Generally, I avoid enclosed retail compounds, at least partly because of some as-yet-undiagnosed phobia, but mostly because what I’m looking for can usually be had elsewhere, perhaps at a slightly lower price. Still, I wound up at Penn Square today, mostly because the Foley’s signs have come down and the Macy’s signs have gone up, and I was curious to see if the store looked any different under its new branding.
The answer, apparently, is “Sort of.” There seems to be slightly less clutter, fewer displays sticking into the aisles, and there are areas of the floor where you can tell something used to be there and was taken away. Still, the market positioning — upscale, but not that upscale — remains much as it was. And there is logic behind this, I suppose: on the lower level of the mall near the Macy’s entrance, the local Mercedes store has parked a red C230, the bottom of the US Benz line, which practically defines that position, inasmuch as for about the same money you can pick up a top-line Hyundai with more space, more features, and a complete lack of gotta-have-it factor.
My actual shopping, I should note, was done in faraway Edmond, at another unlikely venue: Spring Creek Village, where I dropped in at the New Balance store, of which there are only two in the state. (The other is at Tulsa’s Utica Square, which seeks similarly-bucks-up customers.) Being a Target kind of person at best, I don’t normally feel 100 percent in venues like this, but I reasoned that I stood a better chance of finding what I wanted, which was a close approximation to my old-and-busted NB 572s, at an actual company store.
What I came away with was the 925, which seems to have been just discontinued in favor of the similar 926. It’s much like the 572, with a better-grade upper and more of a support system below. And, mirabile dictu, they had it in a 14 wide. I will, of course, keep these guys in mind when it’s time to replace my 587s. While I have a certain psychological resistance to paying a hundred bucks for a pair of shoes, the NBs I’ve bought have shown surprising durability, considering the minor detail that they have to haul me around, and I figure, for the 2½ years I expect these to last — I got nearly three out of the 572s — that’s a fairly-insignificant three dollars and change a month. (I have one other pair of NBs, a semi-dressy loafer whose number I forget, but given the number of times I do things that demand dressiness, they will likely outlast me.)
Spring Creek Village, incidentally, is very nice, decidedly low-key, and for me anyway, a more pleasant experience than any of the Big Malls, despite its lower concentration of bored young women in abbreviated costumes. (Note to Oklahoma City movers and/or shakers: You need a cluster like this if you expect to continue to compete with the ‘burbs for serious retail dollars, and slapping something down amid the clutter on Memorial Road isn’t going to do the job.)
Lowest gas price seen today: $2.169 (!) for regular unleaded, at 63rd and Meridian.