a little and a lot

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Debacle

I listen to NPR almost daily during my short commute to and from work. You may want to make fun of me, but I don't care, because it has interesting stories about current events around the world, which make me feel smart.

The word "debacle" was used the other day during an interview (with JetBlue's CEO of course) and I have been thinking about what a terrific word it is. It has a nice ring to it. And, being a fairly dramatic person, I like the extreme drama of "debacle," which means "a sudden and ignominious failure; a fiasco." It is quite frustrating when a dictionary uses another "dictionary-worthy" word as part of its definition. Geez. So in case you're wondering, "ignominious" means "deserving or causing public disgrace or shame."

Pondering the word "debacle" caused me also to ponder recent incidents that are as follows:

1. Not too long ago, an outdoor mall opened up in Collierville (east of Memphis). I was pleased to learn that a Parisians was going into the mall. Being that I absolutely hate department stores, it is a big deal when I tell you that I really love Parisians' shoe department. They always have the best shoe selection and sales and, most endearing to me, really cute styles and colors of Merrells. So I was disappointed to hear that Parisians had not "made it" in Memphis and their sole location at the Collierville mall was closing.

As an aside, let me just say that while I love living in Memphis and admire its charms, something that can be seen as a strength AND a weakness is the way Memphians are so dadgum loyal to "Memphis" establishments or businesses. A few years ago, Macy's bought out a Memphis department chain called "Goldsmiths." You would have thought the world was ending, the way women carried on about the big bad corporate Macy's sign going up. The store didn't change...just the name! Jeepers, people! It is for this reason that I believe Parisians couldn't make it. "Parisians? What is Parisians?" the public scorned, "I like my Dillards/Goldsmith's (there's no way I'm calling it by that new disgraceful name!) just fine!" Well, I'll tell you where that attitude led...to a Parisians debacle, that's where! The store was hardly open for a year before it was forced to close. (Others may argue that the remote eastern location was difficult for the public to access, but I maintain my opinion that some people just "like what they like." Let the debating begin, fellow Memphians!)

So back to the story...Nick and I meandered over to Collierville just for fun last weekend and were surprised to find Parisians still open (as the closing had been announced months ago). We entered out of sheer curiosity and were shocked to find a HUGE store that was nearly empty! Racks of clothes that were discounted 70-90% off were sitting in small sections, but aside from that, all you could see was large, white space. All the jewelry and makeup counters were barren. The shoe department looked like a furniture store...empty bookcases, couches, and coffee tables just sitting there. The strangest sight was upstairs...entire sections of the room filled with bare, disassembled manequins all grouped together by type. It looked like "Attack of the Clones." (The picture does not do the experience justice.)

That, my friends, was a debacle. A real, live debacle.

2. Speaking of such, the Memphis' Eyewitness News, which we LOVE to watch just for the laughs, see one of Nick's previous posts here) led with this tag line for the now-notorious debacle of the week:

"Oops, she did it herself..."


3. This is not a debacle, but noteworthy, nonetheless, look what we saw last night when watching one of our TV shows:

Who knew? (To my knowledge, it was a one-time deal.)


Blessed said...


So glad to see a new post. I couldn't decide if the sundae was making me hungry or sick. I am trying hard to pass the time, so blogging is at the top of my list!

I am very sad about the closing of Parisian. I loved shopping there in Nashvile, and was more than thrilled when they came here! I, too, loved their shoe department. It was the best! I went a few weeks ago, but they were pretty much cleared out then, too! :(

Tesney said...

Parisian is my fav store. I grew up on Parisian since it's an Alabama-based store, so I'm one of those loyal people who can't stand that it recently sold to Belk...ugh. Belk...what a crappy name. It's been a fiasco or debacle or whatever neat word you want to use for "uproar" since they sold. People are literally protesting; and I have to admit I thought about joining them.

Ashley @ pure and lovely said...

ha! how interesting! my face is the news thing on Nicks. hilarious. and Im sure the manequin thing was just creepy. thats sad ab the businesses, but i can see how memphians would be for it. manequins scareme.

Jesse Faris said...

I did NOT know they were bought out by Belks. The whole chain? Are you serious? I could never envision a Belks being as nice as Parisians' shoe department. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Link to the story:
Yep, all of them. Although all the ones I frequent are still operating under the Parisian name. Not sure when they will all change, but I know a few have made the switch already. I know, the shoe department rocks. I'll be sad when they go. WAH!

Julie said...

I love your blog. Love it so much.

I am sure that Lost will start to suck even more now. I think 6 degrees got cancelled...just what JJ needs...another project to take him away from other ones he started.

Brooke said...

i am impressed that you found that screencap of the JJ Abrams thing. Wow.

also i solumnly swear that my blog will not be solely mommy posts... at least until I actually am one. :)

Unknown said...

That was a really filling post, Jesse. Deeelicious.

NPR taught me the haughty way to pronounce "neanderthal." You may already know this, but to sound supersmart, you say it this way: nayandertall. Go forth and impress.

Ashley said...

Yes Belk stinks- they bought Proffit's (Knoxville's department store) too- so now we have a belk and a belk disguising itself as a parisian- Maybe we should look into those antitrust laws and see if we can get them!

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry jesse, but i have to admit i'm one of those memphians who love all things memphis. i was sad to see the goldsmith's sign come down, and yes, i still call it goldsmith's. no other corky's in another city will taste like ours. the list goes on... but, i am open to new things coming (loved parisians). does that make me a halfway decent person? love the old and the new as long as no one gets hurt?

lee said...

This is so odd--only in our family would you write about finding a store full of mannequins and the next day your youngest brother calls and asks if I know where he can find a mannequin for a photo project.

How about the two of you talk?

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