The Eatons: The rise and fall of Canada's royal family Hardcover – Jun 1998
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In this unauthorized corporate history, financial journalist Rod McQueen describes the rise and fall of the EatonÕs department store empire and what really happened to the family behind the throne.Ê
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Top Customer Reviews
At 'Grace Brothers' the counter clerks were superb, the floor walker was properly pompous but utterly decent, the supervisors clueless and the store owners were totally befuddled but always wonderful. It was fiction, it was funny. Had been set in Canada, it would have been 'The Eaton's.'
Instead, this superb book is available. It bears out Marx's observation that all history appears twice, "the first time as tragedy, the second as farce." McQueen has written the tragedy, hopefully some clever Canadian comedian is now writing the comedy.
So, what does a Canadian book about an unknown department store offer American readers? It's the painful story of how a family can totally ruin a revered national institution through their own hubris, arrogance, indifference and plain ignorance. I've seen it happen in some businesses within two generations; the Eaton family was more typical in that it took four generations.
The lesson is that times change. In 1870, when Eaton's was just starting, store goods were sometimes expensive, shoddy and unsuitable and unreliable. Timothy Eaton realized the most important guarantee for a customer was five words, "Goods satisfactory or money refunded." Today, most consumer goods have consistent quality, guarantees are almost automatic and customers look for something different -- price.
It's why Wal-Mart succeeds; its stores are big charmless boxes with indifferent clerks and mass anonymity. But the attraction is a reputation for low prices.Read more ›
The Eaton's: The Rise and Fall of Canada's Royal Family chronicles the story of Eaton's from successful beginning, to tragic end, focusing mainly on what the private, and yet public family was like.
To Americans, this book will really give a story of Canada's own enormously wealthy family, and how they lived. We aren't just a country full of beavers and "EH"'s.
If you know nothing about this amazing store and family, or you know much, but want to learn more, this Great Book is definetely a must have.
That is the type of hubris Rod McQueen depicts in his book about the rise and fall of Eaton's, Canada's famous chain of department stores. The four brothers who ultimately presided over the store's demise were cut from the same cloth as that long-ago Nicolas.
McQueen's book excels at guiding the reader through the financial sleights of hand performed by the various companies owned by the Eatons while the store itself marched toward its relentless demise. The author does not draw an appealing portrait of the Eatons, and most people would not dispute this depiction. However, his contempt is so blatant it detracts from what should be a more balanced account. He chides Eaton's for being slow to hire French-speaking staff in Quebec, but I lived in Montreal during the 'sixties and I recall that their catalogue order takers spoke English with a thick francophone accent. McQueen correctly shows the family coping with financial woes through excessive staff cutbacks starting in the 'seventies, but he fails to mention that this was a national phenomenon of the day, and applied to The Bay and other large stores as well. Thus began the rise of the small boutique.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The history of the Eaton company was very interesting reading for a Canadian. However, the book was written in 1998 ( which I failed to realize), so the story ends a year before... Read morePublished 15 months ago by billy brook
Most books about the rise & fall of a great family business can depend upon the family in question being interesting and even gossip-worthy. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2010 by Shemogue
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