Sale of the century. Well, year.

To hit the pre-Christmas sales or not, that is the question.

I did that the other evening, in the interests of research (and getting some last-minute gifts).  And here’s what I found:

Pros: There are actually some very good bargains out there.  Half price discounts are not uncommon, with even 25 or 30 percent being quite routine.  Gone, it seems, are the days when we paid full price for everything right up until Christmas Day and the discounts only started the day after.

Cons: The crowds, dear sweet Jesus, the crowds.  Hordes and hordes of people, a crush of humanity.  If you can’t handle people en masse, the sales just aren’t for you.  I went into one department store and struggled to get out again!  Such were the thronging queues at the cash registers by the exits, backed up with dozens of shoppers.

Also the parking was terrible.  It almost took as long to get a park as it did to drive to the mall in question.  After 10 minutes of aimless driving around the carparking storeys, and very nearly giving up, I lucked out solely on the happenchance that a movie had ended at the complex’s cinema, and a few people came out and drove away, freeing up some car parks.

Upshot: Well, the bargains are there, if you have the patience, if you can handle vast crowds and if you can find parking two blocks away.

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