The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Now that they have more disposable income, I wanted to get their take on the re-launched Zellers and how the shopping experience compares to what it was like over 30 years ago.
My mom was pretty excited about the outing as she was actually looking for a new frying pan, but my dad decided to opt out after discovering there were no golf items or tools for sale (#dad).
A corner shelf.
My mom's first issue was that the Zellers is "too nice," and while at first I found that confusing, I can see what she means.
I expected Zellers to have more of a Walmart feel, but since it's located inside HBC it looks and feels like an "upscale department store," according to my mom, which sort of creates a disconnect about being somewhere bougie while looking for bargains.
In fact, as we were going through the department store to get to Zellers, it felt kind of weird to be walking between the Chanel and Balenciaga items on our quest to find a reasonably priced frying pan.
It just made me feel like I was in the wrong place to be searching for cheap products given that some of the other items around us cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
A set of pink dishware.
Another factor that detracts from the overall experience is the lack of selection, according to my mother.
"It was like, compact," Mom said of the old Zellers. "There was a lot of merchandise, there was a lot of things you can buy."
While there is a decent amount of merchandise at the new Zellers, the options are definitely limited given that the store takes up just a fraction of the space HBC has.
It reminded me a bit of Joe Fresh in that the items that are in stock are nice and seem to be of good quality, but with limited variety to choose from, it's a little boring.
A Zellers sign.
We both agreed that the prices were reasonable, but quite honestly, you can get the same thing at Walmart or Dollarama where you'll find more selection in products as well as a greater range of items, like groceries and home electronics.
In fact, while we were browsing, I heard people making similar comments while looking at a display of cooking utensils.
"I saw these at the dollar store," one woman said while looking at spoons. "They might break after a year, but they're still a dollar."
A Zellers poster.
"The old Zellers was definitely geared toward middle-income, low-income immigrants," said my mom, which is what she was hoping the new experience would be like.
Despite the relatively good prices, the lack of selection and the fancy vibes just didn't do it for her, and I'd have to agree — it was a fun afternoon and we ended up buying a wok for $49 — but I won't be going back anytime soon.
"Not the Zellers I was expecting," Mom concluded.
If you're feeling nostalgic, it's definitely worth a visit — but if you don't have any strong feelings toward it, Mom and I suggest y'all hit up Dollarama instead!
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.