Visitor's request puts reputation of flagship to a test

September 06, 1992|By Michael Dresser

SEATTLE -- A visitor in this city, hearing story after story about the Nordstrom department store chain's service beyond the call of duty, decided to put it to the test.

On a recent Saturday, he wandered through the downtown Nordstrom store, making small purchases in several departments on different floors.

After making each purchase, he asked the salesperson to hold the merchandise behind the counter until he returned to pick it up Tuesday, telling them he preferred not to carry it around.

In each department, the salesperson cheerfully agreed to the request. At no point did the shopper identify himself as a reporter.

Late Monday afternoon, he called Linda Deal, a particularly engaging sales associate in the men's sportswear department, and presented a preposterously unreasonable request.

His plans had changed, he said, and he now had to leave Seattle early Tuesday morning, before the store opened. On top of that, he had meetings Monday evening and would be unable to come by the store.

Could somebody please, he implored, go around to the various departments, collect the merchandise and deliver it all to his downtown hotel? That evening?

About three hours later, there it was at the front desk, along with a note on the back of a business card:

"Have a great trip. Please come to Nordstrom when you are in town again! Thanks, Linda Deal."

Nordstrom had passed.

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