Surviving the opening of H&M Pacific Centre

After attending the opening of the H&M flagship Vancouver store at Pacific Centre tonight, it's clear that Vancouverites are hungry for their clothes.

While I was out at dinner, a friend called to warn me the lineup for the special preview opening was all the way down the block.

After heading over later, the lineup was still fairly long but moving fast.

The same, unfortunately, couldn't be said of the crowd inside.

Housed in the former Holt Renfrew location, I always liked the sense of intimacy that the series of small chambers created. H&M seems to have retained the semblance of that layout for the most part.

There are two floors. A large portion is devoted to women's clothing, including accessories, swimwear, and lingerie. The entire first floor is devoted to women. The men's clothing, on the second floor, is smaller by comparison. There are also sections for children and babies on the second floor.

Unfortunately, it's not conducive to housing a massive crowd filled with dazed-eyed wanderers or aggressively rude goal-oriented shoppinistas.

I ran into fellow Straight staffer Pieta Woolley. We both agreed things were overwhelming: the crowd, the thumping club music, the noise, the clothes, the delicious-looking hors d'oeuvres, the drinks. And every now and then, the sound of glass shattering on the floor. Where to look? What to buy? Where did my friend go? Do I need to call 911? Or should I just strike a pose?

It was kind of like being at an amusement park during high season. Total sensory overload.

I went with a friend from Montreal, and there were other friends there in the crowd, but I spent over half an hour fruitlessly searching for any of them.

I ended up not buying anything. The huge lineups for both the change rooms and the cashiers were insane. There wasn't anything that really struck my fancy. If you're in the need for basics, it's a good source.

I felt sorry for the employees—talk about stress.

It certainly was a far cry from the relatively calm event that the Coquitlam H&M opening was.

Undoubtedly, the store will do well. But after seeing what sale-happy crowds are like in there, I think it's not one I'm going to hit on Boxing Day.



Pieta Woolley

May 27, 2008 at 1:23pm

H&M - okay, I went back on Sunday, and it was still a zoo!

So far, I haven't had the fortitude to actually try on or buy anything. Soon, soon.