Why I’m no longer sold on a sale

Devon Life - - Inspirational Women -

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.

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