In Which I Attempt to Support JCPenney With Actual Money
Father’s day x2: I was really pleased when my favorite Dad blog 8BitDad broke the news (to me) about the upcoming JCPenney ad for Father’s Day featuring real life gay Dads as a center piece for their printed material. My wife and I are both strong believers in equality for alternative lifestyles (except for Obama Birthers, those people suck) and love it when we see a company not only go out on a limb (by selecting Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson) but then to stand 100% behind their decision and Ms. DeGeneres. So when we had a major purchase to make recently of all new linens as we went from a queen size to a king sized bed we agreed to go out of our way to shop at JCPenney and show support with our money.
Recalculating: Our first step was to figure out where a JCP was, since we really don’t shop at the mall anymore (bless you Amazon Prime), and when we do, it’s at Lenox Square which has never had a JCP. Google indicated that Southlake Mall had a JCP, so we loaded our son into the car and off we drove for our 30 minute quest southward. Upon arriving, we were greeted by a logo stained facade of a building where a JCP had been and a faded note taped to the doors saying that this location had closed on 5/28/2011. Bummer, but hey, we need to support this courageous ad campaign, and my Droid said that they have an outlet center nearby. Let’s go!
When we pulled into the JCPenney Outlet parking lot, I was a little skeptical. It is located off of a practically defunct access road, next to the highway and just past the “monthly rate hotel”. Looking at the parking lot it was hard to pick out the parking spot lines since the entire surface was stained from years of cars that leaked oil while their owners shopped for discount undergarments. None of these are ever a good sign for those seeking the 800 thread count sheets I was hoping for. After 15 minutes of walking around what looked like the Kmart-that-time-forgot we gave up and went to JCP #3 at Northlake Mall, which I called first to make sure it was still in operation.
After another 40 minute drive, we arrived and were at this point excited to get this over with. But entering the store, we were filled with gloom as the prospects of finding “nice things” seem to be an unobtainable dream judging by the vast unstocked floor space scattered across the main level. Once we found the home goods department we were presented with a 4′ wide by 15′ long section of sheets to choose from starting with the dismal 300 thread count “Easy Balance” sheets and running all the way up to the pseudo-luxurious-by-comparison 400 thread count “Cindy Crawford Style” sheets. Absent were the actual Wamsutta sheets that we picked on the JCP website that we now know are available “only online”. We then spent about 10 minutes looking for someone to ask if they had another section for sheets since the store seemed to be chopped up in to all different kinds of sections based on brands (we think) – but we could not find anyone. So, we did what any shopper in our position would do. We walked out the front doors of JCP and right into Macy’s.
Que the angel sounds: Walking into Macy’s after shopping at JCP was like coming home to America after 2 months in Taiwan: yeah it’s was cool at first and everything is so different, but at the end of the day you can only eat so much chòu dòufu before you start missing a good old fashion hamburger. We quickly found our department using one of the many clearly-labeled wayfinding systems around the store, the helpful staff (2 of them actually) simultaneously played with our kid and suggested the proper pillow based on our sleeping position. They even pointed out that we could save an additional 20% today if we signed up for a Macy’s card (then leaned in and said “pay it off and cancel it until next time you shop here” *wink*). It was amazing! Not only did we drop $300 on bed linens, we also spent another $100 on pregnancy outfits for my wife that we hadn’t planned on buying.
The Bottom Line: So JCPenney, here are my thoughts for you. To support you/”the gays”, my wife and I spent an entire weekend day, about 80 miles driving, and a lot of energy in your stores (that were still open) and didn’t buy a single thing. And I’m a straight guy. Do you even understand the demographic you are courting? The Gay-DINK (Dual Income No Kids) has no time for your sand paper like 300 thread count sheets or your complete lack of customer service. Plus it’s not like Atlanta is some back water market, in fact Atlanta is one of the gayest cities in America, so if it doesn’t play here, where will it?
I think it’s great that (for some reason) you are pushing the “lesbian and gay” angle, but it’s like someone trying to leverage a smart car dealership to the middle aged/mid-life crisis guys when what they really want are Corvettes. Without the product, modern stores, properly trained staff and not to mention a website (and probably an app) that actually loads and lets me buy something, you are doomed.
Enjoy these last few minutes in the spotlight before it fades and your old stores become lazer tag arenas. Which I’m sure is what the “Million” Moms (actually count on Facebook: 40K) were thinking when they decided to move on to other gay culture destroying traditional values, like Modern Family.
P.S. why didn’t your Mother’s Day ad (below) get all this attention?
I guess America is cool with hot chicks being together (or were we up in arms about some other trivial news or reality show final that week).