Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Christmas Shopping Experience

This past week before Christmas I did something that I have not done since I was in college working retail: I closed down the mall. With $1,000 budget money in hand, we decided ahead of time to take advantage of Christmas sales going on to stock up on clothing items. Personally one of our goals in 2013 is to get out and do a bit more traveling. So at this point our travels will take us to a friends’ wedding in Arkansas, out to California a few times to visit my family, a high school reunion, possibly Europe or the Asia-Pacific as well as Nashville and Charleston. So in anticipation of these events my wife and I decided that it was time I stopped piecing together outfits from thrift stores and buy myself a few new suits, shirts, ties and a decent pair of dress shoes. These are all things that I have not paid retail for since I was in high school, and truth be told my parents paid for it (yes I was a spoiled brat).

And even with $1,000 in hand I still wanted a deal. So I figured the best possible prices I could get on these items would be right before or after Christmas to take advantage of the seasonal mark downs. Our first stop took us into JCPenny where I’ve had my eyes on getting slim fit suits that are priced a bit lower than 1,000% of cost to start with before sales even enter the equation. Penny’s had a decent selection but not enough variety. So my trek had my next destination set at Macy’s where all suits and related accessories were grossly over priced. I absolutely refuse to pay $300 for a suit, even if it is on sale. Call me crazy but searching on Google points me in a direction that with materials, labor and shipping from regions across the Asia-Pacific, that suits cost between $80 and $100 to bring to market. I would love to pay at or slightly above cost for these items, and through a major retailer I dream to beat them up on price and purchase these items at below cost. But I think it is crazy and outrageous, even with budgeted money, to pay substantially above retail price for the sake of a brand.

Needless to say I did not stay at Macy’s long. The last place on my hit list proved to be fruitful. At Sears my wife and I hunted to find an excellent assortment of what I was shopping for at excellent prices. So after tediously making sure that items fit and my wife giving her thumbs up and down to what she can/can’t tailor personally and triple checking with a sales clerk regarding what was in stock, my search to revamp my wardrobe at reasonable costs came to an end. When all was said and done we had purchased two suits, an extra pair of dress pants, a little more than a dozen dress shirts, a little more than a dozen ties, a belt, a sweet pair of great looking dress shoes and several items for my wife for a grand total was well under $600. And all we had to worry about was how to navigate our way out of the mall now that operating hours had been over.

So armed with $1,000 we took advantage of holiday sales to buy our list and then some and still had over $400 to spare. Our Christmas presents were already purchased and wrapped well before we stepped foot into the mall. And in the end I’ve come to the conclusion that Christmas shopping is not necessarily a bad thing. If you head in with a planned budgeted ceiling and the perspective of a hunter, Christmas shopping can become oddly enjoyable J!

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