When a Department Store was an Experience

Department Stores, they ain’t what they used to be. There was a time when a trip to the department store was an experience. You had a nice meal, you got personal service, and you were pampered.

Before department stores came about, upper- and middle-class women didn’t go shopping. Door-to-door salesmen brought their wares to the home. Or servants went to stores for groceries and such. People thought it was too dangerous or risqué for a woman to be on the streets alone.

The First

The first department store opened in London in 1796. They sold furs, fans, haberdashery, jewelry, clocks, and hats. It was called Howell & Co’s Grand Fashionable Magazine 

Macy’s opened in 1878.

Department store owners sought upper- and middle-class customers. Everyone else lacked the time or the money to shop at their leisure. 

Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.

— Bo Derek

The Experience

Aimed at women with money, most stores had elegant tea rooms or full restaurants. The buildings had high ceilings, luxury fixtures, and beautiful views. They had lounging areas, personal assistants to help you shop, and weekly fashion shows.

Women loved the freedom that shopping gave them. They got out of the house. And—learned to love to shop. Read more about how 19th-century women gained their freedom thanks to department stores. 

Happiness is not in money, but in shopping.

— Marilyn Monroe

You could buy anything at a department store. Each floor of the larger stores was a “department” like men’s clothing, women’s clothing, shoes, housewares, etc.

Around 1900 American department stores began selling cosmetics. It was such a high-profit item, it became a feature of the first floor of all department stores.

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

— Oscar Wilde

They considered men to be too timid to walk all through the store. Thus men’s departments were on the first floor. There were smoking rooms set off from everything else, so they wouldn’t “disturb” the ladies. 


Image of Garfinckel's Department Store Building--when shopping at a department store was an experience
image by AgnosticPreachersKid [CC BY-SA 4.0]

In My Soul to Keep Miranda makes her escape from Garfinckel’s Department store. Learn more about My Soul to Keep.

Garfinckel’s opened its first retail store in 1918 in Washington D.C. Known for its high fashion, it closed in the 1990s.

Have I visited Garinckel’s? Only virtually. You can learn a little more about Garfinckel’s here or here


Image of a former Lazarus in Philadelphia--when a department store was an experience
public domain image of a former Lazarus store in Philadelphia

After their escape from Redemption, Miranda and Beryl shop at a department store called Lazarus. 

F&R Lazarus & Company was founded in 1851. Commonly called, Lazarus, its headquarters were in Columbus, Ohio. It operated in the midwest until 2005. Learn more about Lazarus here and here.

A first reader laughed out loud at the name of the department store and thought I’d named it that for its Biblical association. Granted, the implications did occur to me, but the real reason I had them go to Lazarus? I lived in the Columbus, Ohio area in the ’60s and had visited the store more than once. 

Experience or Convenience?

Our department stores today are pale shadows of what they once were. Back when a trip to the department store was an experience, women loved to go to the store. Shopping was an added bonus. Somehow internet shopping, while convenient, doesn’t create an experience. Would you prefer a shopping experience or shopping convenience?

How to Find Your Inner Peace

Have recent political events raised your blood pressure? Perhaps it’s a work/boss/co-worker situation that sends you into the stratosphere. Family members know exactly which buttons will send you on the rampage. It can be exhausting. Don’t try to fight your way out. Find your inner peace.

What is Inner Peace?

It is a state of being. A state of freedom from emotional and mental stress. It’s an acceptance of the moment you are in right now. We all have the ability to be at peace, yet often we ignore or forget that ability in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

There are many, techniques for finding your inner peace. The study of zen, meditation, yoga, some do it by prayer. Choose the method that works best for you. But those techniques won’t bring inner peace if you haven’t done the work.

To achieve inner peace you must be intentional.

Image of hands cupped together & holding a lit candle, one way to find your inner peace

Know Your Self

Do you know what your core values are? Are you living a life that supports them? If not, why not?

What pushes your buttons, rattles your cage, or sets you off? Ask yourself why do I feel (mad, sad, hurt) about that until you get a truthful answer. (Hint: it’s usually not the first answer.) Then address that issue.

Once you’ve answered these questions and addressed those issues, you’ll find the button-pushers don’t set you off as easily, if at all. You’ll discover that you feel clearer and more intentional in all that you do.

This isn’t a once and done type of thing. As we learn and grow, you may refine your core values. You may address one set of things and discover a new hot button. Reassess as often as you need to.

Turn off the Adrenaline

Our society is hooked on adrenaline. Everything must happen quick-quick-quick. Every problem must be met with bigger-than-life emotion. But that adrenaline lifestyle is detrimental to your health. (See this Mayo Clinic article on chronic stress )

Give yourself permission to step away, slow down and rest. If you can’t take a day away from your responsibilities, take a break for five minutes a day for three days. Then, the next three days try ten minutes. Break out of the habit of all-day stress.

