Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Sale of the century. Well, year.

December 20, 2009

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.

Where (else) to shop

June 6, 2009

Duh,  everyone knows where to shop – right?  Well, sort of.  But often people complain (especially in the lead-up to Christmas) that there’s nothing interesting in the shops. 

I think this perception stems from shopping in the same old places: mega malls, high street stores and the like.  We see the same familiar shops, brands and products and after a while it all starts to look a bit ‘same-y’. 

Here are some places to shop that I’ve found often yield surprisingly good things:

  1.  Garden stores.  Think: miniature potted daffodils/ roses/ petunias; hanging baskets of colourful flowers or cherry tomatoes; junior ‘grow your own’ gardening kits for kids; old fashioned flower seeds; three-bladed scissors for cutting herbs
  2. Museum gift stores.  Really – they often have good, unusual gifts, celebrating different aspects of history, society and culture.
  3. Art gallery gift stores.  Another good creative retail destination, with arty prints, calendars, mugs, note paper, jewellery and so forth.
  4. Book stores.  The good ones have an amazing range of books and other products.  Just go in and take a wander sometime.  And not just through your regular sections; check out the shelves you perhaps don’t normally frequent: humour, travel, non-fiction, crafts, cooking, history, biographies…you’ll be amazed.  There’s something for everyone.
  5. Design stores.  That is, the sort of places that stock unique or limited edition products from local artists and designers.  Wonderful for finding offbeat, witty pieces – often before they get snapped up by major manufacturers and distributors and start popping up all over town.
  6. Pharmacies.  Well, the bigger and better ones.  They have an amazing array of beauty and skincare products, bathtime products, scents, vitamins, footcare and haircare products and much much more.

And that’s without even mentioning online stores.   Some retailers don’t even have traditional bricks-and-mortar stores anymore – just an online presence.  In fact, there are so many good websites, I don’t know where to start.  I guess I’ll save that for a future blog (and feel free to offer any suggestions of the favourite sites you like to shop for gifts at.)