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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: The Sale Watch

Hi Everyone!

I've been thinking about this post for a long time, so I'm finally getting it out.  I've never been much of a bargain shopper.  I don't have millions and millions of dollars, but it's really hard for me to shop in department stores like Macy's unless I'm going straight to the Lush Cosmetics section.  Here's why:  time after time I find something I like only to discover that my size is sold out.  I look all over the store for someone to help me locate the item in another store only to discover that no one is working in the section where I've located the item I want to purchase.  That's it, I leave the store in frustration.  I'm working on my patience, I promise.

And, speaking of patience, when new arrivals appear on the J. Crew website, I squeal in delight when I see a smashing new pencil skirt appear.  Consider, for example, the No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Raj Paisley seen below:


I knew that I had to have this beautiful skirt when the lovely ajc previewed it on her wonderful blog, A JC Shopping Habit.  So, I had my online personal shopper preorder the skirt.  I received this beauty on Wednesday, April 12.  About two weeks later, this skirt went on sale.  Certainly, it's my fault for pulling the trigger so quickly, although I feel better knowing that I have the skirt.  Moreover, I have limited options when it comes to purchasing J. Crew pencil skirts:  I can only purchase them online since size 14 pencil skirts aren't offered in stores.  I say all of this to say that I wish that I could play the sale game at times, but I risk missing out on items I want.  And, to be honest, I'd rather have the item I want than to see the words "sold out."  

What's your J. Crew sale watch strategy?  Have you perfected the art of figuring out which items will fly off of the shelves versus which items will languish in the sale section?  Do tell!

Thanks for stopping by!

41 comments:

  1. Hi Rynetta! Like you, I buy size 14 pencil skirts. If it is a special skirt - print, for example, I will usually bite early. The colors, however, I will pass on until sales. They usually make it in at least a few colors to sale. Most roll outs, I pick one thing, and then have a wish list to watch for sales.

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    1. Hi Suzy!

      That's a great strategy to pick one item per roll out. I'm with you that the solid colors of skirts typically make it to sale before the patterns, and our size is typically still in stock which is a great thing!

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  2. I wish I had a crystal ball telling me how long to wait for pretties to go on sale. I've been planning a post like this too as I think many of us are on the same page.

    For me it depends on how much I want/need something combined with the real life issues of budget. Case in point - the Gondola Coat. I cannot justify the price for the coat. It isn't that I don't think it is a beautiful coat - I do, and I really want it, but I cannot afford it. If/when the coat goes on sale, I plan to grab it. Ultimately the decision process for me comes down to this: will I have more regret buying it at full price (or over spending for an item) or will I regret more that I missed it. When I shop in boutiques I'm more likely to pay full price because their size runs are limited and their sale cycles are longer. Large stores like J Crew and Anthropologie have an abundance of inventory and though I've missed out on things, there is inevitably something new pretty and just as lust-worthy just around the corner.

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    1. JulieStyles: LOL about the crystal ball. And, I think that it's a great idea to think about whether or not you'll regret paying full price for an item. For me, the Gondola Coat was my seasonal splurge purchase. It's such a special piece that I just didn't want to miss out on it, and unfortunately, the larger sizes seem to sell out first, but I totally understand your thinking about it.

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  3. I struggle with this, too! (I'm the same size as you, and I need Tall pants/jeans, too, so no trying things on in the store for me-- I have to buy online).

    My strategy has been to play the buy-return-rebuy game. It's funny you mention the Raj Paisley pencil, because this is the item I did this with most recently. Tossed it in my bag at full price a few weeks ago along with a sale pair of purple printed Viv flats I'd been stalking, just to get the free shipping. Held onto the skirt, tags on, then snagged it on sale with the secret 30% off promo last week (it's arriving today!). And I still have time cushion to return the full price one-- the one great thing about the online purchases is how much time you have to return them.

    I'm fortunate to live in a metropolitan area with 5 B&M stores, so I can get away with lots of returns as long as I'm willing to drive around the Twin Cities. :)

    I'm watching the ivory giraffe bangle to see if it goes on sale/promo, too. If so, I'll return the tags-on sale one with my full-price receipt, since I've already been wearing it constantly.

    The only thing that frustrates me about all of this is that I'm a PhD student, so I should be able to get an education discount, but since my size isn't in stores, I miss out on that. I wish we didn't have to play games to get decent prices from J. Crew! But I know it benefits them-- when I went to make a return last week, I also picked up a pair of navy striped ballet flats (on sale!) and the ram bangle (full price, but was so happy to find one!).

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    1. Rachel: First of all, you have 5 retail stores in your area!?!?!? I am BEYOND jealous!!!!!!

      I hear you about having to buy things online and not getting the same discounts as everyone else. It's really tough when our size isn't offered in retail stores. For me, it's an issue of wanting to walk out of the store with my item in hand like everyone else who is a smaller size has the option of doing. And, I'd love to try things on in store.

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  4. They should carry size 14 in the store, not such an unusual size. I have a real issue with store having "online only" merchandise. Talbots has this with some of their petites and does JC, Is space really that limited?

