does Macy's tell Gimbel's

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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.

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.