Surviving the Summer Sales

We just barely made it through the January sales with its huge queues and confusion about which line we were supposed to be in – the normal one, the sale line or the one with those returning unwanted Christmas gifts.

Now that the sun is starting to shine and the flowers are blooming it will soon be time to face the next battle: the summer sales.

Although nowhere near as bad as the battlefield we see just after Christmas, the summer sales can be tricky to negotiate. You won’t need quite as much armour but a good thick skin wouldn’t go amiss. Here’s some tried and proven tactics to help you win the battle and bag that bargain.

Keep your eyes open for which shops are doing sales and when. Not all open their summer sales at the same time, although they usually do it within a week or so of each other.

If you are first in you’ll get the widest range of styles and sizes but you’ll only get 10-30% off. If you don’t mind missing a few things wait a week or two and you’ll find the sale item prices will drop. Towards the end of the sales the sale rack items will be 50-70% off the original price.

When browsing the sale racks be polite but firm. You don’t want to start any cat fights (especially not with a 47 year old mother of 3 whose offspring are there in the role of heavies). But do know your own mind and politely claim the field. A good way to do this is browse the racks by touching the hangers somewhat firmly. That way if you see something you fancy you’ll already have a decent hold on it. Possession is 9/10 of the law!

Another battlefield tactic is to be just a bit greedy. Anything you think you might like goes in the basket (or the pile on your arm). Do not ever put anything down until you are 100% absolutely sure you don’t want it. As long as it’s in your possession no one else can touch it, at least not if they’re truly British. But once it’s put down it’s fair game.

Now, the changing rooms. Do you really, really, really want to go there? Before heading off to stand in the queue for an hour just to find out that the jeans don’t fit anyway, ask the shop assistants if items can be brought back.

Some smaller shops and boutiques will not allow returns during sales. But almost all high street fashion stores will. If the shop assistant says returns are allowed (usually within 28 days, unworn, accompanied by the receipt and all tags) then ignore the changing rooms. Try it on at home where there is a proper mirror with proper lighting and your girlfriends can tell you what they think (don’t ask hubby, it’ll just make him uncomfortable).

Just one more battlefield tactic before I sign off, don’t take your kids! They hate it, you hate it, the shop assistants hate it, the other shoppers hate it – so please do the world a favour and leave the little darlings with hubby. He’ll be only too pleased to find that he has an excuse for not braving the battlefield with you.

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