Why I’m no longer sold on a sale
At one time I worked in the big ‘city’ of Barnstaple. Well, it seemed like a city to me having been brought up on a farm near Chawleigh and Chulmleigh. I’ve never been a big shopper but working in the heart of town - before the office was shoved to a trading estate - I liked a quick stroll around the shops in my lunch hour.
In those days shop windows with the word SALE emblazoned in red six-foot high letters drew me in like a moth to a flame. These days, however, I pass those shop windows on the other side of the street.
It’s not that I’ve given up on bargains. I like a bargain as much as the next person ¬but you’ll never find me queuing for the January sales at some ungodly hour in the morning in order to obtain a cut-price cooker. I have never taken the bus to Harrods with my sleeping bag, little tent, cosy onesie and cattle prod to get rid of rival shoppers. Because I’ve given up on sales.
‘I bet you could walk into any shop and get as much money knocked off in June as you can in January’
I wish it was because I didn’t need to count the pennies. I quite like a good rummage in a charity shop in the hope of finding a dress with a designer label or a Ming vase tucked away under that pile of neatly folded string vests. I have so far found nothing more exciting than a six-pack of brand new socks for 50p, but I live in hope.
If I need to shop, I compare prices online before ordering or setting out for the high street, so it’s not as if I spend money like a demented lottery winner splashing out on unnecessary luxury items designed to impress the neighbours.
No, I give the sales a wide berth because my normal common sense goes out the window when confronted with items whose price has been slashed. It’s half price...it doesn’t fit but I’ll slim into it, right? Wrong. I have never ‘slimmed into’ anything in my life. Why I think I’m going to start now I don’t know. And have you noticed it never works the other way around? I never think to myself, oh, it’s a size too big so I’ll go out and stuff my face with burgers and chips and grow into it.
Or it’s some item of furniture, a ‘second’ with a knob or two missing, but I’m sure I can find some that match. But I can’t find any that match exactly and the ones I do find cost more than the original item. Then there’s that rug that you’re sure will match your decor but when you get it home it starts a fight with your sofa and mugs your curtains.
There’s usually a good reason why clothes are on the sale rack -¬ the colour makes normal people feel bilious, or the seams are coming apart, or it was made for a woman with abnormally long arms and short legs ¬and, yes, your bum does look big in this.
When it comes to sales the warning “caveat emptor” is extremely meaningful because if you check the receipt for the belligerent rug if will more often than not say “no refunds on sale items”.
In any case these days sales are so often superfluous to requirements. There are sales on throughout the year and thanks to all those antiques TV programmes like Bargain Hunt, where a Victorian whatnot priced at £130 is haggled down to £50, we are all much savvier when it comes to bargaining.
I bet you could walk into any shop and get as much money knocked off in June as you can in January. And you haven’t had to queue in the freezing cold and get trampled upon by a woman in Jimmy Choo stilettos with her eyes fixed on a half-price Gucci handbag for the privilege.
So this year I will watch people queuing for the January sales on the television news, feeling smug that I am warm and snug at home, giving my liver a chance to recover after Christmas.