Update 8/1/16

Stop, Diane Manny, just stop.

I had planned for the 7/9/16 Update to be my last about Macy’s.

Then we received another letter from Diane Manny in Macy’s Executive Office.

It was just some more of the standard crap we had received from Macy’s, going over the same stuff that had already been covered.

Why she wrote the letter, I have no idea.

Again she said we didn’t complete the financial information with her credit person. We’re not talking to him. We consider him quite rude.

We had made a purchase of cosmetics on June 7 for $154.24. When we received the bill for that, we paid the full amount of $154.24 on June 30. Macy’s deposited our check for $154.24 on 7/5, which was well within the due date of 7/16 of the payment to be made. We did try to purchase a grill for around $40 at the time, and were turned down.

Ms. Manny pointed out, as she had before, that our last purchase was in December, 2014, with the payment due on 1/15/15. The amount was $141.70 which again we paid in full when we received the bill.

She then pointed out between the two dates, they arbitrarily lowered the account’s credit limit to $100, which I might point out in a store like Macy’s is ludicrous. If Macy’s sold peanuts, the peanuts would be so fancy, I don’t think we could buy a bag of them for $100.

But it is our fault that we did not complete the financial information to have our credit limit raised from the $100 limit Macy’s arbitrarily chose to lower the limit to.

Ms. Manny pointed out that the limit was lowered to protect us. From what? If Macy’s security system is so lax that they cannot prevent some thief from coming in the store and charging on the account, their security system needs a lot of work.

Again she says our financial information needs to be brought up to date to see if we have the ability to pay. I’d have to look back, but I think that’s the third or fourth time that has been mentioned, our ability to pay.

Apparently Macy’s does not have access to the credit bureau where I think they would find we have an outstanding record. All their credit must be established in-house. I don’t know.

I think Obama personally is a decent fellow, but we do not like his policies. We have little doubt that you personally are a good person, Ms. Manny, but we regard Macy’s policies as just plain lousy.

How much trouble would it have been for Macy’s to send out a letter when they lowered the credit limit on the account to tell us that had happened? We are reasonable people, and could have understood that because of the inactivity. We certainly would not have been mad. When we showed up at your store on June 7,  I would have simply written a check for the total amount of the cosmetics, provided you take checks. If not, we would have furnished another credit card, if you take other credit cards. If not, we would have paid cash. You do take cash, don’t you? As for the grill, we would have paid cash, as we did anyway.

We do feel that Macy’s had a moral obligation to notify us when the credit limit was changed on the account. That has never been mentioned in all the letters we have received from Macy’s.  Are you telling me that Macy’s has no moral principles that they live by? I would like an answer to that.

Again how much trouble would a letter have been?  Your computer could have been set up to print the letter keyed off the fact you changed the credit limit on the account.

We are trying to understand this all, Ms. Manny.

Is the big, mighty Macy’s trying to crush two small people who speak their minds, and apparently have difficulty paying for anything beyond $100?

In the meanwhile, I must be out scrounging around to see if I can come up with $100. I think all of this is beyond our mental capacity, and I am quite sure it is beyond our physical capacity. I am in the midst of two cancers, and my wife has her health issues. I think I’ll spend some time on those.

Again, I think this is the last post on the Macy’s story. But that is up to Macy’s. I’m certainly not taking the story down. I want it available for anyone who would like to read it to know how they treated two of their customers.

In almost 2 years of blogging I don’t think I have ever taken a story down.

Update 7/9/16

One Last Note

The high school band where our grandkids attended high school marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade before our grandkids were students at the high school. In fact, in the 1990’s the band also went to Ireland twice to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

More recently when one of our granddaughters fronted the band with a group of girls wearing their spangled outfits and twirling their batons, they marched in the Rose Parade, among other public appearances.

At all of these places there was always a high priority for those who participated in the parades, but I do remember the comments about the care and concern that Macy’s had for their parade participants. Outstanding.

Then I think of the stark contrast in the way that Macy’s has treated my wife and me. It’s almost as though there were two entirely different organizations.

I guess I’m too old to think of a modern day comparison, so I will have to resort to one of the old movies to give you my opinion of what the contrast is—“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.


Update 7/7/16

Finally received a definitive letter from Macy’s. An apology? Not exactly.

Most of the lengthy letter was explaining why Macy’s was legally correct to do what they did.

In other words my wife and I were totally wrong, and Macy’s was totally right. That is so refreshing to know.

