Thursday, April 10, 2008

Not All Sales Are Created Equal

So there I was at 8:30am on Saturday morning, standing in line with two friends behind at least another 100 women, all of us eagerly anticipating the opening of the giant doors to the Masonic Temple. We were to enter underneath the Masonic Square and Compass into a sacred event: the Alexandria Boutique Warehouse Sale. What did you think, I was part of some secret cult or something? No way. Just hoping for some bargains.

But, alas, there were not that many bargains to be had. You see, I was hoping this sale might be something akin to Filene's Basement's now infamous bridal sale, which results in the oh-so-unflattering "running of the brides." Can't say that I blame then, though, because most of the dresses at these sales are marked down to somewhere in the neighborhood of 95% off their original retail price. The clothing and shoes at the Alexandria Boutique Warehouse Sale? Not so much.

While we were standing in line, one of the stores passed out a price list to prepare us for the "deals" inside. I would have preferred coffee, quite honestly. The list let us know that day dresses were only $65 and cashmere sweaters were only $95. Great! I'll take ten of each. Oh, and did I mention they were all Lilly Pulitzer pieces? No respectable fashionista would be caught dead in such things.

So that section was out, which left shoes (for $75 a pair; I've gotten better deals on Delman's on's Final Sale before), accessories (necklaces still around $10
0), and clothing. One friend purchased a dress for her daughter at 50% off, which is nice, but not a better discount than you'd find at Loehmann's (more on that later). Another friend bought a Mint by Jodi Arnold blouse for $80, or about 60% off retail, not bad considering that Mint is a tough brand to find, let alone on sale.

And the DCGF? Well, I finally acquired a piece from my beloved Vena Cava. It's the "Dictionary Blouse" to the left, from the - are you ready? - Spring '06 collection! They've been holding on to this blouse for two years and they still had the nerve to charge me $50 for it. But I was the sucker who paid that. Oh well, the original retail was $396, so I guess I did okay for myself. But I only walked away with a single purchase form this entire sale, as did each of my friends.

On the way out, we lamented the fact that we just didn't find anything we cared for and, if we really liked something - like these fabulous Thread Social dresses - they were still cost prohibitive. Most of the stuff was really old (like a Trina Turk skirt that I purchased nearly two years ago, on clearance at the time for $35, that was still hanging on a rack last Saturday for $70!) and obviously had been dragged out of a box to be hung up for the event. Which would be perfectly acceptable, if these same items weren't still sporting price tags of $99! My friends and I agreed that if items had cost just a bit less in most cases, we certainly would have purchased more pieces overall.

With that disappointment under our belts, we waved goodbye to the 300 or so women still anxiously waiting to get in to the sale (fire code says, "One out, one in" - sorry!) but still wanted to do some shopping. This is where Loehmann's comes in. I had only been to a Loehmann's once before and it was a very brief encounter, really just a time killer whi
le waiting for my bus. This time, however, I went with a pro and was incredibly pleasantly surprised at what I found. Three Dots shirts for $12, a great WD-NY blazer for $18, and shoes for $10 (not in my size, but they were available) - now that's what I'm talking about!

I went home feeling good - as always - about discount shopping and added my "warehouse sale" experience to another long list of attempts to score a bargain that resulted in less than fantastic results. Which leads me to think that the upcoming District Sample Sale (that's their logo, to the right) might be the very same thing. And one pays $50 (all of which goes to charity) just to participate!

I mean, don't stores want to get rid of old inventory eventually? Aren't they s
ick of looking at clothes from five seasons ago? Where do all these wrinkly unsold clothes go? Can't a sister score a bargain anymore? Help!!

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