It's no secret that J. C. Penney's (or as the kids say, JCP) is my favorite store. I've defended it in many a blog post, incorporated its clothes into countless outfits, and clipped its coupons for more than a decade. So, I was burning to find out what was behind all this menacing ad campaign hoopla. After skimming several online articles I learned that a new CEO, Ron Johnson, takes the helm of the 110-year-old department store on February 1 (today!), and that he's giving it a facelift. Which means that he's doing away with sales and coupons. That's right. No more get $10 off of a $25 purchase, no more scratch-off sales, no more friends and family discounts. (Only the JCP Rewards program, which grants charge customers $10 gift certificates for each $250 spent, will remain in effect.) Instead, all merchandise will be sold at the everyday low price of 40% off. What's more, the store's signature "messy" clearance racks and sale posters will be eradiated from its landscape.
I took the news ambivalently. There's something exciting about such an overhaul. Yet like most people, I fear change. (And I had a real soft spot for those unkempt rounders.) The questions that plague me are endless. Without my trusty coupons, will I ever again know the thrill of snagging a top for just $4.99? Will my delirious coupon-deprived state drive me to recklessly rack up charge transactions just for the high of scoring $10 rewards? Will the allure of the JCP shopping experience languish without a diet of coupons, revealing ostensibly wonderful finds to be merely sort of cute once stripped of their on-sale splendor?
Fortunately, I am in close contact with someone who infiltrated JCP's ranks earlier this week. According to this source, the store had already undergone a transformation and was noticeably sparser. However, even without JCP's time-honored sales and coupons, the 40% off prices remained affordable. Although I am grateful for this information, I will, of course, need to conduct my own investigation and report my purchases, er findings, accordingly.