Thursday, 27 December 2007

For All Those Considering an Excursion to the January Sales...

SALE NOW ON! Myself and a friend braved the crowds and headed to Brent Cross for a jaunt around the shops yesterday; a mission that was both futile and time consuming even to the most hardcore of shoppers.

I'm going to let you in on a secret. It'll save you time, effort and money...ready, you little scamps? My little possums in search of a finely honed gem of information? Here goes. Sales shopping just isn't worth it unless you know something that you had your eye on before the sales, is going to be reduced massively. Think big designer names; those Dior shoes you've had your eye on since autumn, the super brands section of Selfridges. Hundreds of pounds knocked off a classic coat that you've wanted all season, huge reductions on that must-have dress.

If only the high street could take a leaf out of the superbrand book. Let's be honest, a £45 top in French Connection "reduced" to the "bargain price" of £39 does not a bargain make. Similarly, seeing the dregs of last season piled high on a table for £15 a piece does not excite me, nor does rack upon rack of fashion flops reduced from £20 to £9 float my boat. I wouldn't have bought it then, and I'm certainly not going to buy it now - it still looks like something my cat threw up on.

The hoards of bargain hunters descending on River Island yesterday were a sight for sore eyes; a manic grab-fest of awful people and awful clothes shuffling together under the glare of fluorescent lighting. All normal shopping etiquette was abandoned, with every shop from Karen Millen to New Look resembling a Primark sponsored flea market. Over to Dune the shoe shop, where I spied a pair of red satin heels and got momentarily excited, but on turning them over and inspecting the price tag it became clear that the discount was merely £Overpriced down to £Reasonable. That, along with the 'No refund, no exchange' policy did not inspire me to join the queue snaking around the edge of the shop.

I do, however have some tips for the avid shopper at this manic time of year.
  • *Do your research before you shop, if you're after a coat, head to the coat section. Don't bother trawling through the racks of flimsy tops before you get there, or you won't end up saving any money at all.
  • *Check the refund policy before you hand over the cash. Sounds obvious, but Miss Pink decided to check that she could return her French Connection top just as her transaction was going through. "Oh, sorry no refunds - just a credit note or exchange. Is that ok?" "Well," replied Miss Pink, taking her receipt, "Not really, but it's too late now, isn't it?"
  • *Decide if you like something before looking at the price, don't let a £5 sticker dictate your taste in clothes or shoes. Shops use the guise of a 'sale' to sell endless amounts of crap they've had sitting in a warehouse all year gathering dust. They price it accordingly for precisely that reason, because stupid people will buy it if they think they're getting a bargain. You're not.
  • *Boots is great at this time of year; all those designer hair products, perfume and makeup gift sets are now half price and it's here you do save money. Pick up a Mark Hill heat protection set (shampoo, conditioner, 2 heat sprays) for a fiver, John Frieda / Frizz Ease curl around / straighten products also a fiver, Ruby and Millie make up set with brushes and colour palettes for £25 (the brushes alone are worth £12-14 each usually), Dior Pure Poison perfume, moisturiser and bag for £22.50, or a set of D&G Light Blue for £16.99. Don't want it for yourself? Shove it on ebay. They'll 'ave it.
  • *On entering the shop, make the queue and changing rooms your first port of call. There's nothing worse than spending half an hour looking around a shop gathering clothes only to find you can't try anything on and the queue to pay is 50 people long. Like we did yesterday.
  • *What's more, if you can't try things on anyway, you're best off shopping online.
  • *Buy classic pieces that will still look good next year. Oh, and don't be fooled, La Senza always has pants and thongs on '4 for £5', they'll still be there next month.

Most importantly, Sale shopping is boring, stressful, and mostly pointless. If I can offer you one nugget of advice, this would be it: Don't Believe the Hype.


Reluctant Blogger said...

Very impressed that you were blogging on Christmas Day. On the hangover thing - I find that Underberg works - I down one and then drink gallons of orange juice and rarely have a hangover.

And Sales? I just don't have the energy for that any more. I have bought so much crap in the past that I have never worn. Some shops just drag all their old rubbish out of cupboards and put it on racks at less than decent prices.

I'm turning into a right Victor Meldrew these days.

Ella said...

I'm all for online shopping during sale time! There was a La Senza bra i wanted before xmas, costing a steep £20, saw it online for half price. Bargain basement.

theperpetualspiral said...

The closest I've got to sales is visiting a couple of websites, quite the lucky escape I think! :)

Miss Understood said...

I hate shops. I hate shopping. I'd rather pay full price than stand like a sardine in a shop for an hour. That's probably why all my clothes can be divided into four piles...which decade they came from.

London-Lass said...

See. Now this is exactly what I hate too.

What happened to having a bit of a rest, cosying up to the family's bosom and generally taking some time out during the Xmas hols, instead of people dragging their stupid materialistic backsides around a shop on flippin' Boxing Day ...?

I read somewhere that some stooopid cah ended up with hypothermia due to having queued outside some shop that was due to start its sales at 5.00 on Boxing Day morning.

Christmas is almost becoming obliterated due to people becoming screaming purchasing maniacs up to the last minute on Chrimbo Eve and then it all seems to start up again from the early hours of Boxing Day morning.

And, like you say, there's usually nothing particularly great in these sales and you'll only end up with a whole heap of nothing or, like the lady I mentioned earlier, a good dose of hypothermia. Bah!

Jo said...

reluctant - Underberg? I haven't heard of that. I shall check it out, one can never have too many hangover cures. As for turning into Mr Meldrew, you and me both.

Ella - I'm about to scour the website for some bargains. Although I always find La Senza bra sizes come up smaller than other places, so I never know which size to get without trying on.

perpetual - I'm joining you on that one from now on.

Miss - hahaha, love it. I'd actually rather pay full price and be able to return the damn thing when I realise I had shop blinkers on.

Londonlass - Oh the people who queue up at 5am are ridiculous. It's true what you say though, there's this crazy need to buy buy buy before christmas and then it continues 2 days later. Except all the stuff you just bought is now half price. It's just not worth it, I am of the opinion that people put too much emphasis on making christmas this huge event unnecessarily. Maybe I'll change my mind when I'm older, but there's so much pressure to buy buy buy.


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