'Myer's looking cheap' he confided in me, shrouded in orange smoke.
|Myer: from the Latin 'a way to lose millions of dollars'|
What he was trying to tell me was this:
'I've noticed that Myer's share price has fallen a long way, so I'm going to buy some, and when it recovers, I'll be richer than Christopher Skase.'
FFS. Even Solomon Lew can't get it right with Myer, so how a 21-year-old who sells funeral insurance from a call centre's going to smash it's beyond me.
So I thought I'd better warn others.
I was going to write about changing retail spending, shifty management and onerous lease commitments, but it's a long weekend and I have wine open, so here's a letter I sent to Myer earlier in the year instead.
Dear Mr and Mrs Myer,
I visited your Brisbane CBD store today, so I thought I'd provide some useful feedback on the experience.
It sure is a nice place, particularly the ground floor. Shop assistants were everywhere, flogging a bewildering array of cosmetics. People were spending like crazy.
I understand the importance of cosmetics. My ex-wife looked terrifying without them, so I encouraged her to spend up big at Myer at every opportunity.
Here's a random thought - all the customers were women. As we know, women love shopping as a rule. Most of them would happily climb ten flights of stairs to buy a pair of shoes that didn't fit, as long as they were on sale.
On the flip side, most men would rather have a prostate check than go clothes shopping. Yes, I know there are exceptions to that rule, but you get my drift.
So why, in every city, do you put the mens' section at the top of the building? Why not on the ground floor, where there's at least a small chance a man might wander in, probably lost, and buy something on impulse?
I don't wear much makeup these days except on special occasions, so there was nothing on the ground floor for me. I travelled up your maze of escalators and eventually found the mens' section, on level 12, hidden behind a screen advertising Katy Perry.
I was after a few things - a suit, a couple of pairs of trousers, a few shirts. Perhaps a jaunty hat like the ones you can buy at David Jones.
When I was younger and more stylish I'd have gone straight to the Zegna section, but it seems you don't have one anymore. Perhaps that's a good thing. I'm getting a bit porky these days and can't pull off the Paul Keating look very well.
Anyway, it seems you've got a great range despite the lack of Zegna (as long as you're a size 30 in slim fit). There's just one thing I couldn't find.
Someone to help me.
As I've already mentioned, I've got the physique (and sex appeal) of a bag of spuds these days, and wouldn't have a clue what size I am. So I needed someone to measure my waist, and if I got really lucky, my inner leg.
But there was nobody there. Zip. Like the aftermath of the Zombie Apocalypse, which I know hadn't happened because I'd have read about it on Twitter.
So I wandered around for 23 minutes, randomly picking up suits and putting them elsewhere. I hope the next person browsing the Ted Baker section is amused to to find some Country Road garments. I mean, what else was I to do? You wouldn't let me spend my money.
Here's the thing - it wasn't always like this. Back in the good 'ol days before Venture Capital sucked the soul (and all the cash) out of the business and listed the corpse on the ASX, Myer was a great store.
I would have walked out of there with three bags of expensive clothes.
Today, I just walked out.