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I’m dismayed

Nordstrom benching its piano players

Nordstrom has announced it plans to discontinue the tradition of live piano music starting next year. The company claims most customers prefer the piped-in contemporary music to the classic jazzy tunes played live on a baby grand.


I, for one, am shocked that Nordstrom has decided to do this. For me, live piano playing is the hallmark of the Nordstrom brand. Without it, I might as well shop at Macy's.

I have questions for Nordstrom:

First, I would like to know where and how you received this customer "intelligence": Customer surveys? Focus groups? Video-surveilled customer tracking (another wonderful detail in the brave new world of offline shopping)?

Second, I wonder whether your best and most loyal in-store customers have been polled on the subject. I will bet that the vast majority will be disappointed, if not outright shocked.

Third, I wonder if your $15.00 per hour pianists are simply scapegoats for Nordstrom's less than stellar financial projections going forward. Benching your "piano men" is not going to help existing customer dissatisfaction. How much are you saving here in exchange for silencing a wonderful tradition?

This move signals the further decline of the department store as an experience to be savored and lingered over. Shopping becomes less of a social experience and just another chore to be gotten through, like flying coach.

Please rethink your new policy, which will throw many talented musicians out of work and end a unique tradition. Stop listening to your high-priced retail analysts and start listening to your customers (like me).
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