Monday, June 7, 2010
(Bargain) Hunter and Gatherer
"What a gorgeous jacket," the woman said to me. "Where did you find it?"
"I can't remember any more. Some little boutique," I lied. Of course I remembered. I remember where all my clothes come from. But this woman was a fan attending a speech I had given at a big event. Fans think that writers make oodles of money and have a personal relationship with Vera Wang. The jacket actually came from one of my favorite stores: My Sister's Closet, in Scottsdale, where I spend my winters.
It is a designer resale store and for me it's like stepping into heaven. Famous labels at a price that doesn't make me blanch. Because by nature I'm a bargain hunter. I love nice clothes but I love them even more when I've secured a bargain. When I'm at Macy's half off of half off and I find the pants I've been looking for, I look upon it as a gift from the gods.
I think it's in the genes. We used to be hunter gatherers, didn't we? We became excited at the sight of a deer in the forest, or a bush full of ripe berries. I don't think we've lost that instinct, at least I haven't. I enter Macy's on sale days with that alert expectation of the hunter-gatherer entering the forest. Will I make a kill today? Will I find that berry bush?
And when I come out with that bag and the receipt saying, "You just saved $140" then I float all the way to the car. It's all part of the fun. I'm not a huge shopper. Quite sensible, actually. But I do need my occasional bargain hunting fix. Even if my next book sold a zillion copies, I can't picture myself going into Bloomingdales and paying $300 for a white T shirt I once saw that looked like every other white T shirt. I can see there's a difference between a five dollar Target shirt and a thirty dollar Ralph Lauren. But three hundred dollars? What did it have, gold woven into the fibers? Proabably the only difference was a tiny logo that let everyone know that it cost more than their T shirt.
So are you a fellow bargain hunter? What is your shopping MO? Do you just bite the bullet and pay the regular price when you need something, or wait for the sales and then pounce? Is shopping a major sport or a boring necessity? Inquiring minds want to know.
HANK: And remember, Rhys, you can use that $140 you saved to save more on something else!
The worst is when I buy something at regular price, yes, sometimes I can't resist. Than, since I'm a saver-for-a-special-occasion, not an instant-wearer, sometimes the item goes on sale before I can wear it. Now *that's* frustration.
Confession: I used to be a big shopper. But when the recession came, two years ago? I screeched to halt. And for awhile, it was just not even tempting. But the other day, I went into Saks, and it was like--the Emerald City. I thought--oh, this smells wonderful! Look at all the pretty stuff! But I was all about sales. And it's gotten a bit easier to say no.
WOnder why that is?
ROBERTA: Well now, the answer depends on whether you ask me or John. I think I'm a fairly thrifty shopper--rarely buy something that isn't on sale. On the other hand, I try to remind myself that sale price isn't everything. I have bought things on sale that are still sitting in my closet because they weren't right for me.
Shopping is funny because it can become such a habit. Easier to resist if you're not on a shopping roll--I notice this especially after Christmas. And we've just finished throwing a big wedding--I'll have to remind myself I'm done for a while
RHYS: Oh, I agree with Roberta--buying things just because they are on sale isn't always smart. I too have given away things I've never worn, that I bought mainly because they were on such a great mark-down. And my daughter has forced me to donate one item to charity every time a new one comes into the closet. I'm quite religious about doing that now.
So any other bargain hunters out there?