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    1. Kate: I totally agree! And, I've asked the space question you ask for years!!!! I totally agree that online only items are especially frustrating. I'm totally annoyed that I have to wait to try things on because they're being shipped to me. Hopefully someone will hear us and do something about this retail store size exclusion. I've noticed that J. Crew is starting to offer size 14 pants in retail stores, which is a huge move in the right direction!

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  5. If I like something I would order it at FP to try it on. If I like it but I am not willing to ever pay full price I return and wait for sale. If i cannot bear a thought of losing out on something I would keep it and return-rebuy with no mercy. It is time consuming and mentally exhausting, I never do it with any other retailer but I did get many coveted items for a fraction of a price this way.

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    1. 100% this, especially the mentally exhausting part.

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    2. ajc and A: I agree with both of you. Part of the reason why I don't do the return-rebuy is because it's so time consuming and mentally exhausting. I'd love to pocket that extra cash, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I guess that I just need to hold out in the first place if I think that the item will eventually go on sale.

      Thanks SO much for being here ladies!!!

      Delete
  6. All my J.Crew is sale plus additional % off...I drink a lot of crewlade, but know they are just things. And I can live without more things in my life. That and I'm cheap, er, frugal. I'm a size 6 or 8 in pencil skirts and usually find what I'm looking for on popbacks or ebay.

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    1. Misty Lynn: I totally get that clothing items are just things, but I guess if you want something, it's nice to know that you can get it. If I were a size 6 or 8, I'd probably hold out too. However, since retail stores don't offer size 14s, particularly in skirts, my options are much more limited.

      Thanks SO much for being here!

      Delete
  7. what a good topic rynetta!
    my size(xxs)is always one to go pretty fast,so i usually buy full price too.
    there are no promos available for oversees shipping(except FS right now),so i cant really participate in that.
    i am happy that i can get my stuff from jcrew sent to germany and probably pay more than a sales shopper,but it makes me happy:).

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    1. ina: Thanks SO much! I totally hear you about limited sizes especially on the xxs and 14/XL side of the size spectrum. It sucks that they aren't any international shipping promotions on sales. I sure hope that will change for you soon. And, I hear you, I'm delighted that I can grab the items that I want before they sell out!

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  8. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I paid full price for an item (other than in-store jewelry). Nothing at JC is worth all that money, in my opinion.

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    1. Rose: I hear you! For me, however, there are a few things that I really like, so I'm willing to pay full price minus my educator discount. I might be more willing to wait on items if I could purchase my skirt size in both places, online and in a retail store.

      Thanks SO much for being here!

      Delete
  9. I have to say that I very rarely pay full price for J Crew, except like Rose for jewelry. I can't justify the price tag and odds are pretty good that by the time I actually go to wear the item, it has gone on sale. My philosophy: If I was meant to have it, then I will get it on sale.

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    1. MB: I totally hear you too! I wish that I could wait for most items to go on sale!

      Thanks SO much for being here!

      Delete
  10. Great topic! I think whether an item is "worth" full price is a relative thing. To me, I have no problem paying full price if it's something I really love. Reading blogs, I am always perplexed when the blogger comments that they would never buy an item at full price, but will reconsider if the item goes on sale. If you don't love it at full price, why buy it all?

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    1. ifky12: Thanks SO much!! Oh boy do I hear you, and I agree with you. I totally agree that the idea of something being worth full price is relative. And, typically, if I don't like/love an item enough to warrant paying full price for it, I don't want it once it goes on sale. My retail personal shopper says this all the time!

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  11. I am like some others - I will pay full price if I truly love an item. The rest I wait and see. i actually just received the raj paisley skirt today - I hemmed and hawwed and decided to wait. I got it for a great deal. The porcelain paisley, however, is a different kettle of fish - I know I must have it, I do not mind paying full price and i will cherish it! For me, the bellweather is the Giverny pencil skirt of '08. I waited to pull the trigger and I was never able to nab it - I am still searching for it!! So now I say to myself "Is this my next Giverny?" if I say yes, I go ahead and buy, filled with no remorse whasoever...

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    1. WMM: I'm totally with you that I will pay full price for an item if I truly love it. I am so glad that you got the raj paisley skirt for a great deal. I thought that I'd miss out if I waited on that one. Like you, I am not waiting on the porcelain paisley print. That print/skirt is fabulous. And, boy oh boy, do I understand about missing out on the Giverny print. I missed it too because my wardrobe focus then was on jackets. I love your question. I'll have to use that strategy!!!

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  12. I'm with ifky12. If something fits with my wardrobe plan and I really love it I will pay full price. I usually stick to my plan and I avoid browsing sales because it is easy to rationalize something you never would have selected previously, just because it is on sale. Throw in a minimum amount for free shipping and it can be a real money drain. You can only spend the money once after all, and if you don't love and wear what you bought it is a waste of money no matter how great the perceived "deal".

    That said, not all people fall into the sale overspend trap of course, some people are fantastic at watching and waiting for the right discount on certain items but I am not one of them.

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    1. xoxo: I totally agree with you and ifky12. Wardrobe fit is a key factor for me too. I don't usually browse sales either. I tend to get annoyed if I see an item that I want that's sold out in my size once it hits sale. And, you hit the nail on the head with your point about it not being a great deal if the item goes unworn.

