gasp at prices and leave.)

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  34. Haha wow I never go into expensive stores, sounds like so much fun though :)

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  35. I wandered into a Neiman Marcus looking for a bathroom once when I was in Chicago. I happened to glance at a clearance rack, where there was a T-shirt (a TSHIRT) marked DOWN to $80. Holy of holies, I was out of there. I felt like everyone around me was staring because they knew I wasn't one of their kind. Haha.

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  36. Yes, but I cannot fathom spending more on a dress than my mortgage payment! Thanks for sharing and linking up with Countdown in Style! Don't forget to come back on Friday to see if you were featured!

    ~~April~~
    100lbCountdown.com

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  37. Yes, I have actually found some clearance items in my price range ($200) amazingly. It is fun to dream though. The dresses are most certainly gorgeous. I'm still a little too scared to try those on :)

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  38. Too funny! I've been in that situation before. My husband and I were looking for apartments and went into an open house for a condo that was wayyyy over our budget. We felt so weird the entire time real estate agent was showing us around. Oh, well. We can still look, right? Your leggings are adorable! Way better than any $3,000 dress:)

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  39. Wowwwwww $3400 for A DRESS? That could pay my rent for half the year!

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  40. This is funny. The most hilarious thing about is, none of you all are black. I wish all the people who are black who like to pull the race card in these situations could see how ignorant these people can be to all different types of people who they think may not fit into their world. I've heard of this store but I've never actually been in one. It was nice to see it through your eyes in this post. :) Thanks for sharing this one with us at Countdown in Style too! xo

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  41. I had a very similar experience inside a Neiman Marcus in Chicago. I felt like the salespeople were completely judging me the whole time. Of course, with my wind blown hair and puffy jacket, I did not look like I belonged...

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  42. hahaha - on Josh and my honeymoon, we went into one of these stores...we were stared at the SAME way and I felt super uncomfortable. Josh wanted to see if we were being treated different because of our looks so when a salesperson walked by, Josh said loudly, "alright baby, go pick out whatever you want!" (totally joking...) and I kid you not, the sales people came a-walkin' over! punks! we gazed and then left. Even if I did want something I decided I wouldn't buy it there....
    oh another note - one time I was a nanny for 2 little boys...they lived in a HUGE house and had a ton of money. One day they were moving and I was asked to help pack...on my way out I told the mom of the boys that I loved all of her purses (especially the white one...) she just gave it to me. when I got back to my apt I looked up the name on the tag since I liked it so much and "just in case I wanted to buy one when this one got old" - the brand was Neiman Marcus, a name I had never heard of before. Come to find out, the purse she gave me was $1000.00 and she had several of them! lol.

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  43. i'll go into one of the designer stores every once in a while to buy makeup because the makeup prices there are the same as they'll be anywhere else. as for clothing and accessories, way too expensive! i'm an H&M and asos girl.

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