Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Sales Fever

Sales can be great. It’s a good feeling to finally find something you’ve been wanting, but at a price that’s lower than normal. What else could you want, right?
As a style novice building my wardrobe, I was always compelled by a rush to dress better. I wanted to throw away everything in my closet and start with the new knowledge I had. I latched onto any sale I could find, thinking I could quickly, and cheaply, rebuild my wardrobe from scratch.
Problem is, that’s an impractical and expensive approach to upgrading your wardrobe. Realize this process takes time. It’s evolution people. So when you do see a sale, no matter how attractive the prices may be, our how compelling the markdown, consider this checklist before you buy.
Realize all sales have the ultimate goal of making money. For some sales, like at the end of a season, a company is looking to offload what’s left of overstocked items. They’re willing to take a slight hit in the profit department in order to make way for new product. What does this mean? Sales are about the company, not you, and they’ll do whatever they can to attract you to them. Huge markdowns and large %s off attract a buyer who thinks he’s getting a steal. Companies know this and use it to their advantage.
- To help battle “savings fever,” keep an eye on what you’re actually going to be paying, rather than the markdown you think you’re getting. Balance the price you’ll actually pay vs. what the piece is actually worth, in terms of quality and personal necessity. 

Flash sale sites like Gilt can seem attractive, but remember what you're actually paying, not what you're saving

Use sales to YOUR advantage. I do this by keeping a list of items I currently want. They’re not pieces I absolutely need or am dying for, but just things that’d be a nice addition if I can find something quality at a good price. Right now, my list is pretty short (chukka boots and a crew-neck sweater of some sort. Maybe a Rolex, but hey, I’m a dreamer). I use this list as my guide to sales. I look only for these items and make sure not to stray to far from the list. If I can find a nice shirt or trouser at an affordable price while I’m there, great. But I’m not pressured to buy it. It’s one thing to stumble upon a great buy. It’s another to get lost in the world of “deals,” snatching up as much as you can buy because it’s on sale.

Their versatility makes chukkas a good buy. From Clarks ($120 though)

Realize the timing of sales. In need of a good wool peacoat? If you can make it until late winter or early spring, when companies start having winter sales and you can grab one on the cheap, you’ll be in good shape next year. Many sales are at the back-end of a season. Like I said, companies are looking to get rid of what’s left on the shelves so they can start stocking new product. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for something specific.

Consider return-ability. Most sales are final, meaning you can’t return it (because they sure as hell don’t want it back), so generally you have to be 110% confident in your purchase. BUT, and this is a big but, sometimes you can work around the system. I have sometimes (not often, mind you), had the luck of being able to buy something online, only to find it unsatisfactory and return it in-store. Sometimes the employees are more-laid back, more open to persuasion, or maybe even less competent about the fact that you bought it as a final sale. I’m not suggesting this as a fail-safe method, but do your research, call the company, and see what your options are, just in case. (Although, if you’re wavering that much and it is final sale, it may be better to play it safe and pass). 

Gosh honey, everything is just so darn cheap!

Always consider, Do I really need this? A good rule of thumb I follow is this: Do I absolutely want this? Do I have to have it right here, right now? If these answers are firmly positive, then it’s okay to pull the trigger, because you’ll ultimately be confident in the purchase. However, if you find yourself wavering at any point, if you have any second-thoughts or nagging doubts, forget it and walk away. There will be other sales. I promise. 
Thanks for reading, and good luck shopping,

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