Missing A Department Store Christmas

Paula Marantz Cohen laments a lost culture of shopping:

The waning of department store culture entails a loss of beauty. That bygone experience, no matter its gender oppressiveness or its health hazards, was an esthetic one. Not just the product counted, but the experience of buying it; not just the ends, but the means. Everything contributed from the color-coordinated restaurants and swankily snooty hair salons to the changing rooms with triptych mirrors and upholstered armchairs. I can still whiff the inimitable mix of cigarette smoke and Chanel #5 that wafted through the aisles, still recall the comforts of fawning saleswomen, still hear the spike heels clicking down the polished aisles and see the long red fingernails tapping on the glass counters. Gone is the sense that going to a department store was a peek into a magical woman’s world.

I really need a Lileks-style illustration for this, don't I? The essay is a lovely one, marred only by a reflexive blaming of the hippies. I'd say "cigarette smoke and Chanel #5" is a close match in the ugh department for patchouli and B.O.