does Macy's tell Gimbel's

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English[edit]

Proverb[edit]

Does Macy's tell Gimbel's?

  1. (US, dated, colloquial, rhetorical question) A rhetorical question with the implied answer being that competitors do not share business secrets with one another.
    • 1941 January 21, The Washington Post, pg. 22:
      The "Does Macy's tell Gimbel's?" gag has been a standard one in New York for many years. It was somewhat shattered last night at the Copacabana, when two young couples were seated at a ringside table and conversed at great length...."Well, Macy's may not tell Gimbel's," said one of the young men, "But Bloomingdale's does."
    • 1946 January 11, The New York Times, pg. 24:
      In other words the older circuit will give the Johnny-come-lately as little help and comfort as it can. After all, does Macy's tell Gimbel's?
    • 1947 June 5, The New York Times, pg. 32:
      ...As a lesson in merchandising, not only store products, but good-will, this "Miracle on 34th Street" is a dandy. Does Macy's tell Gimbel's? It should!
    • 1966 January 7, Hogan's Heroes:
      Col. Hogan (to Col. Klink) Does Macy tell Gimbel?

Usage notes[edit]

  • Popular from the 1930s into the 1960s. Now used chiefly among older people. Macy's and Gimbel's were popular department stores located within two blocks of one another in Midtown Manhattan in New York City; the latter store is now defunct.