Link Copied

We went to Barneys right after liquidation sales began and saw the measly discounts that have prompted complaints from shoppers

The Barneys flagship on Madison Avenue is one of the company's seven remaining stores and also one of its most iconic, serving as a cultural touchpoint in beloved television series like "Sex and the City" and "Friends."

The Barneys flagship on Madison Avenue is one of the company's seven remaining stores and also one of its most iconic, serving as a cultural touchpoint in beloved television series like "Sex and the City" and "Friends."

The store is expected to be fully liquidated and shuttered by the end of 2019.

Share Slide

As we approached, we spotted bright red and yellow sale signs in the windows, with the cheeky statement "goodbuys before goodbyes."

As we approached, we spotted bright red and yellow sale signs in the windows, with the cheeky statement "goodbuys before goodbyes."

"Barneys is a cultural institution synonymous with high-end fashion, creative style and grace," Scott Carpenter — president of retail solutions at Great American Group, the company overseeing the liquidation sale — said in a press release. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for its most loyal customers to buy items that rarely go on sale at markdown prices."

Share Slide

We also saw this sign alerting passersby that everything must be sold.

We also saw this sign alerting passersby that everything must be sold.
Share Slide

Once inside, we were immediately struck by just how minimal the sales actually were. $2,137 down from $2,250 ... what a steal?

Once inside, we were immediately struck by just how minimal the sales actually were. $2,137 down from $2,250 ... what a steal?

In the student-run blog NYU Local, writer Izzie Ramirez referred to the liquidation as a "fake sale," pointing out some of the most expensive items and their marginal corresponding discounts — including a $39,350 crocodile skin bag, on sale for $37,382.50.

Share Slide

Not much of a bargain here, either.

Not much of a bargain here, either.
Share Slide

Though Barneys had clearly worked to maintain a luxurious veneer even as it liquidates, we saw a few signs of disarray, like this this pile of sales tags.

Though Barneys had clearly worked to maintain a luxurious veneer even as it liquidates, we saw a few signs of disarray, like this this pile of sales tags.
Share Slide

In the handbag section, we saw this Burberry fanny pack available at a 5% discount.

In the handbag section, we saw this Burberry fanny pack available at a 5% discount.
Share Slide

So many posh bags, such small discounts.

So many posh bags, such small discounts.
Share Slide

We noticed that many of the sales tags were completely blank, leaving shoppers to guess at the discount.

We noticed that many of the sales tags were completely blank, leaving shoppers to guess at the discount.
Share Slide

Up in women's apparel, we found even more blank tags, including this one stuck to a rogue bag positioned among miscellaneous shoes missing their counterparts.

Up in women's apparel, we found even more blank tags, including this one stuck to a rogue bag positioned among miscellaneous shoes missing their counterparts.
Share Slide

Blank tags galore.

Blank tags galore.
Share Slide

There was not a sales sign in sight on the lower level, home to beauty products, cosmetics, and fragrances.

There was not a sales sign in sight on the lower level, home to beauty products, cosmetics, and fragrances.
Share Slide

Eventually we had to ask if products on this floor were on sale at all, and we learned that everything except for LVMH-owned cosmetics was 5% off.

Eventually we had to ask if products on this floor were on sale at all, and we learned that everything except for LVMH-owned cosmetics was 5% off.
Share Slide

On other floors, we continued to find more generic sales signs on the floor, but no further details on discounts.

On other floors, we continued to find more generic sales signs on the floor, but no further details on discounts.
Share Slide

Some areas were slightly more organized and informative, like this area that clearly denoted a rack as 10% off ...

Some areas were slightly more organized and informative, like this area that clearly denoted a rack as 10% off ...
Share Slide

... and this section.

... and this section.
Share Slide

As we wandered through the store, we spotted more signs of demise including boxes of hangers and messy displays on the floor.

As we wandered through the store, we spotted more signs of demise including boxes of hangers and messy displays on the floor.
Share Slide

There were also products missing from certain areas, including a lost boot from this display in the shoe department.

There were also products missing from certain areas, including a lost boot from this display in the shoe department.
Share Slide

Similar to the beauty department, the outerwear section showed no demarcation of sales or liquidation, which was confusing.

Similar to the beauty department, the outerwear section showed no demarcation of sales or liquidation, which was confusing.
Share Slide

The same was true for women's contemporary apparel.

The same was true for women's contemporary apparel.
Share Slide

Aside from this sign, we had no idea which sales were taking place in the men's department.

Aside from this sign, we had no idea which sales were taking place in the men's department.
Share Slide

Other sections were just seemingly marked down at random and used inconsistent signage ...

Other sections were just seemingly marked down at random and used inconsistent signage ...
Share Slide

... like this pile of fur hats.

... like this pile of fur hats.
Share Slide

Household goods and decor, located next to Fred's restaurant on the top floor, was among the most busy areas.

Household goods and decor, located next to Fred's restaurant on the top floor, was among the most busy areas.
Share Slide

That was perhaps because it was clear that the entire floor was 10% off — no room for confusion.

That was perhaps because it was clear that the entire floor was 10% off — no room for confusion.
Share Slide

Here were some more discounted home goods.

Here were some more discounted home goods.
Share Slide

We left without buying anything because even at 5% off, it was just too expensive. But we can't deny it's truly the end of an era.

We left without buying anything because even at 5% off, it was just too expensive. But we can't deny it's truly the end of an era.
Share Slide
More from our Partners