      Thanks SO much for being here!

      Delete
  13. I rarely pay full retail price for any items. But of course, there are exceptions when I really like it and can't wait for the sale. Since I don't live near a J. Crew store, I don't have the luxury of checking prices constantly in store so I buy mostly online. A few times that right after I bought, sale went on. I was so mad at myself at not holding out a little longer.

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    1. Small Town Gal: I totally understand what you're saying. I think that I need to make more exceptions before I snag a full price item. I guess I just always wonder if the item will disappear in my size before it makes it to sale.

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  14. I guess I'm lucky that my size is common (even tho JC doesn't stock petites in their B&Ms), and retailers tend to make enough of items in my size that I can almost always pick up what I want at sale time. The one time (that I can recall) when I paid FP for an item was last summer, when I had to buy a dress for a wedding. I found one at Anthro, and well, whaddya know, after the return date came and went, and before the wedding happened, it went on sale. I couldn't complain too much, as I really do like the dress a lot, and with something like that, I didn't want to take a chance to try and find a dress till the last minute. Otherwise, I'm pretty patient and can always wait till an item goes on sale before I bite.

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    1. Closet Crisis: I really wish that my size was considered more common so that I could hold out to purchase things at sale time. I think that I'd be more comfortable waiting if J. Crew retail stores offered size 14 pencil skirts. I wish that they would stock petites for you too!

      Thanks SO much for being here!

      Delete
  15. If I really love it, I'll snag it, full price or not. But sometimes it does take a more reasonable price in sale to make me reconsider a piece I originally didn't consider (hello, sovereign paisley) and now love, love, love. However, JC's spoiled me with the addtl % off sale deals - when's the next one hitting, I've got some stuff sitting in my shopping cart and just need a little push ...

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    1. Lisa: My approach to shopping is similar to yours. And, the sovereign paisley pencil skirt is LOVELY on you! I SO wish that J. Crew would have made that skirt in my size. You're so right that the additional percentage off sales really do spoil consumers. I refuse to pay full price at Ann Taylor, Loft, and Banana Republic because they are constantly offering some kind of percentage off promotion.

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  16. I hate seeing stuff on sale right after I buy it but like others have said if it was a "must have" item then it's worth full price. I don't live near a B&M so I do lots of on-line ordering. In some cases it's better to pay full price and order two sizes to compare. Obviously final sale can be risky but I did recently get the tippi sweater in leopard - I saw it in store and loved it but couldn't justify the price, then I just happened to spy it on final sale. I love when JC does the % full price promotion - hoping we get one soon :)

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    1. Luxette: I totally feel what you're saying. I think that it's frustrating knowing that someone else got a much better deal on the same item you just purchased. Like you, I'm hoping that another percentage off sale is on the way!

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  17. I just re-bought a perfect shirt for $22 less than I paid not even 2 weeks ago. I'll return the original, but I need to stop this lol! My strategy is to quit doing this, which would mean not buying anything full price that isn't completely fabulous.

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    1. cate: $22 is worth it! And, I hear you about only buying full price items that are totally fabulous!!!

      Thanks SO much for being here!

      Delete
  18. I'm one of those who love to look for sale items even if my size (00 or 0) sells out also very quickly at the B&M stores or online. It's just always been a habit of mine since I was young to buy items on sale, I don't think I've ever bought anything at full price at JCrew and seldomly do I buy full price at other major retailers. If the item I like disappears well it's not such a big deal because something I like will come up sooner or later.

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    1. Joelle: I totally hear you. I refuse to buy full price items from retailers such as Ann Taylor, Loft, and Banana Republic because they're always offering some kind of percentage off sale. They've trained consumers to wait for a promotion.

      Thanks SO much for being here!

      Delete
  19. It's a trade off. I have a personal stylist who is honest (she will say this may sell out or this will probably go on sale). She's also good with matching prices if she can if I just got something then want to return. Sometimes, if I really want something and worry it will sell out, I cave, but get frustrated with the sale after.

    It's crazy annoying with the differences with sale prices. The fluctuation is crazy.

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    1. Tammy: Our personal shoppers must be twins. They sound just alike! My ps is always honest about whether or not an item will make it to sale. The price discrepancies between retail stores and the J. Crew website are super annoying.

      Thanks SO much for being here!

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  20. Hello everyone! What an awesome topic to discuss! Since my love for J Crew is beyond my budget, I typically use 2 strategies:

    1. I wait for Thursdays, since those are the days markdowns are done. I have found that online adds new items on Wednesdays.

    2. If a holiday is close enough, I will wait to receive my special promo code and then shop.

    Because I live in Spain and do not have a J Crew near me, I have to patiently wait it out via the internet. Typically, I get a shopping cart ready and then place my order when the item is on sale or I have the promo code. For me, it's better to purchase more so that I can get free shipping. A JC sales associate/friend told me that they charge according to what you buy, so if you buy something fairly inexpensive, you are going to pay for it in shipping charges. Boo!

    Anyway, those are the strategies I use and I hope this has been helpful to all of you!

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