Best of the Best: Get a Local Guide

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This week I’m proselytizing, once again, to shine the ink on Madison and what she has to offer. My mission is to convert as many department store consumers to local customers as possible by examining the department store experience. By column end, I hope to have you strolling local aisles, and meeting your neighbors, one store at a time. I try my dead level best to stay away from stores with departments, especially, multi-story ones. The whole experience is both frustrating and time-consuming. If I need something, I like to know I don’t have to spend the month of February in a store to find it. How can you possibly find, much less buy, anything in a department store? For example, take the search for a pair of black pumps. Choices are not the issue; 2,000 pairs, spread over a football field, should be enough. The issue is finding a shoe, finding a clerk, the clerk finding the shoe, the clerk finding you, the shoe actually fitting, and you accomplishing a purchase in under 3 hours, impossible. It’s not the clerk’s fault; it’s the shear size of the dang department. It wouldn’t surprise me, and it actually makes more sense, for clerks to toss pumps, Hail Mary style, from end to end. Can you imagine, toting 10 shoe boxes up and down a football field, all day, for straight commission. No wonder under-paid, swollen cankled, clerks disappear in the back-room abyss, never to return. Who could blame them? It’s not just the shoe clerks who disappear. If I had a nickel, for every time I’m left stranded in a fitting room, in my undies, while the only sales clerk, within 60 yards, hovers around the checkout counter, collecting straight commission, I could pay a personal shopper. And remember, I try my dead-level best to stay out of department stores. Shopping local is a totally different experience. The small independently owned stores, on Madison’s tree lined streets, pride themselves on service; you’d be hard pressed to find a better sales staff. The choice in merchandise is a gracious plenty, and you don’t feel like you’re wandering around in the dessert seeking an oasis you’ll never find. If you shop deals and sale items- you’ll find that too. Madison offers a great variety of quality goods at competitive prices. This week, meet your neighbors in Madison. Follow on: Twitter @cbestdiscovery and Instagram @cbestdiscovery and @watertowerlandmarks. Share what you’ve discovered

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