Okay, it's bad enough that Filene's Basement is closing for two years while its Downtown Crossing building is renovated. But now there are rumors that when it does come back in 2009, there will be no more "automatic markdown" system.
Let me just say a word about Filene's Basement first. Yes, there are Filene's Basement stores on Boylston Street and in the Northshore Mall in Peabody, but they are NOT THE SAME as the downtown flagship location.
The downtown location is disgusting. It's literally in a basement, the lighting is bad and it looks unclean. But it is amazing. I have found some of the most amazing deals there. Plus, it's been around forever--my grandmother used to go there when she got a shopping itch. (Side note: I am my grandmother reincarnated--under her bed were always dozens of pairs of shoes, her closet was always busting open because it was overloaded with clothing, and she had more junk jewelry than anyone I have ever seen. When we cleaned out her closet after she passed away in 2003, we found clothing with the original sale tags still on, most of which were clearance items. She, like me, never passed up a sale.)
I have been to Filene's Basement downtown more times than I can count. In high school, my friend Meaghan and I would always hop on the orange line and head downtown to see what we could find at the Basement. They are best known for their automatic markdown system.
The automatic markdown is simple: when an item comes in, the staff marks the tag with the date, then it gets hung on the floor. The longer an item has been on the floor, the more markdown it receives. For example, if I am shopping on 2/5 and pick up a shirt that is dated 1/3, the price will be some percentage (probably 50 or 75) off the original price. The automatic markdown board is on display in every department.
From the Boston Globe today (“Basement may end markdown system” by Jenn Abelson):
“The century-old basement pioneered the concept of bargains when it devised a system of automatic markdowns, where merchandise is discounted on a set schedule that customers can track. While other Filene's Basement stores have opened selling discounted merchandise from designer clothes to picture frames, only the Downtown Crossing location maintained the automatic markdown system.
But with the store's temporary closing, the automatic markdown policy will not be adopted at another location, and it's unclear whether it will return to the original Filene's Basement when it reopens, a company official said.”
The point I’m trying to make here is this: a) Filene’s should move back to its old location when it comes back. There’s nothing like shopping in a basement, changing in an open room with 60-year-old ladies, separated from the subway by only a wall. And b) When they do come back, the automatic markdown system should come back with them. It’s what makes the basement unique and totally awesome.
I'll definitely be making a trip downtown in the very near future to take advantage of this gem before it goes away!
P.S. Check out the Filene's Basement Website, it's really cool.
And read the entire Globe article hereFor your viewing pleasure--I gathered up some of the great deals I've gotten at the basement in the past couple months:
Britney Spears "Fantasy" Perfume, $30; Steve Madden Sunglasses, $10; Rainboots, $20; White leather clutch, $8; Tommy Hilfiger Denim Jacket, $25; Gray sweater, $7.
Until next time, friends. :)