Honestly, now that I can no longer spend Christmas Day running around under the sprinkler, arms chockas with shiny new toys that will be exciting until about January, one of the things I look forward to the most about the Festive Season is the sales! Yes, I know that sounds (well, is) very materialistic of me, but on Boxing Day, I get up (kinda) early and head into the city for a few hours of me time and pure retail therapy. After years of practice I have honed my skills and am usually chuffed with my armful of goodies. Check below for the Common Sense Guide To Shopping, but before you even think about it, can I please ask that if your hubby would prefer to be in his shed playing with all the new things he got for Christmas, then leave him there. And brave it yourself. Same goes for boyfriends/straight male friends/brothers and in fact, males who don't like shopping at the best of times. Tell me why they would enjoy elbowing their way through mega crowds and waiting in queues ten times as long as usual, while you try on/ask for opinions/ponder marked-down last season dresses? Yes, he is useful for carrying bags, but really it ends there. I spent more time in Country Road today manoevuering around bored hubbys then I did rifling through the racks. The poor buggers were so out of their elements they simply stood bewildered in the most inconvenient places (such as in front of the racks, in the aisles, in the way of the changerooms and basically in the women's sections in general), arms loaded up with a plethora of purchases and their minds wandering back to the mega toolkit left sitting wistfully on the shed bench. Hell, even sorting the piles of socks Aunt Agnes sent yet again is more exciting than watching women snarl over knitwear.
If your man actually does enjoy shopping, then by all means take him along because he'll be your best ally, but if not, grab a girlfriend or yourself (um) and attack the stores like a madwoman. It's the only way to survive out there!
1). Be polite to the staff. Today I heard so many ridiculous questions and people arguing over a few $ ("well I thought that was $5 cheaper, it was stuffed on that rack over there, I demand you go and check") that I wanted to throttle some people, and all I was doing was standing in line observing the action. The poor girl in Myer kidswear apologised because the lady in front was one such customer who seriously needed to know individually if every single itm in the department was marked down (*brainwave* check the tag, lady, a red sticker means a discount), and then she said she was working til 7pm. This was at 10am. I felt like buying her some discounted Christmas chocolates to cheer her up. But then I remembered she was earning double time and a half so she could suck it up. (!)
2). Wait patiently in line. Be prepared for queues. Standing really close behind me "hrpmphing" and breathing on my neck won't make the cash registers work any faster.
3). Further to point 2, please stand in the line, not just hover somewhere about the counter in hopes that you can push in. You can't, even if you have been waiting pointlessly in the one spot for 15 minutes.
4). If your child was given a pram for her dollies for Xmas, don't let her bring it to the sales. Same goes for scooters and new bikes. There is barely enough standing room, let alone space for little Shania-Eppinee to push her grubby dolls into your kneecaps.
5). Hit departments like lingerie, manchester and shoes for proper bargains. Sheet sets and towels don't go through "seasons" and they are usually at least 40% off at this time of year. Target have 1000 thread count sheet sets for $99 at the moment! Get fitted for a bra earlier in the month so when you get there you can just grab your size in preferred styles and head to counter. Knickers and slips are also good buys. Shoes can be a nightmare to traverse but if you know what style you need you can get through it much easier. You don't, for example, probably need a plastic pair of bright green sandals. Some strappy tan flats however, would look great all summer...
6). Avoid "trend" buys. They are marked down because stores want to get rid of them and never see them again. You might pick up a bargain top to wear out on the town once, but aside from that look for basic tees and tanks, summer dresses in classic cuts, and denim in particular is usually mega-cheap. It's also good to think ahead to autumn/winter and pick up a few cardis or jumpers in basic hues- again these are very similar every season and by the time you get to wear it, it'll be all new and exciting again!
7). For kids, look ahead to winter or even next summer and buy them a size up. Department stores markdown by 30-40% off and chains like P Patch also have some good buys. Stocking up on things like bathers and pj's in bigger sizes is always a good idea (have you ever tried to buy bathers mid-year? impossible!) and if you have some special occassions or parties over the summer, keep an eye out for cute seasonal outfits (it's hot til at least April, but stores start getting winter in at the end of Jan!).
8). Hop online. Most stores have started, or will do in the next few days, % off storewide or category sales. Nevershoppedout.com have a continually updated list; or check out huge shopping forums like Vogue for discount codes and sale updates. Sites like Kidstylefile, On the 7th Day She Shopped, Drop Dead Gorgeous (sign up for daily updates) and Style Hunter are also worth keeping an eye on. Chainstores such as Witchery, Sportsgirl, Valleygirl, and labels like Tony Bianco and Peter Alexander have most, if not all, of their ranges online and discounted. No crowds, you should get your parcels eary next week and you won't get your eyes scratched out by the greedy Shazza in the corner!
And yes, before you ask, you'll get the Frock You discount code for our 3-day sale later tonight. It's gonna be mega! We'll be here all weekend getting parcels out, so you should get everything before New Years. Aus Post have been warned, extra people are on standby, your inbox is waiting...See you at the sale!