Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Thrill of the Hunt

Many moons ago my mother taught me about bargain shopping. Growing up in south western Pennsylvania, we were surrounded by fabulous bargain outlets, the shining jewel in the crown being Gabriel Brothers. Gabes, as it is generally called, is like a low rent TJ Maxx. The lighting is dim and the employees aren't much brighter. There baseline level of cleanliness dictates that you go to the bathroom before you leave the house, and the store is simply crowded with racks upon racks of clothing. Overstock and damaged merchandise find respite at Gabes, and bargain shoppers find, on a good day, a cart full of treasures. On my last visit I left with three bulging bags of Anne Taylor goodies, including sweaters, maternity wear and shoes, and my total bill was less than $70. 

Sadly, there are no Gabes in the Philly area, so I have to be a little more creative with my bargain shopping. I scour clearance racks, watch for sale circulars, and hit stores like Ross and Marshall's for one off merchandise. Practically the only place where I will buy something off the rack is Target. 

Last weekend my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were in town, so us gals all went out for an afternoon of shopping. I live rather close to a Saks, and while I've never set foot inside, my MIL has, so we started our shopping there. I needed some new mascara and some touche eclat, and cosmetics are the one thing I do splurge on. (Plus, anyone who sleeps as shittily as I do needs this under eye concealer so that they don't go 'round resembling a zombie.) Within three minutes of walking in the door, I had made my purchases and was ready to browse with absolutely no intention of buying anything else.

Until we got to the outerwear department.

Now I can rationalize with the best of them, but let me just say one thing. Coats are, in my opinion, sometimes worth spending a little more money on. A shirt you don't wear every day. A coat is something you put on day in and day out, and a nice, quality garment can bring you years and years of warmth and style. So when I discovered the rack of Burberry coats marked clearance, my pulse quickened. Right on the end was this gorgeous, butter soft grey trench in just my size. It was a wool cashmere blend and it was exquisite. It was also almost four hundred bucks. A little more than I could rationalize, natch. 

As I wept and petted this lovely coat, a sales lady wandered over and whispered in my ear that everything on that particular rack was an additional 50% off the lowest ticked price. Meaning that the coat, which was originally eight hundred dollars, could, no, would be mine for under two hundred. 

I practically skipped to the register. 

Here is my new lovely, the crowning achievement in my bargain shopping history. Right now it is hanging on my closet door so I can gaze at it as I fall asleep. Sometimes when I get up to pee I rub up against it and a shiver runs down my spine.

I'm weird, I know. But I have an awesome fucking coat. 

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Lora said...

i'm jealous.

i hate gabe's.

i loathe how much my mom thinks gabe's is the end all be all of shopping.

susan said...

Oooooh, purty.

I'd be tempted to knock the thermostat down a few degrees just to give me the excuse to wear it always. But that's just me.

Christina said...

Hot coat Amy Jo! As you know I hate Gabe's as well (hahha), but hope to be a convert one day. Maybe you can take me under your wing and teach me to be a bargain-shopper extraordinaire? :)

Abe said...

I'm so jealous - I love me a good "bargoon" as my mother likes to call them!

super des said...

That's awesome. I got my Kenneth Cole coat at an outlet store, on clearance. I don't remember the starting price, but I got it for $180 because it was July in the CA valley... no need for a heavy winter coat.
I stil have it and still love it.