What does ‘Sale’ Mean to You?


On Saturday night I was at a fellow image consultants Halloween party (costumes and all) chatting with another image consultant friend.  We were discussing costumes and she was telling us about her gorgeous red shoes that she was wearing and saying how she’d got them on sale for $20.  Then she went on and told me how she’d been driving down Chapel Street with an hour to spare between clients, stopped at a magically free car park in front of a shoe shop, hopped out and found these fab red shoes.

Then she said “I wondered, what was wrong with these shoes?  Why are they on sale?  Why doesn’t anyone else want them?”

Now this thought pattern struck me as a completely different one from the one I would have had.  Her assumption is that if something is on sale then it must be defective in some way.    It made me think about all the ways we read into the idea of sales and how my reaction is not necessarily someone elses.   So here are some of the reasons why I might consider something is on sale:

  1. The item sold so well they only have a couple left, so as they no longer have the range of sizes,  the item is on sale to shift it out of the store to make way for new stock.
  2. The seasons are changing, so to get ready for new stock, garments from the previous season are on sale to move them out to create space.
  3. The item is badly cut or designed (doesn’t suit many women) so is being sold off to get some return on investment.
  4. The store has a rota of putting items on sale, this week just happens to be red shoes.

These are just a few reasons that instantly spring to mind.  What goes through your head when you spy the sale rack?

Interestingly, I’m guessing the reason why my friend got her shoes so cheap was that it was the last pair left in the shop, probably because they sold out quickly and there was absolutely nothing wrong with them.

Usually you can tell when it’s reason No. 3 – as the rack will be full of the same garments, though sometimes this can be because of reason No. 4.

Do you loves to sales shop or do you only buy full price?


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  • I'm with you on 1, 2 and 4. It would never have occurred to me that something is wrong with an item and that's why its put on sale unless there is something about the item that screams "defective". Same for #3. Mostly I'm just really excited and hope that whatever it is fits well.

  • I love sales. Makes me feel elated to see the original price against the mark down. It's kind of pathetic really – how much I love it.

  • I will pay full price if I *really* love something, as I've learned the hard way that they often sell out of my size/color while I'm waiting for an item to go on sale. I've also tried to remind myself that just because something is on sale doesn't necessarily mean it's a good buy. (I stop to ask myself if I would be interested in the item if I'd first seen it at full price; if not, I move on.) I usually assume that something's on sale because it didn't sell quickly. Perhaps that's because it's poorly designed, or maybe it just didn't appeal to buyers this season. But there's almost nothing as satisfying finding something you love that's marked WAY down!

  • Sales don't bother me at all — even if things only went on sale for reason number 3, so what? It may not suit "most women", but it could still suit me. It's all about the bottom line, anyway — as in, is this item worth it's current price to me? IMO, it doesn't really matter what something cost originally.

  • I avoid shops during sales and won´t look on racks of clothes that have reduced prices. I know this sounds silly, but I don´t want to buy the leftovers. In my mind, I fantasy that there is a reason ( not in my favor), when something is reduced. Since I normally favor the classics, that seldom are reduced, I think I´m not missing much.

  • I'm with you too 1, 2 and 4 and also I wouldn't think stores could sell defective items without pointing them out clearly during the sales?? These days sales for me is when the whole store is on sale which tend to happen a lot more eg.Country Road/Target etc…I'm another one who very rarely is able to find true "sale items" on clothes and shoes as they my size is always the ones sold out!! Saying that this is the first year that I've bought quite a few items on sale via the internet – particularly from the U.S. with our strong Aussie dollar woo hoo!

  • my reaction to sale racks has changed since reading several blogs, your's among them, on a regular basis. i still drawn to look but with more discernment. quality, cut and fit trump price reductions.

  • Since I'm in the medium-sized range for pretty much everything – from shoes to dresses to undies – the stuff I nab on sale is rarely due to reason 1. But I usually assume it has to do with making room for new merch. And I do so very much love to shop sales … but am perfectly willing to pay full price for something I truly love and know I will use constantly.

  • Like Pseu, buy sale items only if I'd love it at full price- or if I need a replacement. Never wonder why it's on sale, really don't care.

    Does anyone know an EASY formula to figure out how much is an item when it's 30% off and then reduced a further 15%?

  • I love sales – too much. It never occurs to me that no one else wanted the item. It just occurs to me that my timing is fantastic and I must buy it now!

  • Last Christmas I was shopping for a leather jacket for my boyfriend. Saw one at Macy's that was priced at $795, marked down to $250 or so. Then I went to Nordstrom & saw the same exact jacket, selling for around the same sale price — $250ish — but its "original" price was around $450. Made me think the true value was the sale price, and the non-sale price was just a psychological trick… Anyway, it was a great jacket at any price!

  • OOo, a puzzle from Duchesse. Do you mean a formaula that would apply to any set of percentages? For 30% off I would multiply the original cost by 0.7 (eg 100 cents to 70). A futher 15% off the 70 cents would mean 70 multiplied by 0.85 to give a final cost of 59.5 cents, and therefore 40.5% off the original 100 cents. If anyone sees an error, please correct me.

    Must work on a formula, unless someone else has it.

  • OOo, a puzzle from Duchesse. Do you mean a formula that would apply to any set of percentages?

    To calculate 30% off, I would multiply the original cost by 0.7 (eg 100 cents would end up as 70). A futher 15% off the 70 cents would mean 70 multiplied by 0.85 to give a final cost of 59.5 cents, and therefore 40.5% off the original 100 cents. If anyone sees an error, please correct it.

    Getting to a formula for any series of reductions, unless someone else posts it, is another story that might take a while.

    Signed, not a mathematician.

  • Actually i have noticed lately that stock moves really fast before its on sale to make room for new stock. With this one store i regularly shop at i noticed 3 out of 4 tops i had bought had gone on sale and one of them was just a basic top. So now I have dcecided to just check out the sale rack regularly. I also went to a Rodeny Clark Closing down sale and got some good basics for next winter.

  • I love a bargain, but I'm more likely to pay full price if I'm shopping for basics for my work wardrobe. I find it comforting to know that whatever I'm buying is for the current season and appropriate for work (because I shop in "career wear" stores for work clothes.)

    I'm more likely to shop sales for accessories and fun extras like trendy t-shirts. Or for things that I buy repeatedly, like undergarments– I have my favorite brands, I know when the sales are, and I stock up during those times.

  • Oh, and to answer your question– I do sometimes worry that something's on sale because it's about to go out of style. But if I like it a lot, I don't worry about it.

    I guess it has a lot to do with my confidence level in shopping. I'm not so confident about choosing work wear, so I worry about something being "wrong" with those things on sale. But with things like shoes or scarves, I feel confident about my taste in them so I just buy whatever I like and don't worry about why they're on sale.

  • I like sales… too much. I'm trying to discipline myself to not think I ought to buy something simply because it's on sale or not buy something simply because it's full-price. The lure of 70% off is strong.

  • I always check the sales racks. Doesn't mean I will automatically buy but sometimes you can get a bargain. The only time I get shoes on sale are when they have those blanket sales – eg 20% off everything,or buy one and get 50% off the second – but even then that doesn't tempt me if I don't need or love the item. I'm happy to pay full price for something I love.

  • My other half in going through school right now and I'm seting money asise for a deposit on a house so I don't have a lot of money to spare. I'm forever hitting up the sales. Not counting etsy purchases I can't remember when I last paid full price for a item.

  • For me it´s just that new stock is coming in and they need the space or it's last seasons…
    I love sales, I almost never pay full price, it's a SIN !

  • Being tall, if I see something in the store in my size, it's a miracle – sale or not. On-line and catalogs aren't much better.

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