Monday, October 17, 2011


(Store Front, Robert J Smith, 1933, Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, Ohio)

I have a black belt in shopping.

And it's a good thing or I never would have made it through the retail maze known as Harrods department store.

Truth be told, Harrods had a rather humble beginning.

Years ago, a gentleman by the name of Henry Charles Harrod opened a small grocery shop on Brompton Road in London.

Actually, this retail event took place more than a few years ago.

It was 1849 to be exact.

Henry's store soon became known for its wonderful service and high quality goods.

Ahh - the sweet smell of success!

Today, the store's patrons enjoy over-the-top shopping at Harrods current premises in the Knightsbridge section of London.

The star department at Harrods is its magnificent Food Hall.

Gawkers from all parts of the globe unite at the Food Hall to stare at the outrageous culinary wonders.

Is fresh fish on tonight's dinner menu?

Don't worry your pretty little head another second.

Harrods will fix you up in fresh fish style!

They sell artisanal cheeses from all over the world.

And highly exotic fresh fruits and veggies.

Don't even get me started on the chocolate!

Or the tea cakes, jams and the British biscuits.

(Otherwise known as "cookies" to us clueless Americans.)

In addition to these stylish grocery items, Harrods sells - among other glorious things - fashion, china, art, electronics and jewelry.

Did I mention jewelry?

Why, I believe I did!

Do you hear it?

Miss Merry's bling bell is clanging like gangbusters!

Now let's get serious here.

Harrods's bling has absolutely NOTHING to do with Macy's bling.

Harrods's bling doesn't even reside in the same galaxy - let alone the same planet - as Macy's bling.

You can trust me on this.

I've salivated over every twinkling piece of Harrods spectacular jewelry.

More than once.


More than three times.

Harrods is a department store operating on some serious steroids.

It sells the best, of the best, of the very, very best.

So I guess it shouldn't come as any surprise that Harrods restrooms are equally smashing.

I'm talking about the ladies rooms, of course.

(Just so you know, I plan to live the rest of my life in complete ignorance of what goes on in the gentlemen's restrooms.)

I'll never forget the day I was introduced to the ladies room at Harrods.

Gretchen and I had been shopping and eating our happy brains out.

Eventually, the inevitable happened.

Nature called.

In my case, she went right to speed dial.

Immediately, Gretch and I went on the hunt for the nearest restroom.

I soon decided to cut to the chase and put our Harrods map to good use.


Here's what happens when you arrive at Harrods:

The doorman hands you a map of the store as he graciously opens the door for you.

Then he smiles brightly and says:  "Good morning, Madam!"

(Please remind again me why I'm choosing to live in the United States of America when I could be living next door to Harrods in London, England.)

There's good reason for holding onto your map.

Harrods is humongous!

And by that I mean B......I......G!

There is a blurb on the brochure/map which states that a mother/daughter shopping team once decided to go their separate shopping ways after dining on lunch in one of Harrods' yummy restaurants.

They spent two hours trying to find each other until one of them got smart and asked  Harrods superb customer service personnel for assistance.

Just for the record......



After consulting the map, we are ecstatic to discover that the nearest ladies room is just steps away.

We quickly waddle over there.

Gretch opens the door to what is obviously...... ladies room heaven.

Immediately, my eyes fall on a woman attendant dressed in sparkling white.

She is busy flitting around the spacious ladies room.

And smiling at everyone.

She holds a gorgeous crystal perfume bottle in her hand.

The kind that has the rubber ball that dispenses a spray of perfume every time it's squeezed.

I glance to my left and see a magnificent silver tray sitting on the marble topped vanity.

An assortment of beautiful perfume bottles stand on the tray.

I study them for a few seconds.

These wonderful perfumes are - what else? - the very best perfume the world has to offer.

I am standing in the doorway staring at this delightful attendant when she sees me.

Our eyes lock.

Then she smiles as her arm gently brushes against the stall door nearest her.

The door opens slowly.

She beckons for me to come toward her.

I obey.

That's because I've never had a personal escort to a restroom stall.

Not once in my natural life.

Unless, of course, you count my mom who escorted me regularly when I was three years old.


Not counting that.

I am completely transfixed and ready to soak up every moment of this experience.

Really ready.

Please allow me to be honest here.

If this charming woman had asked me to accompany her on a toasty tour of Hell I would have looked at her glassy-eyed and said,  "When do we leave?"

As I walk toward the stall, I see my attendant flush the toilet ever so gently.

Not that it needed to be flushed.

The previous patron had already taken care of that duty quite nicely.

My "lady- in- waiting" is making absolutely sure that my commode is as fresh as a summer's day.

Just before I reach the stall, this saintly woman squeezes the perfume's atomizer directly into my stall.

I can hardly believe what I am seeing.

Suddenly, a spritz of soft, citrusy fragrance floats into the surrounding air.


With my angelic lady-in-waiting.

And with the idea that I must, contrary to popular opinion, be a queen after all.

Hadn't I just been treated like one?

I tip my attendant a ridiculous amount of money and then step into my freshened stall.

As I sit on my "throne" I meditate on all that has just occurred.

Then, much too soon, my mind snaps back to reality.

Seconds later, Gretch and I meet at the marble vanity.

"Can you believe this?" I ask her in hushed words.

"They do make you feel like royalty," she replies enthusiastically.

Reluctantly, we shuffle out of the ladies room.

I think to myself,  "I wonder if I could persuade Bob to spritz perfume into my bathroom at home?"

"Like maybe 53 times a day."

Instantly, my mind answers its own question:

"Honey, live right and die happy because there's not a chance in this world!"

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Not in the same realm as Target is it, and I'm not even going to think about the "ladies" at Walmart. The older I get, the more I have to seek out these places of, shall we say, relief. I used to think it was nice in Dillards, but that is a huge step above.