video: h&m store opening

It’s 40 degrees outside on November 11th, 2010,  and I can hear the crowds before I see them. They chant, “H&M! H&M” methodically as if to a prompter. I round the bend and see barriers holding back flailing teens – is Justin Bieber here? Confused tourists and passerby look around in bewildered states and wonder what the fuss is about.

The line wraps completely around the block and disappears. Every time I think I discover the end of the line, I am directed further and further back, an entire 6 city block lengths before the true end of the line. Some people have been waiting here since the night before at 10 or 11pm; while others hoped for a decent place in line at 6am. I show up an hour before the 12 noon opening and think I’m doing well! There is more H&M chanting at the entrance and loud hip hop music coming from an unknown origin.

The countdown to the door opening at noon is dramatic: the crowds funnel into the shiny new space, and the line moves forward for about five minutes before coming back to a screeching halt. As I figured, the store has already reached capacity. I move the length of one block every 20-25 minutes and wonder if I will ever get in. After another hour in line, I still have not gotten inside! I abandon the wait and the hunt for cheap clothes so that I can go to work. I will be back, and maybe I will actually buy something If they didn’t already run out of every item in the store!

H&M at Pioneer Place
700 SW Fifth Avenue
Portland, OR
(503) 228-5800


2 thoughts on “video: h&m store opening

    • I think the H&M consumer is searching for an “of the moment” fashionable bargain, saving their more expensive purchases for timeless pieces such as a well-made coat or pair of shoes at a local Portland boutique. This approach can be more economical for the trendy shopper! While I am aware that chains take money away from the local shops, this one is a rare exception in my book. And come on, who DOESN’T love H&M?

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