Let Go

The need to control everything is a product of fear and distrust. Trust yourself. You are strong and resilient. You know what you need. Let go of controlling things and listen to the inner you.

Let go of perfect. You know that isn’t life. Life is imperfect. It’s about change and growth.

And in life, no one is always right. Let go of the need to be right. The need to be right is a defense mechanism. It’s okay to be wrong sometimes. Learn from your mistakes. Work on open-mindedness, empathy, and humility.

Take Responsibility

There will always be obstacles in your life. From politicians making choices you vehemently dislike, to that one family member who will never pick up their things, to not having enough time or money to do what is necessary or desired. You can’t wait for a time of no obstacles to find your inner peace.

Your behavior is always your choice. Choose how you want to behave. Don’t let a knee-jerk response control you.

When you give your self-control over to anger or hurt, you give your obstacle power. Don’t give your obstacles all the power.

Find your inner peace, choose your behavior consciously. Speak and act with intention.


Acceptance does not mean that you accept what is a terrible situation. It means accepting yourself. Know that the only person you can change is yourself. Recognize that there are many things outside of your control. All you control is yourself.

Find Your Inner Peace

All around you can be chaos but you can maintain your inner peace. It takes a little work but you can do it.

Surround yourself with things and people that support your core values. Unplug from the chaos. Free yourself from the need to control, the need to be perfect, and the need to be right. Make intentional choices in your actions and speech. Accept yourself. It won’t be perfect, but you will find your inner peace. And from that place of inner peace and intention, you will have power over any obstacle you face.

41 Quotes About Reading

Reading is more than fundamental. Reading is a pastime, a learning tool, and a thinking tool. You’re reading this blog, so it’s a good guess that you are a reader. I hope you enjoy these 41 quotes about reading.

If you can read this, thank a teacher.

– Anonymous Teacher

If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.

– J.K. Rowling

You can tell a lot about a person by the book they’re carrying.

 Joseph Patrick Pascale

No two persons ever read the same book.

–Edmund Wilson

Never judge a book by its movie.

– J. W. Eagan

Quotes About Reading & the Mind

A bookstore is the only evidence we have that people are still thinking.

―Jerry Seinfield

Reading is the life-saving water for our minds. Drink pure words as much as you need and remain alive! 

― Munia Khan

A library is a hospital for the mind.

— Anonymous
Photo of rows of bookshelves in a library, part of 41 Quotes about reading

A library is thought in cold storage.

— Herbert Samuel

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it.

–Edward P. Morgan

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

– Joseph Addison

If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

–Haruki Murakami

Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.

– Jim Rohn

Quotes About Why We Read

I divide all readers into two classes; those who read to remember and those who read to forget.

–William Lyon Phelps
Image of woman on red sofa, reading a book.

We read to know that we are not alone.

–William Nicholson

A love of reading shows empathy, the desire to understand how others live or act or might act – and why.

–Celeste Ng

There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.

–Bertrand Russell

He that loves reading has everything within his reach.

–William Godwin

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.

–Mason Cooley

Reading allows me to recharge my batteries.

–Rahul Dravid 

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. 

—Kofi Annan

Quotes About Reading & Kids

Reading is a joy for my kids, and to swing in a hammock on a lazy summer day reading a good book just goes with summer.

—Marcia Gay Harden

Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.  

—Kate DiCamillo

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his needs, is good for him. 

—Maya Angelou

One of the greatest gifts adults can give—to their offspring and to their society—is to read to children.

—Carl Sagan

Quotes About Reading & Society

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.

–Joseph Brodsky

You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

– Ray Bradbury

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. 

—Vera Nazarian

The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.

–Mark Twain

Quotes about the Love of Reading

Books are a uniquely portable magic. – Stephen King

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.

–Neil Gaiman

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.  

—Abraham Lincoln

A book is a gift you can open again and again.

– Garrison Keillor

Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.

– Louis L’Amour

Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.

– Diane Duane

A house without books is like a room without windows. 

—Heinrich Mann

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. 

—Edmund Burke

There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.  

—Maurice Sendak

Reading is a form of prayer, a guided meditation that briefly makes us believe we’re someone else, disrupting the delusion that we’re permanent and at the center of the universe. Suddenly (we’re saved!) other people are real again, and we’re fond of them.

—George Saunders

If you enjoyed these quotes you might enjoy brainyquote.com or the quotes on goodreads.com.

Thanks for reading quotes about my favorite pastime. Were any of the 41 quotes about reading your favorites? Do you have a favorite one I missed?