Online Shopping versus Brick and Mortar Retail

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To state the obvious, I have mastered the art of online shopping.  I am on a first name basis with the Fed Ex guy as he visits me on a regular basis.  What’s not to love?  You visit Amazon.com click and the next thing you know it is at your front door.  Now if I could just have Fresh Direct in my part of the country so I never had to visit the grocery again, life would be perfect – right?

Not so quick.  This week the WSJ had a lovely article about lunch/tea rooms in the iconic New York department stores.  I love a great lunch room.  Nordstroms has great food so you never have to leave the store.  Bergdorf Goodman has my favorite lunch spot on the 7th floor.  What could be better than looking out over Central Park from the 7th floor of BG’s?  Still, brick and mortar is struggling with relevance.  This was brought home yesterday.  I finally had a weekend where I was made to do errands.  I decided to bite the bullet and struck out to eradicate my “to do” list.  These were things where I wanted to touch and see what my options were.  While online is lovely sometimes you need to be there to try it on or see it in person, to consider your options.  It was so frustrating to be told  “we don’t have it in the store but you can order it online”.  The fifth time I was told that in the third store, I wanted to scream!  If I wanted to order it online I would not be out in the freezing cold and rain!

I don’t know what the answer is and I’m sympathetic to the business case regarding the cost of inventory.  Of course it is easier to have a larger selection online to complement what is offered in the store.  But, and you knew there was a but coming, if you have it on display, should you not have it in stock?  Just a thought . . .

 

Destination Beverly Hills

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I’ve never been to Southern California, so when selecting a destination for a long weekend, I decided it was time to explore California.  This was going to be a quick trip, leave on Friday morning and return Sunday night but a get away for fall break.  I love iconic hotels so I explored my options on booking.com and through Amex’s travel concierge.  I ended up at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It seemed perfect for my brief trip.  Built in 1912 and famous as a hotel of the stars, it had all the qualities I wanted for this vacation. A great pool, spa, yoga, and options for retail therapy.  What more could a girl want?

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I arrived Friday afternoon and was immediately checked into a gorgeous room.  Since I was starved, I dropped my bags and headed to the iconic Polo Lounge for lunch.  So many delicious options from which to select.  I ended up with a French 75 cocktail and the McCarthy chopped salad.  Thoroughly satiated, and tired from getting up at 4:30 AM, I headed up to my beautiful room and my favorite feature, the lounge chair on the private balcony. I happily curled up on the lounge for a bit of sun and the remainder of the book I’d started.

 

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Yoga was one of the reasons I’d chosen the Beverly Hills Hotel. Amy Rose offers yoga classes in the garden on Saturday mornings.  You need a reservation so I’d called early and reserved my mat and blocks.  It was a wonderful class.  The morning was cool, perfect for a workout.  Amy was excellent.  If I lived close, I’d be there every Saturday morning.  Even better, the hotel supplied everything I needed in the line of equipment so no need to pack and carry anything.  After yoga, I headed to the spa for a massage.  Complete indulgence and a wonderful way to conclude the morning.  I rounded out my Saturday with a bit of retail therapy.  The hotel has courtesy cars that I was happy to use to drop me off on Rodeo Drive.  The weather was beautiful.  I strolled  in and out of boutique after boutique browsing.  I scored a birthday gift for my wonderful cousin and new sunnies for me!

I ended my day with a delicious dinner at the hotel.  This time lobster tagliatelli, a glass of red wine, and chocolate soufflé.  Delicious!

Sunday was another beautiful day but a bit on the cool and foggy side to start.  I opted for a bit of a sleep in, after all it was a mini vacay!  I’d marked Sunday as lounge by the pool day.  I arrived around 10:30AM and opted for the hot tub as it was still on the cool side.  It quickly warmed up and I enjoyed a morning and lunch by the pool before time came to check out and head to LAX.

The hotel was amazing.  Everyone there went out of their way to make my stay wonderful.  My only regret?  I needed another day.  I’d planned a tour of homes but ran out of time!