Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Urge to Splurge

Most people I know are severely hungover and recovering at half past six in the morning the day after Christmas Day.

But not me.

I am wide awake, dressed and ready to make my way into the city along with thousands of other like-minded shopaholics to try and snap up the best bargains at the annual end of year stocktake Boxing Day sales. It has become a tradition for me to join the huge crowds every year but today was the first time I went with a list of things I had been eyeing for some time. Having a good idea of what I wanted really helped as I usually overspend on useless, spur-of-the-moment items that I end up returning later on. Knowing which places to check out really helped to reduce my frustration levels, because as you can imagine, fighting Christmas crowds can be a nightmare if you're wandering around aimlessly and especially if you don't have a clue what sizes fit you best. Most shops don't allow you to try anything on to prevent lengthy delays, plus the change room queues can take forever.

The best thing about this year's sales were the great deals and savings in most stores with markdowns of up to 70% off! I was also fairly impressed with the stock on sale - in previous years I've sometimes come home with nothing I was terribly excited about due to the fact that the only things I liked were the full-priced clothes. This year I didn't waste any time in stores that always seem to put the same junk on their bargain tables every year and this meant that I had more time to comb over the racks and snap up bargains.

As always, some of the more prestigious stores had massive queues needing to be monitored by security. I normally give these a miss because it's a waste of time but this year I decided to test my patience and lined up behind the security ropes. I waited... and waited... and swear it was nearly 40 minutes before I inched my way like a baby caterpillar up to the entrance of the shop. Once people started clearing out, with my ticket in hand, I was finally given the go ahead by the security guard to enter. According to the sign, we had only 15 minutes each to purchase our items. A quick look around told me there was no way that was happening! It was so crowded in there with rude people pushing, shoving and yelling at the top of their voices. There is something about Boxing Day sales that seem to bring out the worst in human nature. It didn't help that there weren't enough sales assistants to serve everyone, given that all the objects (jewellery) were locked behind glass cabinets.

I, however, am ecstatic with my purchases. Must be just me, but I love the feeling of buying things that are not only perfect in size but also the last ones in stock! Heaps of customers, after seeing what I had purchased, also wanted the exact same items only to be told I had just snapped up the last of the ones available. I was in there for probably 20 minutes before being served but it only took 5 minutes for the saleslady to bring me my goods and then I was out of the store. It really helps to know exactly what you want!

So without further ado, here's a little sneak peak of the goodies that came home with me today!

Karen Walker ruffle skirt and silk trim cardigan

Alannah Hill skirt and cardigan

Max & Co. shorts

Cue ruffle cardigan in Wine

These are only some of the things I bought today. I haven't had much time to take photos of the others but they include a set of glass tumblers, Royal Dalton crystal champagne flutes, a new pro salon hairdryer, skincare products, two fragrances I've been lusting over (Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel and Miss Dior Cherie EDP by Christian Dior). Also bought a few pieces of expensive jewellery which came to less than one-fifth of the original price in total thanks to the sales!

All in all, I am very glad that I ventured out today to brave the stocktake crowds. All the goodies that came home with me were all things that I would've ended up buying anyway, except I now have them for less money spent :) So, my tips for a good Boxing Day experience:

1. Wear comfy shoes that don't cause blisters, thereby allowing you to weave quickly through the crowds

2. If you're super organised and already have a list of things you want, find out whether the store/brand will be going on sale and how much of a discount you are likely to get. If you haven't got a list, make sure you compile one! Will make it so much easier on the day.

3. Have a rough plan of where you want to go first - it's all about prioritising! If you get this right, you will more than likely get your hands on what you're after.

4. Work out how you will pay of your items... and ensure plenty of $$$ in the bank beforehand!

5. Bring a nice roomy bag that will fit small items that you purchase (jewellery, bits and pieces) - this leaves your arms free to browse the racks!

6. Try to be courteous to your sales assistants. I imagine they have the toughest jobs on days like this, trying to keep the stores under control and ensuring their customers leave happy. Tell them if you think they're doing a wonderful job. Say thanks.

7. In the frenzy of it all, sometimes it is easy to forget that everyone is there to shop. Don't let rude people ruin your day. You will come across plenty of them, so mentally prepare yourself for this and count your blessings if you get through the day without being pushed out of the way or having things snatched off your hand.

8. If you have the day off, fantastic; otherwise try and arrange for some time off to shop properly. One year I rushed like crazy and ended up with a handful of things that were heavily discounted but of completely no use to me. Extra time means you can actually browse around for a bit - you may even find that extra special something to take home!

9. A personal preference for me is to shop alone. I find going in groups very difficult and even having a shopping buddy makes it hard to really buy things that you like. Unless it's your absolute bestie who doesn't mind waiting half an hour for you to try things on and wants to look at the same things as you. I usually feel too guilty when I go with friends and end up not really looking at things properly. Also, if you can put your man out of misery, send him out with his mates rather than drag him along with you to the sales. I felt so sorry for all the men at the shops today, minding baby prams, waiting in chairs and even sitting on the mannequin stands in the department store... all of them LOOKING SO BORED!

10. Know your sizes. Like I said before, most shops won't allow you to try anything on if things are heavily discounted or the size of the queue will make you change your mind anyway.

Finally, a good Boxing Day experience always begins and ends with purchases that you love. So if you've really worked hard all year, time to reward yourself accordingly. Don't waste money or time on things that don't make your heart skip beats but at the same time, don't put something back if you know you'll go home and think about it non-stop. Regret is the worst feeling ever!!

So if you had a Boxing Day experience, I hope it was lovely and look forward to hearing about your splurges!