Navigating a sample sale is easy if you apply an efficient shopping strategy. It's helpful to do some research ahead of time and honestly assess your body type, fashion style, and budget. Use these tips for a successful and fun shopping experience at a sample sale.
Refer to online sites such as Racked.com and dailycandy.com to find out when department stores, boutiques, and designers host sample sales, and mark the dates and times in your calendar. Many prestigious sample sales are held in November and May, but many design houses are even hosting sample sales online.
Keep in mind that the sales can start earlier than published times by a few hours or even a few days. Consider stopping by the store in advance and inquiring about getting into the sale early. If no early option is available, arrive at least 30 minutes early on sale day and be prepared to wait. Many sample sales limit the number of people who are allowed entrance at one time, so you may have to wait in line outside up to several hours if it's a popular event.
Before the sale, contact the manager and find out what seasons or collections are represented on sale. Research online to determine what items you may be interested in buying. This lets you save time on sale day and helps you be more focused.
Sample sales are great for finding unique items distinctive of a particular designer or brand. For this reason, avoid buying standard items you could purchase elsewhere.
Dress in comfortable clothes and shoes on sale day. Wear items that slip on and off easily as you'll be trying things on quickly. Sandals or mules are practical as footwear. For clothing, consider tank tops, leggings, and wraparound tops that are easy to remove.
Keep in mind that many sample sales do not provide dressing rooms. You may be taking off your shirt or pants out in the open in front of other people. In this case, it's efficient to wear thin clothing that doesn't need to be removed at all. When you find something you like, simply try it on over your clothes.
Finally, avoid wearing expensive designer clothes or shoes to the event. Some sales are extremely hectic and frantic events, and someone just might pick up an item that belongs to you and try to buy it.
Sample sales can be competitive with many people vying for the same merchandise. For this reason, head straight for the items you're interested in. If you find something you like along the way, hold on to it. Be prepared to lug those items around for some time since there isn't likely to be dressing rooms or storage areas.
Be realistic about your body type, size, and style. Many sample sales have limited sizes from 4 to 6, and may not provide offerings for others. However, you shouldn't trust the size marked on an item either. Always try it on for fit and comfort.
If you don't love an item, don't buy it just because it is a designer dud. The quality at sample sales can vary greatly, and you might be better off purchasing the item at an outlet or other discount store. Assess whether an item is truly a sample which was designed for PR and marketing or if it is simply excess stock or seconds.
Also, examine the items well for wear, damage, incorrect sizing, and other problems associated with being samples. Some damaged items can be easily mended or improved without costing much money, while some others may not be worth their price for alterations. In addition, often sample merchandise is marked or designated as such in a way that you cannot hide, so check the garment over thoroughly before buying.
Be calm and courteous during the sale even if you feel other customers are rude. The atmosphere can get tense, but remember that's it's just a sale. Don't argue with another person over an item. Give it up and you'll find something better to be sure.
Expect sale prices reduced by 20 to 90 percent off, with further discounts nearing the end. Consider asking for additional discount if you buy several pieces of merchandise. Don't be afraid to negotiate the price for items that are damaged or lower quality than usual.
Bring cash since many sample sales do not accept debit cards or credit cards.
In most cases, your purchase will not be refundable or exchangeable. For this reason, examine every item closely and consider carefully before buying.