I may have to stop shopping at JCPenney.

Pet Peeve #3: When stores change their merchandise, layout, etc., to such an extent that shopping there is an exercise in aggravation.

First, let me preface this by saying that I like JCPenney.  I worked for them part time for two years while I was in college.  I’ve shopped there for years.  That being said, I have watched the merchandise go steadily downhill for awhile now and I don’t think shopping there is worth it anymore.  jcp_Flag_4c_A

I guess I should start at the beginning.

I went into the JCP here the other day to look for some more denim capris.  I’ve got several pairs of Gloria Vanderbilt capris and I love them, but a couple of them are starting to get really worn out.  Since I had purchased my Gloria’s at JCP in the past, I didn’t think it would be an issue to find more.

Boy, was I wrong.

First of all, none of the departments are clearly defined in this store.  No signage indicating which areas were Women’s, Misses, Juniors; the merchandise is all mixed up – Juniors stuff with Misses, Misses stuff with Women’s, etc.; and what merchandise they do have is sparse at best.

I’m used to walking into a store and being able to walk straight to what it is I’m there to buy.  My local store is such a confusing mess that I had to wander around trying to figure out where things were!

Then there’s the selection, or should I say the lack thereof?  Say I want a polo style shirt.  In the past, JCP would have a big 4-5 shelf tower thing of polo shirts in all different colors.  My local store had maybe 5 colors to choose from, with maybe one or two of each size.  Are you kidding me with this shit?

I also have a problem with the quality of their store brands.  A St. John’s Bay polo or t-shirt has always been a pretty good buy – less than $10, and they hold up pretty well.  That’s apparently gone the way of the dinosaur.  JCP has re-branded a lot of their merchandise as JCP and the quality is terrible.  The t-shirts are still less than $10, but now they are so thin, you can see through them.  Not only that, they’ve changed the sizing, so instead of a Large, I have to buy X-Large to get a proper fit.

They’ve also dropped many brands that they carried in the past, like the aforementioned Gloria Vanderbilt capris.  I couldn’t find Gloria anywhere in the local store.  I realize that some of this can be blamed on the buyers and management of this particular location. Departmental managers tell the buyers what they want for their department, because they’re supposed to know what will sell and what won’t.

That’s the way it was done when I worked there back in the early 90’s.  I can remember guys coming in to buy shorts or whatever and being unhappy because we didn’t have their size.  I hate to break it to you, sir, but buying a bunch of 50 inch waist shorts is pointless because we can’t sell them.  Anything outside the norm won’t sell, even if we discount it.  That’s what the catalog department is for.  Most of our stuff offered Big and Tall sizes.  We just didn’t carry them in-store.  My department manager always bought his size, plus two sizes smaller and two sizes larger.  If he wore a 34 waist, then he would buy 30’s and 32’s, as well as 36’s and 38’s, which falls in the range of what most men wear.

At any rate, I was really unhappy with the lack of capris at JCPenney, so I went over to Belk and found my precious Gloria’s, in addition to one of their store brands (Kim Rogers).

I must add that before I give up on JCP completely, I’m going to check their store at Turtle Creek Mall in Hattiesburg to see if this mess is company wide, or if it’s just the locals who don’t know how to stock a store properly.  At the very least, I won’t be shopping at the one here anymore.  The local Belk will be getting my business instead.

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