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Ali Shops Blog

Posts Tagged ‘pioneer press’

Are you kidding me, Kevin James?

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Ali and valerie harper A friend emailed me over the weekend with concern: "Did you have to go shopping with Perez Hilton?" she asked.
Have to. Ha. Shopping with celebrities is one of my favorite columns to write for the St. Paul Pioneer Press (here I am with Valerie Harper shopping on Grand Avenue in 2006), which is the only reason I put up with all the aggravation that goes along with setting up each and every interview. There was Nick Lachey, who couldn't be distracted from rehearsals when he was in town to perform (guess it wasn't enough); Kathy Griffin, who had no time for local media, despite her D-list roots, when she was here for four nights (and four long, open days) of shows; Ashley Tisdale, who didn't dare leave the green room when she visited the Mall of America, for fear of being mobbed by fans…and the list goes on. I've been rejected by the best – and worst – of 'em. Perez just "didn't have an extra moment" in his schedule when he rolled through town over the weekend. And "King of Queens" star Kevin James, who is in town today to promote a movie I will not name declined to hit even one store with me while he's at the MOA, which is especially insulting considering the film he's here to hype is about a mall cop!
I don't blame you, Kevin, I don't. I know that if the publicity game was such that I could simply call you directly and say: Hey, aren't you tired of answering the same five reporter questions over and over? Couldn't you come up with some funny bits as we strolled the mall? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to pick up a shirt at the Gap and get your publicity at the same time? – I know you're the kind of guy who'd do it. But, you've got that team of pr agents surrounding you and they have to make themselves feel useful and they think it makes you seem more important if they tell local reporters like me that you are very, very, very, very busy…even though I've been around enough celebs and publicity tours to know you'll end up sitting in a back room for an hour while waiting to do your three minute spiel.
But I've got broad shoulders and the dumb drive to keep at it. Some celebs are savvy enough (or desperate enough – no difference to me) to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself. You guys need fans between the coasts – we go to movies too. And we watch you on Letterman and the "Today" show and "The View" and we get tired of hearing the same bits and seeing the same clips over and over. We'd be much more interested in a story that told us something new, even if just your favorite brand of socks. Besides, I could have shown you where they're on sale and saved you the sales tax.
Your loss.

Subtracting plus sizes

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from women has to do with the lack of stores selling fashionable plus size clothes. So I applauded Hudson, Wis. boutique La Rue Marche for turning over half of its shop to larger sizes. I wrote about it in the Pioneer Press, I talked about it on the radio. Finally, an independent shop recognized that women of all shapes and sizes want to wear trendy, stylish clothes. Finally, curvy women could try on jeans rather than guess their size online. Finally, a shop stocked the same contemporary looks for size 18 that are available in size 8.
But store owner Lisa Shortridge just informed me that she has eliminated plus sizes already. They just didn’t sell. "Women did come in and buy," Shortridge told me, "But some of them seemed to be a little older and they were not looking for my style. Also, it was really hard to find cute merchandise from vendors. And I think these women don’t think of shopping in boutiques – maybe they’re too intimidated, which makes me sad."
Any other theories? If the women who complain about a lack of plus size options don’t support the retailers that are trying, you can’t blame stores for sticking with 0-12.

Macy’s responds!

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Your numerous comments about Macy’s on this very blog have been read by higher-ups at Macy’s. I had a very frank conversation with the pr director, who was aware that I typically wrap up the year with a column on retail resolutions – things I think retailers need to do better in the coming year to keep our business. This year, Macy’s wanted to be more proactive and agreed to share its own goals for ‘08. Read all about it in my Savvy Shopper column the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Sunday, Dec. 30. And on Saturday, Dec. 29, tune in to "Shop Girls" on FM107.1. Macy’s pr director Natalie Bushaw will join us at 10:30 a.m. to talk about our complaints and what the department store is doing to address them. Feel free to chime in – our number is 651-641-1071. Or as always, comment here – it makes a difference!

Also, a couple of blog readers have commented on the little stickers Macy’s now puts on items at point of purchase. Those stickers do indeed replace the need for a gift receipt. Bring back an item with a sticker on it, and the salesperson will have all the info needed to make a return (same way they do it at Nordstrom). It’s a good idea, but as usual, there’s a disconnect. Macy’s sales associates are not necessarily explaining the stickers or the fact that you don’t need a gift receipt if the item has one. Sigh.

Online bra fitting?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

What’s even more difficult to fit than jeans? Bras. So, popular denim finder (it helps, seriously) has added a bra recommendation service – no measurements necessary. Does it work? Read all about it in my Savvy Shopper column in Friday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press. Try it out yourself and let me know what you think. Just be sure to have a pencil on hand. You won’t need it for writing. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved