Monday, 5 January 2009

The Long Awaited All Mighty Awesome Sales Coverage

I've finally finished shopping and decided to cover the Boxing Day Sales 2008 a week after. Not true really, on the shopping part because I hear the sales will go on and on and on until the economy recovers which has potential, because from what I saw on boxing day, shoppers can single-handedly shop the world its way out of this dreary recession.

For those who have not come to discover the mother of all sales, Boxing Day is the day when shops start to slash their prices from 50% and above to get rid of stock. Of course the sale usually lasts for a month but usually the good stuff will finish on the first day because people actually wake up early in the morning to queue outside the store before it opens. I am speaking the truth.


Okay, I have never really been around for the actual Boxing Day sale itself because I always go back home to the sun. My first winter here in university doesn't really count because I only went for the high street stuff. Sure the clothes are really cheap but unless you don't mind queuing early in the morning to enter with a sea of people stomping on clothes strewn onto the floor and elbowing you to snatch that bag you've just put down then yes, amazing bargains can be found.

This year, oops, last year (it's always weird when you are trying to adjust to a new year don't you think?). Last year though, I tried something different, I decided I would go early at 9am to Selfridges.

Did I make it?

Unfortunately, I woke up late and got around Selfridges around noon. The boy and I were freezing cold when we got out so I was a bit flustered because not only am I late for the sales but it's cold. Then when we finally got on the bus, I heard the bus driver speaking to someone else about Selfridges.

'Have you seen the queue outside Selfridges? Mad, ain't it?'

'Yeahhh, I dunno what's in there.'

A queue into Selfridges?! My heart immediately dropped. Now not only am I cold, late but also missing the sale of the century!

Fast forward into the journey, I was bracing myself for a sea of people on Oxford Street but surprise surprise, it was like any other weekend crowd so that was good. I told the boy that maybe we hit the high street shops again but would see if Selfridges was actually that bad.

So we hopped off the bus and true to the bus driver's word, the queue snaked out of the building but the queue turned out to be a queue to somewhere, just not Selfridges, anyone could enter as they wish.

The doors opened.


And I was in for a huge shock. The ground floor of Selfridges is the posh home of all the bags in the world that can EACH feed a family of four for a lifetime in third world countries. It was amazing that the bags were strewn everywhere. Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Mulberry, ChloƩ, any fashion house that did not have an enclosed shop, had their bags mixed together, picked up, scrutinised and thrown back into a pile of, dare I say it, rejects. Seriously, it was like Primark on a weekend. (Primark sells cheap clothes and people go mad and pick everything they find in their size and it is messy in there, if you've not been to a war zone, Primark is the place to start.)


Now, on that day, all the bags I saw was 50% off. So if the Balenciaga bag that you bought a month ago was at a retail price of say £1000, on that day it was a mere £500! Hey, that amount still feeds a family of four in a third world country but that is cheap for the middle class!


Happiness it was for the middle classes, so much so that I saw several women toting 4 bags in one hand and pushing in to find more bargains. The atmosphere was almost euphoric. Long queues were outside Chanel (no sale), Louis Vuitton (no sale), Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu and the longest queue of them all was Gucci. Remember the queue that snaked to the outside of the buidling into the sidewalk? Yup, it was the queue into Gucci. But the sale there looked pretty good. I sneaked a peek and it looked like almost the whole store had up to 50% off.


Did I mention that the atmosphere was euphoric? Don't blame me but it was the whole mood of it. I grabbed a Michael Kors bag, a Marc by Marc Jacobs wallet (because I was pick pocketed just recently) and stood in the queue into Louis Vuitton. Yes, seriously, the euphoria of luxury brands at 'affordable' prices got me insane in the membrane. It was only when they started playing 'The Final Countdown' that I realised my madness and the psychology Selfridges was using to hype up the sale that I put down the bag and also left Louis Vuitton (but only because there was no sale). In the end, the boy bought me the Marc by Marc Jacobs wallet which was I believe a very sensible buy. (:


That was not just the only thing I got out of the sale though. Because all the bags were within reach, I could scrutinise a lot of bags which I would never have had the chance to until I retire. One thing that struck me was that luxury prices do not give you high quality goods. I repeat, high price does not equal awesome quality. A little secret between you and I, the large unconventional zips of Marc Jacob bags were absolutely useless. Extremely hard to unzip. While I was trying to unzip and zip one of the bags, one of the zips actually came off. Noboday saw me but the horror at what had happened was more than the fear of getting caught. The lesson here girls is don't be fooled by the sweet talking of your S.A. that you dismiss to do any quality control. Make sure you give that bag of yours a through check before passing them your cheque.

And that was all the shopping I did on the 26th. Because it was so packed and everything was so crazy that you just wanted to pay and run with your goods. In the end, the boy and I went to Carnaby Street to eat £3.50 noddles at Cha Cha Moon but to our dismay, found that Alan Yau has jacked up the prices. Booo.

So that was it. The Boxing Day experience. Not much different with the high street one really but much better because luxury items become slightly affordable I would say. Cheap or expensive, as long as there is 50% off, elbows are always the lead in the story.

p.s. I did go to Harrods but avoided the crowd on the first day and regretted it thoroughly because I found La Perla tights down from £9.95 to £2.95! But no S sizes were available anymore. Booo. Wolford and Tabio were 50% off too but again no more S. Is there a correlation between the rich and the skinny? hmmm.

p.p.s Some of the pictures I had to scour through 2007 archives so the goods may look very out of season. The goods were actually mostly spring 2008 I presume, from the bags I saw.

- Sue

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