"....octagonal plates and silver domes....conceal the minute portions of food in snooty restaurants run by egomaniac chefs." - John MortimerThe BuffNews reported this week that Pitt Petri - a purveyor of expensive gifts and tableware was closing after 87 years. Several reasons were cited, including the lack of foot traffic these days at the original location and the financial hit the Williamsville store took when Tiffany's ceased working with local merchants.
It's kind of ironic as a day or two before we were discussing with the girls what locally owned Department Stores were like.
I have to be honest, when I stopped in there it was just to browse - the stuff was primarily overpriced tchotchkes. I once had a gift certificate (it may have been a store credit for a gift I returned) and I couldn't find anything. I ended up buying a couple of cigar accoutrements, and spent the balance on a couple of tubes of Wenol metal polish.
Look at it this way, I have two sets of fine crystal - one from my Mommy and one from my Mom (no it's not weird. Mommy is my Mother, she died when I was 13. Mom has been my Mom for almost 40 years since). We don't use them - I just don't want even one to break (if you look close you can see we don't clean them often either). The real problem is that they are just not me (or us). I am just as happy with the 12 for $10 glasses from Linens n Things, and dishes from there too. Also platters from the Buffalo China "seconds" sale.
It's just an observation, with no empirical evidence. Beginning with my generation, and increasing with successive generations, interest in much of what PP sold is waning. People have far less tendency to spend money on tableware that is only used a couple of times a year, or to invest the time to do things like polish silver.
It's not that they don't spend on luxuries, it's just that the luxuries have changed: iPad's and flat panel TV's, Wii's or Xbox's, shoes and clothing and better foodstuffs.
This, I think is the real explanation for the end of PP. The local Department Stores fell victim to national chains, which are now becoming victim to Superstores. PP though fell victim to evolving tastes and desires.