Before my wife and I opened the letter we thought it would begin something like, “We apologize for any inconvenience that our credit system caused you, and the humiliation that you experienced in our Brookwood store. They mentioned inconvenience, but their legal grounds they were standing on seemed to be more important

Because of our infrequent trips to Macy’s (prior to our June visit this year, the last being December, 2014 according to them) they said they had the right to lower our credit limit to whatever they wanted ($100 in our case), and not to even have to inform us that they had done it.

Now it seems in order to have them raise the credit limit to a higher amount we will have to, in essence, apply for credit again, and provide all financial information to Macy’s for them to determine if we have the ability to pay. We thought that was worded rather snobbishly and snottily.

No, you did not read that wrong—if we have the ability to pay. My wife and I got a laugh out of that one.

I had a hard time interpreting some of what they said. There were comments shrouded in gray that seemed to indicate we had not been paying our bills elsewhere. I have no idea where they got that. Maybe I’m just not smart enough to figure out what they were saying.

When we received the $154+ bill from Macy’s, we paid it in full. For Macy’s info, we have received much higher bills from our credit card companies, which we also paid them in full. You see, we do not like to have debt.

We were offered the opportunity by Macy’s to pay the $154 with a minimum payment of $27. Why would they do that if they had a problem with our credit in any respect? We declined a long payout because we thought if we went that route we would shake the credit foundation of Macy’s, Wall Street, the British Brexit, and the European Union based in Brussels. We certainly did not want the financial infrastructure of the world to come crashing down because of us.

Over the years my wife and I have dealt with many Southern companies, and I have written about many Southern businessmen. Their concern has always been that the customer should be treated with respect. Even if the law is on their side, they still bent over backwards to make sure the customer was always happy. I assume Macy’s in their own way, think they are treating us with respect. We do not.

We did receive one curious second letter in the mail from Macy’s at the same time as the definitive letter. It was in a separate envelope. It appeared to be a copy of the first letter to us that had said when they determined something, they would let us know. This letter was a copy which was addressed to someone at a law firm in Baltimore, Maryland. What was that all about? I have no idea.

But based on our dealings with Macy’s up to now, I would guess it was a veiled threat that if I did not stop posting our replies to Macy’s on my blog, they might sue us. Guess that means I will have to give a copy of Macy’s letters to our son who is an attorney. If Macy’s is going to sue us, we will countersue.

We have observed Birmingham juries over the years and found that in suits involving Goliath and David, the juries always side with David, sometimes in awarding outrageous amounts.

It’s true Macy’s has the law on their side, according to them, and we only have humiliation, but Birmingham juries tend to go with emotion and not the law. I think there would be compensatory damages, although not that much.

However, there is the classic products’ liability case involving punitive damages that will live in legal lore forever. A company had strictly followed the law and all the rules and regulations. By all rights and means the company should have been in the clear, and had I been on the jury in this particular case, I would have so voted. However, this products’ liability jury decided that the company had a moral obligation to do more than the law required, and awarded several million in punitive damages. The appeals process always takes about 50 years.

The lawyers in that case had struck well when selecting the jury, but some juries are quirky, and that one certainly was.

Would a Birmingham jury decide that a company who is stoically stuck on the fact that they did not have to notify someone they had changed their credit rating without telling them be a moral obligation to that company? I don’t know. I would be curious to find out.

We hold no animosity toward the lady from Macy’s who sent us the definitive letter. She was just doing her job. It’s Macy’s credit system we take exception to. She can’t do anything about that.

We hold no animosity toward Terry Lundgren, the CEO of Macy’s. He does have the power to change the credit program to one kinder to customers. That is, if he chooses to do it.

In closing the lady who wrote the definitive letter did say if she could be of any further assistance to let her know.

Lady, check out our credit score.

I’m reminded of The Weavers last performance at Carnegie Hall in 1980, and a song they performed, one they had made popular many years before. Lee Hays, Pete Seeger, Fred Hellerman, and the lady Ronnie Gilbert, all gone today. Lee took the lead on the first few lines, and I can still almost hear his voice today. The song was “So Long, It’s been Good to Know Ya”.

To paraphrase that song with unpleasant thoughts, “So Long Macy’s, It Has Not been Good to Know Ya.”

My wife says she feels like a disposable customer.

Update 6/30/16

Well, haven’t heard further from Macy’s. Their investigation into what happened has turned into a prolonged situation. We were promised communication from them when the investigation is complete. At least that’s what the letter we received from them said.

