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A Consumer's Perspective: Nordstrom Rack

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Yeah, not quite Rodeo Drive.
Some of us here at the Daily RFT have a very hard time resisting dresses, shiny things or the possibility of a serious deal on shoes. So, strictly for research purposes, we grabbed a girlfriend and checked out the new Nordstrom Rack in Brentwood Square this weekend.

Not from the strictly-business perspective Chad Garrison brought us last week. No no. This had a lot more to do with straightforward lust for couture.
Just after noon Saturday, we descended into the maelstrom. It wasn't quite the velvet-roped stampede that greeted the store's opening on Thursday, but it was fairly insane. Your correspondent very nearly got mowed over by an old man in the parking lot.

Once inside, we were reminded of the layout of many a discount store, like Marshall's or TJ Maxx. Racks toward the front in the jewelry selection had an okay selection of jewelry from Betsey Johnson and Harajuku Lovers. Both those lines tend to be well overpriced for what they are, so the deep discounts had the baubles approaching reasonable pricing.

Deeper inside, the dress section had some good finds, like a MICHAEL Michael Kors sheath dress in a watercolor print. (Not wanting to tackle the obscene fitting room line, your correspondent bought it in two sizes close to her own, neither of which actually fit well enough to keep. Dammit.) Tons of premium denim, too, if you're into that.

Nordstrom has always had a fantastic reputation for shoes, and the seconds here at the Rack didn't disappoint. There were decent running shoes, as well as funky peep-toes by Poetic License, gorgeous snobby-statement-making Coach Mary Janes and gladiator heels by Diane von Furstenberg. The only sour note was that the aisles in the shoe section were too narrow by half at least.

Again like other discount retailers, Nordstrom Rack has a nice selection of cosmetics and beauty products. There were plenty of Stila eyeshadows and lip glosses, StriVectin skincare stuff and -- the best bargain we found -- a gigantic bottle of Neutrogena body lotion.

The checkout line seemed utterly daunting. It looped halfway back through the store, with a patient and cheery employee wrangling the queue and planting a big red flag to indicate the end of the line. Another herder greeted customers at the beginning of the warren of registers, and cashiers twirled bright flags when they finished a transaction. "Go ahead to the green flag!" It was among the fastest and most efficient long lines we've ever been in.

Overall: if you're energized by hordes of every sort of bargain seeker, from overtanned sweatpants-and-flip-flops undergrads to a tiny and painfully chic 8-year-old in a hat and coat that might make Tavi Gevinson weep, check it out now and don't be too discouraged by the lines. If not, wait until after the end-of-year holidays for your fix, if at all.

There are definitely bargains to be had, but we didn't find anything too mind-blowing. It definitely has the fun treasure-hunt feeling of the best of its kind, and is probably worth frequent visits for real deal-hounds.

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