The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


The recession hits Neiman’s

I expected it from my bank. A little less return on my savings account? Times are rough.

I expected it from the airlines. Extra charge for my luggage? I need to pack lighter anyways.

I even expected it from Blockbuster. In case you haven’t noticed, the whole “no late fees” thing is out the window.

But Neiman’s? Never would I have even begun to conceive that the recession would affect my experience at the Dallas based, high-end department store and veritable Mecca for the fashion-conscious that is Neiman Marcus.

Before you roll your eyes, I beg you, lend me your ears. Admittedly, Neiman’s has long been a playground for the disgustingly rich. But those of us happily in the middle class have been known to enjoy a Last Call sale or two and the odd lunch at the Mermaid Bar. It is here I set my scene.

Friday, 12:15 p.m. I was starved and looking forward to a polite and casual lunch with a friend at Neiman’s, one of my favorite lunchtime haunts, a relic from my old days working in NorthPark Center. I had even bothered to withdraw a $20 bill from the ATM machine, knowing very well that Neiman’s accepts only American Express or a Neiman-Marcus Card, neither of which I personally possess. In a word, I was pumped.

I took my seat in the charmingly sterile café, ready to order my favorite lunch combination (low fat turkey chili with cornbread and a side salad with cilantro ranch dressing), and chatted away, happily munching on complimentary crackers as I waited to place my order. That’s when my troubles began.

My suspicions were piqued when my favorite side salad arrived first, unusually sparse. Its skimpiness was initially a bit off-putting, but I did not lose my cool. Instead, I asked myself why my usual salad suddenly shrank in volume by a third. Probably a mishap in the kitchen, maybe a shortage of spring greens today. “No matter,” I reassured myself, “I usually never finish it anyways.”

Then the low fat turkey chili arrived. To my utter dismay, there was no cornbread in sight! Worse still, it had been haphazardly replaced by crumbled tortilla chips intermingled with the beautifully grated cheddar. Quelle horreur!

I politely asked the gentleman who delivered my plate if the cornbread was going to come out separately. He muttered something about not serving that anymore and scurried off. Perhaps he was incompetent, I mused, unwilling to accept the cold hard truth. When the manager walked by, I inquired again, only to learn that my worst fears had been realized and the cornbread was off the menu for good.

Still a bit perplexed, I jokingly asked the manager if the recession was to blame for this unsettling change. “Well, actually,” he began, “we are trying to be more efficient in our kitchen.” Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

I grudgingly ate my spicy chili, my palette unrelieved by the sweet crumble of fresh cornbread. You may scoff at my sorrow, but the cornbread may have been the only reason I ever ordered that combination in the first place. Why else would I want low fat turkey chili all the time? I rest my case.

Over the past few months, I have come to hear of the horrible effects of the economic shutdown. But silly as it is, my lunch at Neiman’s served as my first tangible encounter with the recession. And as disappointed as I may have been by the newly skimpy fare at the Mermaid Bar, perhaps I can glean a glimmer of hope from the whole ordeal. It is comforting to know that even big, extravagant, and at times ridiculous stores are erring on the side of efficiency these days. Perhaps there is hope for us after all.

Rebecca Quinn is a sophomore art history, Spanish and French triple major. She can be reached for comment at [email protected].

More to Discover