You know, I got to thinking, and thought maybe we should apologize to Macy’s.

There must have been a sign on the entrance door to Macy’s that we missed, one that had conditions for those crossing the threshold, and had we read it, we would have known we weren’t welcome.

After all, my wife and I are just common people who were on our annual buying trip, and do not think, in our opinion, we fit the customer profile Macy’s is trying to attract.

What is the customer profile that Macy’s has? We can only guess, not being allowed into the psychological inner sanctum of Macy’s

We think their building is actually situated in exactly the place they need to be—Mountain Brook. At least it is our understanding that even though the majority of Brookwood Mall where Macy’s is located lies in Homewood, that very end on the east side of the shopping center has crossed the line into Mountain Brook.

The upscale Mountain Brook is much beyond my wife and me. In fact when one wants to refer to the upper class of our society, we say they are Mountain Brookish.

So we will just journey along on our day-to-day. Perhaps one day a letter will arrive from Macy’s, maybe even signed by the CEO Terry Lundgren. Miracles do happen, but this is one my wife and I are not counting on.

Update 6/20/16

We received a call last week from the corporate office of Macy’s. I think it was the same lady who called the week before. This after I had written in my 6/13/16 update that we saw no need for further talk, we had enough of that when we talked to their credit man while in Macy’s at Brookwood. We didn’t answer the phone.

Over this past weekend we received a snail-mail letter from the executive offices. It was dated 6/10/16, so there must have been some delay in Macy’s mailing it.

I quote from the portion of the Macy’s letter that concerns the problem. This is a direct quote from the letter. “Please be assured that you will receive a response to your inquiry as quickly as possible. This letter is merely an interim response until our research is completed.”

This sounds like a Congressional committee where the hearings go on forever, and you’re never quite sure what they found out. In fact I am convinced there are Congressional committee hearings that have been going on since the Continental Congress convened in 1776, and the public is still awaiting their findings.

Exactly how much research is necessary? The letter strikes me as Macy’s does not believe my wife and me, that we are lying about the situation. They can talk to the saleslady involved when this all took place, but we certainly do not wish for her to be in the middle of something she had absolutely nothing to do with. They can talk to the credit man that my wife and I talked to. I hate to be skeptical, but I am not looking for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from him.

The original story appeared on my site on 6/9/16. I do believe if I were the corporate office, and called around and the people I was talking to were aware it was the corporate office, this entire matter could be cleared up in less than  twenty-four hours. If I were the executive offices and called around, I believe the matter would be cleared up in 24 minutes.

One fact is indisputable if they look on the records. Somebody reduced our credit limit to $100 without telling us. Find out who did it. That would be a good start.

I cannot believe the CEO of Macy’s will let this matter go unresolved. I just hope he doesn’t have to form a Congressional committee to reach a decision.

Update 6/13/16

I have posted this as an update to my story about Macy’s because I wanted everyone reading this to know that the CEO of Macy’s did not ignore our complaint.

Thanks for having someone call us from the corporate office. She left two messages on our machine which were quite clear, but when she gave her name, we could not tell who she is.

We don’t think that any more talk about this will do any good. We had enough of that at Macy’s Brookwood.

Your credit man made us feel like common thieves, wherever he was based, and the way he talked to us cannot be undone, as the embarrassment to us cannot be undone.

Over the years I have written thousands of words and interviewed hundreds of people to write stories about them. The nuances, inflections and mannerisms in the way your credit man acted in talking to us were not the way we thought customers should be treated. Had he bothered to check our credit score, he would have found we are in the highest rating of any of your customers nationwide.

I read your bio, and can understand how you have been successful at every stop along the way, Neiman-Marcus being one of those.

I knew you would not turn away from us as your Housewares manager did at Macy’s Brookwood.

Might I suggest that you have someone write Macy’s side of the story in a comment to my blog, and I will post it along with the “Macy’s” story and this update.

We’re looking for respect. Do you have any of that up in Cincinnati, Ohio for us?

Original Post 6/9/16

Damn Yankees. The corporate office is in Cincinnati, Ohio.

My wife and I went to Macy’s at Brookwood Shopping Mall on what we thought was a normal shopping trip.

Once a year my wife runs out of various makeup items. She packs those items in a plastic bag, and away we go to find Peggy in cosmetics.

