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Grand Opening #1 of Providence Place Mall on August 20, 1999

Parking is still FREE, sort of.....don't be mislead, people!!

What a marvelous sight it is. I'll begin my tale by describing the madness of trying to get through the front entrance, on foot. We followed the mob to an area where people were hovered over a box, picking out white bags (a freebie for the first 1000 people) and wouldn't you know, in true RI style, the greedy hag in front of my brother took 2! We didn't let it rain on our parade, so we moved on. After 2 mini-escalator rides we finally arrived on the first floor of shopping. At 10 am, the customers were greeted by applause and cheering from Nordstrom's employees for almost 10 minutes. That was fun!

The salespeople were especially helpful and cheery on this fine, sunny day which was quite a treat for me. I wonder how long that will last? Nordstrom's is supposed to be customer service oriented and I found that the saleswomen were very friendly. I was greeted, not harassed, by several people who simply said "Welcome to Nordstrom's." Becky, on the 2nd floor in the RALPH/CK/DKNY Jeans section, set up my dressing room and even asked for my name, something you don't get at Macy's unless "by appointment." My GAP experience was pleasant (oh, I had to go in, I needed pants!). Down on the first floor in JCrew, I was showered with niceness (something the peeps in the Copley Place store should try), my patient salesperson, Tiffany was informative and helpful. There's nothing worse than when the customer knows more than the store employee. Moving on to Ross-Simons. I have never seen the store packed with so many people. The only gem I stopped to look at was the ROLEX display. Surprisingly, John, the Asst. Manager, was nice enough to open the case and let me play with a few watches. He gave me his card, too. Now that's trust! Usually, jewelry store folk are hesitant to even look me in the eye.

What a treat it is not to be bugged by the salesperson who thinks I'm 16 years old and then followed around the store like I'm going to steal something. Don't you just love when the salesperson explains what 2 for $35 entails or they'll explain what 50% off means!

Overall, I would say that a good time was had by all. The building is bright, airy, and the decor is quite nice. In the Wintergarden, one can see the always lovely Woonasquatucket River, I bet that would be a nice place to be during WaterFire.

Weekend #2
Saturday night, Aug. 28, was craaaazy. The city was jammed with folks enjoying WaterFire and getting their first opportunity to see the new mall. It was a pleasant site. Herds of people were charging to the mall from WaterFire! People, people everywhere. If you were there, you know the marvels of trying to find a parking space in this little city.

So, for those of you who didn't return to the mall this weekend, I bet you're wondering how it is looking now. Well, a few more stores opened (bebe). The food court still contains only Ronzio and Ben and Jerry's, and without any lighting I might add. The garage is still chaotic and frighteningly (I made that word up) unfinished. And I wonder how often the carpet is cleaned?? What about the friendly salespeople.... well, they aren't as nice as they were on opening day. But, pleasant enough.

Visit #4: September 9
Boring...the only excitement was seeing the Gravity Games from the WinterGarden. Oh, you can see FILENE'S now, ok-not exciting, I know. It was a Thursday night, but still there weren't many people there. Hey, parking is still free. Here's what the sign says as you enter the parking garage: COMPLIMENTARY FREE PARKING TODAY. Doesn't complimentary mean free?? Arg, what an insult to intelligent people.

Visit #Ohh, I lost count....
Well, it's November and parking is still FREE. However, I am still annoyed by that "Complimentary Free Parking Today" sign above the StateSide Garage by Nordstrom's. I'd like to know who had that sign printed!! I've been to the mall countless times for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because I like Nordstrom's. The new Filene's is quite nice (although, the service is much better in Nordstrom's), all that newness and cleanliness sure beats going to Filene's in Emerald Square where the old dressing rooms smell like last week's garbage and are about as attractive, too. Personally, I find the CitySide (Filene's) garage to be a bit scary. The entrance was windy and narrow. I enjoyed looking through a crack in the floor to see down to the next level and the car parked beneath my little teal wonder.....I fancy the Unfinished look that the garages seem to be going for, it's mighty comforting.

As always, feel free to post a thought on my Message Board, it is screaming for new thoughts.

Christmas shopping
For the most part, my experiences (yes, I do shop a lot, but I don't buy much. I'm a Professional browser.) have been relatively pleasant. The whole parking thing is stupid. They can take their parking fees and turn 'em sideways. I'm sick of being greeted by gawdy signs attempting to inform me about the current state of the "parking fees." I'm a Rhode Islander and I DO NOT pay to park! Sometimes I'll tip the valet guy, but that's it. (I'm cheap, but more importantly I am never happy with the way my car is parked by the valet-punk.) Parking fees and fees for employees, bah humbug! Hey, people, don't be mislead--if you shop more than 3 hours you have to pay the over 3 hour fee!!!

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