Tuesday, January 30, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

Okay. First you break my aspiring fashionista's heart by telling me that the Filene's Basement in Downtown Crossing is closing for two years for a remodeling job like so many of the women who shop there have done to their faces. Fine. Except it seems kind of sketchy and maybe Filene's won't ever open again, leaving me bereft.

But the real kicker is this bit of news:

Filene's Basement, the Boston landmark that birthed the bargain, said it will close its original downtown store this year, and it's unclear whether it will retain its famous "automatic markdown" system when it reopens after two years of renovation.

What? What is Filene's Basement without the Automatic Markdown? It's like peanut butter without jelly. Sonny without Cher. Mitt Romney without his hair. It's just not the same. I walk by the Filene's Basement on Boylston Street on a daily basis and I never go in. To me, Filene's Basement isn't plasma-screen TVs, mannequins and doormen who aren't homeless guys looking for T fare. Filene's Basement means waist-high bins full of coal with the rare diamond somewhere inside. Filene's Basement is a bunch of bargain-hungry bitches burrowing through clothes like starving animals tear through prey. Filene's Basement is the paper signs with the same handwriting on each. Filene's Basement is the torture of bearing your cellulite to all the other women in the dressing room in the hopes of looking great in that bargain-basement find you tore out a chunk of some bitch's hair for. That is Filene's Basement to me, not this glorified Marshalls angle they've recently taken.

I don't know what's wrong with the Basement as it is now. It is not a thing of beauty but it's not meant to be. Since the Basement as it is now remains one of Boston's top tourist attractions and is recommended by endless local magazines as the best place to find a steal on designer clothes, I don't see why Filene's Basement needs to fix what ain't broken. Why can't the Basement elect to age gracefully?


Anonymous said...

What good is Boston without a REAL Filene's Basement (the Boylston outpost sucks - real touristy crap). I will fondly remember the day I found Armani ski pants on 75% off, almost in my size (I put them back) or the mink-lined Prada slippers for $19.99 (I ran to the register and scooped em right up). How sad.

margalit said...

I totally agree with you. The whole business of closing down the Basement just sucks. I've bought some of my best pieces of clothing at the basement. I remember when my mother spied a mink coat there many years ago and spent days stalking it until it was marked down to what she could afford: full length, unlined, gorgeous full skins, all for $900. What a STEAL.

They're going to do what Loemanns did, close down the good bargain stores and only leave the expensive knockoff stores. I live down the road from the one on Needham St, but go downtown for the real bargains.

Anonymous said...

Word. Here's another thing: do these people really think that the Basement is going to keep bringing in the tourists if they take away what is so fun and unique about the Downtown store? Are people going to go to the FB downtown if it's just the same as the one down the street from them in Ohio or wherever they're from? Does anyone visit downtown crossing for Marshalls or Macys?

And - once they're in the store, the tourists hardly ever do the automatic markdown! They go for the bins on the second floor - which are good prices but not the well-stalked deals we bargain-hungry fashionista bitches snatch up! I bet whatever the store "loses" in automatic markdown, they more than make up with the increased number of customers.

Is there any way we can convey this to the powers that be?