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A Word About Century 21...

New York City, New...
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A Word About Century 21...

As a native New Yorker who works right across from ground zero, and made the mistake (what I was thinking, I don't know) of going to C21 to buy a needed pair of underwear and socks this afternoon... I'd like to share with our bargain-hunting tourist friends some advice. Most of it boils down to:

ITS A DISCOUNT OUTLET, NOT A DEPARTMENT STORE! KEEP YOUR EXPECTATIONS IN CHECK!!! In other words, C21 is the place where unsold clothes go to die. If you want to get them in their youth, with your choice of sizes and lots of attention from salespeople, you're going to have to suck it up and go to a regular store like Saks, Bloomies, Neimans, or even Macys!

Example -- The Indian gentleman berating and all but cursing out an employee because "They make these in the small, they make these in the large, why is there no medium??? WHY DO YOU NOT HAVE MEDIUM?!?!?!"

Why don't they? Because C21 is a DISCOUNT OUTLET. They only get the leftovers the manufacturers send to them. It's stuff that didn't sell elsewhere, or that they made too many of, or is slightly irregular. If they don't have your size, THEY JUST DON'T HAVE IT. Sorry, that sucks. You want a full size range and ability to custom order something? Go to a REGULAR DEPARTMENT STORE.

Example -- British woman (who sounded almost comically like the "pepperpots" of Monty Python) complaining "Well, this is just a zoo! What appalling service. Not ONE attendant has offered to show me the fitting room!"

Why not? Because C21 is NOT A NORMAL DEPARTMENT STORE!!! They don't have fitting rooms, and they don't have "attendants." It's enough to ask of the staff there to ring up purchases, put things on the racks, and try to keep it from turning into all-out chaos. They're not salespeople. They don't work on comission. They're not there to help you shop. It's a bargain outlet, and it's every shopper for him/herself! If you want personalized service, pay full price and go to a nice department store like Saks or Bloomingdales! THEN you can complain about the lack of personal attention!

So, sorry. No one likes being in C21, chaotic mess that it is. We go there because we hope to come accross something we like, at a much lower price than it was in its original distribution. That's all. If you want service, if you want the most current season's styles, if you want a through collection of sizes... then you have to go elsewhere. Please don't make the experience any more horrible for everyone by complaining about your unrealistic expectations not being met -- and now that you've read this, they'd better not be so unrealistic anymore! :-)

New York City, New...
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1. Re: A Word About Century 21...

LOL! somehow I bet the people you need to reach with this arent here doing advance destination research!

my only picky little thing is that there are dressing rooms. Maybe not for men?

I bet pepperpot woman was the same one I overheard in Barcelona proudly? saying "I dont speak a word of Spanish and I'm not going to start now!"

Racine, WI
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2. Re: A Word About Century 21...

Well put nycdave! We'll be there is 2 weeks. My two daughters & myself and Century 21 is one of the places to see/shop on our itinary! I've been reading the Forum for a few weeks and plan to make the most of my Economic Stimulus Package check.

I'm doing my patriotic duty and spending, spending, spending.

Glasgow
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3. Re: A Word About Century 21...

I bet pepperpot woman was the same one I overheard in Barcelona proudly? saying "I dont speak a word of Spanish and I'm not going to start now!"

I take it she didn't have a bash at Catalan either LOL

Brilliant!!!!!

I guy i know goes to Spain every year and complains because all they serve to eat is foreign muck :-0

It's probably got the best cuisine in the world IMO.

The ignorance of some is unbelievable at times.

West Palm Beach...
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4. Re: A Word About Century 21...

I agree with most of what you say. Except... while I don't expect the same level of service as I do at the high-end stores, the tiniest bit of courtesy would really be nice. The clerks are incredibly rude. I mean, you smile and they sneer at you! Seriously, they give such attitude, like their day would be just fine if only you wouldn't show up.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: A Word About Century 21...

I know its different here because we have such a huge Latino population, but I would imagine the words "gracias" and "buenos dias" have entered her realm of consciousness! I guess this is what a chav is?

you probably dont have Taco Bell commercials or El Pico ads there, which is how I learn Spanish

New York City, New...
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6. Re: A Word About Century 21...

Bettina - if you compliment their nails or earrings, they are very nice!

Glasgow
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7. Re: A Word About Century 21...

Evening,

We've got Dora the Explorer :-). What more do you want!!!!!

Everyone and i mean everyone in the Western World should know at least a couple of Castillian Spanish words. But they don't :-(

Peoria, Illinois
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8. Re: A Word About Century 21...

I agree with nycdave. So many people had talked up C21 to me before visiting, so I went and wasn't in the store more than 5 minutes and left. It was way too crowded, and had out of season, picked over items that weren't worth the money. There are so many other places to shop in Manhattan that are so much better.

Westside
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9. Re: A Word About Century 21...

I am already thinking that going to C 21 is a bit like a trip to Primark. There is a ton of stuff you would never buy - so even if it is cheap just put it back, however amongst all the rubbish, there just might be something that you would have been willing to buy full price, so it really is the bargain you wanted.

However, that bargain is not there everyday - you have to keep going back and working the shop till you find it. If you work near by, a great place to spend your lunch hour. We will visit, but I will caution the girls not to expect miracles.

Queens, New York
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10. Re: A Word About Century 21...

nycdave, evening, RB, et al. - LOL!

I've been gong to C21 for years (when it was still all crammed entirely into its current shoe building), and I'll always love it! I know exactly what it is and what it is not.

BTW, I noticed this Christmas season how eerily FRIENDLY the cashiers were! They said things like, "Happy Holidays" and "Have a good day!," and didn't talk about their sex lives! Creepy!

(I'll never forget 3 years ago, while they were restocking shoes, one salesgirl's incredibly detailed comparison of all her lovers' s exual techniques.)

Anyway, I have always found wonderful bargains there, especially - as I've said here many times - on baby and kids' clothes, socks, bed sheets, luggage, NYC souvenirs, wallets, and some kitchen gadgets.

Our latest amazing find this winter were OVAL cut tablecloths. And more than one, and in diff colors, too!

This is a very hard style to find. Most tablecloths are called "OBLONG" and are cut to fit rectangularly-shaped tables. Our dining table is an actual rounded oval, and hence, needs a rounded-cut oval tablecloth. Once you understand this arcane piece of furniture knowledge, you realize how hard it is to find this cut.

An OBLONG tablecloth on our OVAL table looks like the ears of Dumbo the elephant, and someone always ends up inadvertently doing the "remove-the-tablecloth-while-the-table-is-set" magic trick trying to get out of their chair.

We just used one of these new ones for Passover last weekend, and it was great!

I also got some fabulous kids' towels for a last-minute baby shower prezzie I needed.

If people want to crowd around sifting through the clothes, more power to 'em. Leave me alone in the housewares department downstairs, and I'm a happy shopper.