Peggy is one of the most knowledgeable sales’ people my wife and I have ever met. And one of the most courteous.

This trip was very similar to the one we made last year when Peggy also found the necessary cosmetics for my wife.

This year my wife gave the plastic bag of necessary cosmetics to Peggy, and away she went in the vast cosmetics department, while my wife and I sat to await her return. Sure enough less than ten minutes later there was Peggy with the cosmetic items. She and my wife went over each item, the one that had been discontinued, but Peggy was still able to find a couple of refills, the one they no longer had, but Peggy found a close match, the powder, and all the other.

I am certainly thankful for my wife and Peggy when it comes to cosmetics, because if the matter of women’s cosmetics was left in my hands, I would be the dumbest person ever.

When we completed the cosmetics’ purchase, we decided to look at grills in Housewares. The trouble began when we found a grill, and tried to make the purchase on the Macy’s credit card.

Stephanie in Housewares was busy with a customer purchasing a gift for a shower or wedding. It was a rather extensive transaction because the gift was not available at either Brookwood or the Galleria, but could be ordered.

Stephanie pointed us in the direction of the grills until she had satisfied the customer she had. We looked them over.

When Stephanie came over, we had found one in a box we wanted to look at. With the same courtesy as Peggy, she took the time to remove the grill from the box for us to get a better look.

About the same time we spotted a George Foreman grill on the shelf behind us. It had removable metal pieces top and bottom that could be taken out and washed after use. The metal pieces on the top and bottom of the grill come in contact with the heating elements and that produces the surface for cooking. That was exactly the one I was looking for. We had bought two George Foreman grills in the past, but they didn’t have the removable metal pieces which made cleaning up a chore for my wife. She just simply quit using them.

Then we went to the register to pay for the grill with our Macy’s credit card.

Stephanie entered the necessary info, but it was rejected.

What? Our Macy’s credit card noted the fact that we had been a cardholder since 1983, which if my math is correct, would be 33 years.

I had to talk to the Macy’s credit person on the phone. He said our credit limit was $100. Someone had changed our credit limit without our knowledge. Let me repeat that. Some Macy’s credit person had changed our credit limit to $100 without our knowledge.

Considering that Macy’s is an upscale Department Store, a $100 credit limit at Macy’s is about like going to the peanut depot downtown to buy a $1 bag of roasted peanuts with ten cents in my pocket.

We had just charged $150 plus in cosmetics on the Macy’s credit card, and now we couldn’t purchase a grill for $40 on the Macy’s credit card. We had already exceeded our credit limit in cosmetics and now couldn’t buy the $40 grill.

How ironic I thought. I had in my billfold other credit cards with at least $10,000 to $15,000 useable, available credit (I’m not sure because a credit limit has never been a problem), and another credit card from a major oil company that gave us more credit than Macy’s was willing to extend to us.

For years we have paid off all credit cards within two days of receiving a bill, never carrying over any balances.

The credit person on the phone asked how much credit we needed. I did a quick calculation in my head, and figured on this day we needed a total of $200.

He said I would have to give him our financial information. If God had been on the other end of the line, I wouldn’t have given him our financial information. I handed the phone to Stephanie and she hung it up.

At this point I felt like I was almost on my hands and knees begging for $40 more in credit. It was the most embarrassing experience my wife and I have ever had, either together or on separate purchases.

I thought I had entered Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone” and had crossed the line of demarcation into insanity. Then it got worse.

I asked Stephanie if she would call the manager. In a few minutes here came the manager of the Housewares Department, and perhaps other departments, I’m not sure. She professed that she could do nothing. I told her I would be writing about this on my blog, and it would also be on Facebook, and asked for her name. She turned to where I could not see her nametag and took off. She would not give me her name. I’m sure Stephanie knew her name, but I was not going to have Stephanie caught in the crosshairs of what appeared to me to be an erratic manager.

This bears repeating. We had been a Macy’s cardholder since 1983, which is possibly older than the manager who practically ran away from us.

We walked away, meaning to leave the store, but Stephanie had been so patient and again courteous, I didn’t want her to lose the sale because of what I would call some wayward credit person. I went back and paid cash for the grill.

Macy’s has embarrassed my wife and me, and that will never change. It will be with us forever. Macy’s has had their say. Now it’s time for me to have our say, and as they say, once you put something on the Internet, it is there forever, on my blog, Facebook, and my Facebook personal page.

So Macy’s, I guess we are locked in two forevers, forever.



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