Whether you’re physically attending a sample sale or you’re shopping online for something similar to a sample sale, we’ve got some advice for you.
In today’s tech savvy world, with plenty of money-saving apps and websites, there are very few reasons to pay full price. The thrill of the hunt is wildly exciting, and some women have mastered the art of sale shopping, and they have it down to a science.
While that’s totally applaudable, not every woman has the time to constantly hop and skip from website to website checking for markdowns. Let’s first dive into the pros and cons of physically sample sale shopping (to make some of you feel better for not being able to attend), because honestly, what we’ve found is pretty interesting.
The pros and cons of physically showing up to a sample sale
1.) The pros of physically showing up to a sample sale:
- Sometimes you can truly score a runway, one of a kind piece, on mega sale for 90% (or more) off
- You get to see the garments/shoes/bags/jewelry/whatever first hand
- The art of negotiation is not lost when attending a sample sale in person
- It can be a fun, unique experience to attend one of these “exclusive” sales
2.) The cons of physically showing up to a sample sale:
- You’re unable to try items on/have to share a random makeshift room with a bunch of other shoppers and hope that you’re wearing appropriate (if any) undergarments
- All items are final sale
- Expect to wait in long lines, rain or shine
- Dealing with the pushiness (literally) and attitudes of disgruntled shoppers
- Long checkout lines, yes, you could be standing in line to check out for 45 minutes
- Sample sales can be cash only, no credit cards accepted. So hopefully you've planned ahead to bring cash, or you can quick run to a nearby atm, otherwise you may get stuck having to put your items back and leave empty handed
- Physically fighting over a handbag (we’ve only heard stories)
- You will encounter a lot of damaged goods that even the handiest of people can’t salvage
- Sometimes these clearance events are “invite only” (like the Christian Louboutin Friends & Family sample sale) aka you never even stood a chance
- Sample sales happen the most in New York and Los Angeles so many people don’t even have access to them, ever
FYI, if you’re still feeling left out: in general, physical sample sales are no longer what they used to be
Sample sales used to be primarily in NYC and there was a certain high you would get from attending. Now, even physically showing up means waiting in a huge line, dealing with pushy customers, and many times the sales aren’t nearly as steep as they used to be. Price ranges have gone up, things are heavily picked over and flawed from so many hands touching them, and the thrill is somewhat gone. However, the internet is a thing of many wonders and in 2019 companies have gotten smarter and they will heavily discount items to sample sale prices online. Even major department stores will have a final sale and/or clearance blowout, where you can find discounts on top of discounts. Sometimes these clearance events happen online first (yay!) and sometimes these are “online only” sales (double yay!)
Now let’s talk about online sample sales and similar concepts
Here are our pros and cons when it comes to online sale shopping:
3. The pros of online sample sale shopping:
- Today, many sites allow you to return your heavily discounted items if you don’t love them
- No lines
- You don’t have to encounter any people (lol, oh what a time to be alive)
- Even if you’re not based in a major city you can participate and get in on the action
- You may even get word of a warehouse sale from daily newsletters sent to your inbox, aka there's a greater chance that you have a shot at "attending"
- There’s a lesser chance of receiving a damaged item
- It’s a quicker shopping experience. You can browse many items at once, and not have to skim all of the clothing racks
- Your arms also won’t be breaking off from holding a ton of clothes that you probably won’t even buy
- And, because duh, who doesn’t love to shop late night in their pj’s while drinking wine and watching reality tv?
4. The cons of sample sale shopping online:
- Not being able to physically see or try on the item in person, so there’s a greater chance that you might not love it
- Some people actually like to go in person for the adventure, and we have to admit, sometimes taking a break from the computer is a good thing
- You can request to shop a sample sale “online”, so that means a person will physically go to the sale for you, take pictures and send them to you, and you need to be by your phone to approve the purchase. It’s a think fast kind of thing, and there’s both a user fee and a shipping fee - womp.
5.) Other things to take into consideration when Shopping Sample Sales
- Going on the first day can be great because you have first pickings, yet sometimes, both with online and in store sample sales, towards the end of the sale, prices get drastically reduced and price matches from previous days are not honored. So you have to make a conscious decision on how you're going to shop and what you're willing to pay for convenience
- Going on the last day of the sale can be both a blessing and a curse. You can either find really good stuff that the company just needs to get rid of (you could possibly score something 95% off of the retail price) OR there could be only very damaged goods leftover OR items so exceptionally ugly that no woman would ever be caught dead wearing, let alone paying for- our New York City stylist has seen this tragedy
- There are such things as women's wedding dress sample sales, and in many cases you can get a one of a kind true sample that is ultra high end for a very low price. What women wouldn't want to wear a dress like that on her wedding day?
The overall theme here is that you need to be in the know to find out about these secret sales
Lucky for you, there’s a site called Shop It To Me that took all of these pros and cons into consideration and it’s pretty awesome. Search designer sale items from only the brands you love, in your size, via your favorite and 100% reputable retailers- all online.