Tuesday 17 September 2019

Be a canny shopper and be prepared for the cut and thrust of the sales

Keep receipts: by the end of the day, you may not like that amazing bargain any more. Photo: Frank McGrath
Keep receipts: by the end of the day, you may not like that amazing bargain any more. Photo: Frank McGrath
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Retail has been tough this season…so the good news for sales-goers is they can expect lots of price-slashing and serious bargains.

For every store that happily boasts of clearing stock pre-Christmas, there are many others less fortunate who have fought the temptation to discount since Halloween and will be happy to see the back of 2016.

The plethora of so-called "mid-season sales" which last week sat on the shoulder of the traditional winter sales, speaks volumes about where stores, in particular fashion stores, find themselves after an unseasonally warm autumn and winter.

There's no getting away from the hurt that 24/7 online retail and Brexit's slumping sterling is impacting on traditional bricks and mortar businesses.

Also, it seems the deep discounting that sprang up around Black Friday just one month ago took many traditional operators by surprise this year. They will know better for 2017.

So what can the bargain-thirsty shopper expect over the next few days?

In one word: Queues! The serious shoppers will have been out from dawn this morning, equipped with turkey sambos outside Next, which opened early on Grafton Street.

Expect long queues and narky individuals in line for the changing rooms, so box clever.

Outmanoeuvre the others by wearing a few layers that you can easily peel off and try on clothes beside stock on the rails.

Do not wear heavy clothes or you will melt in the heat, and the cut and thrust of the sales.

Remember to stay hydrated in all that bargain hunting. Bring a bottle of water, it will help your brain compute the discounts faster.

Hesitate and you are lost - so if you see something you are vaguely interested in, pick it up.

Do the self-edit after you've circled your prey a few times.

Be financially savvy and make sure you have your correct bank cards.

Load the Laser card so it works and if you haven't used your store card or credit card for a while, make sure to familiarise yourself with the correct pin number.

Assistants won't want to wait around while you ring home to check.

Don't count on cash machines always being refilled at city centre locations early in the day, so I would hit the ones in the suburbs if you are coming into town.

Do your homework in advance and if you are on a store loyalty programme, you will probably have got an alert to your email account on upcoming sales bargains.

Be totally sizeist and check not only that the size on the label matches the size on the hanger - but look in the mirror too.

Are you buying for the size you are or the size you hope to be?

Turn into your mother and ask yourself sensible questions like 'are you really going to wear that more than three times?' Because if you don't, it's not worth it.

Guilt yourself and apply realistic cost-per-wear questions.

Big investment in a wear-only-once dress is not worth it - even if it is to meet the in-laws for the first time!

Sleep deprived or not, be sure to keep all of your receipts.

By the end of the day, you might not like your amazing bargain any more.

Come equipped with the information if you are buying for others.

Teenagers will not want to take phone calls about their shoe size at 10am.

If you didn't like that Christmas jumper the mother-in-law gave you, check out the returns policy - because they can differ from store to store.

Irish Independent

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