It's a miracle on 34th Street for Irish shoppers at Macy's in New York
Shoppers flee Irish recession to shop til they drop in Macy's
Walk through Macy’s and you can spot or hear them from yards away. They are usually hustling excitedly around the Guess bags, or chattering in the Tommy Hilfiger section.
They are in groups of two or three, usually laughing, and calling each other over to do rough dollar to Euro conversions. Upon discovery of the conversion, they squeal in delight and express disbelief.
They are the Irish shoppers in New York City. In the height of the Celtic Tiger boom it was once reported that one-third of the shoppers in Macy’s around this time of year were Irish.
Although not represented quite as well this year, the Irish are still holding their own in Macys, and in New York City.
The Irish Voice caught up with some Irish shoppers in Macy’s in Herald Square on Monday, and while not too thrilled to be interrupted during their shopping binge, they were happy to have a quick chat.
KerryLee Hampenstall and Tracy Byrne, best friends from Dublin, got off the plane an hour before setting foot in Macys. Looking fresh after a seven-hour flight, the ladies are in New York with their daughters for shopping purposes only. They both have a budget of approximately $1,000 for shopping.
“And my husband’s credit card!,” laughs Tracy.
Both KerryLee and Tracey have been to New York before, but it is their daughters’ first time. “They have a budget of around $3,000,” says Tracey. “They want to get Tiffany bracelets, Mac make-up, Ugg boots, and Guess bags.”
How do the prices compare to home? “No comparison,” they say in unison.
“For example, the Guess bags here are less than half the price of the ones at home, and they are the up to date ones. Tommy Hilfiger jeans that I got here for $40 are €190 in Dundrum Shopping Center. The exact same ones!” exclaims KerryLee.
“It works out the same price as getting clothes at home, but we include a holiday as well,” says Tracy.
The ladies treated their daughters to a limo ride from JFK Airport, as it was their first time here. “The driver opened the roof for them to stand up going through Times Square. They just kept saying, ‘Oh my God,’” laughed Tracey.
Do they feel guilty going to New York shopping when there is a recession at home, and critics may blast them for spending their money in another economy?
“Not at all,” says KerryLee. “If the government didn’t tax things so heavily they would make more money because people would buy at home.
“We’re paying decent taxes. I feel that the government are getting their chunk out of me way or another”.
KerryLee was looking for a Juicy Couture handbag for her daughter, who lives in Australia.
“A big Juicy bag here is the same price as a small wallet in Ireland. Even by the time I pay for shipping to Australia it still works out cheaper.”
They head off on the hunt for the bag in question. In two hours they would leave for Jersey Gardens outlet mall in New Jersey.
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