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Warehouse Sales Survival Guide

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The Art (And Science) of Warehouse Sale Shopping: Part 1
warehouse sales survival guide

Warehouse sales can be amazing. And gawd awful. At the same time.

Photo by Flickr user indie138
Warehouse sales. Just the term can sound cheap. And the prices at these sales are very much cheap. But the quality items a shopping sleuth can score -- think Miss Sixty jeans for $40 or less, $30 classic cut designer leather boots usually retailing for $300, a cashmere top for $10 -- are anything but ... cheap. There's just one thing. Warehouse sales are a mess. It's crowded, the selection can be overwhelming, customer service is nil so be prepared to carry piles upon piles of clothing for hours which might put out your back, and you're on your own when it comes to figuring out what's on trend versus what's better used as a dish rag since garments may be from previous seasons and feature trends which never quite caught on. Hence the overstock.

Note to warehouse sale virgins? You've got to work for your insanely discounted fare. But there are ways to mitigate the makings of a shopping nightmare. Follow my 8-step survival guide to build your strategy and you might just become a warehouse sale junkie.

  • 1. Get to the warehouse sale as early as possible for the best selection.
    Inasmuch as possible, get there on the first day of the sale. If currently residing in a perfect world, get there within the first hour of the sale. Or at least before lunch time when the wave of 9-to-5ers show up. You're more likely to score the best pieces if you do. However, if you go on the last day, you're more likely to score the best prices as some sales get into everything-must-go mode.
  • 2. Serenity now.
    If you think sifting through the hodge podge racks at Winners is a pain, wait until you experience the warehouse sale and its piles, masses of tops, jeans, whatever “sorted” by general size with frequent overlap. Or the shoe section, also “sorted” by size, though not always by pair. It's a mess. And it's up to YOU to make sense of it. It can take HOURS to properly explore your sartorial options at the bigger, multi-brand sale events, a small price to pay for cutting out retail markups. In the everyday world, patience is a virtue. At a warehouse sale? It's your best friend.
  • 3. Dress comfortably.
    Did I mention you'll be spending hours on your feet clutching mounds of cloth? Also consider that with all the pieces you'll have to try on to find the right fit, it's a good idea to consider dressing in an ensemble that's easy to remove and put back on several times over. Same with the footwear. Bring a light pair of heels in your bag if needed.
  • 4. Bring snacks. And water.
    Hours. On feet. Clutching cloth. And you've been there since 10 a.m. It's now 3 p.m. Try nuts.
  • 5. Keep the kitchen sink at home. Bring the small purse.
    I'm such a bag lady. So are you. But not today. You need all your strength to carry pounds of apparel to try on. Back and forth. Match after batch after batch. And you can't leave something with even a hint of potential in whichever pile or rack you found it because it won't likely be there when you return.
Next: Steps 6 to 8

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