Well, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has done it again. This time their winning series is Mr. Selfridge, the story of the rise and fall of Harry Gordon Selfridge, American merchant extraordinaire.
And although Selfridge began his career in Chicago at Marshall Field, it was in London that he won lasting fame as the founder of Selfridges Department Store. Within its elegant walls, he redefined the shopping experience from one of merely purchasing an item into an exciting and singular experience.
He was the first to connect celebrities to in-store product promotion. He created such lasting marketing phrases as “Only XX days left ‘til Christmas” and “The customer is always right”. He blended dining, relaxation and style into a new form of client interaction that still affects our world today.
When a restaurant trains their wait staff to be informative rather than aggressive, they can thank Selfridge for establishing that prescient. When diners are aware of (and expecting to enjoy) exotic ingredients from around the world, again it was Selfridge who first suggested such items should be offered to shoppers along with the traditionally expected.
Based on Lindy Woodhead’s book, Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge (not excluding, of course, Selfridge’s own text, The Romance of Commerce), the new series traces Selfridge raise to the heights of Edwardian society (complete with his very own castle) to the sadder days of the Great Depression and World War II.
Definitely a must-watch series, Mr. Selfridge offers a glimpse into the mind of a brilliant, yet very human, man whose courage and creativity still inspires us today, right down to the phrase, “How may we serve you?”
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2013